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Re: [xmca] How can we reply to this...

Yes, it makes sense. I laugh when you say that "You don't need to delve into
the depths of the body to find this". Yes, I see your point, but this delve
into the depths of the body have some meaning to this investigation. It is
not a pre-modern, mystic thing, it can add a lot, I think, to the
understanding of activity (or the why we act the way we do). But this a
whole new discussion. But "This participation in common activity is the
secret to communication across cultural difference" it's a wonderful
diversity in communion that is not to often emphasized.

In this context how would you define creativity as a function of cultural
development? How can we explain that different cultures exists in the first
place, or that different practices evolve over time and others don't, etc.?


On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 1:44 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> I'll take a look at that talk tomorrow if I can. But let me respond to what
> you have said here.
> On the one hand we are co-temporal with culture. How did we get the anatomy
> to speak and use tools, except that for millions years we did so without
> adequate "equipment"? But this does not mean we are "only" culture. Cultural
> practices always build artefacts out of nature-given material, according to
> its laws. To be an artefact is always to be subject to the laws of nature.
> There is no dichotomy between nature and nurture, material and ideal. In
> both cases, the categories fully overlap.
> But on the other hand, the "postmodern" idea of an absolute
> noncommunication given cultural different is an absurd lie. The fact is that
> despite cultural difference, people always manage to work together, live in
> the same states under the same governments, exchanging products and
> collaborating in shared products. This participation in common activity is
> the secret to communication across cultural difference. You don't need to
> delve into the depths of the body to find this. Wave after wave of migration
> across the world has seen to it.
> Of course we do have a lot in common in our physiology, but how far that
> goes is hard to tell. Practice, and the undertsanding of that practice, is
> the way to resovle these mysteries.
> Make sense?
> Andy
> Ivo Banaco wrote:
>> Hi Andy,
>> Thanks for this piece. First I have to say that I've been reading your
>> book "An interdisciplinary theory of activity" which is been a wonderful
>> intellectual journey for me. Thank you and congratulations!
>> You said Andy that "People interact with the world through culture, and
>> there were no human beings before culture, and no children born into a
>> culture-free world". And as an ontological premise I would say that if
>> culture is here from the start so are We. We exist, interact and that is
>> culture. So there is no culture prior to human beings, nor human beings
>> prior to culture, but both simultaneously. And for me this is important,
>> because We neither become cultural or individualist reductionists. My
>> worries are centered in the way We, within the cultural historical approach
>> could avoid the postmodern trap of extreme cultural relativism. What I find
>> in Gendlin's approach is a way to "rescue the human being" from 3rd person
>> artifacts, respecting at the same time his cultural and historical
>> structure. How can we explain otherwise cultural evolution in the lasts
>> couple of centuries or how can we explain creativity if we cannot rescue the
>> human being, our first person experiences and processes? In a Gendlin's
>> small text that I would love you to comment called "On the new epistemology"
>> (http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2173.html) he says
>> "In the regular notion, human beings have lost their instincts and are
>> just culture products. It's true when you look at human beings across
>> cultures, we don't share anything like as much as any animal species. Any
>> given species of animals sleep the same, have intercourse the same, eat the
>> same things. We have been varied and complexified, elaborated, made more
>> intricate and in different ways. We certainly have cultural routines. This
>> whole talk [this is in a conference] is going on in a cultural routine;
>> otherwise you wouldn't sit there and let me talk nonstop at you. But the
>> body starts out already as tissue with a great deal of internal organization
>> and then becomes an animal , in a evolutionary way of talking, in which
>> tissue processes are organized so the animal can move around and go after
>> something, and then it becomes culturally human."
>> You see, the way of looking at culture is different, the emphasis on human
>> beings as creators and molded at the same time by culture is the main point
>> here. In what degree we "exceed culture" or move the culture forward?
>> Ivo
>> On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 4:17 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>    Ivo,
>>    Never having heard of Gendlin I consulted WIkipedia, at
>>    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Gendlin and on this slender
>>    basis I could venture a few comments.
>>    That concepts are ways of understanding the world, rather than
>>    things existing in the world is hardly news. You would have to go
>>    back 500 years to find a "philosopher" to argue against this. The
>>    question is where you go with this.
>>    The example Wikipedia gives is gravity. Gendlin takes the
>>    observation "things fall" to be the basis of all concepts of
>>    "gravity" and says that this is the basis for gravity and the
>>    various historically arising theories of gravity, which modify the
>>    concept of gravity. Thus "Gendlin insists that 'gravity' is a
>>    concept and that concepts can't make anything fall. Instead of
>>    saying that gravity causes things to fall, it would be more
>>    accurate to say that things falling cause [the different concepts
>>    of] gravity. Interaction with the world is prior to concepts about
>>    the world."
>>    The thing is that more recent theories of gravity do not arise
>>    from the observation that things fall, but rather from much more
>>    developed systems of activity which have become possible only in
>>    recent times. Such theories co-exist with mundane concepts of
>>    gravity, just as developed scientific forms of activity co-exist
>>    with mundane forms of activity. So we would say it is not the
>>    _passive observation_ that things fall which underlies all
>>    concepts of gravity, but rather the historically and culturally
>>    developing _forms of activity_ which continuously cause the idea
>>    of gravity to be recast in new theories. "Interaction with the
>>    world is prior to concepts about the world" means "culture is
>>    prior to concepts about the world." People interact with the world
>>    through culture, and there were no human beings before culture,
>>    and no children born into a culture-free world.
>>    Vygotsky showed in his study of ontogenesis that the nature-given
>>    mental functions are recast and recombined in new Gestalten under
>>    the influence of participation in the social activity around them.
>>    Their minds are restructured, but still made up from the same
>>    nature-given functional units at base. If I have this wrong,
>>    others will correct me. I am not a child psychologist or even a
>>    psychologist of childhood. But I think this gives an opening to
>>    see how Gendlin's interesting innovations into therapy work.
>>    Another example, according to Vygotsky, "the subconscious" exists,
>>    but it is a construct which arises only in the course of later
>>    development. It does not - as it seems - preexist conscious
>>    awareness. It's a bit analogous to inner speech, which
>>    onotgenetically arises on the basis of speaking aloud. Even though
>>    everyone was quiet and nonetheless intelligent before they ever
>>    spoke, both onto- and phylo-genetically. It seems to me that
>>    Gendlin may well have a good technique for therapy, but that
>>    doesn't mean that the ontology and epistemology and theory of mind
>>    by means of which he systematises his understanding of it stands
>>    up to criticism.
>>    Does that make any sense to you Ivo?
>>    Andy
>>    Ivo Banaco wrote:
>>        Hi Michael and all,
>>        Thank you for your interest and quick reply. I am studying in
>>        Lisbon,
>>        Portugal in ISPA (Higher *Institute of Applied Psychology). I
>>        have a
>>        background in Economics (my undergraduate studies and master
>>        degree is in
>>        Economics) but I did not quite fit in the mainstream way of
>>        looking for
>>        economic issues. My long time interest in Psychology drove me
>>        to study on my
>>        own all that kept my attention in a rather random way.
>>        Discovering Vygotsky
>>        was like discovering a golden mine that could start to
>>        structure my thoughts
>>        about some issues, namely the relationship between mind,
>>        behaviour,
>>        artifacts, economic and cultural structures, and how can all
>>        fit in some
>>        dynamic Whole. *
>>        *
>>        *
>>        *This quote about Gendlin came under a certain psychological
>>        tradition
>>        related to the humanistic wave of Carl Rogers. Eugene Gendlin
>>        was a close
>>        collaborator of Rogers and then carried forward his own
>>        original thought,
>>        what can be called a existential humanistic and experiential
>>        psychology. His
>>        first book was "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning"  *
>> http://www.amazon.com/Experiencing-Creation-Meaning-Philosophical-Psychological/dp/0810114275/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1293031026&sr=8-3
>>        <
>> http://www.amazon.com/Experiencing-Creation-Meaning-Philosophical-Psychological/dp/0810114275/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1293031026&sr=8-3
>> >
>>        where
>>        he talks about constructs like felt sense, or edge of
>>        awareness, where
>>        language emerges from nonlanguage, from the intricacy of the
>>        bodily felt
>>        felt meaning.
>>        So in a sense he gives emphasis to experience and interaction
>>        first and
>>        before culture. It's a living thing that is formed first,
>>        which is pre
>>        cultural, cultural and more complex than culture. He says that
>>        the body, the
>>        human body is always more than any define form, from the
>>        start. He tries to
>>        find a 1st person science, that cannot be reducible to
>>        neuroscience,
>>        economics, culture. He points directly to experience, the
>>        bodily felt
>>        experience which allows human to act in the first place. So
>>        here the unit of
>>        analysis is the continuous experiencing.
>>        I don't know if this helps to put Gendlin in context. My
>>        question is how can
>>        we avoid to be reductionist approaching the cultural dimension
>>        of the human
>>        being, that is not reducing humans to culture and vice-versa.
>>        Ivo
>>        On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com
>>        <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>            Ivo--
>>            Where are you studying? gmail is such a general address!!
>>            If you have no existential doubts or gordian knots, start
>>            to get concerned
>>            about your state of mind. Perfectly normal and healthy.
>>            Existential
>>            uncertainty seems the lot of human kind.
>>            Without knowing a lot more, I can offer no interpretation,
>>            let alone a
>>            reply, to Gendlin's statement about big things and little
>>            things. Is
>>            reference being made to neuroscientific 50 millisecond
>>            little things and
>>            100 millisecond big things?
>>            In light of issues discussed here (feel free to buzz the
>>            past decade or so
>>            in the archives for context) where do this fit?
>>            mike
>>            On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 4:21 AM, Ivo Banaco
>>            <ibanaco@gmail.com <mailto:ibanaco@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>                Dear xmcaonaughts,
>>                As a new kid on the block, recently researching in
>>                Cultural Psychology and
>>                wanting to do my Phd thesis in this area, I still have
>>                "existential doubts"
>>                and big gordian knots. Having read different kinds of
>>                literature in
>>                different traditions in Psychology I still have
>>                troubles in replying to
>>                sentences like this by the existential philosopher and
>>                psychologist Eugene
>>                Gendlin:
>>                "Any little thing, any big thing is precultural,
>>                because it is tissues and
>>                it is animal life, and it's culture and it's also
>>                after culture, more
>>                complicated than culture. The body is this much more
>>                complex, much more
>>                intricate system from the start."
>>                Any thoughts?
>>                Best regards,
>>                Ivo Banaco
>>                PS: I wish you all a merry Christmas and a great 2011.
>>                On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 5:03 AM, mike cole
>>                <lchcmike@gmail.com <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>                    Several of the articles on show below appear of
>>                    interest to various
>>                    xmcaonaughts.
>>                    mike
>>                    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>                    From: Teachers College Record
>>                    <no-reply@tcrecord.org <mailto:no-reply@tcrecord.org>>
>>                    Date: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM
>>                    Subject: Transitioning From an Innovative
>>                    Elementary to a Conventional
>>                    High
>>                    School
>>                    To: Recipient <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>>
>>                      [image: Title]
>>                     [image: Subscribe Today]
>>                    <http://www.tcrecord.org/Subscriptions.asp>
>>                     [image: transparent 13]
>>                      Freely-Available This Week
>>                    Articles
>>                     Smuggling Authentic Learning Into the School
>>                    Context: Transitioning From
>>                    an
>>                    Innovative Elementary to a Conventional High
>>                    School<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=15227>
>>                    by Renée DePalma, Eugene Matusov & Mark Smith
>>                     Analyzing the discourse of eighth-grade graduates
>>                    from an innovative
>>                    elementary school as they transition to
>>                    conventional high schools
>>                    revealed
>>                    distinct response patterns characterizing
>>                    concurrent projects of
>>                    self-actualization and institutional achievement.
>>                    Our analysis suggests
>>                    that
>>                    a certain critical ambivalence toward
>>                    credentialism and competition can
>>                    be
>>                    part of a healthy strategy for school success,
>>                    particularly for those
>>                    from
>>                    marginalized groups who do not wholly buy into the
>>                    (predominantly White
>>                    and
>>                    middle-class) historically rooted traditions of
>>                    conventional schooling.
>>                     Designing Transparent Teacher Evaluation: The
>>                    Role of Oversight Panels
>>                    for
>>                    Professional Accountability<
>>                    http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=15053>
>>                    by Jennifer Goldstein
>>                     This article explores a policy intended to
>>                    improve the quality of
>>                    teaching
>>                    by improving the quality of teacher evaluation. It
>>                    examines a Peer
>>                    Assistance and Review (PAR) program, and
>>                    specifically one aspect of the
>>                    program-its oversight panel-asking how an
>>                    oversight panel alters the
>>                    practice of teacher evaluation. The core argument
>>                    of the article is that
>>                    oversight panels have the potential to
>>                    fundamentally alter the
>>                    transparency
>>                    of the teacher evaluation process and, in turn,
>>                    the nature of
>>                    accountability.
>>                     Book Reviews
>>                     Multiliteracies in Motion: Current Theory and
>>                    Practice<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16226>
>>                     by David R. Cole and Darren Lee Pullen (eds.)
>>                    reviewed by William Kist
>>                     ------------------------------
>>                     Citizenship Education and Social Development in
>>                    Zambia<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16227>
>>                     by Ali A. Abdi, Edward Shizha, and Lee Ellis (eds.)
>>                    reviewed by Monisha Bajaj
>>                    ------------------------------
>>                     Persuading Fred: An essay review of recent books
>>                    by Stanley Fish, Louis
>>                    Menand, and Martha
>>                    Nussbaum<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16228>
>>                     by
>>                    reviewed by James Donald
>>                    ------------------------------
>>                     Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public
>>                    Schooling<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16229>
>>                     by David F. Labaree
>>                    reviewed by Floyd M. Hammack
>>                     <http://www.tcrecord.org/voice.asp>
>>                     Henry Braun discusses his paper, co-authored with
>>                    Irwin Kirsch and
>>                    Kentaro
>>                    Yamamoto, "An Experimental Study of the Effects of
>>                    Monetary Incentives on
>>                    Performance on the 12th-Grade NAEP Reading
>>                    Assessment."<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16008>
>>                    Commentaries
>>                     In Praise of Slow Reading<
>>                    http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16238>
>>                    by Thomas Newkirk
>>                    This commentary argues against the high valuation
>>                    schools place on
>>                    reading
>>                    speed, particularly on high sakes tests like the
>>                    SAT. In penalizing
>>                    slower
>>                    readers, these and other tests put at a
>>                    disadvantage students who
>>                    approach
>>                    their reading in a deliberate and thorough way.
>>                    The ideal should not be
>>                    speed but the *tiempo guisto*, the pace at which
>>                    we are most attentive
>>                    and
>>                    effective-and this pace will vary depending on the
>>                    individual and the
>>                    task.
>>                     2010 NSSE Yearbooks and Call for Proposals for Future
>>                    Yearbooks<
>> http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16120>
>>                    by
>>                    The editors of the Teachers College Record
>>                    announce the yearbook topics
>>                    for
>>                    2010 and issue a call for new proposals.
>>                    ------------------------------
>>                    To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please browse to:
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>>    --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>    *Andy Blunden*
>>    Joint Editor MCA: http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Journal/
>>    Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>>    Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
>>    Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
>>    <http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
>>    MIA: http://www.marxists.org
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> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Journal/
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
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