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fig.21—drawn and quartered, from the inside­-out


“It doesn’t feel to us, on the inside, as if our minds were composed of massively many modules acting both sequentially and in parallel. On the contrary, we have the impression that the mind is [...] transparent to itself, with everything that happens within it occurring in a single unified arena containing conscious experience, conscious thought, and conscious decision­-making.”—Peter Carruthers 2006

 We address the “single unified area” at length in later chapters; here we simply cross­-reference a few ‘common-sense’ snapshot. Given “massively many modules,” where can we even begin? While Rows and Columns serve well to sort out pairs in search of conceptual mediation, a more specific analysis will call for more specific models. The Biaxial (or ‘bivariate’) Plot is a common and effective method for situating complex objects, processes or events relative to two variable scales, classes or types—e.g., maps, graphs, and bar charts all orient data by the classic X and Y axes.

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fig.22—each quadrant shares three kinds of opposition

 By crossing two pairwise oppositions, a Plot can reveal hidden complexity within categories we take for granted. By slicing the system both ‘horizontally’ and ‘vertically’ we can refine our variables: How do we verbalize? To maintain focus, we retain our formal constraint of using verbs alone. First, we reorient ‘interpret/express’ onto the Y­-axis of fig.21; second, we seek out an X­-axis criterion that cuts verbalize across both int and ext—for example, anatomy, i.e., body parts. Split along the horizontal X­-axis, we read and listen via ‘upper’ organs of eye and ear; we write and speak via ‘lower’ organs of hand and mouth. Split along the vertical Y­-axis, the vector from mouth to ear vocalizes language as speech, while the vector from hand to eye visualizes language as writing and gesture. When read from the inside­-out or the outside-in, a Plot may seem to grant more importance either to the vertical or the horizontal oppositions. As shown in fig.22, any selected corner term will display a different kind of opposition in each of the other three corners.

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