On stereo thinking

I was writing a post for Zenpundit a day or two ago about two topical interests of mine — religiously sanctioned violence and social media — which came together some while ago when a Taliban spokesperson began using Twitter to make press announcements, and a press officer of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) began tweeting back.

I wandered a bit off topic in the middle of the post to discuss something I might as well call stereo thinking — which is certainly an aspect of Sembl thinking, so I thought it belonged here. Here, then, is an excerpt from that post, with a bit of the original context left in place so that the whole passage hopefully makes sense without requiring further editing.

From Zenpundit:


A while back, on my way to make other points, I posted this:

I wasn’t the first or last to make the connection between A Balkhi and the Taliban, nor to note the Twitter-exchanges between Balkhi and the ISAF press office — but I happened to have this habit of juxtaposing similars and opposites, and had developed the “Specs” format used here, with the little binoculars inset, to suggest the idea of seeing parallel or opposite things in parallel or opposition — a sort of mental equivalent of stereoscopic vision or stereophonic sound — in the hope that something about the comparison and contrast would add a depth dimension to understanding.

As a footnote to a footnote to a footnote, I think the Necker Cube can add an interesting aspect to this business of stereoscopic thinking:

When two things are so much the same and so utterly different that, as with a Necker Cube (or the positive and negative of a photo rapidly alternating) the mind flashes rapidly from one view to its exact and opposite other, a metacognitive insight arises about what I can only term the two in one in twoness experienced.

File that under number theory, koans.


That’s the excerpt from Zenpundit. What follows is a quote from Michael Polanyi which Critt Jarvis supplied me with in a comment on that post — food for thought:

The fusion of the two stereoscopic pictures to a single spatial image is not the outcome of an argument; and if its result is illusory, as it can well be, it will not be shaken by argument. The fusion of the clues to the image on which they bear is not a deduction but an integration.

You can find that and much more in his essay The Structure of Consciousness, also found in Polanyi’s book Knowing and Being, pp. 211-13.

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