Separations and Bridges


Blake noted that "A tear is an intellectual thing," and Pascal asserted that "The heart has its reasons of which the reason knows nothing."

We need not be put off by the fact that the reasonings of the heart (or of the hypothalamus) are accompanied by sensations of joy or grief.

These computations are concerned with matters which are vital to mammals, namely, matters of relationship, by which I mean love, hate, respect, dependency, spectatorship, performance, dominance, and so on.

These are central to the life of any mammal and I see no objection to calling these computations "thought," though certainly the units of relational computation are different from the units which we use to compute about isolable things.

But there are bridges between the one sort of thought and the other, and it seems to me that the artists and poets are specifically concerned with these bridges. 

It is not that art is the expression of the unconscious, but rather that it is concerned with the relation between the levels of mental process.

From a work of art it may be possible to analyze out some unconscious thoughts of the artist, but I believe that, for example, Freud's analysis of Leonardo's Virgin on the Knees of St. Anne precisely misses the point of the whole exercise. Artistic skill is the combining of many levels of mind - unconscious, conscious, and external - to make a statement of their combination. It is not a matter of expressing a single level.

Similarly, Isadora Duncan, when she said, "If I could say it, I would not have to dance it," was talking nonsense, because her dance was about combinations of saying and moving.

[Gregory Bateson]
Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p.470

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Related posts:-
Small Mind/Large Mind
A Different Difference
A Difference that makes a Difference
Digging Deeper
Dreams from Dreams
Up with intuition!
In-between
Making Connections 
Where language ends and art begins
Levels of Meaning
Everything is Connected

2 comments:

  1. Abduction is a method of logical inference introduced by Charles Sanders Peirce which comes prior to induction and deduction for which the colloquial name is to have a "hunch".

    Abductive reasoning starts when an inquirer considers of a set of seemingly unrelated facts, armed with an intuition that they are somehow connected. The term abduction is commonly presumed to mean the same thing as hypothesis; however, an abduction is actually the process of inference that produces a hypothesis as its end result.

    "Now, that the matter of no new truth can come from induction or from deduction, we have seen. It can only come from abduction; and abduction is, after all, nothing but guessing".

    Abduction produces the hypothesis that is subsequently tested in induction and applied in deduction (if it is found to be correct).

    Wikipedia 'Abductive Reasoning':http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

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  2. Representation lies between the false ideologies of materialism and idealism, which both mistakenly privilege either the object or the subject over the relationship between them.

    SCHOPENHAUER AND HUSSERL: CRITIQUING THE 20TH CENTURY PHENOMENOLOGICAL TRADITION

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