Re: [xmca] LCA-- transparency

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 15:24:47 PDT

Mike and all,

> 1. For the novice, can "learning to drive the car" be considered an
> activity in and of itself? Say, for a 15 1/2 year old? Or it better
> considered a complex form of action, where the motive is to gain
> independence, etc?

We cannot answer this question other than by looking at some concrete
situation. Take a driving school. Evidently, this is a form of activity
that has formed from previous forms of activity in a division of labor
and breaking off. Within that system, producing people with drivers
licenses appears to be the motive.

 From the perspective of the youngster, it may actually be only a goal
toward getting a driver's license so that she or he can deliver pizza.
Learning to drive and getting a license then is a way to expand one's
action possibilities, gain control over life conditions, and this is
achieved through participation in existing forms of work.


> 2.  Might the relation of language to acquisition of driving
> expertise be accompanied by a transformation of language as explicit
> to implicit semiotic means, a la Ruqaiya?
> Ed-- I will have to think more your example and interpretation and
> how to relate it to the Bateson example. Are the kids you are talking
> about to be considered expert in their use of cane's as tools of
> navitation?
> mike
> On 7/4/05, Blanton, William E <> wrote:
>> Mike and Michael, I
>> I am trying to work my way through transparency, mediation with
>> language, interlaization, action and operation, so stick with me on
>> this. We mediate the directing of our eyes to look,  observe, notiice
>> with language as we learn to drive down the road.   As in other
>> activty, the language we use to direct our eyes becomes internalized
>> and the use of our eyes during driving becomes as looking while
>> driving becomes an operation, even more so when we consider the
>> learning and predicting of the brain as it mediates many of our
>> unconscious lookings. If traffic signals were arranged differently
>> each morning, many of our lookings would rise to the level of action.
>> If I were to become blind and begin using a cane to move around, I
>> would use language to mediate activity with a cane in my hand,
>> directing the cane to move ahead as if feel and hear sensations
>> though the movement and touching of the came. Eventually the cane
>> becomes part of new functional system of seeing expressed through two
>> modalities. Soon language mediating use of the cane becomes
>> internalized. The cane has remediated my activity and rewired my the
>> fuctional system for seeing.
>> I wonder if the brain activity of one born blind and seing with a
>> cane is similar to the brain activity of one who becomes blind later
>> and mediates seeing with cane.
>> ________________________________
>> From: on behalf of Wolff-Michael Roth
>> Sent: Mon 7/4/2005 4:15 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] LCA-- transparency
>> > My observations of the blind have been a bit different than the one
>> > Bateson recounts (which doesn't at all contradict what he recounts)
>> -
>> > at one point I spent some time at a school for the blind outside
>> > Nashville, Tennessee. Many of the young people I observed swung
>> their
>> > cane to and fro in front of them (and in some particular situations
>> > they let it drag to the side). They didn't seem to be looking for
>> > confirming evidence (and they may, for the observant person sharing
>> > their space, have been simultaneously been socially clearing the way
>> > in front of
>> But Ed, do you look for confirming evidence when you walk? Do look
>> prior to setting your foot down, then confirm that it's gonna be okay.
>> . .
>> >  them) but for disconfirming evidence - that is, when the cane
>> > exhibited stick-like properties. Opaqueness (as in a sheet of
>> paper),
>> > so to speak, was crucial and they seemed to be attempting to
>> maximize
>> > this with the cane. However, at the same time they needed to use
>> > something that could act as an extension of themselves (a heavy iron
>> > bar or a feather would not be ideal). Hence, it seems to me, it is
>> the
>> > doing (might one say the 'thoroughly internalized' here?) that was
>> > mediated that is/was at stake and, in many instance, the 'ideal'
>> tool
>> > might be, in use, both appropriately 'opaque' and 'transparent' or,
>> > perhaps, in use have the appropriate potentials for being both
>> > 'concrete' and 'abstract.'
>> Okay, I think we need to talk about these things not in the ideal way,
>> not in the abstract, but analyze real concrete practical activity. In
>> this, I think that both of your conditions are already met in the
>> normal stick, it is both transparent--not thought about, not only
>> embodied in operations, but also embodying operations such as
>> providing
>> a clearing before them--and material. It is only in their materiality
>> that the canes can be used for what they are used in practical
>> activity, that they have an effect, that they realize motives and
>> goals.
>> I think that a lot of our theoretical problems disappear when we
>> approach the issue dialectically, beginning with an analysis of
>> activity, not onsidedly with an analysis of tools or transparency or .
>> . . We then end up capturing both the material and ideal aspects of
>> the
>> CANE IN ACTIVITY. Outside real practical activity, the cane is
>> nothing,
>> like any sign or word is nothing outside real concrete activity.
>> Michael
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