Thursday, August 07, 2008

a far-off gleam or echo in the real world.

A few movies I've seen recently:

Galaxy Quest
Artificial Intelligence

These movies were all similar in that they explored the nature of reality as it blends with what is imaginative or "not-real". They were all in some way about Love, though only one was really about romantic love -- the others were about relationship and the importance of that in a life worth living.

Other than those similarities, the three movies were just about as different as you can get.

I don't watch very many movies, so I thought I would memorialize these ones.

I have been reading several books by Daniel Siegel recently -- I requested a whole batch of them from the library and they have been trickling in slowly, which suits me since they are by no means quick skims:

The Mindful Brain
Parenting from the Inside Out

and most recently,

The Developing Mind

These books are not easy going. Probably Parenting from the Inside Out is the most accessible of the three, but I think The Developing Mind was the one I'd be most likely to buy for my home bookshelves. I think his theory of mind and attachment is quite fascinating. This book also included some more scholarly information on the "right brain/left brain" ideas that have been popularized in learning styles books.

I am going to type out a passage to show you what I mean by "not easy going" -- I started to type out a more extreme example, but chose this one instead because it's actually related to the subject of this blog post (whatever that is -- I'm trying to figure out a title):

The narrative process in this way attempts to make sense of the world and of one's own mind and its various states. In some individuals, however, one sees narratives that reflect upon a particular self-state without creating a more global coherence of the mind as a whole. The narrative process is thus a fundamental building block of an integrative mode, but insufficient by itself to create coherence across self-states through time.
Got that? And yet it's not jargon -- it's not word-ese without substance. He is making a fascinating point about the importance of Story in comprehending and composing an understanding of relationship across time and space. In other words, something to do with what those three movies, listed above, are trying to deal with as well.

It is enough to make one wish Latin was still the language of scholarly discourse, because I think that if one were writing a treatise in medieval Latin, it would be a lot easier to get this kind of thought out on paper without barbarisms like "self-state" and phrase-clumps like "global coherence". From the very little I know about German, from taking a German for Reading Knowledge undergraduate level class, I imagine that this kind of thought process would come across better in that language.

I am thinking of blogging this book chapter by chapter, because it really was interesting, and I would probably remember more of it if I made the attempt to paraphrase into ordinary English.

(Note: While I was searching online I found this Madeleine L'Engle book: The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth. My library won't let me request it for some reason, but it looks interesting. If any of you have read it I'd love to know what you thought)


Stephanie said...

Wow, Willa. Another post with holding all the things most fascinating to me! You're good at this!

I'm going to find a copy of Developing Mind -- and I can tell you that ANYthing L'Engle wrote about what "story" is and what it means in relation to "truth" is worth reading. I own her books on the topic. She has a very sacramental way of thinking - and although much of her view of the world is colored by her life during the century of wars and increasingly technological ways of destroying each other as humans, she still believes in the ultimate triumph of Love. For that reason alone, her work is worth owning.

Stephanie said...

(correction: "another post WHICH HOLDS all the things" ... not "with holding" !! )

Faith said...

Galaxy Quest is one of my favorite movies! I think it is so hilarious!

But I have to admit I'm too tired to take in the rest of the post. I'll have to reread it later!

Willa said...

Thanks Stephanie. Well, now I'll put the book on my Amazon wish-list since my library is "with holding!" LOL. I know that was a theme in her fiction, and I've read a couple of her non-fiction books and loved the way she wrote.

Faith, my family loves Galaxy Quest. For some reason I'd never seen more than a clip here and there. It was absolutely hilarious -- I don't remember the last time I laughed so much during a movie. I guess it's because we know these kinds of people ;-).

lissla lissar said...

Read The Rock That Is Higher when I was a teenager. I remember it as pretty good. I absolutely adore most of her nonfiction, especially Two-Part Invention.

lissla lissar said...

By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged!

Anonymous said...

in my paid work I met a researcher who is working on how narrative, and specifically the ability to tell a story about who you are, works with brain injury and recovery from brain injury. She's specifically looking at autobiographical narrative and memory. I thought it was fascinating and my reaction to what you have put here is that it is working with similar ideas.

I might look out for the L'Engle book. I did get interested in how some sociologists were starting to use story back when I was still a practising sociologist.