In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People with Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images, and the Ironies of Creativity

By Thomas G. West | Go to book overview

1
Slow Words, Quick Images:
An Overview

In the summer of 1841 Michael Faraday, the self-educated blacksmith's son who came to be recognized as one of the leading scientific minds of Queen Victoria's Britain, was on holiday in Switzerland. He had journeyed from Interlaken to the falls of the Giessbach, on the lake of Brientz. As he watched the cataract shoot down a series of precipices, Faraday noted his impressions in his journal. At the base of each cataract, the water was shattered into foam and then tossed into "water-dust" in the air.

August 12th, 1841.--To-day every fall was foaming from the abundance of water, and the current of wind brought down by it was in some places too strong to stand against. The sun shone brightly, and rainbows seen from various points were very beautiful. One at the bottom of a fine but furious fall was very pleasant,--there it remained motionless, whilst the gusts and clouds of spray swept furiously across its place and were dashed against the rock. It looked like a spirit strong in faith and steadfast in the midst of the storm of passions sweeping across it, and though it might fade and revive, still it held on to the rock as in hope and giving hope. And the very drops, which in the whirlwind of their fury seemed as if they would carry all away, were made to revive it and give it greater beauty. 1

These were brief notes jotted down by Faraday in his personal journal on an afternoon's excursion during a restful summer holiday. Faraday had no serious intent. He wrote for himself and perhaps a friend or two. It was a habit of journal-keeping developed to provide detailed records of

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