Alternity, Acquisition, Invariance

  • Michael L. Johnson


I wonder if that aphasic moment when a word evades me is not suggestive of how a nonverbal animal engages the universe. But then when the word ‘comes to mind’, it has already reconstructed and particularized consciousness. It has the power to revise reality or even to generate alternate realities: fantasies, myths, lies. With the word forgotten or never learned, the universe must be taken nakedly, without the shaping gloss. For man the aphasic moment is a moment of irritation and dislocation, perhaps even panic or mental evacuation, or perhaps — if experienced religiously — of Buddhistic enlightenment.


Mental Lexicon Innate Structure Semantic Operation Vocal Apparatus Universal Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    George Steiner, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), pp. 216, 217–18.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wallace Stevens, ‘The Man with the Blue Guitar’, in The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play by Wallace Stevens, ed. Holly Stevens (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1972), p. 133.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See George A. Miller, Spontaneous Apprentices: Children and Language (New York: Seabury Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (New York: Basic Books, 1979), p. 616.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael L. Johnson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael L. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KansasUK

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