Friday, October 17, 2008

Intellectual Autobiography-Part 1

(This was initially done as an assignment for my "Understanding Media" Class. It gives you an overview of what led me to think in the ways that I do. For good or ill...)
To start an intellectual autobiography with one’s first book as opposed to one’s first toy is revisionist history at best , at worst it is atrocity. I was about 4 or 5 years old. My father had been away working all week and he had returned on Friday evening with a package of Play Doh modeling clay in assorted colors as a gift for me. I promptly retired to my room and began to mold and combine the clay into various shapes. Shortly therewith, a vast menagerie of different characters sprung up –various Universal Pictures’ monsters crouching behind crumbling headstones and twisted trees, Noah’s Ark replete with antediluvian species long forgotten, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis most likely hounded by the sinister Richelieu etc. I remember my father coming into my room and sitting and watching for awhile, he demurely scooped up some of the extant clay and closed his fist gently around it. He proudly placed his creation on the nightstand. “Look”, he murmured, “a handlebar”. With the possible exception of the death of my mother, I don’t ever remember feeling so sorry for him…
“Children’s cognition had revolutionary power because it was tactile, and hence
tied to action, and because rather than accepting the given meaning of things,
children got to know objects by laying hold of them and using them creatively,
releasing from them new possibilities and meaning….Bourgeois socialization
suppressed this activity.” (1)
These were the days of classics , comic-books, science fiction novels, cartoons and episodic television. I didn’t make critical distinctions between Klingon Commender Kor (2) or the nefarious Moriarity(3). in terms of high or low art. I didn’t ponder the allegorical subtext of C.S Lewis or Lord Dunsany , the colonialist tendencies in Kipling. the reformist commentary of Dickens. The mimetic cognition that Piaget skipped over in his focus was a place of contiguous realities . the foredeck of the Covenant (4) only somewhere slightly above the aft-propellers of the Nautilus (5), Dante’s lake of ice (6) in close proximity to Milton’s sea of fire. (7)

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