Tag Archives: Books

When Emily Woke Up Angry

16 Aug e10871a88da0ba117566e110.L

Images from one of my favorite childhood books, When Emily Woke Up Angry, written and illustrated by Riana Duncan in 1989. Yesterday I found this book in the back of a closet, re-read it, and can now see why my mom chose this book for me.

The Red Book

10 Jun

The Red Book by Carl Jung

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In the rare books room at Powell’s Books, I stumbled upon The Red Book on display, pages free for the flipping. The images Jung used to express the active imagination told the story when the dutch failed to translate (for me).

They Resonate. Deeply.

Language Liquidation

9 May

In his novel Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky creates a landscape in space free from attachment to time and tenses. The unique time horizon in Underground allows for a natural flow and discussion of ideas that need not be in a a logical sequences of cause and consequential effect. I wonder if escaping from a world with a linear time horizon is in fact a way outside of the world of intentions, enabling a discussion of intention without defining it by itself. 

Chasing the tail of lingering curiosity, I want to continue my engagement in a philosophical discourse with infinite room to discuss all that is the sublime and the beautiful. The dissonance between what I mean and what I say, and what I say and what I mean, is open air for error and I hope to tighten and eventually achieve a bound entity within (from between) them. This process must be slow or it is not meaningful….Where I stand today, I am befuddled by words.

Clumsily, I continue to grasp at thin air hoping to pull what I mean out of the vapid, vacuous knowledge of how I have known its verbalization. To start, I would like to clarify the self-depreicating connotations in ‘clumsy’; the nature of clumsy here is not the effect of carelessness, but rather, courage to cultivate and initiate a journey towards seeking. As is the case with most processes, what is not shaky will inevitably become increasingly strong footed and confident.  Moreover,  words themselves already are prone to wobble, in part because they no longer have the connotations and denotations that rests in their etymological origins.

Through liquidating language, an intentional sublimation of words as I know them today , in their solid, crystalised forms, I can come closer to knowing the sublime and the beautiful. An ideological improvization:

On The World of Art: “…It was, as Benois himself admitted, ‘not this, that or the other in isolation, but everything together.'”

Crepuscular |krəˈpəskyələr|

adjective
of, resembling, or relating to twilight.

  • Zoology (of an animal) appearing or active in twilight.
  • ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin crepusculum ‘twilight’ + -ar 1 .
  • Crepuscular is a term used to describe some animals that are primarily active during twilight, that is at dawn and at dusk.[1] The word is derived from the Latin word crepusculum, meaning “twilight.”[1] Crepuscular is thus in contrast with diurnal and nocturnal behavior. Crepuscular animals may also be active on a bright moonlit night. Many animals that are casually described as nocturnal are in fact crepuscular.[2] Within the definition of crepuscular are the terms matutinal (or “matinal”) and vespertine, denoting species active in the dawn and dusk respectively.
  • The crepuscular mood of Russia’s fin de siecle  is reflected more powerfully than in Chagall’s Mirror of 1915, one of the most trenchant works of his Russian years.

trenchant |ˈtren ch ənt|
adjective

  • 1 vigorous or incisive in expression or style : she heard angry voices, not loud, yet certainly trenchant.
  • 2 archaic or poetic/literary (of a weapon or tool) having a sharp edge : a trenchant blade.
  • DERIVATIVES
  • trenchancy |- ch ənsē| |ˈtrɛntʃənsi| noun ( in sense 1) .
  • trenchantly |ˈtrɛntʃəntli| adverb ( in sense 1) .
  • ORIGIN Middle English (sense 2) : from Old French, literally ‘cutting,’ present participle of trenchier (see trench ).
woman
noun
  • ORIGIN Old English wīfmon, -man (see wife , man ), a formation peculiar to English, the ancient word being wife .
  • 1 a woman got out of the car lady, girl, female; matron; Scottish lass, lassie; informal chick, girlie, sister, dame, broad, gal; grrrl; literary maid, maiden, damsel; archaic wench, gentlewoman; (women) womenfolk
  • 2 he found himself a new woman girlfriend, sweetheart, partner, significant other, inamorata, lover, mistress; fiancée; wife, spouse; informal missus, better half, main squeeze, squeeze, babe, baby; dated lady friend, lady love.

Serpentine: serpentine   (sûr’pən-tēn’, -tīn’)

  • Any of a group of greenish, brownish, or yellowish monoclinic minerals, occurring in igneous or metamorphic rocks. They are used as a source of magnesium and asbestos. Chemical formula: (Mg,Fe)3Si2O5(OH)4.
  • ser·pen·tine   (sûr’pən-tēn’, -tīn’)    adj.  Of or resembling a serpent, as in form or movement; sinuous. Subtly sly and tempting.n.   (-tēn’) Any of a group of greenish, brownish, or spotted minerals, Mg3Si2O5(OH)4, used as a source of magnesium and asbestos, and in architecture as a decorative stone.[Middle English, from Old French serpentin, from Late Latin serpentīnus, from Latin serpēns, serpent-, serpent; see serpent.]

sin·u·ous  (sny-s) adj.

  • Characterized by many curves or turns; winding: a sinuous stream. Characterized by supple and lithe movements: the sinuous grace of a dancer. Not direct; devious. Sinuate: a sinuous leaf.[From Latin sinusus, from sinus, curve.]
  • sinuous [ˈsɪnjʊəs] adj; full of turns or curves; intricate; devious; not straightforward ; supple; lithe Also sinuate
  • [from Latin sinuōsus winding, from sinus a curve]Prodigal, pushing moral and esthetical boundaries, prodigal,  curvy, founded in nature,
  • International, interdisciplinary effecting ballet, art, thought etc

Hot off the Library Thang Press

25 Mar

My Library at LibraryThing

Notes From the Underground

13 Mar

The following are sticky notes  nesting a few months fleeting thoughts on my desktop. Spring break, spring cleaning: to synthesize the similarities will inform my future.

We seek the sublime and beautiful.

Latin sublimis ([looking up from] under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalted) is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation.

dilate dilute
the hills peer in pairs
eyes mirror rorii immm
aum shantiiii iiiitnahs mauuuuu
undulating palindrome


Actions speak the story of intentions.

Intensity of intention faces the history of civilization, fragmentation, and categorization as temperamental obstacles obscuring The Way in life’s illusory labyrinth. Ancient wisdom is true to wisdom today. Despite advances in tools and centuries of accumulated sedimentary knowledge, ancient wisdom still acts as a compass rose, or a force of attraction between the socialized, auto-domesticated human and human intuition.  The universal stories of symbols and archetypes stay true to human condition and assist spiritual alchemy in knowledge of self, knowledge of one, one interconnected, one universal.

Humans are the storytelling primate. Stories are enacted through recitation of memory. Cellular memory, muscle memory, collective unconscious, identity, it’s all the same: actions story-tell intentions at a velocity determined in part by resilience, reliability and validity, where ones purpose is interpreted often through the least squares regression line—-residuals, residuals, residuals.

“Growth”, India Arie. The only thing constant in the world is change. That’s why each day, I take life as it comes.

YONI sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power

sitting on rooftop
clouds are coming straight at me
sunshine is not missed
-Will’s impromptu Haiku

I struggle needlessly between perspectives of light:

I dim my own enlightened being under the scrutiny of

man-made hardened light glaring the goddess out of her own image.
Synonymous yet mutually exclusive.
Pregnant women glow she who gave birth to live,

alive and in the flesh and image
of curvaceous luminosity.

the collective unconscious
the meeting of 2 personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
This show , lost, it is set in a dream…shhh
How did you find out? And doesn’t that suck?
Tell you –>kill you. and yes. worst. writing. I’ve been wanting to die… baby yeah? haha suicide no you kill me. I’ve been wanting someone to kill me after telling me some valuable information. okay ill do it. the final words will be somewhere in the affective tone of ” you are a dirty slut” okay, I    ‘m waiting.  how about passive euthanasia, so I’m less gilt ridden in my own life that is going to be so much more profound especially in length than yours. I’m all for it.  oh I forgot to write this in the beginning  hahahha lol lol that was so funny!

The Ground is the most important plane to the body.
The body has three horizontal planes: the feet, the pelvic girdle, and the shoulder blades. The Feet have four balance points: ball of big toe, ball of little toe, inner foot and outer foot. There are five balance points aligning the spine: Thorax, Lum.., Sa..,… and cocsyx. The pelvic girdle is more flexible for a female because of childbearing. Consider the blossoming of a flower: during gestation, the pelvic girdle opens up and out inward; closer to birth and during birth, the pelvis distorts itself and folds in and outwards like the upside down blossoming of flower petals. It’s all the same.

Chronic
Metal, metallic blood, chronic
chromosome, fluid wrapping metallic
forever, rush, round, strong, steel, chrome,
time.
Chronos father of a father horizon time
together, through time
chronic
blood of man blood of god backbone of time metallic chromosome
knowledge is not the privilege of power but is the right of everyone

My Breathing Book list: all tenses of read, to be completed indefinitely

Steven Pinker Podcast Lecture-The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

7 Jan

Steven Pinker Podcast Lecture-The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

I am re-reading Steven Pinker’s book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. I very much enjoyed listening to the lecture he gave to Princeton University on the topic (linked above).

EXPLORING THE BRAIN’S ROLE IN CREATIVITY

2 Jan

SAN DIEGO—Being one of the true geniuses of the modern era, Albert Einstein recognized that a useful method for understanding the brain’s role in creativity was to study the brains of highly creative people. He also realized that there would be a great deal of interest in examining his own brain after his death, so he willed that his brain be removed before cremation. However, nearly all of the 240 blocks into which Einstein’s brain was dissected were lost and never analyzed.
Thirty years later, the Brodmann’s area 39 portion of Einstein’s brain was analyzed histologically by Marian C. Diamond, PhD, and colleagues. They reported that this area of Einstein’s brain contained a higher proportion of glial cells versus neurons, compared with the brains of control subjects. Assuming that the paucity of cortical neurons was not the result of aging (the control subjects were significantly younger than Einstein at the time of his death), how did the loss of neurons relate to Einstein’s creative genius?

When Einstein was about age 3, his parents brought him to a pediatrician because he was not yet talking. Researchers have learned that Einstein had developmental dyslexia. More than a century ago, it was found that lesions of the left angular gyrus—ie, Brodmann’s area 39—induce acquired alexia. Therefore, it is possible that people with developmental dyslexia may also have abnormalities in this region, Kenneth M. Heilman, MD, suggested in his lecture at the 17th Annual Meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association. In his view, however, the high ratio of glial cells to neurons that was reported by Diamond et al was less a sign of Einstein’s dyslexia than an indication of the high degree of what Dr. Heilman refers to as “connectivity.”

After viewing photographs taken of Einstein’s brain before its dissection in 1955, Witelson and colleagues noted that Einstein had an enlarged left inferior and—unlike most human beings—undivided parietal lobe, suggesting that this bigger and more highly connected supramodal cortex gave Einstein an advantage in doing mathematics and spatial computations. In 1985, Geschwind and Galaburda posited that delay in the development of the left hemisphere of the brain may allow the right hemisphere, which mediates spatial computations, to become highly specialized. It was Einstein’s view that his own creativity was heavily dependent on spatial reasoning. Thus, the abnormal development of his left hemisphere may have led to the right hemisphere becoming highly specialized for spatial computations, Dr. Heilman theorized.

“If you have something going on in one side of the brain, [could] that ‘disinhibit’ the other side of the brain [into] developing even greater ability?” Dr. Heilman asked. “Could Einstein’s dyslexia and lack of development of his left hemisphere have allowed his right hemisphere to grow and be well connected and to have excellent modules?… People who have tremendous creativity also have tremendous connectivity.”

FINDING THE THREAD THAT UNITES

According to Dr. Heilman, who is the James E. Rooks, Jr, Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Health Psychology at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine in Gainesville, connectivity is a key component of “creative innovation,” a concept that combines two of the four stages of creativity—incubation and illumination (the others are preparation and verification)—identified by Hermann Helmholtz in 1826.

In an article titled “Creative Innovation: Possible Brain Mechanisms” appearing in Neurocase in 2003, Dr. Heilman and his colleagues, Stephen E. Nadeau, MD, and David O. Beversdorf, MD, defined creative innovation as “the ability to understand and express novel orderly relationships.” A high level of general intelligence, domain-specific knowledge, and special skills are necessary for creative innovation, but even when they coincide, these three components are not sufficient for creative innovation. One further crucial component is the ability to develop alternative solutions—otherwise known as “divergent thinking”—yet, even the coexistence of specialized knowledge and divergent thinking is not enough to enable an individual to find the thread that unites the two.

“Finding this thread might require the binding of different forms of knowledge, stored in separate cortical modules that have not been previously associated,” the authors wrote. “Thus, creative innovation might require the coactivation and communication between regions of the brain that ordinarily are not strongly connected.”

Based on the findings of anatomic studies, it appears that creative individuals such as Einstein may have alterations of specific regions of the brain’s posterior neocortical region. At the same time, it has been observed that creative innovation frequently takes place during times of diminished arousal (eg, sleep) and that many well-known creative people have experienced depression, suggesting that alterations of such neurotransmitters as norepinephrine might play a critical role in creativity. In the view of Dr. Heilman and his coauthors, highly creative individuals “may be endowed with brains that are capable of storing extensive specialized knowledge in their temporoparietal cortex, be capable of frontal mediated divergent thinking, and have a special ability to modulate the frontal lobe-locus coeruleus (norepinephrine) system, such that during creative innovation cerebral levels of norepinephrine diminish, leading to the discovery of novel orderly relationships.”

In his lecture and in a follow-up interview with NeuroPsychiatry Reviews, Dr. Heilman focused on the importance of divergent thinking in creative innovation, how our understanding of its neurobiologic underpinnings has evolved over the past two centuries, and the clinical implications of depression and other brain disorders for future neuropharmacologic treatments.

“To be creative, people need to break away from what they have been taught to believe, and thus divergent thinking is a critical element of creativity,” he said. “Patients who have their frontal lobe[s] removed or injured cannot perform divergent thinking…. The major hypothesis of this talk is that creativity is dependent upon the ability to diverge and then form innovative solutions.

“The development of innovative solutions is dependent on the ability to coactivate anatomically distinct representational networks that store different forms of knowledge. This simultaneous distributed activation … may allow people to develop alternative innovative solutions, thereby finding the thread that unites.”

ENCOURAGING CREATIVITY BY FOSTERING INDEPENDENT THINKING

Dr. Heilman cited several items that are important for clinicians to know to get a handle on current research into creativity and the brain. Besides the importance of both divergent and “convergent” thinking, he observed that “many people who are very creative have a higher incidence of mood and addiction disorders [and that while] many neurologic disorders can reduce creativity … there are some that might enhance creativity.”

As an example of the latter, he cited the work of Miller and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, describing a series of patients with frontotemporal dementia who acquired new artistic abilities despite evidence of deterioration in the left anterior temporal lobe (see NeuroPsychiatry Reviews, June 2003, page 1). “These are people who had no history of artistic production,” Dr. Heilman said. “They actually became creative—perhaps because the deterioration on the left side ‘disinhibited’ their right side, and the right side got creative doing artistic things.”

Regarding mood and addiction disorders, Dr. Heilman explored the links among creativity and sleep, dreaming, rest and relaxation, and depression, and observed that one thread uniting them all is changes in neurotransmitter systems. Two components indispensable to divergent thinking appear to be disengagement and the ability to develop alternative solutions. To arrive at a creative solution to a persistently unsolvable problem, an individual must often change the method by which he or she has already attempted to solve the problem—in other words, think outside the box. Observations on problem solving have included William James’ view, expressed in 1890, that the ability to switch strategies is integral to divergent thinking and Charles Spearman’s suggestion in 1931 that creativity results from bringing together two or more ideas that previously have been isolated. One way to solve a persistent problem, then, would be to see it in a “new light” by combining different forms of knowledge and cognitive strategies mediated by the two hemispheres of the brain.

Dr. Heilman cited as examples a number of scientists who reported solving a difficult scientific problem while asleep or when falling asleep or awakening from sleep. He also pointed to the association between creativity and novelty seeking and the high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, bipolar depression, and monodepression among such creative types as writers, composers, musicians, and fine artists. Based on what is known from existing evidence, such associations raise more questions than answers, according to Dr. Heilman. “For example, does treatment of depression and bipolar disorder influence creativity, and what are the effects of different treatments?” he asked.

PROMOTING CREATIVE THINKING

Can creativity in individuals be encouraged regardless of the makeup of their brain, or are we limited by such factors as the number of glial cells and amount of white matter? “I believe creativity can be ‘encouraged,’” Dr. Heilman responded. “We have known for decades that when young rodents are put in a stimulating environment, they have a much richer neural network than their sibs who were not raised in this environment. Thus, bringing up children in an enriched environment and making certain that they receive a good education is critical for their brain development.

“The frontal lobes appear to be the part of the cortex that is most important for creativity, in that they are critical for divergent thinking and might modulate the coactivation of diverse cognitive networks so important in innovation. The means by which family and friends might be able to encourage the development of the frontal lobes is to encourage independent and divergent thinking.”

Apart from such sociocultural interventions, Dr. Heilman believes that there is a limit to the extent to which neuropsychiatry and neuroscience can enhance creativity, particularly with regard to the development of new neuropharmacologic treatments. “It is possible that certain drugs taken by people might enhance creativity and others inhibit creativity,” he said, citing an editorial titled “Cosmetic Neurology,” written by one of his former fellows, Anjan Chatterjee. “But physicians have learned that ‘when it is not broke, do not attempt to fix it.’ In other words, if you alter a person’s homeostasis, there might be a price paid.”

—Fred Balzac

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