In an article called Patterns, published in the NY Times earlier this month, neurologist and author Oliver Sacks discusses the geometric visual hallucinations which occur during the migraine auras that he has experienced since early childhood.
Sacks explains that the hallucinations occur as a result of waves abnormal electrical activity sweeping across the visual cortex, and that they reflect the cytoarchitectonics of that part of the brain and the complex patterns of activity within it.
He goes on to speculate that, because this cellular activity is universal, it forms the basis of art and architecture: “Do the arabesques in our own minds, built into our own brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of geometry, of formal beauty?”
The fascinating – and beautifully written – article has generated a great deal of discussion, so the author has offered to answer selected questions from readers. You can submit a question to Oliver Sacks here.