The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word & Image
Shlain, Leonard, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
A CHILD LEARNS a novel bit of information. A set of neurons fires in his or her brain. With each reinforcement of the lesson, the same neurons fire again. The surrounding neurons, sensitized to the discharges of the first set, also begin to join in what becomes an ever-magnifying electrochemical chorus. Learned information becomes "burned" into neuronal pathways. Such is the manner by which we acquire knowledge that will endure throughout our lives. Conversely, what we fail to learn causes the withering of whole tracts of other neurons as a result of their disuse. For example, a preschooler can learn a second language with ease if taught at the right time. The same individual having to learn that second language many years later in college will find it a far more difficult task.
But what effect does the kind of learning have on the larger organization of the human brain? Separating our species from virtually all others, we have two highly specialized brain hemispheres. Each lobe is designed to handle essentially different types of information. The left lobe in over 90% of people is the seat of language that is perceived in a linear stream. We call this careful sequencing grammar and syntax, without which strings of words would be incoherent. The majority of other linear, sequential mental processes such as logic, reason, algebra, causality, and …
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Publication information: Article title: The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word & Image. Contributors: Shlain, Leonard - Author. Journal title: ETC.: A Review of General Semantics. Volume: 65. Issue: 2 Publication date: April 2008. Page number: 110+. © 1999 International Society for General Semantics. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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