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What comes first: ideas or words? The paradox of articulation | Aeon Essays

Articulating our thoughts in the hard cases

To succeed in articulation, we need to chisel away at imprecise words, while guarding against words that would blur what we think.

We often discover what we think by reflecting on what we find ourselves saying. Immediately articulating our thoughts can also come out of us as buzzwords that might hardly reflect what we think at all. (eg, 'What a mess!') These words could come as a result of habit and obscure your thoughts even from yourself.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Describing wonder

Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.

Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wonder as something new and singular that is presented, and memory cannot find any image that nearly resembles this unique appearance.

Bodily symptoms

The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand them. It leads to a suspension of breath, similar to when we are startled.
  • Spiritual: We look upwards in veneration, which makes our heart swell.
The scale of wonder

At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.

Nostalgia
Nostalgia

It is understood as a longing for something long gone by, with a desire to relive the time, combined with a certain sadness while reminiscing about the particular life event.

The time of the past is remembered as an autobiographical memory of the self, something that the person has lived.

Nostalgia and Feeling Homesick

Swiss physician Johannes Hofer referred to nostalgia as a kind of homesickness, a desire to return to the beautiful, simpler times.

The feelings of nostalgia were usually melancholia, anxiety, and rumination. It was made into a neurological illness, which was related to the geographical location of the person longing for home.

Evolution of The Meaning of Nostalgia
  • Nostalgia was considered by the early 20th century a psychiatric illness caused by some traumatic experience of childhood. It had three components, cognitive, affective and conative.
  • The cognitive part remembered old memories of the self, while the affective part was a sad emotion, finally moving towards a desire to return home(conative).
  • Nostalgia is neither a pathological state and nor is it necessarily beneficial. What we can think, remember or imagine, is not bound to be real or factual.