Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

How Images Think

The quote below is from the introduction to my book, How Images Think. I have put this quote here in order to open up some debate about what we mean by the human mind in the 21st century. In this context, most of the book is about human consciousness and the impact of digital culture on ways in which people think, act on the world and create. The book examines the public space within which new cultural formations develop and are sustained:

"Throughout this book, reference is made either directly or indirectly to debates about perception, mind, consciousness and the role of images and culture in forming and shaping how humans interact with the world around them. However, the relationship among human beings and the cultural artifacts they use and create is by no means direct or transparent. Human consciousness is not passive nor is it simply a product of the cultural, social or political context within which humans live and struggle. Although the cognitive sciences have dreamed of developing a clearer picture of how the mind operates and although there have been tremendous advances in our understanding of human thought, the human mind remains not only difficult to understand, but relatively opaque in the information that can be gathered from it. (Searle, 1998) Notwithstanding numerous efforts to ‘picture’ and ‘decode’ the ways in which the mind operates, profound questions remain about the relationships among mind, body and brain and how all of the elements of what we describe as consciousness interact with a variety of cultural and social environments and artifacts.

How Images Think explores the rich intersections of image creation, production and communication within this context of debate about the mind and human consciousness. In addition, I examine the discourses about images in our culture and the impact of the digital revolution on our use of images in the communications process. The digital revolution is altering the fabric of research and practice in the sciences, arts and engineering and challenging many conventional wisdoms about the seemingly transparent relationship among images and meaning, mind and thought, as well as culture and identity."