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Golden sitting statue in pool, with monk walking past and waterlily in foreground.

Skeletal Worlds

The baby, assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin, and entrails at once, feels it all as one great blooming, buzzing confusion;

William James (1890)


Skeletons seem stark and unnatural. Bodies are, at least, natural, although being stark naked is sometimes disconcerting. Skeletons, bodies, clothes: comparing A line of sheep passing beside a wood. Analogies are helpful - but also misleading!

these to sensation, thought, language may help us see the intricate interaction of thought and sensation more clearly. A blooming buzzing confusion seems to be our normal starting point. On that common skeleton of sensation, are laid psychological, social and cultural forces, which produce thought, so providing us with our conscious experience of a world. Model of south Iceland glacier wiwth inset of real thing. A page on how our worlds come to be as they are.

Objective sensations are turned into unique subjective experience; A view of the River weed in southern Scotland. The difficulty of accommodating both the subjective and objective in one world view. this is the arena in which thought and consciousness operate. A final contribution is added by language which clothes Mist forming up the valley among the trees of Ae forest. Wittgenstein’s analogy for the relation between thought and language. the body of thought. Thus indirectly language is anchored to sensation, and this allows us to share what would otherwise be private. However, in that communion, thoughts do become corralled, attenuated Three women one with money in her hand. How language can come to form our thoughts in ways we do not suspect. and elaborated Two coffee cups. Another example of the way language influences thought. as they encounter language.

In his all embracing The Principles of Psychology this is one of James’ most enduring quotes. It comes from Part I page 488.

Lost in the huge Torrachilty Forest, north of Inverness in Scotland, cyclists (and their wheels) may become bare bones of their former selves.

Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 5th August 2023

Murphy on duty to this site