I'm not stating that I think _Eliot_ was making scientific
claims. Rather, when I look at the book "Emotional Intelligence" by
Goleman,  I see a science behind Eliot's
literary claims. 

In case I wasn't clear in my first post, the "Emotional Intelligence"
book is heavily based on scientific methods and discoveries. Goleman cites
studies that use brain scans to observe what parts of the brain "light
up" when different emotions are evoked, as well citing studies that measure
heart rate, blood pressure, etc. The scientists found that specific emotions
evoke specific bodily responses: for example, 'anger' causes blood to be
shunted to the hands (presumably to help in a fist-fight or in grasping a
weapon), 'fear' causes blood to flow to the legs (presumably to aid in running
away), 'surprise' causes the muscles of the face to raise the eyebrows
(presumably to let in more light to allow the eyes to get a better look), etc.
The studies also showed that the evoking of an emotion and its subsequent
reactions occur in brain " layers," with the emotion first appearing
in the primitive parts of the brain (the brain stem and limbic system) and then
spreading outward to the neocortex (the 'rational' brain). Furthermore, Goleman
describes 'feeling' in two distinct 'pathways: 1) the analysis of the 'thinking
brain' to an emotion evoked by direct physical stimulus (like seeing a tiger),
and 2) the thinking brain 'pattern matching' some past event against a present event
and then 'triggering' the same past emotion for the current event if the
patterns sufficiently match. 

This 'pattern matching pathway' to emotion is, I think, the scientific basis of
the "objective correlative." Eliot basically said an author must find
some sequence of events or images that (when properly 'pattern matched' in a
reader) will evoke that particular emotion. I think the science from CAT scans
and other recent medical measurement advances bears out that Eliot's intuition
was scientifically correct.



To add to what I wrote above, I think Freud also postulated from his
observations that images can stand for other images in very complex ways, and
can trigger emotions. While Freud did not have the benefit of modern instrumentation
that could measure the layers of brain activity, he got that part of the
science basically correct. I was wondering if Eliot considered those ideas of
Freud in formulating his theory of the objective correlative.

-- Tom --

> Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 07:31:55 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Scientific basis for TSE's "objective correlative"
> To: [log in to unmask]
> "Scientific basis" has to refer to correct science. There is no "scientific
> basis," for example, for Homer's description of the voyage of Odysseus to
> the Underworld; it wouldn't do to merely argue that _Homer_ thought it was
> science.
> Here, What Eliot or any of his contemporaries thought about feelings or
> emotions can be used to gloss the poem, but cannot be used to argue a
> "scientific basis" for anything.
> Neuroscientists are still debating just what constitutes an emotion or a
> feeling. Damasio, for example, defines "emotion" as a bodily (physical)
> state and "feeling" as a recognition of that state. And if I remember
> correctly, he argues that this was the theory William James advanced.
> Carrol