My speech is now becoming a radical problem. Sometimes, for a short period, and suddenly, I find that I no longer know what I am saying, but I still go on talking and talking sense – like an inspired sibyl or a medium. The voice works automatically, fluently, subconsciously, through habit or practice. The words would need to be looked up, if I could recognise their spelling. But I can feel at least that my speaking is correct and I am aware that my words and phrases are familiar and appropriate.
Likewise, I can hear others' words and accept them as meaningful, without being able to repeat or paraphrase or interpret their meaning, though I can perhaps reply sensibly or at least act sensibly in reply. At a particular subconscious level, speech is functioning. Consciously, I can't spell some words, I don't know what they mean, I can't recite their phonemes. All I can recognise is the phatic role of my words, their tone.
To explain. One can have quite extended conversations more or less on autopilot.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Zombies are real
I refer here not to the brain-eating horror-movie staple but rather philosophical zombies, beings that are "indistinguishable from ... normal human[s] except that [they] lack conscious experience, qualia, or sentience." Here is a fascinating account of Tom Lubbock, an art critic with a brain tumor that occasionally renders him essentially a philosophical zombie: