The Eternal Zunshine of the Spotless Mind: Zunshine Meets Burke Meets Zygotsky -- Mashup or Meltdown?
I'm interested in how Lisa Zunshine's cognitive recognition in literature // application of Theory of Mind relates to Kenneth Burke's consubstantiality (getting under the skin of the reader).
Don't both have to do with extreme identification with the discourse? It could be either the speaker or the protagonist -- the rhetor or the literary character.
Here is one difference:
Lisa Zunshine, however, is writing from the point of view of literary discourse; in particular, the novel and the characters that inhabit it. For her, the great appeal of literature is the fact that the reader is able to derive voyeuristic pleasure by vicariously living a narrative that has appeal to the reader. For Zunshine, we know what will happen in a text not only because we are familiar with certain archetypal narratives that repeat themselves in history, and we know the patterns, but we know what we know because of our learned abilities for "mind-reading."
In The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (dir. Michel Gundry, 2004), the narrative posits a world where Theory of Mind concepts are suspended; as a person goes through a process of deep-cleaning the mind of pesky / abhorrent memories, it effectively wipes clean the mind of any emotional memory. One might, by extension, assume that the individuals who have been cleansed would, by necessity, also lose their emotional intelligence, their socially-learned / imprinted knowledge. They would be wiped clean of Vygotsky-type experientially- and socially-learned knowledge.
Would they be wiped clean of consubstantiality? Perhaps not. If the rhetor can find points of contact // shared reference points, ideally emotional -- it's possible for the individuals to relate through text.
Would wiping one's memory of emotional entanglements and relationships (past loves) affect one's ability to predict the actions and emotional states of fictional characters?
If we do indeed have a hard-wired, innate set of patterns in our minds that compel all people from all cultures to behave in certain highly predictable ways, and to have the same emotional responses, perhaps.
However, if the deep-cleaning materially affects the physical wiring, all bets are off. Any damage to the brain itself would affect anything that is there, whether acquired through experiential learning, socialization, or through pattern recognition acquisition.