Altered State (This Weeks Reading)

Taste the Difference 

I should be diligently reading a newly purchased book on species and looking more at recent philosophical and psychological ideas on metaphor.

But I have turned instead to 17th century source material. I know research on species will not answer any questions in regard to classification and taste (I have already asked the expert).

I will be engaged in some cryptic note taking, just post bare sources until I know what I am looking at.

Asking a number of questions, one, what does genius taste like?

Be spending some time trying to work out some of the terms familiar in 17th century chemical experiment (and also medicine and alchemy I suspect).

Also look at how taste is used as a predictive tool in geological survey. As geological formation was difficult to see and examine below ground. Taste seems to have served as a diagnostic tool.

The scattered examples I have found so far all relate to establishing a relationship between the land and the sea. Sea plants that taste like terrestrial plant counterparts, birds that taste like fish, fish that taste like terrestrial animals.

I can now broaden that perspective out as I have finally hit a significant source detailing the use of taste and its relationship with formed stone.

One thing that makes reading a bit more interesting here. Beliefs are in a state of flux in this period, what a writer says publicly is not necessarily what he thinks privately. Robert Boyle was publicly supportive of medical beliefs involving the four humours, privately his unpublished work reveals a more sceptical nature.

I prefer to look at belief particularly when it overlaps with myth (1) and ideas held within wider popular culture. Identifying arguments and political differences within the network of correspondence looks like a task I will have to perform soon.


Use terms like myth and peasant culture in an ethnological sense rather than a historical one, where the terms are vaguely deployed and traditionally deployed as value laden, negatives. i.e. contemporary belief in a flat earth is indicative of contemporary ‘peasant’ culture and its relationship with myth. The language here is cultural and socially significant but in terms of accurately defining an economic class or a form of narrative it is entirely meaningless.



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