By the deficits, we may know the talents, by the experiences we may discern the rules, by studying pathology we may construct a model of health. And — most important — from this model may evolve the insights and tools we need to affect our own lives, mould our own destinies, change ourselves and our society in ways that, as yet, we can only imagine.
Ramachandran prefaces his book Phantoms in the Brain with it. In the first week of class, as I was explaining my idea for a neuroscience museum and a possible exhibit on synaesthesia, Danny made the observation that we learn about how the brain works when things go wrong with it or when it behaves unusually. As one focus of my exhibits is going to be stories about fascinating neurological phenomena, and since Ramachandran’s writings are going to be the main source of these anecdotes, this quote could well be an appropriate entry plaque to the museum.