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Thinking without language?

kenneth Collins kpaulc at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 27 04:37:03 EST 1999

yup, it's all more streamlined without translating thought into symbols,
especially as 'complexity' increases. when i discuss my work in Neuroscience,
there are g'zillions of things in the stuff of this or that little snippet that
i post. because of this, i rely on folks study of the Neuroanatomy and standard
accounts of its functioning.

my view on good art is that it does the same thing... there's infinity in-it.
the more one looks, the more one 'sees with mind's eye', because everything's
'of-a-piece'... unified; everything's connected. in painting, usage of 'light'
can do this.

good Science does the same.

cheers, ken

Etaoin Shrdlu wrote:

> > What about performing a musical work?  Especially when playing in an
> > ensemble without a conductor (quartet, quintet, whatever) - there is quite
> > a lot of mental activity involved.  For me at least, most of the mental
> > activity is not verbal - it is musical.  I am, for example, likely to
> > think about how the notes I play fit in with the notes that everyone else
> > is playing, or about how I need to play a little louder to bring out the
> > melody, etc. - mostly, without words.
> >
> > And if you still say that performing a memorized work requires no thought
> > - a contention that I will violently disagree with - what about
> > improvising?  You would have to say that improvisation involves some kind
> > of thinking.  And yet, even when I'm improvising together with some
> > people, I don't think verbally.
> Good point! I paint, and for hours at a time I'll be deciding how best to
> bring out the shadows on the fence, or wondering why the cat still looks
> flat, or thinking the mouse in the corner should be an umbrella after all,
> or placing a very fine line along the edge of a complex shape, or even
> considering that maybe I should have done this one as a pen and ink, but
> very rarely does an actual word cross my mind in relation to all  this. I'm
> just thinking about it; I don't need to spell it all out to myself by taking
> the lengthy option of applying lingual structures to it. Why would I go
> beyond the realization that I need yellow in some spot to actually
> verbalizing this to myself? I certainly don't need to think the words "I
> need yellow" to realize it in the first place, so why add a step after that?
> --Katrina

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