Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Shape of the Human Mind

vitruvian-man"The Illiad," Scarry says (Dreaming, p. 202), "illustrates the observation made by Democritus and Plato that circles move easily in the mind, so easily that at times they seem the very shape of the mind itself." Circular movements come easily to the hominid imagination insofar as the hominid both understands movement directly and has the ability to move in circular fashion. The hominid gross anatomy, marked by some distinctive synovial joints, opens up possibilities of circular movement that are less expressed, one might say less emancipated, in other apes, though it almost goes without saying that all apes have interesting ball-and-socket joints. Naturally, positing a spherical shape of the mind hardly contradicts the observation that hominids make circular movements rather easily. However, I suggest that the mode of relation between joints and spherical images is not mimetic but methectic. Psyche does not reproduce its hidden image before itself in various modes but rather enacts its image in the modes it grows accustomed to, and possibly more. It participates in its own image. The extent to which the shape of the psyche is an habituation can be overstressed, but I find it worth noting anyway.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 4:36 PM.


Blogger Yusef Asabiyah said...

"It participates in its own image."

For example, in yoga, where the exercises and postures force the psyche to enact its image in modes it has not grown accustomed to (and possibly more.)


May 05, 2009 11:16 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, Yusef.

You inspired me to check out the local yoga classes this summer, and now I've convinced my wife to start up again too. Good deal. Actually I've already integrated a few yoga postures into my Ezra Pound gymnastic regimen, but I have been more interested in full range of motion than working the psyche's image per se. The local school is Iyengar.

Just yesterday I was seriously grooving on Tom Harrell's Prana Dance. Maybe I'll get into pranayama like I dabbled in when I was playing the horn. What's your experience with yoga?

May 05, 2009 8:17 PM  
Blogger Yusef Asabiyah said...

I hope you'll blog on or somehow otherwise keep us informed about your experiences with the yoga class.

BTW, what's an Ezra Pound gymnastic regimen? Sounds interesting.

I am interested in proprioception and somewhat relatedly in posture as affect. My experiences with yoga stem from these interests.

I think I will take a listen to Tom Harrell.

I hope you are well,


May 06, 2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I was in a hotel room in Seattle watching tv and a show came on all about Ezra Pound. Reportedly he had developed his own gymnastic workout that he practiced routinely involving various exercises he made up. I don't know what those were, but since I made up a lot of exercises for myself in the past year or so it struck a chord with me (and I thought of the phrase "naked poetry" from Wim Wenders' commentary to his contribution (The Soul of a Man) to Scorsese's blues series). So I just mean an eccentric, poetic, slightly autistic workout routine, though sometimes my wife and I work out together and we share some moves--not quite naked poetry, you know. Just morning exercise.

May 06, 2009 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May 09, 2009 11:19 AM  

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