Archive for May, 2018
The Anatomy of a ‘Left-Brain’ Stroke
My experiencing of a ‘left-brain’ stroke has a very beneficial offshoot to it, of the sort alluded to in Jill Bolte Taylor’s ‘My Stroke of Insight’.
This is a summary of my stroke-experience-based understanding of the source and nature of the benefit.
In figurative terms, what the ‘left-brain’ stroke damages/destroys includes Western culture conditioned cognitive habits that limit understanding of our natural living experience. An appropriate metaphor for the ‘benefit’ would be that of a ‘prison break’ thanks to ‘damage to the prison walls’. In terms of language, this would refer to the giving way of the dominant rigidity of being-based cognition to allow relational cognition to rise to its natural primacy.
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a meta-phor? –– Marshall McLuhan
The basic understanding shared in this essay is this; … what a ‘left-brain’ stroke does is to have the stroke experient revert to a ‘bootstrapping’ mode of cognition which ‘drops out’ cognition based on notional ‘things-in-themselves’ connoted by name-labels. This is why the stroke experient ‘forgets’ people in a name-based sense, yet does not forget them in a relational context. Understanding is conserved within relational context but cannot be easily expressed, by the stroke-experient, in terms of ‘thing-in-itself’ based rhetoric.
How does ‘Bootstrapping’ relate to ‘Stroke’? (see footnote explaining ‘bootstrapping)
It is possible to understand our ‘mode of understanding’ nature’s dynamics in terms of ‘bootstrapping’. Physicist Geoffrey Chew was a notable proponent of this mode of understanding as was John Wheeler. Wheeler’s ‘surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ is a ‘relational’ way of constructing portrayals of physical dynamics (‘what is going on out there’) that has no dependency on the existence of ‘things-in-themselves’. In other words, ‘bootstrapping’ can use the temporary notions of ‘things-in-themselves’ for the purpose of describing an experience to ‘trick the mind’ into ‘understanding’ and then pulling out the apparent thing-based foundations that one used to construct the picture that served to convey the understanding. In bootstrapping, ‘things’ are not ‘primary’ but are used to set up a web of relations to convey an understanding that, once understood, has no dependency on the ‘things’ that were used to create the web of relations (hence the notion of ‘bootstrapping’). Wittgenstein alludes to the necessity of the ‘bootstrap’ in the final two propositions in Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.
6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.
7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
My point in sharing a description of ‘how bootstrapping works’ is to illustrate why a ‘stroke-experient’ such as myself (or Jill Bolte Taylor in ‘My Stroke of Insight’) would refer to a seemingly entirely negative, mind-damaging experience like a ‘stroke’ in ‘positive’ terms. (more…)