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Re: [xmca] Re: Imitation and Creativity

Hi everybody,

I will start with cooking as I have a lot of family to feed at the moment. Following recipes is a form of structured imitation. It would be different from the less intentionl imitation of picking up gestures, turns of phrase ( I have come to use the notion of "counter example" from my mathematician partner without the precision with which he uses the term) where imitation is less explicitly planned and implimented. . But as all of you know cooking is inventive as well as rule-governed. I chose the word "inventive" rather than creative because I accept some of the distinctions popular in the creativity literature We differentiate between committed long-term efforts where a motivated person engages in an apprenticeship with mentors,texts, instruments and other artifacts and then aims at achieving effective novelty. That is refered to by Gardner, Feldman, Csikszentmihalyi and others as "C" creativity. Lower case creativity is imitation with variation which is frequently explored by Sternberg, and could be though of as lower case'c" creativity. . So I prefer the notion of constructive variations for the kind of imitation that were included in recent messages, and also prefer to reserve the term "creative" to more sustained activity.. I think the terminology is slippery, Mike. But the distinctions can be built effectively and are important as we are trying to discuss activities over very large, multiple domains.
Happy New Year partners in thought,
----- Original Message ----- From: "mike cole" <lchcmike@gmail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Imitation and Creativity

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?



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
Warm wishes to all for 2011 and new world creating,

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

On Dec 29, 2010, at 2:20 PM, <cconnery@ithaca.edu> <cconnery@ithaca.edu>

> 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
> Happy New Year to all,
> Cathrene
> __________________________________________
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