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Seeing Voices

anneliese's picture

Brought to you by The Slippery Brain Sodality

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(While this page is part of an ongoing book club discussion, visitors are warmly invited to share their experiences and join the conversation.) 


anneliese's picture

language, culture, and slippery-brainedness

Some notes from discussion on 1/10/2010

Touched on several related ideas:

- relationship between language and thought

- significance of sociocultural context and interpersonal cueing in development of certain kinds of thinking

- possible role of "sociocultural deprivation" in development of slippery brain

  • Language is not necessary for thought, but may be essential for "counterfactual thinking" (ability to entertain alternate ways of thinking than one's own).
  • This ability to conceive of and entertain alternate possibilities may be rooted in what begins as an interpersonal activity (Sacks' discussion of thought as "inner speech," which results from internalization of dialog between infant and caregiver).
  • Paul suggested that Seeing Voices may represent Sacks' discovery that there are certain aspects of thinking rooted in the sociocultural world. He suggested that Sacks himself may feel compromised in his ability to connect to sociocultural community, much in the way that someone who is deaf and has not been exposed to language is compromised.
  • Sociocultural interaction may serve 2 functions: (1) facilitates ability to entertain alternate ways of thinking (slippery-brainedness?); (2) may be necessary to organize and constrain multiple ways of thinking, get them "under control."
  • Sociocultural deprivation (be it through early childhood experiences, sensory problems, being "on the spectrum," ...) may protect against a sociocultural process that diminishes slippery-brainedness... 
  • ...which is not to say that there aren't sociocultural processes/communities that promote slippery-brainedness (e.g., arts community).