"Natural selection, for Darwin, did not forbid cultural and individual developments on a timescale hundreds of thousands of times faster than evolutionary development - on the contrary, it prepared the ground for them. We are literate not by virtue of a divine intervention, but through a cultural invention and a cultural selection that makes a brilliant and creative new use of a preexisting neural proclivity."
"I had to realize that the inner workings of the mind could dispense with words."
"... the opposite of alexia is lexical or text hallucinations, or phantom letters [...] the shapes of letters have been selected to resemble the conglomerations of contours found in natural scenes, thereby tapping into our already-existing object recognition mechanisms. "(70)
"... he reads only in the act of writing [...] knowing or having an idea of what one should see, are crucial in many aspects of perception." (134)
Yet these little hallucinations are interesting, in a way: they show me the background activity, the idling of my visual system, generating and transforming patterns, never at rest (184)
... I find myself uncertain whether words, symbols, and images of various types are the primary tools of thought or whether there are forms of thought antecedent to all of these forms of thought [...] it is the sort of reef I end up on when I think about thinking. (226)
There is a paradox here - a delicious one - which I cannot resolve: if there is indeed a fundamental difference btw experience and description, btw direct and mediated knowledge of the world, how is it that language can be so powerful? Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. I can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person's eyes. (240)
* interesting terms I noted: eidetic, stippling, tesselation, radiolaria, occlusion, filigreed, anosognosia
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.