Techniques of Explanation

Alex Giovanni Due 9/25/12 Expository Writing 1:355:101:20 F12 Techniques explanation Every one communicates in unique ways, often saying the same idea in a totally different way, using their own personal viewpoints this is clear after reading “When I Woke up Tuesday Morning, It was Friday” by Martha Stout, I realized she had the same opinion as Juhani Pallasmaa and Oliver Sacks.

All three of them believe that in order to get the most out of life people must try to take in as much of their environment as possible, through their five senses. This thought was central to all of their articles, however none of them just come out and say it; they use examples to help the reader understand, and each one goes about this in a unique way. Pallasmaa in “The Minds Eye” uses very descriptive and illustrative examples to explain to the reader this idea of using the other senses to get more from your environment, to really live life.

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He talks about the emotional aspect of the brains relationship to the senses, rather than explaining how the connections work, or how to use them as an advantage; he creates conditions that force the reader to think about their own personal relationship of their own senses. Pallasmaa in my view explains the same idea as the other two authors in the least literal way.

Sacks uses real-life examples of how people evolve their other senses when forced to, in “Eyes of the Skin”, he discusses the blind and uses some specific examples of how people adapted their relationship with their own senses in order to survive, and in some ways evolve, gain a better understanding of their environment. He explains to the reader that by evolving the remaining senses, the people, he interviews with, are able to create a better connection with their environment, and in doing so forming a more complete experience, living life.

Stout explains to his readers the same ideas, however he chooses to use more real life examples of how people are able to expand their senses. Stout I believe is more literal than Pallasmaa in that respect. Stout is the most literal of the three authors, being a psychologist; she chooses to explain in “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, It Was Friday”, the senses connections with the brain in a scientific point of view (naturally). Instead of using descriptive ideas that create a connection to memories like Pallasmaa, or having an example of someone who was able to evolve their ther senses like Sacks, she chooses to talk about the actual parts of the brain and their functions. She also uses examples of people, people who block out their senses and in doing so shut out the world, in essence demonstrating the opposite of the three authors main idea, that expanding the senses leads to better living, her “patients” are blocking out their senses and hindering their quality of life. Stout in my opinion has the most literal, scientific approach of the three authors.

Sacks and Pallasmaa have the same idea, and that same idea also supports what Stout is explaining in her article, that for a higher quality of life we must expand our senses. Both Sacks and Pallasmaa thoroughly explain this idea in each of their articles, they just choose to go about doing so in unique ways. Pallasmaa explains his idea that todays society is unable to fully experience life because we are too focused on vision and we need to use our other senses more fully in order to fully experience our surroundings.

He uses very descriptive and emotionally tied examples to support his thoughts. He says, “A particular smell makes us unknowingly re-enter a space completely forgotten by the retinal memory; the nostrils awaken a forgotten image, and we are enticed to enter a vivid daydream. ” (Pallasmaa 292). In this example he is saying that in order to evolve our minds imagination we must be able to take in our surroundings through all of our senses.

Sacks has an almost identical thought, in that both believe that an evolution of the senses will lead to a better more complete life, however he explains it using real life examples, people that are forced to use their other senses, in order to experience their surroundings. He interviews people who have lost their vision in order to show that they can really live life by using their other senses to gain understanding of their environment, an example of this is his colleague who is deaf, when he would “talk” to her and turn around she would say “I can no longer hear you. [And when he said] “You mean you can no longer see me. ” She responds “you may call it hearing but I experience its as hearing. ” ” (Sacks 310). He is showing that she still can experience life by elevating her other senses. Sacks and Pallasmaa have very similar ideas on how elevating our senses can give us a more complete experience (living life), however in their essays they explain it in different ways. Pallasmaa and Stout write about the same basic remise, however they choose to explain it through their own devices, Stout talks about how too much sensory input can be damaging, and in an intense situation your brain can shut out the input, while Pallasmaa says that the more you can sense the more you can expand your mind. When Stout talks about how someone dealing with a traumatic situation they want to limit the sensory input that may remind them of that event.

Towards the end of her article she says “I believed that Julia might be ready to bring up the lights in the cold, dark house of her past,” (Stout 398) and prior to this, Julia says, “what if you aren’t actually experiencing life. ” This leads me to believe that Stout actually thinks that absorbing all of your surroundings is very important, she just had to explain it in a way using a very literal direction. So really Stout believes the same thing as Pallasmaa, that in order to fully experience life we must absorb our surroundings through all of our senses fully.

Pallasmaa goes about explaining this same idea in a different way, he chooses to show how we as a society are not doing what Stout believes we should be, he says we are focused on visually pleasing things, therefore we are not able to really experience life, it is demonstrated when Pallasmaa is talking about ideal architecture incorporates all of the senses so that we can fully appreciate it, Pallasmaa says “architecture experience brings the world into a most intimate contact with the body” (Pallasmaa 298).

He is saying that in order to have the greatest possible connection with your surroundings you must use all of your senses, in other words, in order to fully experience life you must take in all of the experience. Instead of just coming out and saying this, Pallasmaa chooses to explain his ideas using emotionally associated examples, such as how we are missing out on what the smells of our surroundings can tell us, or how the sounds can tell us things. Instead of explaining it in a more scientific way like Stout used, he chooses to appeal to the emotional aspect.

Stout talks about how people with trauma usually block their senses to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event. However, she says in order to recover you must try to avoid blocking them out, or else they will never be able to really live life. Seth is a person she talks about dealing with a traumatic event; he says that he feels like “Reality changes. Everything becomes very small, and I exist entirely inside my mind. ”(Stout 395) Seth is blocking out his environment, in affect shutting off his senses. Stout says that in order for him to get over this, he needs to experience the things he is shutting off.

He will never truly live otherwise. This example is explained in Stouts essay in a very scientific explanation, very literal interpretation of how people are using their senses and what it means in terms of evolving the brain. Sacks totally supports Stout however, Sacks goes about explaining this in a different way, he uses examples of people without senses and explains how they are able to adapt to their disability in order to fully take in their surroundings, to truly live. This is demonstrated with Zoltan Torey, a man he interviewed who lost his vision when he was twenty-one.

Torey said he “imagined visual world that seemed almost as real and intense to him as the perceptual one he had lost- and, indeed, sometimes more real, more intense, a sort of controlled dream or hallucination” (Sacks 306). Sacks shows that Torey is able to understand his environment by creating an imaginary picture, and in doing so he is able to really live. This explanation differs from Stout as it is a real life example, rather than explaining how the brain works like Stout, he chooses to show the reader an example of how people are able to perceive their surroundings in order to fully live.

Both feel the same way, that expanding and evolving your senses, you will achieve a higher quality of life, they just prefer to explain it in unique ways. In the end it is clear that the three authors choose to explain the same basic idea, in unique ways. They share the similar thoughts, yet choose to use different styles to convey to their reader that in order to have a higher quality of life, to truly live, you need to expand and evolve your senses. Pallasmaa explains this by showing how today’s society doesn’t use the other four senses (sight is used too much), and that it is hurting our relationship with our environment.

The way he communicates this is by using descriptive and emotionally tied examples of our different senses connection to our surroundings. It is a very imaginative and thought provoking technique, and in the end he successfully explained his idea. Sacks chose to be a bit more literal, in that he chose to use specific people who were able to overcome a loss, and evolve the other senses to gain a better connection to their surroundings. This technique creates a strong impression for the reader of how it is possible to elevate the senses.

He is therefore successful in conveying his idea to the reader. Stout, being a psychologist, chooses the most literal, scientific approach, discussing how the brain works, and using examples of patients dealing with trauma, he angle is successful in a way that she is able to explain to the reader the same idea as the other two authors, she just chooses to use a different approach. All three authors have a central idea connecting each other; the only difference between them is their choice of how they are to explain that idea.

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