October 17th, 2007

canadese

The bald unknown

Back when I was taking Intro Psych I nearly had an anxiety attack when I read about aphasia and the related conditions in which the brain refuses to process words passively or actively or whatever. To be stripped of one's language seemed to me the ultimate nightmare.

Many years later I was sweeping leaves off the walk in Tokyo with a broom/ houki/ 箒 in my right hand and- a- a- a thing for sweeping leaves into in my left. I looked at the nameless object and realized I had no idea what it was called in any language. Weird but not yet panic-making: the glimpse of a world without names was intellectually intriguing, like a view of a real Flatland. Granted, the nightmare feel was also brushing my neck: what if I never remember...? (Took my roommates to remind me it was a dustpan, after which I remembered myself that it was a chiritori.)
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Am reminded of all this by this passage in this larger entry. Anomia, not related to anomie. Interesting experience, in what's still an unpleasant kind of way.