The brain —in Charles Sherrington’s metaphor, the “enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern”— not only experiences scenarios fed to it by the sensory channels but also creates them by recall and fantasy.
18. The >enchanted loom< is a famous metaphor for the brain invented by the pioneering neuroscientist Charles S. Sherrington in a passage from his 1940 book Man on his nature, in which he poetically describes his conception of what happens in the cerebral cortex during arousal from sleep: “The great topmost sheet of the mass, that where hardly a light had twinkled or moved, becomes now a sparkling field of rhythmic flashing points with trains of traveling sparks hurrying hither and thither.
The brain is waking and with it the mind is returning.
It is as if the Milky Way entered upon some cosmic dance.
Swiftly the head mass becomes an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern though never an abiding one; a shifting harmony of subpatterns.” The >loom< he
refers to was undoubtedly meant to be a Jacquard loom, used for weaving fabric into complex patterns.