It occurred to me last week, while I was trying to understand the blurb for Prof. Nappi's talk, that a lot of work in academics revolves around identifying concepts from different cultures and comparing them to each other and to our own.
Bodies, for example.
The first step, of course, is to identify the concept - to conceptualize it. What is a body, in this culture? What are the ideas that revolve around and are wrapped up together with the body? Once you are able to tease out the various strands of thought and form a complete and distinct conceptual image, then it becomes possible to compare that image with those from other cultures, or from different periods in time from a single culture.
I'm currently reading through Liu Lihong's Sikao Zhongyi (《思考中医》，刘力红著), a large part of which involves conceptualizing the 'year' from the perspective of yin and yang. I've realized that my 'year', far from being painted in seasons, is wrapped about the image of a calendar that starts with January and ends with December, with the school year and summer break dividing these months into black and white.
As I work my way through the book, I can feel something tugging at this year-image, bulging and warping its proportions. So this is how it feels to move between concepts! My 'year' will be quite a bit different after I've finished this book!