Sunday, February 26, 2012

Minding and mattering ...

... Dave Lull alerted me that Bryan Appleyard had tweeted about this: Jerry Fodor reviews ‘How the Mind Works’ by Steven Pinker and ‘Evolution in Mind’ by Henry Plotkin - LRB 22 January 1998.

... here [Pinker] is on why we like to read fiction: ‘Fictional narratives supply us with a mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday and the outcomes of strategies we could deploy in them. What are the options if I were to suspect that my uncle killed my father, took his position, and married my mother?’ Good question. Or what if it turns out that, having just used the ring that I got by kidnapping a dwarf to pay off the giants who built me my new castle, I should discover that it is the very ring that I need in order to continue to be immortal and rule the world? It’s important to think out the options betimes, because a thing like that could happen to anyone and you can never have too much insurance. At one point Pinker quotes H.L. Mencken’s wisecrack that ‘the most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true.’ Quite so.

Given that what we call matter is now understood to be constellations of electrical impulses that proceed in a manner  often so random as almost to seem willful, perhaps we should think about pondering Thomas Aquinas's view of man as a composite creature, not so much as a scientific theorem, but as a metaphor more insightful than any other. Soul, in this sense, would be that quantum dimension and body the outward sign thereof. Just a thought.

1 comment:

  1. Novelist Jerzy Kozinski once said in an interview: "Novels are a rehearsal for life."