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fig.19—Manifold Mediators Mix Massively Modular Metaphors


 The simplest method for comparing oppositions is to pair terms in Rows or Columns of a single part of speech. Leveling terms on the same visual and grammatical planes can bring their conceptual relations into focus. For example, from our general communicate, we seek specifics: verbalize and converse suggest limited speech acts—but how did we arrive at these limits? To speak as children, we must listen and learn as infants—we must interpret before we are competent to express. If we pull back from specifics to more general processes, we can seek out the precursors to verbalization. As we backtrack through the fig.19 Columns, we find our verbal­-vocal skills derive in part from a more visual­-tactile source: The I­-E tongues are marked (per anthropo-jargon, ‘overdetermined’) by figures of speech that align the mind by hand to eye, such as “grasp a concept” and “collect your thoughts.” To explain, from Latin ex­-planare, is ‘to lay out on a plane’—to organize the topic “at hand” in a topo­-graphical,  culturally structured space. Do you “see what I mean?”

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fig.20—figural ladders ground literal figures


 As a concept must be explained to be grasped, we must first grasp it to explain it; we com­-pre-hend (together-hold) via recursive cycles. To cogitate, from Lat. agitare ‘drive to and fro’ from agere ‘to set in motion’ is to perform action in space; hence the concept of “motor cognition” climbs to prominence in the cognitive sciences. To compose is to bring together, to combine positions and oppositions into composites; but to what end? Composition is the engine of taxonomy (and ontology), by which things are collected (from Lat. legere ‘to gather’; cf. lecture, ledger, legend) by the senses and classified by the discerning intellect. The fig.20 Rows can be read in several directions: from right to left, they move from the abstract back to the concrete: If we wish to communicate our thoughts, we must first compose them; in order to compose, we first must cogitate; from top to bottom to top, they oscillate from ‘outside­-in’ to ‘inside­-out’—from environment to action, from inventory to imagination, from the intellect to the field of discourse. 

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