I recently came across a paper that discusses how the cognitive styles of oral cultures are different from print cultures. Oral cultures represent an event like the spokes of a wheel with a central point and simultaneous branches extending out from the centre. Oral cultures value parallelism and wholism and the personification of nature. Print cultures are linear in the sense they focus on one path through time/space and cognitively represent an event as a process with a beginning, middle and an end, usually in detailed hierarchical trees.
Visual Metaphor, Cultural Knowledge, and the New Rhetoric
Robert N. St. Clair
I started wondering if these two very different cognitive styles might not just be part of a larger structure, and I remembered the structure of the hyperbolic browser that I saw more than 10 years ago. It looks like a 2-dimensional representation of a dandelion flower that's gone to seed (in all its fluffy glory).
The trees act as branches. They are primarily linear. And they grow from the centre radially.
And the hyperbolic browser image reminded me again of the E8 mathematical structure.
For more information on hyperbolic browsers:
What a laugh to think that the structure of human thought may be echoed in the structure of the dandelion flower.
(Personally, I love dandelions and encourage them in lawn and garden. I've never thought of them as a weed).