[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Any work on the development of egoism in the child(ren)

I think Vygotsky doesn't accept Piaget's idea that children are egocentric in their thinking, and if you read how he uses "egocentric speech" you will see that he guts it of all of its "egocentric" comment; he simply means speech that is meant for the child's own ears rather than those of someone else. So Vygotsky essentially rejects the whole idea of child egotism and even child egocentrism.
Even Piaget eventually decided that the word "ego" was misplaced. In his later work he describes the child's thinking as "non-decentrated" or "centrated". What he means is that the child lives in a kind of pre-Copernican universe (although of course our idea that there is only one universe may also be a vestige of centration!).
Vygotsky uses the term "egocentric speech" the way that a thieving magpie uses a stolen spoon to build a nest. It doesn't really fit his construction very well, because Vygotsky thinks that the child really HAS no ego until quite late. 
Functionally, the child begins to act like an ego from the moment (the Crisis at Age Three, according to Vygotsky's Collected Works Volume Five) that the child seizes that great and powerful word "No!" from his environment. But as Vygotsky points out, the child often uses this word even when the child wants to say yes. 
I remember promising my little neice-lette at five that I would take her to Seoul-Land if she finished copying seven Chinese characters. She dawdled a long time, but finally did it. So I asked her if she still wanted to go, and she said "No!" although she visibly did want to go, and she cried when we didn't. 
So we can say that at this stage the child has an ego "for others" but not for herself; it is a purely reactive, interactional, functional ego and not a conscious, volitional, controllable one. (We certainly CANNOT say that the child has difficulty in detaching her own point of view from that of others; she is very conscious that "No!" suggests a fundamental difference in stance from those in her circumstance.)
We can't really say that she has an ego for herself, because she is not able to control her will and her ego. She is able to differentiate an "I" from what Vygotsky calls "Ur-wir" (The proto-We, or as I like to think of it, the "Royal We"). 
But she does this only in action and reaction, and not in thought and reflection. It's easier done than said, one of those things that is all very well in practice, but it doesn't quite work out in theory.
When does "I" become "ego", that is, when do children seize conscious awareness of the separateness of "I" from "we"?  It seems to me this must happen about the time that children develop invisible friends, hero-worship, and become highly interested in role-playing games. Which strikes me as non-coincidental.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Fri, 11/12/10, ulvi icil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com> wrote:

From: ulvi icil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com>
Subject: [xmca] Any work on the development of egoism in the child(ren)
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Friday, November 12, 2010, 3:03 AM

Dear all,

Did anybody meet any work on the development of egoism in the child(ren)? (
Surely, from the Vygotskian perspective)
xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list