Friday, June 8, 2007

maybe i think too much

Or: "what's gumming up my writin' cogs"

Writing the bit about brain development spurred me to do some digging that unearthed two intriguing books by Joseph LeDoux: Synaptic self: how our brains become who we are and The emotional brain: the mysterious underpinings of emotional life. I've barely cracked them, but I'll let you know if I'm dazzled. I have to say that regardless, I'm awfully impressed that LeDoux 1) is a guitar player in The Amygdaloids, a band that "perform[s] songs of mental disorder"; and 2) he lectured then performed for the Secret Science Club. Wish I could be a member!

Since becoming frustrated with 1) a generalist blogger who I'm interpreting as either a scaredy-cat who shies away from challenging conversation or one with a weak premise (p'raps a dollop of both), and 2) having a helluva time finding good, smart, meaty, entertaining reading in the blogosphere, I've been doing a little bit of reading about rhetoric--particularly rhetoric in the digital arena. It has not been easy on the brain, but I did find an interesting tidbit about a youth program called Connected Kids in Troy, NY, that involves kids in developing a database of after school activities for kids--they are involved in different aspects of the project (web design, rebuilding computers, communicating with youth-serving agencies, conducting focus groups, etc). This in a book chapter titled "On the Formation of Democratic Citizens: Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition in a Digital Age".

[Whoa. Those were a couple of really long, questionably punctuated, and annoyingly numbered paragraphs.]

In the process of finding more information about Connected Kids (which I then passed on to a colleague working on a tech-y after school program) I discovered Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. What's not to love about that?

This post by Ann Bartow piqued my curiosity. I am now reading the book, The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 by David Edgerton. Some may be interested to know that Edgerton gives due credit to the mule.

I'll write more about some of these goodies. For now, I feel I've vindicated my sluggishness.

P.S.:
They say that the left side of the brain
Controls the right
They say that the right side
Has to work hard all night
Maybe I think too much for my own good
Some people say so
Other people say no no
The fact is
You don't think as much as you could
hmmm
(get it? P.S.? ok, here.)

2 comments:

EL said...

A Paul Simon quote! Ecstasy!

I think the cool thing about the brain is that we don’t know much about it at all. I was reading an article about phantom limbs recently. Apparently there was something of a paradigm shift going on because they realized that even people that were born without limbs can sometimes have phantom pain. Now that’s rather mind blowing, don’t you think? What the researchers got from that is that the brain is hardwired to believe that you are a whole person with all your parts, whether you’ve got ‘em or not. So the old theories about the severed nerve endings causing the phantom pain don’t seem to hold; it’s your own brain that causes the pain—it’s literally all in your head. (And that explains a lot of other types of pain in my opinion. I mean, how many times do we worry about something that has no basis in reality. A phantom worry, if you will.) Anyway, sorry to go on…

Along come a young girl
She’s as pretty as a prayer book
Sweet as an apple
On Christmas Day
I said, “Good Gracious!
Can this be my luck?
If that’s my prayer book,
Lord let us pray!”

Keep on posting, Erin. I love reading your thoughts.
EL

erin said...

Thanks, El--very cool. Speaking of worries not based in reality:
Once I was down in China Town
I was eating some Lin's Chow Fon
I happened to turn around
And when I looked I see
My Chow Fon's gone

I've been out of town and out of touch the last week. I'm back in the game. Keep checking back!