Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Neuro-Logic on the one hand: Clapping

Dear Colleagues,

More primodialism across the Curriculum:
ideas that won’t hoe corn or raise a pup tent

USELESS notions & not to
be confused with
Concerns, Faculty
New Positions,
First Year
Maps of the US
and such sustain
abilities. .

The brain is meat, no doubt about it—a sponge between the ears.
There is nothing spiritual about brain. Nor can we call brain
mindful without collapsing, conflating, and confusing the
physical and the non-physical.

When I read my Linguistics Textual description of the neuro-
logic of mind and language, I feel like I’m studying

(1) the internal combustion engine and wondering about
(2) NASCAR—and how the 2 might be said to relate. Then,
(3) add a particular be-here-now race going on under the lights
on Friday night: and I ask myself:

how much the more-&-more I know about the engine will
make a difference to what-I-know about the race?

AND, the chapter makes me wonder about LANGUAGE as
neither Brain nor Mind—but, as-if, a kind of mediator between
the physical and the non-physical, in the way that the corpus
callosum is the mediator/translator between the Left Hemisphere
(digital-loving, language-housing) and the Right Hemisphere
(analogue-delighting, image and imagination sponsoring)—the
difference between TELL and SHOW say: the corpus callosum
(“hard body”) serving as a kind co-ordinator between these
2 fundamental aspects of our MINDING (or,
if you are a materialist: BRAINING). l

Brain-ing Mind-ing

What’s the DIFFERENCE and what’s the RELATIONSHIP
between physical on the one hand, and non-physical on the
other? Often called the Mind/Body problem, sometimes
(more poetically) the Head/Heart distinction (and why can’t
they Just Get Along).

Physical Process. Mental Process.
It’s not that they aren’t related—but how?
And how are they distinct and INCOMMENSURATE?

Mind over Body, Body over Mind: the “conflict” is not
unlike all the various binary oppositions that we find
ourselves caught in—in between, like devil and deep
blue see, rock and hard place: masc. and fem, nature
and nurture, order and random, digital and analogue,
thought and action.

What MEDIATES between these oppositions (like Language
between Brain and Mind) that reconciles the hostile opposition
into complementary relationship?

Is this too abstract?
Abstract on the one hand;
Concrete on the other hand:
what’s the difference and how
do those 2 get along? (relate, relationship?)

When I read the neurological perspective on Minding and
Languaging I am whelmed by the concrete details, the names,
compartments, modules, I feel like Phineas Gage: a four foot
iron rod stuck through my head and somewhat impairing my
emotions if not my speech (aphasia).

I confess: I am an abstractor.

People say the devil’s in the details.
Probably in the pattern’s too. Damnit!


Look: no one has ever come up with a satisfactory theory regarding
the origins of language. Or the universe. In fact: ORIGINS is always
problematic and MYTH does a better job of suggesting the notion of
In the Beginnings than (I’ll claim, for the sake of argument) scientific

Science has the stigma of being accurate (detailed) and myth
(poetic, suggestive, abstract) does not—and so MYTH is in a
sense a safer way of considering ORIGINS than science. Need
we argue? Of course—or what’s a college for?

Consider: the ORIGIN of the dog-kerchief. Imagine being actually
able to nail this down, and determine it? Even if you located for
sure the first girl to tie a ribbon around a dog’s neck—you wouldn’t
be able to account for her motive—whatever upbringing brought her
to this point of initiating dog-fashion. Etc.

The Tower of Bable: a myth-o-logical account of how-come-it-is
we can’t understand each other, and therefore speak so many different
languages even if we’re talking in English. Because God don’t want
us collapsing, conflating, and confusing heaven and earth, damnit.
He wants the staying a part! You got a problem with that?
We can argue.

xxxooo, Sam (Fallowship in Courses Without Borders)

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