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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000058.txt from 2000/07

From: (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Annette Morreau's article/MICEd
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 14:08:23 -0400

<><><><> Mark wrote:
Yet good writers cross that boundary on a regular basis. I believe
there's some error in "Descartes' Error".

<><><> Bill wrote:
Not at all. In fact, your comment *proves* [NOTE: I should have typed
"supports"] the point.

<><> Mark wrote:
I'm sorry, then. I must have a different idea of what [is meant by]
"Internet communication is incomplete by definition because we *do* need
crosswalk between all of our senses in order to think clearly."
I took that as an absolute statement - since all we're doing here
is writing. Does this statement imply that people without the "five"
senses cannot think clearly, or do you feel that they've just changed
their frame of reference? And, if it is possible to think clearly in
another frame of reference, does your statement make absolute sense?

The concept of 'image' is central. It applies to all the senses,
not just to vision. It means the details that you extract from any
perception and that you store in your nerve cells -- including but not
limited to your cortical cells in your brain. Thus an image is never
identical with the original perception.
Aaron Copland's chapters about "sonorous image" are a meaningful
statement about this from the musician's point of view.
It's not that we use (say) our ears or sense of taste during the
very moment that we attempt to think clearly. But I am convinced that
the book "Descartes' Error" is correct when it says that in order to
think clearly and effectively, we must have access to retained images
that were previously extracted and stored by all of our senses. This is
why the best mathematicians can think 'visually' or 'graphically', and
why some mathematicians prefer to think in these ways, and why a good
idea "makes sense", and why music can "make your emotions soar", and so

Another central issue is the strength of the interconnections
between our stored images that we have gathered from our various senses.
None of us are identical in this respect. If I wanted to go into
personal details [which I refuse to do], I could use myself and my wife
as examples. I am at least partially knowledgable about how she
responds to certain inputs, and I am also (at least partially)
knowledgeable about how her preferences are reflected in her 'feelings',
which she describes as 'her thoughts'. And the same for my own 'thought
"Descartes' Error" discusses this point at length -- how the
connections between image modes vary from one person to the next.
Obviously if a connection is too strong, it can distort a person's
thought just as easily as if it were weak or non-existent.
It's also possible that two different types of image can produce
nearly identical results. Hence blind people can think clearly, albeit
perhaps with a different perspective, because they have other sorts of
images that they extracted from the same physical world that we live in.
Perhaps in some cases, they can think more accurately than you or I --
simply because they aren't distracted from certain kinds of truth
(whatever that is).
I read recently in a newspaper article that deaf people are, on
average, more skilled at detecting liars than people with hearing are.
Apparently this has been demonstrated by controlled experiment.
"Descartes' Error" has several chapters on laboratory experiments
with patients who have lost (or were born without) various senses and
the extent of these patient's 'rationality' and whether there is a
cause-and-effect relationship.

The reason that I wondered out loud: "I wonder if it's fair to say
that more people do well at music than at writing?" is because playing
music is more directly connected to our senses than logic is. (There's
no room for discussion on this point, is there?) Hence with less
abstraction, is it more common for human beings to do music passably
well than to do words passably well?

And finally, do you put any credence in the thought that Internet
messages are more likely to use 'absolute' and 'forceful' language
simply because the other senses are missing and many of us feel the need
to make up the difference somehow -- in order to lend 'reality' to what
we type?


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