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On Poetry and Mind

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[0]     What one cannot compute, thereof one must speak.

[1]     The mind happens to think, differently.

[1.0]     “The mind” is, at most, a conceptual index for where ideas, reflections, feelings, calculations, perceptions, or reasoning take place. It could also be understood as a repertoire for such operations, phenomena, or experiences. “The mind,” then, both refers to a set and a site. It seems difficult to take the mental set and site to be completely independent of each other.

[1.1]     One thinks. One is thinking. Does one think because one is thinking? The happening of thinking is both action and virtual inscription.

[1.1.0]     One may be a human, an animal, a machine. And all humans are animals. And all animals may be machines, though this is much less obvious. At any rate, “the mind” is not—or not exclusively—the kind of computing machine we now know, or think, of.

[1.1.1]     One may be more than one. Even minimal mental operations already prepare the bifurcation we witness each time we consider our ways of thinking, or ourselves, or what “each time” could mean, and could refer to.

[1.2]     A mind is more than a brain. It includes an embodied neural system that should never be blindly identified with one specific organ. Moreover, the brain itself is not exclusively nor primarily cortical: the “lower regions,” the more inner and evolutionarily ancient parts, also give us emotions, balance, and memories. Minds, then, are not wholly encapsulated in the heads of individuals. They are routinely distributed through the emergence of group thinking, partially externalized to blocks within their environments (mnemonic objects and loci, papers and pens, books, laptops, and other prostheses), and potentially changed through exchange. The centripetal force of processes leading (back) to neural appropriation cannot conceal the concurrent and centrifugal impetus of minds.

[1.3]     Thinking is not reduced to thought.

[1.3.0]     Let us use the word and category of cognition for mental operations that could be automated and produced according to common rules. While cognitive processes might fail, they seek equilibrium, thus tending to be relatively durable, consistent, and transparent. Instituted, organized knowledge (and primarily “science”) favors the cognitive regime of thought in the fabric of its own theories and practices.

[1.3.1]     Intellection would refer to the differential and variable performance of thinking. Being created ad hoc, it is transient, and often singular, thus resisting automation. The cognitive defects of mental acts—when they lack stability, avoid [End Page 65] standard consistence, arise through opacity, or become “blocked”—strengthenthe advent, and imprint, of intellection.

[1.3.2]     The cognitive regime tries to enfold thought upon itself; the intellective attempts to unfold it through thinking.

[1.3.3]     The intellective stems from the noise of noēsis.

[1.3.4]     The intellective space is where a mind might seek to go beyond the limitations of computability, of decidability.

[1.3.5]     If cognition emerges from the properties of the mind, intellection emerges from emergence and is doomed to be further transcribed at an operational level. But transcription is not an equation.

[1.4]     The mind is multi-dimensional. It is not “wrong” to focus on just one dimension rather than adopting a broader view: it is “poor,” deliberately simplifying, or congruent to specific (pedagogic, strategic, epistemic) goals.

[1.4.0]     A zero-dimensional mind is an ideal, immaterial point. At the extreme tip of methodic doubt, the Cartesian res cogitans (i.e., “the thing that is thinking”) might have no body, no world, no god, and no place to be; it works as the very intent of thought. This contrasts with the “extended thing” (res extensa), that localizable body I may persuade myself to be living in. The image of the mind as a point may have never been other than some intended—transitional—fiction. Similarly, the first cognitive paradigm was essentially downplaying the material role of the “hardware” in the advent of thought.

[1.4.1]     More recent propositions have added one axis and suggested to approach the mind within the extent of its necessary embodiment.

[1.4.2]     The...