17 mar. 2008

I was reading Oliver Sacks's Musicophilia. That prompted me to want to do a neurological self-portrait. Sacks approaches normal neurology through the abnormal, on the theory that taking something away and seeing what the results look like will give insight into things we take for granted. In principle, normal functioning neurology is just as interesting as the more freakish manifestations, but the extremes clarify the norm. I don't think I'm particularly exceptional; any introspective person could come up with as much detail.

1) General state of mind. Restless, with a need for constant stimulation, with thoughts that never "turn off." A contant internal monologue, with sentences being "written" in the mind's eye. Extreme introspection and self-absorption, at times.

2) Visuality. I'm not an exceptionally strong visualizer. I cannot always bring up a mental image of a person's face if I don't know them well. I respond emotionally to visual images, but less so than to music. With images that I feel specially drawn to, I feel a sense of "nourishment" emanting directly out of the surface. Ansel Adams and Phililp [UPDATE: I MEANT MARK OF COURSE] Rothko produce this effect in me. I am strongly drawn to rhythmic, "dancing imagery" as well as to calming, horizontal images.

3) Speech/language. I'm bilingual, with different modes of speech in either language. Ideas seem to flow better in Spanish, both in writing and in oral production. It took me a long time to feel I was very articulate; I'm not verbally facile. Obsessed with crosswords; very interested in issues of phonology and to a less extent with linguistics generally. I love language.

4) Memory, concentration. I have strong recall of words, making memorization easy. I can make my memories of the past more vivid by concentrating. Memory responds to effort. Bad memory for proper names and for the names of musical composiitons, even those I know well.

5) Music. Combination of modest talent and immoderate obsession similar to my father's. Physical craving for particular kinds of music. My emotional sense of things is that music is the most important aspect of human experience. A feeling of being "wired" for different kinds of music. Obsesssion with complicated polyrhythms. Maybe interest in poetry is just a subcategory of my general musicophilia. I would definitely be a musician if my talent matched my interest.

6) Sense of body, touch. I feel the basic sense of being conscious and aware of my own body to be centered in the taste of my own mouth. Secondarily in the gut. A sense of surprise at looking myself at the mirror. I don't hold an image of what I look like in my own head. My body can feel differently, strong or in shape or skinny or flabby, depending on mood.

Emotions are felt as physical sensations. General "aetheticism" manifested in tactile form too.

7) Intellectuality/sense of self. A feeling that I'm "wired," neurologically, to certain styles of thinking. Especially drawn to polemics, contradictions, points of contention. I don't feel tied to intellectual positions as much as to styles of thinking. I frequently have the feeling that "I've been myself for quite some time. I'm tired of this; why can't I be someone else?"

Interest in qualia, qualitative sense of "being alive." Frequent sense of awe at reality itself.

8) Odds and ends. Very mild synaesthesia. Frequent deja-vu and "earworms." Relation or fascination to certain object, like cymbals and other musical instruments, writing instruments. Toleration for mess and chaos, addiction to caffeine.

There's probably more, if I went into gustatory sensations, smells; relation to weather, other people, sexuality, etc... It's an interesting excercise to link all these things together. For me, these are the things that make me recognize myself.

1 comentario:

John dijo...

Personals ads for dating services would be more appealing if they were in this form.

I'm teasing -- seriously, I enjoyed reading this.