Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Blasphemy, twenty-first century-style.
Get a bar of soap ready and prepare to wash out my digital mouth. I'm about to say something so incendiary you could just plotz. Words don't just matter, words are experiential.
Yes, after hearing that we live in a visual age, after seeing the 27,938th award show grant gold, titanium or some precious metal to yet another visual pun, after seeing yet another cacophony of over-produced masturbation, I do herewith proclaim: words matter.
And this time it's not just me as Vox Clamatis in Deserto. It's smart people! Like, duh, I mean, you know, like, duh, ya see, you know, like people with kollege degrees. You can read about it in toto here (and btw, in toto does not allude to an obscene act with Dorothy's dog.) http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/node/298
But as usual, I will discriminate and summarize for ye. In an article called THE SHAKESPEARED BRAIN--A THEATRE OF SIMULTANEOUS POSSIBILITIES from an Economist-related web site titled moreintelligentlife.com, actual real, live scientists run electrocephalograms of normal human brains under the influence of challenging cliche-defying language. What they found is when people hear something linguistically challenging (like Shakespeare) their brain experiences something. Their brain grows in sophistication. They think. They learn. They act. Jeepers! Here's the summation:
In that case Shakespeare's art would be no more and no less than the supreme example of a mobile, creative and adaptive human capacity, in deep relation between brain and language. It makes new combinations, creates new networks, with changed circuitry and added levels, layers and overlaps. And all the time it works like the cry of "action" on a film-set, by sudden peaks of activity and excitement dramatically breaking through into consciousness. It makes for what William James said of mind in his "Principles of Psychology", "a theatre of simultaneous possibilities". This could be a new beginning to thinking about reading and mental changes.
I've felt this for a long time. But too often it's easier for agency folks and clients to resist the unusual and slip into the comfortable. Comfortable is invisible. Comfortable is easily approved. Alas, comfortable is brain-deadening. Out, out damned cliches.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 9:37 AM