Linear history of speech and print

For the last few hundred years it has been popularly thought that man's mind worked in a linear or list-like manner. This belief was held primarily because of the increasing reliance on our two main methods of communication, speech and print.

In speech we are restricted, by the nature of time and space, to speaking and hearing one word at a time. Speech was thus seen as a linear or line-like process between people. See fig32.

Fig32 Speech has traditionally been seen as a list-like affair. See text page 87.

Print was seen as even more linear. Not only was the individual forced to take in units of print in consecutive order, but print was laid out on the page in a series of lines or rows.

This linear emphasis overflowed into normal writing or note taking procedures. Virtually everyone was (and still is) trained in school to take notes in sentences or vertical lists. (Most readers will probably have prepared their half-hour speech in one ofthese two ways, as shown in fig33). The acceptance of this way of thinking is so long-standing that little has been done to contradict it. However, recent evidence shows the brain to be far more multidimensional and pattern making, suggesting that in the speech/ print arguments there must be fundamental flaws.

The argument which says that the brain functions linearly because of the speech patterns it has evolved fails to consider, as do the supporters for the absolute nature of IQ tests, the nature of the organism. It is easy to point out that when words travel from one person to another they necessarily do so in a line, but this is not really the point. More to the point is, the question: 'How does the brain which is speaking, and the brain which is receiving the words, deal with them internally}

The answer is that the brain is most certainly not dealing with them in simple lists and lines. You can verify this by thinking of the way in which your own thought processes work while you are speaking to someone else. You will observe that although a single line of words is coming out, a continuing and enormously complex process of sorting and selecting is taking place in your

A Normal line structure - sentenced-based

A Normal line structure - sentenced-based

B Standard list structure - order-of-importance-based

Fig 33Standard forms of'good' or 'neat' notes.

mind throughout the conversation. Whole networks of words and ideas are being juggled and interlinked in order to communicate a certain meaning to the listener.

Similarly the listener is not simply observing a long list of words like someone sucking up spaghetti. He is receiving each word in the context of the words that surround it. At the same time he is also giving the multi-ordinate nature of each word his own special interpretation as dictated by the structure of his personal information patterns and will be analysing, coding and criticising throughout the process.

Fig 34 It is the network inside the mind, and not the simple order of word presentation, which is more important to an understanding ofthe way we relate to words. See textpages 88-go.

You may have noticed people suddenly reacting to words you liked or thought were harmless. They react this way because the associations they have for these words are different from your own. Knowing this will help you to understand more clearly the nature of conversations, disagreements and misunderstandings.

The argument for print is also weak. Despite the fact that we are trained to read units of information one after each other, that these are presented in lines and that we therefore write and note in lines, such linear presentation is not necessary for understanding, and in many instances is a disadvantage.

The mind is perfectly capable of taking in information which is non-linear. In its day-to-day life it does this nearly all the time, observing all those things which surround it which include common Kern-linear forms of print: photographs, illustration,

Fig 34 It is the network inside the mind, and not the simple order of word presentation, which is more important to an understanding ofthe way we relate to words. See textpages 88-go.

diagrams, etc. It is only our society's enormous reliance on linear information which has obscured the issue.

The brain's non-linear character is further confirmed by recent biochemical physiological and psychological research. Each area of research is discovering that the organism is not only non-linear but is so complex and interlinked as to defy any final description.

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