Brain Opera Libretto

Below are several short text examples, taken from interviews with Marvin Minsky which were conducted by Tod Machover between 1993 and 1996. These texts, about the mind and music, have provided much of the textual material for Tod Machover's vocal compositions in the Brain Opera, and therefore comprise a kind of libretto. These text examples are provided below:

1. The mind is too complicated to summarize.
2. There are probably several hundred little pieces of brain that each of us uses.
3. There's no instruction manual and no way to debug it.
4. You never do anything in just one way.
5. It wasn't designed very well by any organized process.
6. That comes from 400 million years of evolution.
7. The things that look simple to us are usually very complicated, and the things that look complicated are usually much simpler.
8. Music is a very mysterious thing.
9. Scientifically there don't seem to be any good theories of it.
10. We don't know where it came from.
11. You don't see animals tapping their feet to rhythm.
12. Its probably one of the most intricate activities we have.
13. It seems like its meaningful.
14. You can't help relating it to things.
15. What I'm saying is its not a natural thing.
16. Every part of your brain has to make sense of it.
17. Its got phrases and clauses and sentences.
18. What story is this like?
19. Your memory has to find something!
20. Sometimes the associations are very compelling.
21. What right does Schumann have to order me around?
22. How come people don't get angry when music affects their emotions?
23. Some people use it for influencing crowds and other people use it to make people think more and get away from the crowd.
24. You only live a hundred years.
25. People have no respect for their minds.
26. Especially from thinking about music.
27. to think, how to use the time, how to recognize how much time you're using......
28. One thing that music does is it makes you able to think three or four things at a time.
29. There's a lot happening.
30. This is very important.
31. The things that we call intelligence are nothing more than the ability to manage time better.
32. Thinking about the mind might sensitize people to how silly it is to spend a day thinking nothing at all.
33. Are there people who are more creative than others?
34. What a genius is, is just someone who has been very lucky.
35. To be a really good composer you need ten or fifteen tricks.
36. But everybody has most of these things.
37. Everyone is immensely creative.
38. It just seems a lot better because you can't do it.
39. We know a lot about emotions.
40. We don't know much about thinking at all.
41. Each emotion is just a kind of thinking.
42. Music changes your mood very directly.
43. No one knows; no one studied this very well.
44. What's going on?!
45. People don't study this; people don't ask that question.
46. Why do we like music?
47. Its taboo.
48. Isn't it strange?!

Play the "Minsky Text" realtime Java applet. Please note that you will need a Java-enabled browser to play.