Hacking x Mysticism x History of Science

Sorry for the late post, still working on my essay rewrite, which has proved to be more challenging than I originally thought it would be. Nice to see how certain techniques and stylistic features of the non-fiction works we’ve been reading the past couple of weeks have permeated into my writing though. For one, I find myself making clearer distinctions (especially though negation – Fanon and Hacking both used a lot of this i.e. “Freud is not trying to say ____ nor _____.”) in my writing, and words that bring a lot more texture to relationships (“network” “operates as” etc.).

The Hacking text was a pleasant read, although I found the discussion of statistics and quantitative methods quite challenging. I really dug his discussion of trances and other discussions regarding mysticism and mystical elements. Thee discussions were focused on the place of mysticism in society (i.e. the trance as an “eastern” phenomenon), and I believe that at several points he was suggesting that the mystical explanation was used in order to make sense of multiple personality disorder before it became a “condition”. Disclaimer here though, havent been able to finish the book yet.

The way he clarified schizophrenia and separated it from multiple personality disorder was also really interesting for me, because I have long held the misconception that schizophrenia was characterized by multiple personalities.

Found the way that Hacking deals with philosophy and history of science very engaging. Always easier to work with science when its in a narrative and historically contextualized form. I’ve read a few other works in the similar vain (Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything might be familiar to some of you). The only thing I can of find funny about reading about history of sci is that it tends not to stick with me the same way as fiction does. Bryson’s work especially, is a blur to me. History of science is mildly interesting while you read it, but it lacks the emotional grasp to burn an imprint on the brain. It’s a narrative, and its science, but it’s not much more. Wondering if Hacking’s little science stories will go the same way. We’ll have to see I guess.

2 thoughts on “Hacking x Mysticism x History of Science

  1. I totally notice how our readings have been affecting our writings. I always find that fascinating to behold.

  2. I wonder why it is that scientific history, in your words, “lacks the emotional grasp to burn an imprint on the brain”. Personal taste, or maybe some inherent quality, in comparison to the histories of other disciplines?

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