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[Xmca-l] Re: Also NY Review of Books
Yes, I agree the neuro-fascination goes off the rails at some point, but
I'm willing to travel along a good ways with the neuroscientists to see
where the tracks lead.
My main concern with this quote was with the sole focus on individualism.
Sure, individualism is a part of the story, but why make that the focus?
(and are we really "hard-wired" for individualism? Seems to me that
individualism would have been a phylogenetically late development - so much
so that individualism would more likely be evolutionarily epiphenomenal and
thus very unlikely to be "hard-wired" per se.)
And, what of sociality? Of the communal and collective? (and yes, there is
some concern about oversimplifying this duality of individual/social,
but... well..., he started it!).
So I wonder if, instead of the focus on individualism in that quote, why
not say it as follows (italics mark my substitutions to Sacks' original
“*Sociality* is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal
level. . . . We are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of *communal
and collective*-development, to be a part of *various social wholes*
Seems perhaps more true than the other way round. Anyone with me?
And, I don't know about Luria, but isn't this what Vygotsky was up to?
(following on the heels of Marx). Sociality is the phylogenetic (and
ontogenetic) precursor and individuality develops out of this propensity
for sociality? The individual emerges from one's immersion in the social?
Or am I still oversimplifying?
On Tue, May 12, 2015 at 9:38 AM, Lubomir Savov Popov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Hi Greg,
> You are not alone. I am also baffled by all that neuroscience talk. We
> need to study every level and every aspect, but should not go to the
> extremes and mantras about the neural. Unfortunately, society is mesmerized
> by promises that not always are grounded in good science. For me the
> proponents of the neuroscience miracles are transparent, just like for your
> and the rest of the culture studies people. I strongly believe that the
> human condition is anchored in the culture phenomenon rather than in the
> structure of the brain. I often compare the brain to the hardware and the
> behavior patterns and culture to the software. I don’t need to know how my
> computer works in order to use the software. Furthermore, all PC are the
> same, but the software we use is different and that makes the difference.
> It seems to me that with the current populist stunt of neuroscience we are
> going back in the dark ages. Might sound heretic, but the belief in mapping
> the neurons as a means of understanding human action is too reductionist,
> rigid, and misleading.
> Best wishes,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Greg
> Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 11:02 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Also NY Review of Books
> Regarding the Times piece, I was with the reviewer and with Sacks until
> the penultimate paragraph where we find this quote from Sacks:
> “Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal
> level. . . . We are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of
> particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths
> through life.”
> With everything that comes before in Sacks' work, this seems entirely non
> Or maybe I have misunderstood everything that came before?
> On Tue, May 12, 2015 at 2:15 AM, Huw Lloyd <email@example.com>
> > New york review:
> > http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/books/review/on-the-move-by-oliver-s
> > acks.html?_r=0
> > Guardian review section:
> > http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/08/on-the-move-a-life-oliver
> > -sacks-review-autobiography-neurologist
> > The first time I saw the book I thought, "Is there another Oliver
> > Sacks I don't know about?" But, of course, it makes perfect sense:
> > psychological insights are supported with wide experience.
> > Huw
> > On 12 May 2015 at 00:36, Robert Lake <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > > Nothing attached Joe
> > > On May 11, 2015 6:31 PM, "JAG" <email@example.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > For review of Oliver Sacks book and very sad news about him.
> > > >
> > >
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602