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Re: [xmca] Re: Imitation and Creativity

Dear David and everyone
Here is an excerpt from a book I am working on at present. I think the
example may serve as an example of "creative imitation" opening spaces for
unique and original work out of LSV's notion of internalization.

*Imagination as a Mirror*

*The reflective aspect of imagination is a precursor to personal
interpretation and creation.  Reflective* *imagination attends to forms and
abilities that are often equated as a general definition of intelligence. It
is the ability to comprehend, reproduce, and perform any task ranging from
open heart surgery to comprehensible first or second language fluency,
number sentences to the construction of a residential septic system. When
this type of imagination is at work, people are liable to say, “She really
captured the essence of that” or “He did an amazing job on this.”  Frequently,
people start with this aspect of imagination and learn all they can from
others, before they move on to generative imagination.  Bob Dylan’s work as
a singer/songwriter is a good example of this. In his early work, Dylan
sought to emulate Woody Guthrie’s writing and singing style, and even his
dress. In just a few years, his genius as one of the most original
songwriters in history became evident. Imagination is reflective, but it is
also so much more. (Lake, R. 2011, p. 36) from:*


* A Curriculum of Imagination in an Era of Standardization:*

An Imaginative Dialogue with Maxine Greene and Paulo Freire. Charlotte, NC.
Information Age Publishers ( In Press).

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:14 AM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> I want to put before you all the idea that the distinction between
> noncreative and creative imitation is directly related, if not identical to,
> another distinction. But first I want to talk about the problems with
> equating one distinction with another.
> If I say that this process is like that process, there are two natural
> responses:
> a) Of course.
> b) I don't believe it.
> These two responses are obviously not conducive to a permeable intellectual
> system and will not lead to much new understanding. They are also not very
> sensitive to the word "like"; they assume that I am saying that this IS that
> and therefore that IS this.
> But these two rather frankly philistine responses are really the correct
> response to any attempt to say that one distinction is really EXACTLY like
> another. So I am putting this distinction, which strikes me as perfectly
> true, in the hope that someone will say either "of course" (Mike, I expect!)
> or "I don't believe it".
> The distinction I have in mind is simply the distinction between an
> nonconscious action (that is, an action performed without a conscious link
> being made between the structure of the action and its function; e.g. the
> child who thinks that "stand up" is a single word, or who thinks that a
> brother is his own elder brother) and one which is fully conscious and
> deliberate (that is, an action performed with a conscious and breakable link
> made between the structure of the action and its function, e.g. the child
> who can discriminate and differentially use "stand" and "up" or the child
> who sees his own elder brother as one instantiation of a ideal category of
> brothers which includes the child himself in relation to that older
> brother).
> No matter what the child imitates ("stand up"), there is invariably a
> difference (and almost always a CLEAR difference) between the imitation
> ("standup") and the original ("stand UP"). This is the process teachers call
> "error".
> When the child does not attend to that difference, the child assimilates
> the two to some higher ideal form, which is simply not analyzed (the set of
> all "standups"). This is the process LSV calls "generalization"..
> But when the child attends to (notices, becomes consciously of, seizes
> awareness of, attain graspture of) that difference, the child is able
> to structurally differentiate some aspects of the action ("stand") from
> others ("up") and to manipulate them creatively ("sit up"). This is the
> process LSV calls "abstraction".
> But it's also the process that teachers call "creativity", because it leads
> in a fairly direct way to sentences like "sit up" and "stand down" and so
> on. Viewed objectively, these are simply deliberate errors, because they
> vary from the model. But viewed subjectively, they are instances of
> creativity.
> Of course I don't believe it! But last night something happened that gave
> me pause. We are translating Thinking and Speech, and it's time to write
> explanatory, conceptualizing footnotes. Or rather, it's really time to start
> CULLING explanatory, conceptualizing footnotes.
> Let me give you an example. Vygotsky is discussing a simple, clear, obvious
> and nevertheless utterly mystifying result. The very child who can explain
> to us, in almost exactly the language that a teacher or even a scholar uses,
> the principle of buoyancy discovered by Archimedes, that is, the idea that
> the force keeping a boat afloat is equivalent to the weight of the water it
> displaces, will tell Professor Piaget, when he asks for the definition of a
> brother, that his brother is two years older, and when Professor Piaget asks
> whether that elder brother has a brother, the child will answer, in perfect
> confidence, "no".
> Our task is IMITATE Vygotsky's discussion in Korean. There is a fair amount
> of context to fill in for the average Korean teacher (who Archimedes was,
> and why Professor Piaget's discovery matters, etc.). When we are done
> annotating the paragraph, it looks like a swarm of bees--there are
> superscripts on almost every other word.
> When I look at the footnote for Archimedes, for example, I learn that
> Archimedes was given the task of weighing a particular crown of gold and one
> day sitting in his bath he thought of a solution which is VAGUELY related to
> the law of buoyancy (but not really) and ran naked through the streets of
> Athens. If I knew this story before, I feel immensely satisfied; I am a
> learned man. If I did not know it, then I now have picked up an interesting
> piece of cocktail chatter; ignoramus, as Will Rogers said, is when somebody
> dunno what ah just learn-ned.
> But what I have NOT done is to understand the point that Vygotsky is
> making. It seems to me clear that we cannot actually understand Vygotsky's
> point by annotating in this manner any more than we can understand it by
> simply copying it into Korean word for word; when we do this, we are
> commiting the same mistake as the child who commits Archimedes' law to
> memory alongside the story about the glod crown and imagines that they are
> one and the same or the child who says he has a brother but his brother does
> not. We have internalized a link without analyzing it, and the knowledge
> thereby produced must needs be inert.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Wed, 12/29/10, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Imitation and Creativity
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 8:34 PM
> Hi Cathrene and Lois--
> My copy of the book went to the person who is writing a review for MCA, so
> I
> do not have it to hand.
> But it is clearly a good source to turn to as a way of mapping out ways of
> talking about imitation and zoped. For those who have not yet ordered the
> book, its possible to get a good sample of what
> Cathrene was referring to by checking Amazon.com, and searching the
> contents
> for, say, imitation.
> To much there for me to type out each example, but here is a passage from
> Lois's chapter that I found thought provoking.
> "Children do not imitate anything and everything as a parrot does,  rather
> what is beyond them developmentally speaking and yet present in their
> environment and their relationships."
> So, there are several relevant distinctions implied in just this one
> passage, including:
> Children and parrots imitate differently
> Parrots imitate everything (I am assuming that we are talking about
> language
> spoken by humans?, not sure).
> Children imitate only what is going to develop at some proximal time.
> In this context, the use of the term "creative imitation" which I have been
> trying to think about for the past several months, brings to mind the
> notion
> that there must be something called "non-creative imitation" but
> I am not sure what a synonym would be that could be substituted for
> "non-creative" as a positive characterization.
> So, Cathrene, Lois, and Ana, what "kinds of imitation" do you think it
> worth
> considering for our purposes?
> Harking back to Michael Glassman's earlier note in this thread, I do not
> think that it is helpful to contrast imitation with mimicry without further
> specification. The first three primary definitions of mimicry used by the
> Oxford English Dictionary all involve the term, imitation, as a part of
> their defining characteristics. If they are not simply synonyms according
> to
> the OED, the variations are very underspecified.
> Clearly Lois sees an intimate relation between imitation as she interprets
> that process and zopeds and adds another important term, creativity.
> We now have three core theoretical terms imbricated in the discussion of a
> cultural historical approach to development. If there are three core terms
> and, say, 3 interpretions of each term (imitation, zoped, creativity) seems
> like a pretty large matrix of possible interconnections as part of the
> system of development. My guess is that kinds of specifications cluster,
> but
> I have only a vague sense of how, so far.
> Is creative/non-creative the place to start, and then see what kinds of
> additional distinctions are warrantable?
> mike
> mike
> On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 5:44 PM, Lois Holzman <
> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org> wrote:
> > Thanks, Cathrene, for the plug! I've wanted to get into this conversation
> > but just can't right now, so that article will have to suffice for anyone
> > interested.
> > Warm wishes to all for 2011 and new world creating,
> > Lois
> >
> >
> > Don't forget to check out the latest at http://loisholzman.org
> >
> > Lois Holzman, Ph.D.
> > Director, East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy
> > 920 Broadway, 14th floor
> > New York NY 10010
> > Chair, Global Outreach for UX (www.allstars.org/ux)
> > tel. 212.941.8906 ext. 324
> > fax 718.797.3966
> > lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> > www.eastsideinstitute.org
> > www.performingtheworld.org
> > loisholzman.org
> > www.allstars.org
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Dec 29, 2010, at 2:20 PM, <cconnery@ithaca.edu> <cconnery@ithaca.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hi there,
> > > Lois Holzman has some excellent observations about creativity, learning
> > and imitation in her chapter in Vygotsky and Creativity. So do Oreck &
> > Nicholls in the same text, although their statments are less direct and
> more
> > implied.
> > > Happy New Year to all,
> > > Cathrene
> > > __________________________________________
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*Robert Lake  Ed.D.
*Assistant Professor
Social Foundations of Education
Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Georgia Southern University
P. O. Box 8144
Phone: (912) 478-5125
Fax: (912) 478-5382
Statesboro, GA  30460

 *Democracy must be born anew in every generation, and education is its
*-*John Dewey.
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