Saturday, August 31, 2013

Even alphabets and brains can change

The following is in response to Joseph's post here. Any alphabet is relatively fixed, but only after a long history of development. And they are still developing, albeit now much more slowly. Meaning for one that they are constructed based on the sounds we can make given our embodiment, and the latter too can and does change, but again very slowly. And given so many languages alphabets are pretty much local, given the variations in embodied speech patterns to different climates, geological regions, etc. But they are not fixed in any Platonic or metaphysical sense, as they are for the Sepher Yetzirah, as magical foundations for physical embodiment. Which is not to say that we cannot formulate postmetaphysical models based on alphabets, but provisionally noting their contingent nature and their capacity for change, even of meaning.

Which by the way applies to math as well, itself in the process of a very long history of development and change. Again, basic addition as is can still serve basic functions quite nicely. And the notion of both being open to change, albeit small and incremental, does not promote radical change that ends in gibberish or koans.

Which reminds me of the human brain, another relatively stable thingamabob. But it too is still growing via neuroplasticity, given the neuroscientific research into meditation and learning as examples. We can again use iteration as a paradigm: retaining much what has been (but not all) and adding something novel to it, which can and often does transform to some degree at least what came before.

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