May 17 2013

Reflections on the Past Semester

Published by at 2:14 pm under Uncategorized

Though I’ve always been interested in questions of consciousness and self, before this semester I had never focused on these themes in literature in such an organized way. Reading poetry and fiction had taught me that subjective truths weren’t necessarily less real than objective ones, but I did not think of subjectivity as a process that could be analyzed objectively. Through reading “neuro novels,” as well as researching synesthesia, I have come to understand subjectivity and objectivity as two sides of the same coin rather than as a binary of opposites. We often use the term “subjective” to suggest that something is not necessarily true. However, as Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment demonstrates, subjective consciousness may actually be the material that gives rise to and determines reality.

I think that my favorite book of the semester, by far, was Mrs. Dalloway. The metaphor of consciousness as a wave that washes over our surroundings–as opposed to more fixed conceptions of consciousness, like Damasio’s–has influenced my reading of books not only for this course but in others and in my own private reading. It has even affected the way I understood several films I’ve watched since reading Mrs. Dalloway, most notably Leviathon. I think that this novel is a must for any future course on “neuronarrative” literature.

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4 responses so far




4 Responses to “Reflections on the Past Semester”

  1.   Jason Tougawon 17 May 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I’m glad to hear somebody loves Mrs. Dalloway as much as I do!

  2.   shahanaon 18 May 2013 at 2:06 am

    Why am I not surprised your favorite book this semester was Mrs. Dalloway? I think REAL literature lovers can really appreciate Virginia Woolf books. I on the other hand am a fake english major, and so that was probably on my list of no so great books this semester.

    Before this class I was never curious or even interested about the consciousness and the self. I never thought about it so deeply. It is only after this class that I find myself interested in this subject. I definitely enjoyed most of the readings this semester, because they somehow relate to my other major of speech language pathology, which has a lot to do with the brain. I was so hesitant before taking this class because I thought it was going to be too sciency and boring, but it turned out to be super interesting and I actually enjoyed it a lot.

  3.   charm2on 20 May 2013 at 1:10 am

    Mrs Dalloway was an uplifting book. I had read it before but did not remember feeling inspired. It’s all a matter of perspective. How I approached the book this time, my perspective, was reframed by directions as to what to be aware of while reading. Class discussions definitely broadened my vision, which further increased my enjoyment.

    I did not finish Sorrows of an American and am glad I did not have to rush through it for the sake of finishing on time. It’s going to be a good read; my first post semester pleasure reading.

  4.   schristianon 20 May 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Mrs. Dalloway was an uplifting book but I actually can’t say that was my favorite. My favorite book we read this semester would have to be LowBoy. I know not everyone read it because you had a choice between two books. For the people who didn’t read it , I would recommend it because it will open your mind to understand what Robert said when he mentioned that Reading poetry and fiction had taught me that subjective truths weren’t necessarily less real than objective ones, but I did not think of subjectivity as a process that could be analyzed objectively.

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