Ready For My So-low

I have had a strange relationship with public speaking over the years. I have absolutely no problem with speaking in public, but it depends on the audience. I took an Intro to Public Speaking class some years ago and I didn’t really learn very much from it. Although, I must be honest, I was not too good a student at that time to begin with. But, my speeches (the important part) typically went well primarily because the audience consisted of classmates, the majority of which were my friends, and a Professor who I was comfortable with.

As I got older, speaking in front of a large crowd or even a moderately smaller crowd has become much more nerve wrecking. This is made worse by the intellectual level of the crowd. I found that even in a classroom setting, my nerves heighten and confidence drops whenever I have to respond to a Professor I look up to or find really brilliant (they’re a bit intimidating). It feels like my words are constantly under scrutiny (though it may only be in my head). I have even had experiences where I responded to questions from some Professors in a near whisper seemingly to match my level of confidence in that moment.

Now, one would think that my level of comfort and confidence would increase with proper preparation and practice. However, this has proven irrelevant when facing the actual audience. I have had instances where I spoke or gave a presentation and in the moment ended up saying something weird and chuckling awkwardly. It doesn’t help that everyone says to picture the audience naked. This is something I hope to avoid in this upcoming conference-awkward laughter and picturing the audience in anything less than they are wearing. Lucky for me, the majority of my presentation should already be made if all goes accordingly. I just have to work on not choking (since I’ll be in a room full of scholars) on the few things I will have to say in the beginning or in response to any questions after.

Dream on Monkey Mountain- Post Colonialism vs Post Slavery

I presented on Derek Walcott’s “Dream on Monkey Mountain” and paired it with “Chapter VI: Of the Training of Black Men” from The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois. The main focus of my discussion was on the close parallels between the conditions and treatment of black people post slavery and post-colonialism. Du Bois discusses the black man’s attempt to reclaim humanity and readjust to life after slavery in America, whereas Walcott’s play addresses the struggles of the black man in a post-colonial context of a West Indian Island. There was a lot of material in “Monkey Mountain”, for various kinds of discussions, so I ended up adding some material that some of you may (or may not) find useful. I hope that the way I structure this is comprehensible.

“Teaching” the Black Man- Post Colonialism vs Post Slavery

Black men as Animals

The second thought streaming from the death-ship and the curving river is the thought of the older South,—the sincere and passionate belief that somewhere between men and cattle, God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro,—a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations, but straitly foreordained to walk within the Veil. To be sure, behind the thought lurks the afterthought,—some of them with favoring chance might become men, but in sheer self-defence we dare not let them, and we build about them walls so high, and hang between them and the light a veil so thick, that they shall not even think of breaking through (Du Bois, paragraph 2).

Connect with many of Corporal’s statements about race (mimics white racist point of view)

Racial prejudice

Classicism

Aesthetic

In the beginning was the ape… (Walcott 216-217)

Corporal treats Makak like an animal (Walcott 221-224)

Internalized Racism: Lack of self worth

So here we stand among thoughts of human unity, even through conquest and slavery; the inferiority of black men, even if forced by fraud; a shriek in the night for the freedom of men who themselves are not yet sure of their right to demand it. This is the tangle of thought and afterthought wherein we are called to solve the problem of training men for life (Du Bois, paragraph 4).

Moustique

You black, ugly, poor, so you worse than nothing… (Walcott 237)

Moustique

Pray for the day when poverty done, and for when niggers everywhere could walk upright like men (Walcott 254)

Corporal

I jeered thee because I hated half of myself, my eclipse (Walcott 299)

Collective racist consciousness

Again, we may decry the color-prejudice of the South, yet it remains a heavy fact. Such curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly. They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature. And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone. They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency. They can be met in but one way,—by the breadth and broadening of human reason, by catholicity of taste and culture. And so, too, the native ambition and aspiration of men, even though they be black, backward, and ungraceful, must not lightly be dealt with. To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires; to flout their striving idly is to welcome a harvest of brutish crime and shameless lethargy in our very laps. The guiding of thought and the deft coördination of deed is at once the path of honor and humanity (Du Bois, paragraph 6).

Makak

What power can crawl on the bottom of the sea, or swim in the ocean of air above us? The mind, the mind (Walcott 291).

Unnatural Narrative

Basil -cabin maker becomes a manifestation of the figure of death

Moustique dies and is apparently raised from the dead

Identity

Makak doesn’t know who he is in the beginning (journey to selfhood through dreamworld- subconscious) (Walcott 219)

Moustique pretends to be Makak

Marxist theory

Political and economic struggle

“Even tribal justice” (Walcott 315)
In the midst, then, of the larger problem of Negro education sprang up the more practical question of work, the inevitable economic quandary that faces a people in the transition from slavery to freedom, and especially those who make that change amid hate and prejudice, lawlessness and ruthless competition (Du Bois; end of paragraph 9).

Dream theory

Ishiguro’s Buried Giant 

Page 235 “the mist” and mind

“swallowed up” by the mist (Walcott 326)

Madness/ Hysteria

Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart”

“Listen to me, I am not mad…” (Walcott 236)

Feminist Theory

Limited female characters

Stereotypical roles

Gossiping in scene 3

Sexualized? (Woman who appears to Makak)

“Diablesse”- female devil (Walcott 236)

 

N/B- Professor pointed out A Midsummer Night’s Dream -blurred lines between dream and reality.

 

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: Genre Presentation

For my presentation on Emily Dickinson’s Poems, I focused on the genre category of the exam. I primarily used Seo Yeoung Chu’s discussion of cognitive estrangement and highlighted some significant aspects of her argument that would relate to the highlighted lines in Dickinson’s poems. I also posted a few quotes from Poes, “The Tell-tale Heart” and Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” to help with the comparison between lyric poetry and narrative fiction. As a counter-argument, I also included a quote from Culler’s, “Why Lyric”, to help one disagree with Chu or strengthen her argument (depending on which you prefer).

 

Cognitive Estrangement in Poetry

Emily Dickinson Poems

Seo Young Chu, Excerpts from Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep?: A Science Fictional Theory of Representation

I hereby submit a theory that might initially sound implausible but will, I hope, have become more convincing by the end of this introduction. Science fiction and lyric poetry are joined inseparably by rich affinities […] the coincidence lies in more than a shared intensity of figurative language. (Chu 13)

“I conceptualize science fiction as a mimetic discourse whose objects of representation are nonimaginary yet cognitively estranging” (Chu 3).

A concept both integral to my argument and far from self-evident, the “cognitively estranging referent” requires some exposition in these opening pages. What exactly does it mean for a referent, an object of representation, to be “cognitively estranging”? To answer this question, we must first ask what Suvin himself means when he calls science fiction the “literature of cognitive estrangement” (4). In Suvin’s exact words, science fiction is “a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author’s empirical environment” (7-8). According to Suvin, the presence of estrangement, which “differentiates SF from the ‘realistic’ mainstream,” is determined by settings and characters that are “radically or at least significantly different from empirical times, places, and characters of ‘mimetic’ or ‘naturalist fiction” (Chu 8).

“Lyric poetry is frequently soliloquy-like. Lyric voices speak from beyond ordinary time. Lyric poems are inhabited by situations and tableaux transcending ordinary temporality. Lyric descriptions are charged with depictive intensity. Lyric poetry is musically expressive. Lyric poems evoke heightened and eccentric states of consciousness” (Chu 13-14)

 

Connect: Narrative Fiction

“As I hope to demonstrate, only a narrative form thoroughly powered by lyricism possesses enough torque–enough twisting force, enough verse (from ‘vertere,’ Latin for ‘to turn’)–to convert an elusive referent into an object available for representation” (Chu 14).

Jonathan Culler, “Why Lyric?”

Culler discusses issues with the way poetry is read by focusing on speaker.

“Narrative structures are translatable, but lyric, in its peculiar structural patterning, figures the givenness, the untranscendability, of a particular language, which seems to its users a condition of experience” (Culler 205).

 

 

 

 

I FELT a funeral in my brain,        

And mourners, to and fro,

Kept treading, treading, till it seemed

That sense was breaking through.

 

And when they all were seated,                  5

A service like a drum

Kept beating, beating, till I thought

My mind was going numb.

 

And then I heard them lift a box,

And creak across my soul           10

With those same boots of lead, again.

Then space began to toll

 

As all the heavens were a bell,

And Being but an ear,

And I and silence some strange race,         15

Wrecked, solitary, here.

 

THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,

For, put them side by side, 

The one the other will include

With ease, and you beside.

 

The brain is deeper than the sea,                 5

For, hold them, blue to blue,         

The one the other will absorb,

As sponges, buckets do.

 

The brain is just the weight of God,

For, lift them, pound for pound,               10

And they will differ, if they do,

As syllable from sound.

 

TELL ALL the truth but tell it slant —

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind —

 

HOPE is the thing with feathers     

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

 

And sweetest in the gale is heard;              5

And sore must be the storm 

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

 

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;                10

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

 

Other useful texts/ quotes:

 

“The Tell-tale Heart”- Poe (first paragraph)

“The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed –not dulled them”

“I heard many things in hell”

 

“The Yellow Wallpaper”- Gilman

“I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big, old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend” (650/4)

Exam Strategy

Disclaimer: This plan is tentative and is thus, subject to the whims of change over the next few days (not likely though).

Selected Texts

  1. “The Dream of the Rood”
  2. Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant
  3. Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-tale Heart
  4. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
  5. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  6. Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”
  7. Derek Walcott, Dream on Monkey Mountain
  8. Emily Dickinson, “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain,” “The Brain is Wider than the Sky,” “Tell All the Truth but Tell It Slant,” and “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers”
  9. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  10. Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  11. Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall”

My list is mainly comprised of texts that I am mostly familiar with and therefore feel capable of writing about. The few texts that I may not be familiar with, are ones that I intend to read or present on (like Monkey Mountain). I chose texts that I will be most comfortable writing about. As for the supplemental readings, I chose some of them based on the class presentations and others on how promising they looked at first skim (I still have some reading to do).

I have coupled the primary texts with the supplementary readings that I hope to use for each. I have not given any explanations for how I will be using each because I am still working that out, but I am pretty set on the pairing.

Genre

  • “The Dream of the Rood”- Steven Kruger, from Dreaming in the Middle Ages
  • Emily Dickinson, “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain,” “The Brain is Wider than the Sky,” “Tell All the Truth but Tell It Slant,” and “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” -Seo-Young Chu, Excerpts from Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep?: A Science Fictional Theory of Representation (considering whether I need to tackle all of the poems or just focus on a few; or does this depend on what my argument will be?)
  • Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall”- Karen Smyth, “Virginia Woolf’s Elegiac Enterprise”
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” -Unreadable Minds and the Captive Reader H. Porter Abbott

Historical Context

  • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream -Larry Swain, “Exploring the Depth and Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Literature” (interview with James Wiener)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper -Jürgen Wolter, “‘The Yellow Wallpaper’: The Ambivalence of Changing Discourses”

Theory

  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man -W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk and/or William Lyne, “The Signifying Modernist: Ralph Ellison and the Limits of Double Consciousness”
  • Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-tale Heart -Jan Alber, et al, “Unnatural Narratives, Unnatural Narratology: Beyond Mimetic Models”
  • Harriet Jacobs,Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl -Homi K. Bhabha, Introduction to The Location of Culture
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant -Sebastian Groes, ed., Selected Essays from Memory in the 21st Century: New Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences

Flexibility and Modularity

  • Along with the historical context, The Yellow Wallpaper, has room for being used in theory with Michel Foucault, “Panopticism” from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. I would consider discussing this idea with “Bartleby” or “The Mark on the Wall”.
  • I could work Derek Walcott’s, Dream on Monkey Mountain, into the genre of play-writing. There is also a possibility to discuss it in terms of dream theory, using Sebastian Groes, ed., Selected Essays from Memory. I have not finished reading this play yet, so these are only assumptions based on what I have already read.

I am sure that there are more texts that have flexibility of use, and I will be giving more thought about this aspect as I continue to prepare for the exam.

Bhabha & Company

For my group’s presentation, I had the task of identifying the thinker or texts that help the writer build his argument. This was an incredibly exhausting task, granted that, Homi Bhabha’s introduction to Location of Culture, was crawling with a large number of sources. My presentation primarily consisted of a lengthy attempt at revealing the instances where Bhabha used other works or thinkers, then I discussed how these works may or may not have helped to further the piece.

However, for this blog, I have opted for a different approach to make the critical context less exhaustive. While Bhabha mentions many references, he mainly focuses on two novels for constructing his argument. The first text he heavily focuses on is Toni Morrison’s, Beloved. He later begins working with Nadine Gordimer’s, My Son’s Story. He specifically discusses the placement of two female characters in these texts.

Bhabha posits that he has, “ended this argument with the woman framed—Gordimer’s Aila—and the woman renamed—Morrison’s Beloved—because in both their houses great world events erupted—slavery and apartheid—and their happening was turned, through that peculiar obscurity of art, into a second coming” (18). This indicates that the ways women function in a domestic space is highly contingent on the state of the government. The idea that these institutions of oppression are turned into a “second coming” was a bit confusing, but I assume it is referring to reconstruction of these worlds in a work of literature (this is something you may find useful or can completely ignore). This quote may be used to discuss womanhood in the political climate of the historical context for certain texts that lack division between the home and state. Regarding this, one may also discuss the stereotypes surrounding the domestic role of women and the role of men in politics. This could help with forming an argument based on male hegemony. A good text for discussing this is Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. While this text does not address post-colonialism or the plight of the black woman, it can provide insight on the role of patriarchy inside and outside of the home.

To further this discussion, you may incorporate Bhabha’s use of the term, “unhomeliness”, which he credits to Henry James’, The Portrait of a Lady. In reference to this term, Bhabha explains that, “The recesses of the domestic space become sites for history’s most intricate invasions. In that displacement, the borders between home and world become confused; and, uncannily, the private and the public become part of each other, forcing upon us a vision that is as divided as it is disorienting” (9). The description of this as an “invasion”, is possibly the most helpful point in Bhabha’s statement. The affairs of the home should be addressed within that realm; however, political policies and public issues somehow find themselves within domestic walls. This is a good platform for discussing how this “invasion” is done and the ways that women are affected by it.

Task List

Professor’s feedback was most helpful for creating this list of tasks. I really have quite a bit to do.

I need to establish my motive (which I’m still figuring out) , reorder paragraphs, connect the ideas in my sources to make points, work on how to analyze sources in a way that is not too repetitive (especially for quotes that support the same claim—figure how they are different), figure out a thesis, work out how I am going to articulate said thesis, investigate more sources such as Seo-Young Chu’s book, look for useful information on drugs that act as brain stimulants or neuro-enhancers, select specific scenes from my primary texts that would be useful to my argument, and figure out how to explain them in a clear and concise manner (so that the readers get it), create a solid intro.

As of now, I really need to think about breaking down and reorienting the placement of everything. However, I may do this after collecting some more information, which may be helpful in working out the structure of my paper.

Feedback Reflection

reflection-s1llcr11
I am extremely thankful for all the feedback I have received on my project. It is all really constructive and will surely help me with configuring my essay over the break. Everyone seemed to like that I am using the transhumanist angle to assess these shows, which I am thankful for because I was unsure if anyone would think it made sense.

Professor was super encouraging and has suggested that I use specific resources that he has sent me to work with. Lisa has also stressed the importance of data gathering and I agree that I have much more work to do in terms of reading and incorporating sources. I have many resources right now, but also much more to find in order to create a strong argument.

Professor has also pointed out that I need to take my time in explaining and analyzing scenes from my primary sources. Similarly, Sara thinks that I should work on refining my argument by using some very helpful questions which she provided to help me assess different scenes and their representations of consciousness. I will definitely work on slowing down and doing my analyses with precision. This was actually a huge concern for me because I tend to run away from summary, but in this instance, it is necessary in order for readers who have not seen the shows that I am using to understand what I am talking about.

My next step is to really work on the suggestions given by my peers and Professor so that I can come up with a specific thesis. I think that once I know what my specific argument is, then I will be able to argue for it a lot better. For right now, my ideal finished essay is one that will make a unique argument that is both engaging for readers and scholarly. These are the most specific expectations that I can have for right now.

Good Luck with Your Projects & Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Project Progress

 

internetslowdown_day

Processing Progress…Please wait…

 

I’m sorry the file you are searching for cannot be found. (Just kidding! I felt the need for some humor. Forgive me.)

So far, the only progress I’ve made is random writing, which I guess counts for something. I have also made little lists of the things I want to discuss. The most exciting thing so far is that I’m not completely lost in my awesome topic anymore, thanks to the help of Professor and my peers. I have a clearer idea of what I’m doing for the draft. I have also been really considering my justification for using the primary sources that I did, especially because (as pointed out by Sara) there are many other films that do similar things that I will talk about (I think I may be close to an answer though).

I have also progressed in my ideas of how to structure the project. I figured it would be helpful (and kind of cool) to use two or three images from one or both series that I will be discussing to help with reader comprehension. However, this is a blessing and a curse because there are no images online that already capture the scenes I’m using (nobody cares like I do). Thus, arises a new frustration (if I even do this) to go in search of the scenes myself and take screenshots.

To add insult to injury, a new source that I had found to be promising and went to pick up, has mysteriously disappeared from the Queens public library. This is a sad day, but never mind, I shall find something else (I hope).

I am also thankful that what is due now, is just a draft (i.e. not being graded), but I will still do my best on it. I’ve been struggling with my paper sounding to much like a rant about television. I’m working towards making my draft sound more scholarly, but also bearable to read for my peers.

So far, I’ve been using Hayot’s strategy of writing a bit at a time, and as often as possible. Although, I’ve literally been writing—on paper (it helps me think). I also think that Walk’s move of the information on the topic being limited is actually motivating me. I mean this in the least cheesy way. When I think of how little attention my primary sources have been given, it makes me feel as though I’m actually making a contribution to scholarship by pushing through my paper.

 

*Sorry for all the parentheses. My sleep-deprived inner voice kept surfacing. I literally had to stop myself at a point.

Annotated Bibliography + Ballroom Diagram

Amen, Daniel G. Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance. New York: Three Rivers, 2005. Print.

Amen discusses ways of enhancing brain performativity in various ways that include lifestyle changes. One of his assertions is that there are many advantages for enhancing the brain through supplemental intake. While the supplements that Amen outlines primarily contain natural ingredients, there may still be a possible danger to constantly supplying the body with factory made substances. I will piggyback this idea for now as an alternative to using drugs to enhance the brain, but I may leapfrog later

Besser, Stephan. “From the Neuron to the World and Back: The Poetics of the Neuromolecular Gaze in Bart Koubaa’s Het Gebied Van Nevski and James Cameron’s Avatar.” Journal of Dutch Literaure (n.d.): 43-67. University of Amsterdam. Web.

I am primarily interested in Besser’s idea about the film, Avatar, and it’s depictions of the brain as a network. He discusses a larger scale example of what Limitless and Sherlock does with consciousness. The idea of connections between physical beings on a neuromolecular level may help me determine how this idea can be translated into my primary texts. I hope to use this idea of depicting the brain in film to show how the consciousness is also being depicted. I will piggyback this idea.

Damasio, Antonio R. Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. New York: Pantheon, 2010. Print.

Damasio’s claim of a core self and an autobiographical self asserts that the core self remains the same while the other can be influenced; it permits the existence of a richer form of consciousness.  This concept will help me to explain how Limitless and Sherlock depict autobiographical consciousness through the physical depictions. I will piggyback this idea, but there is also a possibility to leapfrog this idea when it comes to multiple depictions of consciousness.

Dehaene, Stani slas. Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts. NY, NY: Viking, 2014. Print.

Deheane’s theory of conscious access determines what becomes conscious based on what we focus on. He argues that this is a code of consciousness which constitutes a “neuronal workspace” for conscious thought. I will use this idea to aide in assessing Limitless and the way the drug NZT may have an effect on this workspace and bring unfocused thoughts to the forefront of consciousness. I will be primarily piggybacking this idea to help establish a realistic scientific claim for a fictional representation of consciousness.

Dumit, Joseph. Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2004. Print.

I was not sure how to integrate Dumit’s research on brain imagining technology into my work at first. However, I am going to start by considering how the brain imaging idea translates in the (fictional) realm of consciousness imaging. This is meant to help determine whether an image of consciousness would help us understand the concept and its functions better. I will piggyback all the way.

Sommerhoff, Gerd, and Karl MacDorman. “An Account Of Consciousness In Physical And Functional Terms: A Target For Research In The..” Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science 29.2 (1994): 151. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.

Sommerhoff and MacDorman’s discussion of subliminal awareness, hallucinations, and readiness sensory perception directly relates consciousness to being a product of the brain. I will piggyback this notion to help me explain how the portrayal of consciousness as a physical entity in Limitless allows it to be assumed that the show is linking consciousness to be a product of the brain.

Sotirova, Violeta. Consciousness in Modernist Fiction: A Stylistic Study. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

Sotirova’s book discusses the representation of character consciousness from a dialogue standpoint in modern fiction. I am still waiting to get a copy of this from the library. This source seems to primarily focus on the dialogue between fictional character consciousness and it’s relation to real world dialog. I may piggyback this source or leapfrog depending on how much of it works for what I will be writing about.

Swaab, D. F. We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, From the Womb to Alzheimer’s. Trans. Jane Hedley-Prole. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2014. Print.

Swaab discusses the disadvantages of drugs. He outlines that the use of drugs they can manipulate and trigger brain performativity and give a temporary effect. However, he strongly argues that these substances may cause lasting permanent damages to the physical brain matter.  I will piggyback this idea in order to analyze the use of drugs by the main characters in my primary TV programs.

Ballroom Diagram

ballroom

 

My ballroom diagram has me as the primary MC who is starting the conversation. My primary texts are both very modern and fairly new, therefore, there is very little analytic and scholarly information on the sources. I am using the various scholars depicted in order to show how these scholars will help me analyze the neurological aspects of the texts. Some of the scholars refer to each other in their works. Besser, Sommerhoff and MacDorman refer to Gerald Edelman who is a Darwinian neuroscientist. He discusses neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. He is depicted as a ghost in my diagram because he is not someone I have done much research on yet, but I hope to find some way that he can contribute to my research and insert him in the conversation. Besser also mentions Swaab’s argument about self-determinism in conjunction with Edelman’s Darwinian ideas. I will attempt to utilize the argument of these scholars as well as the arguments they make about each other’s work to analyze my primary texts.

 

Research Proposal

 

propose-live-on-tv

I intend to construct my research paper on the platform of the American television series, Limitless (2015), and the British drama series, Sherlock (2016), as primary sources. Although both texts are prominent in different genres and for different cultures, they both depict interesting representations of consciousness and the intelligence. Limitless is a television adaptation of the Neil Burger film with the same title. The story follows Bryan Finch, who is a normal member of society, until he takes a neuro-enhancing drug called NZT and begins working with the FBI to solve cases. The BBC series, Sherlock is a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories. The show follows the self-proclaimed, “high functioning sociopath”, Sherlock Holmes and his associate, Dr. John Watson, as they solve mysterious crimes using the art of deduction. I would like to explore selected episodes of Limitless and the way that it portrays the projections of the main character’s consciousness as a physical manifestation, while on the neuro-drug NZT. Similarly, episode of season 3 has a strong theme of drug usage by the main character, accompanied by physical manifestations of his consciousness in order to solve a crime. I am especially interested in the connection between both main character’s usage of drugs and how that functions as an enabler in the enhancement of their consciousness. Do these shows assume that there is a tangible significance to drug usage and our perception of consciousness? Is there a significance (outside of sheer entertainment) to representing thought as physical? How does this relate to the mind (intangible) vs brain (tangible) argument? What can be learnt about how our consciousness is influenced by others, through the way that the shows portray the physical manifestations, as not only the main character, but other characters as well?

One source that I intend to use to further my research is Stanislas Dehaene’s, Consciousness and the Brain (2010). This source will help me to begin answering the question of external influence on the consciousness as well as understanding the simulation of consciousness separate from the brain. Another source that I am interested using is the journal article “Physical Consciousness Outside the Brain: Parasite Fermion Model for Substance of Consciousness”, by Takashi Taneichi. This source may be helpful in exploring the significance of portraying consciousness as a physical manifestation through its attempt to clarify the origin of conciseness being outside the brain using something called the parasite fermion model. Other sources that I hope to find would be journal articles on existing neuro-enhancers and their current or possible effects on the mind and physical brain. I would also like to find more information about other television programs and films that also follow this model of portraying consciousness.

I have attempted to search for existing scholarly works that discuss my primary sources on the subject of consciousness, however, I was unable to find any. Thus, I may be the first. My motive for writing on this particular subject is in part because I find the idea of physically representing consciousness to be interesting. I am also motivated to find out more on the subject of how we are able to shape and reshape our identity through our impressions of others and the way each show represents this by the main character’s impression of other characters as physical manifestations. We have been in the age of film and television for a while now, and I think that the we (often subconsciously) learn more about ourselves and the state of society through these mediums. I hope to contribute a new perspective to the argument about the separation of consciousness from the body by exploring the very literal way that my primary sources depict this idea.