Monday, June 18, 2018

The Mind Works In Different Ways

Bought Lapham's Quarterly's Winter 2018 issue themed 'States of Mind'. Contributors and essays talk about the mind and the brain. They're discussed in tandem and separately as a thing of science, and also a thing of the arts and of course, philosophy.

The topics are wide-ranging, and different in nature. The science is always fun, and we usually roll eyes at articles of the mind since that's super subjective. It's how I always roll eyes at quotes by Carl Jung, or some of his writings. Of course Carl Jung came up in this issue.

In Damion Searls's essay 'The Difficult Task of the Future', he picks an angle which explores Carl Jung's correspondence and fierce debates with psychiatrist Hans Schmid-Guisan on the topic of introvert and extrovert personality types. This is Carl Jung's bid to find psychological types, resulting in a summary known as the Myers-Briggs test.

The introvert’s need to find hidden meanings behind the actions of others—which drove Schmid crazy during his correspondence with Jung—undergirds the entire project of Psychological Types, of course: Jung is doing what introverts do. And yet he manages a delicate dance around his own limitations. Even as he attempts a kind of Olympian insight into all the different types, he again and again admits his own partiality, saying straight-out that Freud is as right in his way as Jung is in his, and that the desire for a totalized view, which leads to a theory like Jung’s, is a fact of Jung’s own psychology—that it was almost impossible for Jung to recognize the existence of types other than his own, that it took years, and that he presents them inadequately in his book.

Anyway, within the issue is a little map of some of the untranslatable words in the world's languages created by Haisam Hussein. I like this one quite a bit. It's fun to see some of these words. There're many words I come across in my usual translation work that I struggle to find equivalents in the other language. Well, there're many which we've already adopted through social media trends, say, the familiar fika, hygge, ikigai, and lagom.

In this map, there are 22 words in total, here're some of my picks,

7. HANISA, a Yamana verb prefix, to do something haphazardly. hoping but hardly expecting to accomplish the desired aim. (We would have done this many times for different reasons.)

9. TORSCHLUSSPANIK, a German noun, a sense of alarm or anxiety caused by the suspicion that life's opportunities are passing one by. (Would we feel this at age 25, 30, 35 and 40?)

13. YOIN, as a Japanese noun, that describes the lingering memory of an experience that continues to reverberate.

14. SHEN3MEI3 PÍLÁO, as a Chinese verb, illustrating that to see so much beauty that one tires of it. (This one tickles me because it's written in hanyu pinyin- 审美疲劳.)

22. JALANYPA-MULYU-MULYU, a Warlpiri noun referring to the rapid, repeated poking of the tongue in and out of the mouth, typically in anger. (Besides having to google to learn about Warlpiri as a language, people and culture, this totally cracked me up. I mean, imagine it, pronounce it. Ha!) 

Kept this image in a larger resolution. Hope you can read it if you save it!

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