Word Association: this makes you think of what?
I’m quite certain this is some guy’s name, or maybe the name of a graffiti crew, but it makes me think of one thing: Noam Chomsky. When I saw it on the concrete highway support, I thought that some student of media and communications, or maybe a linguistics students. Then I realized that it didn’t actually say “Chomsky” – it says CHOMtcki or something. Too bad, seeing as how Chomsky was a student of language and communication. When I saw this my mind went back to the first time I watched “Manufacturing Consent” and how outraged I was at how mass media twists and manipulates, often through the simplest means like inclusion vs. exclusion, the popular opinion on major issues. It was through Chomsky I first came across the plight of the East Timorese and the lack of coverage of their problems with Indonesia. I also thought back to my earliest years in university when I first started reading Chomsky’s work.
It is kind of weird, however, to see what came to my mind through a mistake in reading. This got me thinking: how much of what I read is what is actually written and how much of my experience while reading is a direct result of where my mind goes while I’m reading? How much is a result of my own experience that, while it may be somewhat non sequitur to the reading material, shapes my understanding of what I read, of how I see the world. If a misread word can conjure up memories of my earliest years in post-secondary academia, what happens when I read things properly? I have taught introductory psychology courses and I know, basically, how my brain works. I also know that both “nature and nurture” play a big part in how I have become who I am today. But what if the way I see the world is entirely different from the way you see the world, but we both believe that we see it the same way because we only have the vocabulary we share to make sense of it? Words would, then, make our ability to express our experiences less personal and more communal, thus bringing us together when our own perception is moving us apart.
Maybe I need some sleep.