Day 050 - Expressing yourself

Submitted by Sam on 10 July, 2011 - 01:36

We can never verbally express exactly what we are thinking at any given moment, because to do so would require articulating the states of agencies that we are not actually conscious of, let alone able to describe using language agencies. 'What I am currently thinking' can therefore only ever be an expression of higher-level agencies, and therefore only a partial indication of the global brain state, leaving out a description of its non-verbal emotions and thought-processes. In endeavouring to translate the states of the brain that we are consciously aware of into language, there is also an inevitable time delay, implying that any expression of the 'current' state is either an anticipation of what higher-level agencies will be doing by the time the description is vocalized, or a reflection as to what they were doing 'just now'. By the time you have expressed what you were thinking, your state of mind has changed, and new thoughts have been formed as a result of this attempt at introspection and expression.

The same problems occur when we try to express an idea to someone else; we often end up not entirely saying what we 'meant'. This is because if the idea pre-exists in our brain as some kind of structure, it is not necessarily going to be a definite, fixed structure that language agents can easily reformulate into an easily transmittable description – not least because some parts of the idea may be reliant on interactions with a rapidly changing network of agencies whose subtle interactions are not accessible to conscious thought or linguistic expression. In order to try to express the idea then, the language agencies in the brain must hypothesize about the states of these linguistically-inaccessible states, attempting to reformulate them into words. This process inevitably oversimplifies the transmission of the mental state necessary to recreate the idea in its true essence, perhaps leading to a loss of nuance and full comprehension.

The best descriptions work by using words which decompress in the mind of the reader or the listener, activating a whole series of networks and associations, both conscious and unconscious, which expand into a recreation of the original 'meaning' in its purest sense, activating both the language areas associated with the original idea and those attendant agents which were not expressed verbally. Through the reassembly of the words using the listener or reader's own personal lexicon of inferences and definitions, a similar structure to that of the original idea can be rebuilt in the 'receiving' mind, even though it is only ever a representation or reformulation of the original neuronal activity that constituted the first idea.

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