Senses Working Overtime

Trying to catch-up on some day-job priorities with a bit of peace and quiet over the weekend I find some very old tennis > elbow > foot word-association running riot as some dialogue starts-up on the back of those of us reading Iain McGilchrist’s The Matter With Things – in “Channel McGilchrist”.

In this very old and detailed yet chaotic review in 2002 of Steve Pinker The Blank Slate I summarised Pinker’s own conclusions:

“the mind, in contemplating its place in the cosmos, at some point reaches its own limitations and runs into puzzles that seem to belong in a separate divine realm”

That is very close to the Goldstein / Melville / Spinoza quote I posted just yesterday, saying it felt spookily close to McGilchrist.

“In Spinoza, we follow our own individual flourishing, pushed on by the conatus that constitutes our identity, and when we grasp as much of reality of which we’re capable we see that our identity is not exactly a nothing but not exactly a something either.”

And I only got to that 2002 Pinker review because I picked-up a search hit on Dostoevsky’s “Talking Nonsense” which references the The Baloney Generator, which I mention in that 2002 review and last mentioned here in 2019 order to cross-reference McGilchrist’s “Berlusconi” metaphor from his Master and Emissary, and to highlight the Pirsig, Pinker and Gazzaniga connections.

What’s more, in the that 2002 review above, I already mention the Pinker / Pirsig / Melville connections. Pinker and Goldstein are “an item“. James Willis and I both currently active in the McGilchrist discussion forum share the Pirsig influence on our 2000 and 2005 thought journeys. There are hardly any issues in current dialogue in 2021 not already apparent in that 2002 piece.

There is very little new under the sun.


This is almost all about rehabilitating ancient wisdom.


[Post Note: Of course I realise now that Pinker quote …

“The mind, in contemplating it’s place in the cosmos,
at some point reaches it’s own limitations …”

… is Pinker expressing in 2002 the same thought as Goldstein in 2017 – in the linked Melville piece – but before (?) they married in 2007. I’ve mentioned the “true love” element in this couple before!]

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