Reply To: Sense of self & the hemispheres

  • Mike Todd

    August 9, 2023 at 5:29 am

    Hello again.

    On my view, affect is integral to narrative, and I intend to use your example of “looking at a tree” to give some flavour of the range of narratives possible, including their emotional nuances, by which they are valenced.

    I admire, though take some issue with, Mark Solms thesis, described in The Hidden Spring, in which he writes:

    The simplest forms of feeling – hunger, thirst, sleepiness, muscle fatigue, nausea, coldness, urinary urgency, the need to defecate and the like – might not seem like affects, but that is what they are. What distinguishes affective states from other mental states is that they are hedonically valenced: they feel ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This is how affective sensations such as hunger and thirst differ from sensory ones like vision and hearing. Sight and sound do not possess intrinsic value – but feelings do.

    What I’ll be suggesting is that narrative can, though needn’t always, lend extrinsic value to sight and sound, and so forth: it’s a layer of meaning atop purely phenomenal conscious mentation – which is not to say, a la Solms, that p-consciousness itself lacks all meaning.

    No doubt you’ll recognise a fair bit of phenomenology in what I say. Perhaps where I depart from that is with respect to what I see as the unavoidably symbolic nature of narrative, including even such ostensibly prosaic narratives such as formal, functional and scientific accounts. I imagine you may be familiar with Vaihinger’s Philosophy of “As If”, which is essentially what got me started on all of this.

    There’s an intriguing quote near the end of the video linked below, which I believe speaks of the same multilayered reality I mentioned a couple of comments ago:

    We think more than we can say. We feel more than we can think. We live more than we can feel. And there’s much else besides.

    Back at the weekend.