A commonplacing post that brings together memoria and cognitive science (image-schema) as justification for multimodal composition. From Johnson, Mark. “The Imaginative Basis of Meaning and Cognition.” Images of Memory: On Remembering and Representation. Ed. Susanne K├╝chler and Walter Melion. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991. 74-86:

According to the view I am espousing, we must understand imaginative activity as including all sensory modalities, motor programs, and even abstract acts of cognition such as the drawing of inferences. In this very broad sense, imaginative activity is the means by which an organism constructs an ordering of its perceptions, motor skills, and reflective acts, as it seeks to accommodate itself to its environment. Imagination, so understood, thus includes the full range of organizing activities, from the forming of images (in different sensory modalities), to the execution of motor programs, to the manipulation of abstract representations, and even to the creation of novel orderings. 79

Right before rereading Johnson’s essay, I reread Daniel Anderson‘s “The Low Bridge to High Benefits: Entry-Level Multimedia, Literacies, and Motivation.” (Computers and Composition 25 (2008): 40-60):

The links between motivation, new media, multiliteracies, agency, and civic participation can be readily traced. Less clear, however, are the connections between these items and changes in education. The most compelling advocate for considering personal motivation in terms of transformation in composition is probably Geoffrey Sirc. Sirc doesn’t argue for either alphabetic or multimedia literacies but rather advocates that compositionists should aim for the expressive process of production. Again, we must put things into motion. Sirc (2002) explained, “defining composition, exclusively around the parameters of page or canvas, results in that conventional, academic surface” and instead suggested we think of composition “as a record of tracings, or gestures, a result of body moving through life” (p. 111). Sirc was looking for a composition that might be “anti-conventional, expressive, discursively hybrid, and technologically innovative” but instead finds i most scholarship a composition that “is all about conventions; which sees its retreat from expressionism in academicism as some sort of progress; which prefers a purified, taxonomized, monophony to hybridity’ and consigns discourse on technology to a sub-real of the discipline” (p. 173). Sirc is clear that this over-disciplining of composition bleeds the motivation from students, leading only to “alienation” and “exhaustion” (p. 209). New composing processes feature literacies like juxtaposition, parody, or pastiche and build upon student interests. These remix modes can overcome the boredom and “exhaustion in most writing assignments” (p. 212), making students “architects of their own aesthetics” (p. 132). 46

Not that we need such justification, but I find within Mark Johnson, Mark Turner, Gilles Fauconnier, and George Lakoff’s work on image schema, conceptual metaphor, embodied cognition, and conceptual blending an explanation of how monastic rhetoric, as defined by Mary Carruthers, works at the cognitive level. It is, to crib the title of one of Gilles Fauconnier and George Lakoff’s collaborations, “the way we think.” The expressive processes of production Sirc advocates and Anderson demonstrates is inherent in “remix modes” of composition shares with Johnson et. al. and monastic rhetoric an understanding of imagination as an active process of memory which draws upon all our sensory modalities/multiliteracies to make meaning. For an example of contemporary monastic composition as an expressive process of production, see my discussion of Jeffery Jerome Cohen‘s” fabulations.”