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Student 23's picture

A Martianologist on Earth

I immensely enjoyed this reading (Ok, I admit I read it in my free time)-- it was completely fascinating to explore the medical and psychiatrical implications of tacit knowledge. Here we have a story ("The Last Hippie") that directly demonstrates what can happen to a person when, for physiological reasons, they can no longer tacitly learn: amnesia, personality changes, a total reliance on outside stimuli. The second story, "A Surgeon's Life," tells of a man for whom the blockade between the unconcious and physical reaction has a few leaks-- this is what I believe to be a reasonable interpretation of Turretts, even though it might seem Freudian to some degree.

What drew me into the essays was the title of the book: "An Anthropologist on Mars." It comes from a classic metaphor to describe the experience of being autistic; an autistic person feels like an anthropologist on Mars. I constantly try and wrap my head around the comparison. The said anthropologist would have nothing to study on Mars because there are no people there, and this is why he (please excuse my use of "he" rather than "she", I try to avoid "he or she" or "they" as much as possible and I always imagined the anthropologist as being a "he" anyway, because I think the quote came from a man) cannot function properly... Maybe there are Martians that are so different from Humans that the anthropologist can't even communicate with them. Maybe in studying martians, the a.p. can't apply his immense knowledge of People and is totally lost. Maybe there are no Martians on Mars and the a.p. has no purpose being there either way.

I can sometimes relate to the feeling of being that anthropologist. Maybe I am not an anthropologist, but a martianologist who's come to Earth to study People. I might know all about Mars, but how can that help me on Earth?

/long, wandering post

Anyway, for my research, I've abandoned my complete uptightness on procedure and method and have decided to try and disprove my hypothesis by whatever means necessary. My hypothesis is that common phrases are complete, recognizable units in our tacit knowledge, and removal of these units from a text (by scrambling or deleting punctuation) will increase the time it takes to read the text aloud.

However, what happens when a thoroughly non-tacit reader (like Microsoft Reader) reads my text? What should my experimental times really look like, all tacit human knowledge/bias eliminated?


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