Ways of Thinking about Things 02
So the Nabokov piece is this story that alludes to its point, rather than just saying it. It is a veil over a meaning. Those who don’t look close see a veil. But I wonder if this is a way to trick combined understanding. I call that combined understanding, or comprehensive understanding where you see the whole not the parts. Can you trick understanding to not come until the end of a story? Is this the same as making every story a mystery?
OK now back to “ways of knowing” from yesterday. When I balance my checkbook or consider bills I think differently than I do when I am making dinner or even writing these words down. It is not different thoughts, it is a different way of thinking. It takes me about 30 minutes to change the tire of my mind and find the part that thinks in the terms of dollars and cents. It just does.
I like to sketch, but I don’t draw with regularity. It takes me hours to remember how to think to sketch. I was raised in Alaska and have rock climbed most of my life. When I climb it takes days to get the feel of it. This is a way of thinking. I love poetry. I like to write in that cryptic fashion and express subtly heartfelt truths in the compressed language of verse. I like the feeling of that way of thinking more than anyone enjoys reading it I suppose. But it takes awhile to think that way. Unless, of course, I am heartbroken or furious of impassioned. This way of thinking is tied to that affective gadget in heads, at least it is for me.
I ordered a drink last night in a club we had not been to in weeks or months where we don’t really know the staff but the bartender knew what we had ordered weeks previous. There is a way of thinking that allows that kind of retention too. And many may say that this is like multiple intelligences. You know like Howard Gardner described years ago. Where we have verbal and mathematical and kinesthetic and all these artsy-to-serious smarts… He got a lot of press awhile back, and Howard describes these as intelligences because he feel that they are compartmentalized abilities.
Howard did his initial observations in a veteran’s hospital. He noticed that if a person had lost (quite literally) a part of his brain then he lost with it the ability to do, let’s say, math or like Phineas Gage, lost his morality or some such. The point for Gardner was that certain sections of the brain in different folks allowed them great or not-so-great mental acuity. And like spelling bee champs, it is because they had a great spelling-bee gadget in their heads. This is not what I mean.
Well first, yeah some folks are smarter than others and our innate talents vary. OK. But that is not my point. I think that we have arrangements, maybe like adjusting the circuit layouts to allow some kind of function. Anyway the physical or electro-chemical reasons notwithstanding, we think not in different subjects but in different way. As I say this it seems that the distinction is lost on everyone, including me.
I will wrap by returning to point #2. We have complex colors and patterns in our cerebrum that do not translate terribly well to marching letters and words. I feel that our thinking is patterns and not patterns of words. Words and linguistic patterns are formed by the brain in the patterns the brain allows and the brain paints with the only palette it has been given, itself. OK, as I read that it makes no sense at all. Try to imagine one of those three-dimensional diagrams of brain synapses that the Discovery channel uses. Then overlay colors and gradients on random strands. Then as one subtracts all those without a certain color one would see various patterns and different gradations. The shape of these patterns, the color of these patterns are part of the meaning that they possess. The information in our heads is color and shape and rhythm, as well as the series of letters and words we convey.
As we reconnect sets and levels and gradations of concepts and synapse we construct patterns that enable types of thought.
This may or may not be in keeping with current thought on physiological brain science but it’s what I got right now.