Ah, the joys – and perils – of diagnosing those we don’t like with neurological deficits! It would be comforting to be able to say “all our bosses are brain-damaged sociopaths.” Everything then is down to something THEY are. And reading this below on Wernicke’s aphasia, from the rather good “Mapping the Mind,” I did start to compose just that sort of post. For some of them it may well be true. But it lacks enough explanatory (and political) power, for me at least.
Here are a couple of reasons (there are I am sure more, but it’s late, and a school night, as I write this )
* It’s based on taking their pronouncements about trickle-down/progress/technology at face-value, as if they genuinely believe it. Some do, but many know that their bromides are purely for public consumption
* It sets the rest of us up as helpless and powerless dupes. But how much are we duping ourselves? How much do we desperately WANT and NEED to believe that the clowns running the show aren’t clowns, but parents (in the TA sense) who will look after us?
Okay, after all that – the quotations –
Damage to Wernicke’s area itself causes another type of disorder. Wernicke’s aphasia patients retain perfectly fluent speech and their grammatical construction is fine; if you listen to them talking from a distance, you’ll think there is nothing wrong. Attend to the actual words, though, and you realize that much of what they say is nonsense. Wrong words or non-words are substituted for right ones and much of the content may be made up of meaningless jargon. People with Wernicke’s aphasia do not understand their own spoken words either, so they cannot monitor their own speech. For this reason they often seem to be blithely unaware that they are talking nonsense. The communication breakdown makes it difficult to assess Wernicke’s patients’ general intelligence, but as far as can be gathered their ability to reason is generally unaffected.
The jargon generated by Wernicke’s aphasics can sound impressive. One patient, trying to explain what he used to do for a living, told a researcher: “[I was] an executive of this, and the complaint was to discuss the tonations as to what type they were… and kept from the different tricula to get me from the attribute of convenshments.