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Re: Individual reactions to various...

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  • saraciborski
    ... governed) by our inner chemistry? I ve 9probably unfortunately) found that my most intense responses to the literature I love (for all time) SEEM to have
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 3, 2005
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Bonnie Callahan <bonolatm@p...> wrote:
      > I wonder how much of our responses to literature are "guided" (not
      governed) by our inner chemistry? I've 9probably unfortunately) found
      that my most intense responses to the literature I love (for all
      time) SEEM to have taken place during the decades when my hormones
      were at their most active.
      > Has anyone else in the Myth Soc. had any thoughts on this? Our
      biochemistry having an effect on what we "bond to" as our life's most
      meaningful experiences?
      >

      Biochemistry explains nothing, in my case. I had my most powerful,
      most meaningful response to a piece of literature at age 35, to The
      Lord of the Rings. Nothing, nothing I had read, seen, heard or
      encountered in my life affected me as strongly; I was dysfunctional
      for months in an agony of grief, anguish and incomprehension (not
      understanding why it would affect me so). Furthermore, the older I
      get (and now at 62 I am virtually free from my hormones, thank God),
      the more profoundly I am affected by what I read, if it is good.
      Nothing much of what I read in adolescence still resonates, or if it
      does, it's because I have re-read it later with greater attentiveness.

      What contributes to our responding to literature, I believe, is a
      combination of biographical (personal, idiosyncratic) factors--where
      we are as individuals with regard to our self-development
      (neurochemical or hormonal disturbance could be said to be the
      reflection, not the cause of this), and our capacity for,
      attentiveness to, willingness to reach for meaning beyond the self
      (universal human truth, beauty and goodness). (I say nothing here
      about the artistry, vison, literary skill of the author of whatever
      we're reading, i.e. what makes it "good".)

      Sara Ciborski

      >
      >
    • Lezlie
      Hello-- I would say that if you buy into the current theories of mind/brain development, this would make an interesting study. I doubt -- a whole lot-- that
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 3, 2005
        Hello-- I would say that if you buy into the current theories of
        mind/brain development, this would make an interesting study. I doubt
        -- a whole lot-- that you would find any sort of causal relationship.
        Or, if you did, it would be pretty trivial.

        Personally, I think the "brain chemistry" approach to human choices is
        overrated in the literature, and will shortly be countered with
        evidence that's it's a "Chicken or the egg" question. The question of
        mind, choice, taste and individual reactions to any art form,
        including literature, is far too complex to be reduced to this
        particular paradigm in research. (Or, the example of "falling in love"
        that you begin with.)

        Th epremise seems, at first reading, to be reductionistic with results
        that are predictable, rather like the recent attempts to diagnose dead
        romantic poets as "manic depressives" by the psychiatric community.
        Sells books, but it remains an unproven load of (insert adjective)
        because the researchers did not avail themselves of any of the *known*
        facts concerning the goals and aims of the Romantic Movement. Not to
        mention the initial idiocy of diagnosing a person who is (at least) a
        century dead and buried.

        Sorry if I offend, but I, too, am a human science researcher, and I
        quite disagree with your basic premise from the get-go.

        BTW: When my daughter was 17, Elijah Wood was on her "eeewwww ick"
        list. Low point in the first film for both of us. Lezlie




        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Bonnie Callahan <bonolatm@p...> wrote:
        > Hi everyone;
        >
        > I've been exploring the roots of some interesting
        neurological/biochemical research...
        > Why do people fall in love with those they do? Why do separated
        twins develop similar tastes
        > after decades apart? Why do we develop our tastes & aversions about
        literature, shoes, vehicles,....?
        >
        > I wonder how much of our responses to literature are "guided" (not
        governed) by our inner
        > chemistry? I've 9probably unfortunately) found that my most intense
        responses to the literature I love (for all time) SEEM to have taken
        place during the decades when my hormones were at their most active.
        > Has anyone else in the Myth Soc. had any thoughts on this? Our
        biochemistry having an effect on what we "bond to" as our life's most
        meaningful experiences? I put forth none of this as any sort of dogma.
        I'm truly curious at this time as to the nature of criticism,
        evaluating what is most powerful to any given indivudual.
        >
        > If I were 17 right now, I'd be head over heels with images of Harry
        P., Elijah Wood, you name it.
        > Would that be considered "clouded literary judgment"? I think so!
        >
        > The world-building Tolkien instinctively engaged in is a unique
        complex accomplishment.
        > I can't vouch for Rowling. I've been curious about her academic
        background, whether it indicates
        > a sophistication that would support her world-building. Just today,
        Tim & I (& a guest) discussed Shakespeare; What in Will's background
        would indicate his level of expertise as pertinent to his writing.
        > It's still a mystery!
        >
        > Any thoughts?
        >
        > I'll see some of you in Birmingham after all. Let's talk.
        >
        > Yrs,
        > Bonnie
        >
        > PS: I hope to have a CD of Mythopoeic history pix to share. I'll be
        coming w. Charles Coulombe.
        > (for those of you who know him, rejoice.)
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