Some students in my Writer and The Brain class turned me on to The Storytelling Animal by Johnathan Gottschall, which I am halfway through and am loving.
Here’s a great quote:
“From Science, I argue, can help us make sense of storytelling. But some say that science is a grand story (albeit with hypothesis testing) that emerges from our need to make sense of the world. The storylike character of science is most obvious when it deals with origins: of the universe. . .”
And this is what I am trying to say with The Poet and the Mind-Brain :
Theoretical branches of science, found mostly in the unification problem in physics and the hard problem in neuroscience seek to tell two of the most fundamental stories humans need to hear, how did it all begin, and who am I?
This is why writers are like scientists.
These are the two stories that impel us to write, albeit articulated differently according to the writer.
Instead of wondering how the universe began, the poet might wonder why does my heart feel so bad? Or why does the school bus stopping on the corner under the oak tree make me want to cry?
I would argue poetic details are microcosms of the two fundamental stories we seek to understand.
Poets matter, because we seek to know the unknowable, and we will never stop until we find that ineffable elegant equation that says it all.