Collapsing

My imagination of the [McGilchrist’s] left hemisphere mode and its isolating and representing, is also associated with wrapping up and collapsing. Wherever we subsume several connected real-world items into a single category or module, under a handy label, we are using a kind of ‘handle’ to better grasp these parts like a single thing; we represent them as one thing to isolate and focus on, and I think that is where the left hemisphere is at work. And this mechanism is so pervasive because it can be repeated: each representation can be combined with others and be collapsed again into another thing on a higher level, until we get a deeply nested hierarchy.

But the wrapping-up principle already applies to much simpler things such as, for example, a footnote reference, or a hyperlink in the web, which harbour behind a single label, like a loophole, another cornucopia of more and more descriptions.

By considering the nested tree structure, one can also connect to Deleuze & Guattari’s concepts of arborescence vs. the rhizome. While today, networked thinking with large zoomable graphs are fashionable, it is often forgotten that purely hierarchical maps, whether radially or just linearly arranged, are still just about things rather than relationships, because every node on the map can be identified with the “road” used to reach it from its parent. So your [McGilchrist’s] point about “things” is also about trees vs. true, non-hierarchical networks and rhizomes.

I wrote the above in a personal letter in July 2020, but the whole idea of wrapped/ collapsed/ congealed may again seem like a rip-off:

In “The Master and his Emissary”, Iain McGilchrist wrote:

“Becoming is potential, and for Being to emerge from Becoming, it needs to be ‘collapsed’ into the present, as the wave function ‘collapses’ under observation” (p. 233)

I mentioned the notion of ‘collapsed’ in Wrapping and grasping

“much of our daily life consists of collapsing (“-“) nested logical containers, or expanding (“+”) them”

with reference to McGilchrist’s general idea of “one of the two fundamental ‘modes of operation’ of our brain” but without explicit reference to his passage which I had not read by then. It was only in the narration of the introduction to his forthcoming book “The Matter with Things”) that I noticed the term ‘collapsed’ (19:06 and 21:05).

Also, in a reader’s comment on the film producer’s site, in 2017, I wrote

“For me, for example, it was particularly striking how the left hemisphere’s grasping and capturing can also be seen in our habits of packaging, wrapping or bundling, and nesting our ideas, which also help isolating, encapsulating and referencing. And then the hierarchy of nested containers, in turn, can be thought of as a ‘tree’ — much like a computer filesystem explorer with its handles for collapsing and expanding.”

again without specific reference.

Similarly, I mentioned the notion of ‘congealed’ in section #4 of Recognizing

“the vast majority of knowledge of the ordinary kind, which McGilchrist would call fixed. (Marx would perhaps call it coagulated or congealed; and …”

again with reference to McGilchrist’s general idea of “fixed results of experiences” but, of course, without explicit reference to his passage in the forthcoming book (13:59).

Since the idea has interested me for so long, I am curious if or how much it might be elaborated in the new book.

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