Jenny Mackness draws the connections to McGilchrist’s work, and I want to add to this.
Usually, the styles spectrum is depicted as “linear” vs. wholistic, which sounds rather value-laden. By contrast, Sousanis’ notions of sequential vs. simultaneous are much more conducive to the necessary awareness about the two fundamental modes of thinking.
“This spatial interplay of sequential and simultaneous — imbues comics with a dual nature — both tree-like, hierarchical, and rhizomatic, interwoven in a single form.” (p. 83)
I like the distinction that nicely adds to the dichotomies of tree vs. network, or nodes vs. edges (as in Deuleuze & Guattari, and in Connectivism, respectively, see this old post).
For me, the gem was that the book does a great job explaining why the right hemisphere mode (all-at-once) lives from relations: Basically, it argues that the eye is “dancing and darting”, i.e. by its saccadic motion (palpation by means of the gaze) it captures only small fragments at a time, and it is our imagination that needs to combine them into vision. It quotes R. Arnheim “To see is to see in relation.” Other explanations draw on rather optical phenomena, like the distance of our eyes, and the refraction at the contact of two media, that yield different but related images. In particular, they remind me of the binocularity that enables an owl to recognize in the darkness what a single eye would never alone identify.
Then, in this week’s #gridsgestures exercises, I learned how much I struggle with the sequential. When the assignment was to sketch the shape of my day, my first attempt was to draw the day vertically upwards, like a carpet lying in front of me, not as a real grid. And I completely missed (repressed?) the part of the task about “gestural lines, marks of some sort that […] represent […] activity”, because I have no idea how to depict gestures and movement. (Maybe there will be some examples of elements that could serve as a sort of the ‘alphabet’ that Dave Gray often shows?)
The restriction were, not to draw things, and to use a pencil or pen, i.e. monochrome, and like many participants I gradually let go of some restrictions, but I still struggle with depicting my imagination — which seems to be just too static. I also have problems to interprete the drawings of others, much like there are problems to understand the mindmaps or concept maps of someone else. For me, the most benefit is not in the communication or the drawing result, but in the making of the drawing — and the sense-making along the process.