Re: Narrative and Semantic (I)


Subject: Re: Narrative and Semantic (I)
From: Larry Austin (larryaustin@grandecom.net)
Date: Tue Oct 11 2005 - 16:58:26 EDT


My dear Eliot and Richard:

I'm sorry, but this thread/dialogue is really boring and
exploitive of the list's thrust...electroacoustic music.
Would you take your conversation/exhibition off-list, please?

Your erstwhile colleague, nevertheless,

Larry Austin

On Oct 11, 2005, at 4:54 PM, Eliot Handelman wrote:

> Richard Wentk wrote:
>
>> At 09:18 11/10/2005, you wrote:
>>
>>> That was Richard with whom I differ in our location of primitive or
>>> Urmind, which I locate in dreaming,
>>> hallucination, or in a state of objectless affect that could be like
>>> the baby mind in utero.
>>>
>>> I think you can get the life-useful adaptations from that.
>>
>>
>> How? I have no problems with dreaming or hallucination, but surely
>> there has to be some relationship to reality otherwise they're the
>> definition of non-adaptive.
>
>
> The problem is how to grow a mind. We all accept this begins in the
> womb, where
> there's not much else to do but dream and hallucinate. Whatever else
> mind does has
> that as its basis.
>
> There's no good theory of why we dream, or why we sleep. Someone says
> of dream "it's a rehearsal strategy" but that's
> some guy whose concept of the mind is that it's structured a bit like
> Hewlett-packard.
>
> My short view is that sleeping and dreaming IS basically what a mind
> does. It turns
> out that the machine so outfitted can also invent symphonies,
> microwave popcorn etc.
>
> How it so turns out I don't exactly know, or I haven't thought about
> it sufficently, or
> I can't see what advantage a theory of this kind would confer on me.
>
>>
>>> Music is, I think, more about dreaming and hallucination than about
>>> things that help us learn to speak but
>>> whose intrinisc merit seems questionable, a mere bag of tricks.
>>
>>
>> There isn't necessarily a contradiction here. It seems there's a
>> fairly straightforward path from the vocal noises other animals make
>> to the ones humans make.
>
>
> Not so -- animals don't do recursion, as I learned from Mark Hauser.
> We're not sure
> how to get there from what animals can do.
>
> This applies to human music as well, since human music is recursive.
>
>
>> But as far as anyone knows, bird song, dog barks and chimp hoots
>> aren't primarily about dreaming and hallucination.
>
>
> We don't know that music is related to hoots and barks. That presents
> music as a kind of communication
> system, wheras I see music as an induction system -- it's a kind of
> medicine.
>
> We can make music entirely for ourselves, but music's social meaning
> is that "others find it pleasing." Minimally,
> social music has to induce the feeling of being "pleased," however
> that materializes.
>
> In the same way, music-making animals, to be musically social, would
> have to do what they do
> as a way of pleasing other animals.
>
> By the way, I had a long dream where I was talking to a really
> intelligent crow. That is to say,
> I expect the best of animals.
>
>
>>
>>> This leaves open the problem how music does create feeling, whereas
>>> I'm not sure what sort of
>>> problems Richard's analysis raises which may be favorable to the
>>> development of a
>>> theortical understanding of music.
>>
>>
>> Does a dog bark create feeling in other dogs?
>
> It probably does. When we hear music, we don't think "gosh -- someone
> is around, signalling to
> me that they want to dig in the mud!" We feel: "oh my, what pleasant
> music." If the dog feeling
> is irreducable to a social signal, then perhaps the bark is like
> music. But I
> suspect the dog does reduce. Its musical world, I'd guess, has more to
> do with smell than with
> hearing, that is, smell may operate in a domain of non-signifying
> enjoyment.
>
>
>>
>>> Music is one of the mind's codes. In that capacity it comes first. I
>>> don't need to reduce it to other things, like speech.
>>
>>
>> Have you read Mithen yet? ;)
>
>
> No, and from what I read of his explanation of cave-paintings I may
> not. I find the evolutionary psych
> people are doing a stupendously poor job of getting some basic
> characterization going of what the thing
> they think needs explaining is.
>
> -- eliot
>
>



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