"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Old Themes of Mental Deficits Re-emerge

It is no illusion and undeniable that Shakespeare had a nonpareil and astonishingly wonderful facility with the English language. Much of this was due to his inimitable dramatic genius for carrying out strategic campaigns on stage to prick the consciences of his current and future audiences. However, his age also had the advantage of certain linguistic capabilities built into the very grammar of their mode of communication which are almost completely discarded nowadays. The most salient of these being the use of the subjunctive. The gradual loss of that particular usage were in itself indicative of a consequent damning loss of the intellectual power of English speaking society to contemplate alternatives for its future. Wilhelm von Humboldt life's work in philology proceeded along these lines of inquiry, for instance.

Another such loss which I have remarked is the very connection with verbal meanings being replaced by utilitarian nominalisms. For example, in Fenimore Cooper's novel The Crater I read that his protagonist Mark pulls the "draw of a secretary" desk. Now up until that very moment of my nearly sixty years on this planet, it never once dawned upon me that a drawer is in fact a draw-er. The verbal action of drawing being erased from meaningfulness altogether. Another woeful loss of intellectual power for us that English speakers in the days of Shakespeare still had.

Another form of loss of intellectual power is evident in our supposed brain research. The rampant reductionism in the of study of brain chemistry and neurology is appalling. So it was an unexpected breath of fresh air to come across a write up of some recent research: "‘Brain waves’ challenge area-specific view of brain activity." The paper describes detection of standing waves (solitons) in the brain cortex which cannot be attributed to a specified locus. This certainly coheres with the principle of non-reductionist gestalt psychology and which hopefully will gain some traction in some otherwise dismal swamps...


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