Monday, November 08, 2004

Shower stall intellectualizing (episode 1)

Wondering about our seemingly oversimplified ideas of everything, perhaps with the broadcast news story in mind, I wandered onto that essentialist summation "man, the story teller" then got to "man, the symbol maker" (and its relatives "man, the animal that uses language" and "man, the representer of things (Lascaux buffalo, hello)) and decided "story teller" meshes with this. Stories might be seen as symbols in 4D, i.e. symbols with temporality. I guess I'm thinking of what I've heard expressed as "the urge to simplify" and just connecting that with representing and symbol making like I haven't before. I find it easy to think of symbol-making or "abbreviation" ("man, the abbreviator") as a foundational, revolutionary, evolutionary innovation from which everything else we have going for us a species follows. No need to write out the infinite series describing the superposition of states of the wavefunction of the system you'd like to refer to, you just shout "Tiger!" Maybe cognizing is story-telling. Well, that's phrased as if I think I'm telling neuroscientists something they'd find novel, which I doubt. I guess I'm thinking of something for journalists and armchair epistemologists.

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