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

Ulvi, I take egoism as individualism in ethics, sometimes called narcissism, yes? Surely it is widely agreed that the roots of individualism lie in bourgeois society (i.e., the economic activity of capitalist society outside both state and family). Even Hegel referred to the "business class" (both employees and employers) as "the individual class" before Marx went further into the institutional roots of individualism. The current state of bourgeois society in countries where the population is saturated with advertising and a constant stream of propaganda telling people "you deserve it" etc., etc., etc., together with political systems based on individual voting in large geographical electorates and individualised consumption of still more or less centralised means of communicaiton, build on the foundation of commodity exchange and the fragmentation of all forms of collaboration.


ulvi icil wrote:
Mike, David:
Sorry for not being clear. I did not mean egocentrism of the child nor
his/her egocentric speech.
What I meant was the defective characteristic that some human beings gain in
the process of being adults: Egoism. And I meant the process of how the
chilld, on his/her lifetime, becomes an egoistic adult, I mean the thinking,
speech, language of the human society which carries egoism into the child
and in this sense the process how the child internalizes egoism from his/her
social relations etc.

2010/11/13 David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>


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

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

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)
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*Andy Blunden*
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