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What is thought?

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MadArchitect

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Re: What is thought?

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scrumfish: MA, you mean my mode of thought has been outmoded for several centuries? I will be reading the book you suggested.Not outmoded, just not very popular as a system of artificial memory. Acroynyms seem to be the favored form of artificial memory these days -- ROY G. BIV, for example.I'd say that people still remember things spatially on the whole. Memory is a form of organization, and we must organize things according to some sort of scheme, be it sequential, spatial or otherwise. But what Yates is talking about in "The Art of Memory" is an artificial program of memory that involves transposing in your mind the things to be remembered over the mental image of a familiar place. There are modern instances of the use of this memory system, but they're not as frequent as they were during classical (it was associated with oratory), medieval (Gothic cathedrals may have been built on the principle) or Renaissance times (where it underwent some very intriguing elaboration).Something interesting about having a spatial memory is that music tunes are quite easy for me to remember. Notes are in different positions in relation to each other, but I don't even have to picture how they look written down, I can easily remember the spatial difference in tone.What's interesting about musical notation is that it translates temporal and tonal qualities into visual and spatial signs. That's an elaboration of the translation that takes place with language -- the spatial quality is largely secondary to the sequential in written language. The fact that you and I can locate specific pieces of information based on where they lie both vertically and horizontally on the page is an exploitation of an accidental quality of written language. Ultimately, language requires only one of two dimensions for expression -- horizontal in most languages, vertical in a few exceptions like Japanese. Musical notation requires both dimensions -- the vertical for sequence and the horizontal for measuring differences in tone from note to note. That's why it's more explicitly spatial. In fact, I would suggest that you could adapt the Hermeneutic memory system described by Yates in such a way that you could attach ideas to the notes of a piece of sheet music, thus remembering things pseudo-polyphonically.As a side note, though, we might note that both musical notation and written language depend on sequence. That sequence is determined largely by convention -- some languages start left to right, others are right-left, and at least one is top to bottom -- but sequence is essential to rendering written language explicable. The question this raises is, could there be a use for a mode of expression that has the strict qualities of written language or musical notation -- signification and relation -- but without strict sequence?
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Mr. P

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Skeptic Mag

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HA! I found a review of the book I posted earlier in this edition as well...that is three topics under discussion here that appear in the magazine! Must be the work of god!Or maybe just coincidence...Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Loricat
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Re: Skeptic Mag

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the What is Thought? link wouldn't open for me...but I looked it up at Amazon. By Eric B. Baum? Looks interesting.Lori "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
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Mr. P

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Re: Skeptic Mag

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Yes...got a good review in Skeptic...Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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