Di Cicco, Pier Giorgio

Italian-Canadian, (b. 1949)

Brain Litany: Or, Overlooking the Existential Factor

    • “Can it be that any man has the skill to fabricate himself?” 1
    •  — St. Augustine
  3. The brain is a network of connections of cells
  4. It is not a connection of cells
  5. It is a connection of information
  6. It is a connection of blue vases
  7. with red flowers in them
  8. It is not a connection of vases
  9. It is a connection of living memories
    • ” … and when we think of coconuts and pigs,
      there are no coconuts or pigs in the brain.”
    •  — Gregory Bateson
  12. Where are they
  13. Where are the coconuts
  14. Where are the pigs
  16. The brain is a network of behavioral potentialities
  17. The Brain is the mind
  18. The brain is the central integrative role in human performance
  20. Where are the pigs
  21. Where are the coconuts
  23. The brain is a compendium of holographic mechanisms
  24. Help me find the coconuts Help me find the pigs
  25. The brain is a neuro-physiological metaphor
  26. The brain is an illusionist’s exercise in Euclidean geometry
  27. The brain is a vibrational amplifier for ambient field quanta
  28. Find me the goddamned coconuts and pigs
  29. The brain is a cybernetic miracle with a three-ring
  30. triune brain3 circus at its centre
  32. The brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing
  33. shuttles weave a dissolving pattern
  34. I know I saw the coconuts
  35. I know I saw the pigs
  37. The brain is an evolutionary archaeological site
  38. Show me those pigs one more time
  39. The brain is a dance among three interconnected biological computers
  40. I saw the pigs
  41. I saw the coconuts
  43. The brain is a bicameral4 structure for playing
  44. epistemological handball.
  45. I know you have the coconuts
  47. The brain is a reality structurer with lacrimal glands 5
  48. The brain is an international casino for quantum indeterminancy
  49. The pigs
  50. The pigs
  51. The pigs
  53. When we think of brains, there are no brains in the brain.
  55. The coconuts
  56. The pigs
  57. The brain is a psycho-biological tar pit Give me
  58. the bloody coconuts in an emotional jungle you bastard
  59. or the brain is a macro-evolutional myth for the maintenance of
  60. I’ll bash the brain is an omnidirectional time machine
  61. clogged with death consciousness
  63. I could cry
  65. Show me those pigs
  66. Show me those coconuts
  70. I think, therefore I am. 6
  72. When we think of the “I,” there is no one in the brain.
  74. Where am I?
  75. Where am I? etc.

© Pier Giorgio Di Cicco. Virgin Science: Hunting Holistic Paradigms. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart (1986).
  1. St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo: “Whence could such a creature come but from thee, O Lord? Is any man skillful enough to have fashioned himself? Or is there any other source from which being and life could flow into us, save this, that thou, O Lord, hast made us – thou with whom being and life are one, since thou thyself art supreme being and supreme life both together.”
    Confessions. (398 AD).[↑]
  2. Gregory Bateson: “This principle, made famous by Alfred Korzybski, strikes at many levels. It reminds us in a general way that when we think of coconuts or pigs, there are no coconuts or pigs in the brain. But in a more abstract way, Korzybski’s statement asserts that in all thought or perception or communication about perception, there is a transformation, a coding, between the report and the thing reported…”
    Mind and Nature. New York: Dutton (1979).[↑]
  3. The triune, or three-part brain, consists of the reptilian core complex (including the thalamus and basal ganglia), the paleomammalian complex (limbic system), and the neomammalian complex (neocortex). Each structure is viewed as sequentially added to the forebrain in the course of evolution.[↑]
  4. A bicameral structure, the brain has right and left hemispheres, connected only by one wide, flat bundle of neural fibers called the the corpus collosum. The right hemisphere controls emotion, imagination, symbols and dreams, intuition, philosophy and religion, spatial perception, possibilities and risk taking. The left hemisphere controls logic, detailed knowledge, facts, reality, words/language, order/pattern perception, math and strategy.[↑]
  5. Lacrimal glands – are situated in the upper, outer portion of the upper eye orbit. The glands continually secrete tears which moisten, lubricate, and protect the surface of the eye.[↑]
  6. “I think, therefore I am.” – is a philosophical statement, the Latin form is “Cogito; Ergo sum.” and was proposed by René Descartes in his Discourse on Method (1637) and clarified in Principles of Philosophy (1644). The simple meaning of the phrase is that someone wondering whether or not he or she exists is, in and of itself, proof that something, an “I”, exists to do the thinking. The phrase became a fundamental element of Western philosophy. Descartes’ original statement in French was “Je pense, donc je suis”.[↑]

About the Poet:

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (b. 1949), is an Italian-Canadian poet. Born in Italy, Di Cicco’s family immigrated to Canada in 1952 and he was brought up in several North American cities, including Baltimore, Maryland, Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario. Di Cicco began began to publish poems in little magazines while attending the University of Toronto. He has since written more than 17 books of poetry and edited a volume of verse by Italian-Canadian poets.

Appointed by the City of Toronto as its second Poet Laureate (2004 – 2009). Di Cicco has extended that beyond the area of arts advocacy and into the realm of “civic aesthetic”, a term coined to define the building of a city by citizenship, civic ethic and urban psychology.

His monographs and essays have pioneered a study of civility proactive to the design of a city and his urban philosophy has influenced municipal policy in Canada, the U.S. and United Kingdom in issues that address the public service ethics and its relationship to livable and sustainable cities. [DES-09/14]

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