T.A. Barnhart

book notes

Ch 1: Anna Nicole on the Brain

22    Complex narratives … are made up of smaller narratives with very simple structures [frames].

    frames: have simple neural circuitry; “structure a huge amount of our thought”; include roles, relations between roles & scenarios played out by roles

22    eg, frame: hospital; role: doctor, operating room; scenario: operation; doctor checking in patient would violate the frame structure

    …words are all defined relative to conceptual frames.

22    Groups of related words, called ‘semantic fields,’ are defined with respect to the same frame.

23    …within the brain itself, frames are natural structures that have evolved from what brains do and are put together out of simple units.

23    Simple frames can be combined to form more complex ones.

    Simple narratives have the form of frame-based scenarios, but with extra structure.

23    cultural narratives use “cultural prototypes, themes, images and icons”

24-5    neural binding “allows simple narratives to be combined into larger, more complex ones” — the brain’s ability to activate different parts of the brain to form a single item out of disparate inputs

26    simple physical actions in the brain “creates new experiences”

26    stages of simplest narrative structure

27    Even the simplest of actions [has] a structure imposed by our brain, which has to make our body work. We understand events in the world in terms of what our bodies can do. As a result, every simple narrative has such an event structure. Neural binding is the mechanism that creates a linkage between such highly general event structures and particualr kinds of actions or narratives.

27    One of the reasons that politics lets us down is that we keep comparing it to our ideal narratives, to politics on TV or in the movies, which is tidier and better fits such [narrative] structures.

28    emotional content can be bound to create “heightened emotional content”

28    Narratives and frames are not just brain structures with intellectual content, but rather with integrated intellectual-emotional content. Neural binding circuitry provides this integration.

33    We live our narratives.

    cf: Doonesbury sportscasting our lives

33-4    The very fact that we recognize these cultural narratives and frames means that they are instantiated physically in our brains. We are not born with them, but we start growing them soon, and as we acquire the deep narratives, our synapses change and become fixed. … [W]e cannot understand ourselves … without recognizing and seeing how we fit into cultural narratives.

    A large number of deep narratives can be activated together.

    we have to recognize and understand how we & others, especially public figures, “fit into cultural narratives” — “narrative complexes”

    …automatically, without conscious control … we see [public figures and] ourselves as having only the choices defined by our brain’s frames and cultural narratives.  And we live out narrative choices made for us by our brains without our conscious awareness.

34-5    The cultural models are there in our brains.  We are going to use them — automatically, without conscious control or even recognition most of the time.

35    Cultural narratives define our possibilities, challenges, and actual lives.

36    cultural narratives are permanent in our brains, but we can “at least be self-aware”

37    When you accept a particular narrative, you ignore or hide realities that contradict it. …  Narratives have a powerful effect in hiding reality.

38    The deep narratives are fixed in the brain; the synapses of the neural circuits characterizing them have been so strengthened that the highly general, deep narratives are permanently parts of our brains.

39    the brain uses the same parts to do (see, move, etc) as to imagine doing

Mental “simulation” … links imaginative stories to live narratives.

lets us connect what we we perceive (understand, imagine, remember, dream ) for ourselves to someone else’s “lived narrative”

40    …imagining and acting use much of the same neural structure….

…some of the same neural structure in the brain that is used when we live out a narrative is also used when we see someone else living out that narrative…

creating new realities: two pre-conditions

41    mental stress that activates brain’s “system of negative emotions” (norepinephrines) reducing our capacity to notice

conservative framing has shaped the neural networks of much of the country, creating the 2nd condition

42    …the public has little capacity to notice and to create the substantial neural structures needed to comprehend what is happening in hundreds of areas of life.

Dems are using old enlightenment methods, letting neocons create & control reality