Kinesic signalling in literature Apr 20, 2013 3:27:45 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on Apr 20, 2013 3:27:45 GMT -5
Professor Cave has kindly written in from Oxford to let us know about some ideas that are very revolutionary indeed.
He points out that "Kinesic resonances, responses elicited by bodily movement, are an ancient evolutionary adaptation: we share them not only with primates, but with all creatures who [sic] are capable of responding instantly to a perceived movement or behaviour in another creature (as when shoals of fish or flocks of birds change direction simultaneously). They are the observable effect of the operation of what are popularly known as 'mirror neurons.' When a certain movement is performed - one example of many would be a smile - a comparable neural response is triggered in both the performer and the observer. Most strikingly, kinesic resonances of this kind are not only [there a misplaced 'only' from a professor of literature!] activated by immediate perception: they can also be mediated by language. Some linguists are now suggesting that language itself is profoundly connected with the sensorimotor system, that is to say the set of neurological processes, developed in infancy, that enable us to manage sense-perceptions and to engage effectively with the physical world." [This is the foreshadowed connection with the Augustine quotation of yesterday.]
"If language is cognitively embodied, then the language of Proust, Jane Austen, Milton and the rest [not forgetting Shakespeare we presume] is not so much a 'code' as a fine-tuned instrument designed to elicit from the reader a wide range of responses to the evidence it presents of imaginary (but really felt) bodily and mental states."
And Professor Cave dares to take the next step: "Are," he asks us, "kinesic intelligence and everyday mind-reading in fact not two aspects of the same cognitive skill?"
That of which I best approve in all that is the part about the "fine-tuned instrument" of novelists. Is "fine-tuned instrument" not a suitable description for a good computer programme?