Hypotheosis II

Hypotheosis II

One distinct and prominent feature of human language (and so human thought) is that of recursion – which is simply understood as a nesting of ideas, one within another. Recursion is expressed in language by subordinate clauses, which can be constructed ad infinitum, by definition.

Here is an one such construction that builds sentences within sentences:
•  Mary helped George.
•  Cathy knew that Mary helped George.
•  John believed that Cathy knew that Mary helped George.

Recursive thought is part and parcel of many other human faculties and activities, like mathematics, computer programming, and social structures. The questions in this new edition of Hypotheosis all concern recursion, directly or indirectly.

i Does recursion track with language age? Do languages ever reset to less recursive forms? Do languages alternate or fluctuate between more baroque and minimalist forms, as art and music styles/genres do historically? For example, new words are often born of acronymic contractions – goodbye, the (once heretical) benediction came from the devolution of the phrase “god be with you”; nowadays the adoption of text slang acronyms as outright words is common, usual. Does this simplifying tendency (or any other) correlate with changes in the frequency or complexity of language recursion? Does language recursion correlate with other cultural expression, like search engine design and preference, or categorization modes? (Bing/Google, drilldown/triangulation, linear/spatial, western/Chinese categories)

ii How are the capacity for recursive and spatial thinking skills related? Is recursive thought a left-brain or right-brain activity? Do highly developed recursive abilities allow/enable/engineer spatialized abstraction i.e. networked multidimensional configurational maps (like memory palaces)?
Or the inverse?

iii Is math thinking at its most developed recursive, abstract, and/or spatialized? Baroque (fugue-ish) or Modern (conceptual/parti)? Route/landmark or map or configurational? Cobbled together/hacked/Rube Goldberg or systematic? Inductive or deductive?

iv Do nicotine and substitute drugs like Chantix improve executive function? (Executive function to mean recursion linked/permitting/affording higher order cognitive faculties like managerial and planning abilities, as well as abstraction and others.)
If so would autistics’ executive function (and/or that of people with ADHD) improve on Chantix or niotine?
Would Piranyu people develop these capacities on Chantix or nicotine?1
Would animals?
Would creativity increase in anyone?
Is Buddhist practice a way to recover non-recursive thought structure/patterns/modes, i.e to exist outside of time or abstraction or modeling, like animals do?


 

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