David Byrne: Hidden Roots


David Byrne, 60, is a Scottish musician permanently residing in the United States.  He is best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991.  He has received Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe awards and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Brainpickings.org describes Byrne “as also one of the sharpest thinkers of our time and a kind of visual philosopher. About a decade ago, Byrne began making ‘mental maps of imaginary territory’ in a little notebook based on self-directed instructions to draw anything from a Venn diagram about relationships to an evolutionary tree of pleasure yet wholly unlike anything else. In 2006, Byrne released Arboretum, a collection of these thoughtful, funny, cynical, poetic, and altogether brilliant pencil sketches — some very abstract, some very concrete — drawn in the style of evolutionary diagrams and mapping everything from the roots of philosophy to the tangles of romantic destiny to the ecosystem of the performing arts.”

Bottom line: Brilliant.

Sources: Brainpickings.org and Wiki


  1. Love this – and it makes one think. The root system upon which such positive growth is so dependent, is rife with all of its corollaries.


  2. This is clever but doesn’t work for me. How are torment and pain necessay for peace, happiness and sexual fulfillment? I suppose it can sometimes be the case that out of suffering comes peace, but jealousy and envey? Surely these are not outside forces that act as a crucible, forging virtues, instead they are base emotions we should work to quell. It’s a nice graphic that doesn’t cast light on the reality I have experienced.


  3. Loved this! Bottom line is indeed brilliant!


  4. petit4chocolatier says:

    Brilliant!! Dark hidden emotions on the negative side that brew underneath. Positive life on the sunny side that continually grows.


  5. I checked the source of your post and I must say I could not digest it but these lines answered all of my questions, “Maybe it was a sort of self-therapy that worked by allowing the hand to ‘say’ what the voice could not.”


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