Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is it too much to ask to know what you're talking about?

I just read a review on a book of poetry by a mentally ill writer. I won't link it or reference it beyond the following quote:

"The arithmetic of language is unsolvable."


I sigh because this statement is nonsense. First of all, if we're going to apply the term arithmetic to language then we're going to get into linguistics which, though non-trivial, is certainly solvable.

But that's not really the point. The point is that the essay waxes philosophic about mental illness and writers and seems wholly ignorant of any current research regarding neuroscience. People with schizophrenia frequently create arresting art. Etc. etc.

If you want to know about the mind as it relates to art, I recommend starting not with philosophers, but with Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary (note: that goes to a .pdf).

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