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Re: [xmca] What is "structural change in the psyche"?

Here is a relevant set of ideas, i believe. A mystery author perhaps. (Hint-
retrieved from marxists.org)


The mnemotechnical memorizing can thus be divided without remainder into the
same conditional reflexes as natural memorizing. The only new features are
the substitution of two connections for one, the construction or combination
of nervous connections, and the direction given to the process of connection
by means of a sign. Thus new features consist not in the elements but in the
structure of the cultural methods of mnemonics.
The structure

The second task of scientific investigation is to elucidate *the structure *of
that method [of remembering-mc]. Although each method of cultural behaviour
consists, as it is shown by the analysis, of natural psychological
processes, yet that method unites them not in a mechanical, but in a
structural way. In other words, all processes forming part of that method
form a complicated functional and structural unity. This unity is effected,
first, by the task which must be solved by the given method, and secondly,
by the means by which that method can be followed.

The same problem, if solved by different means, will have a different
structure. If a child in the above mentioned situation turns to the aid of
external memorizing means, the whole structure of his processes will be
determined by the character of the means which he has selected. Memorizing
on different systems of signs will be different in its structure. A sign or
an auxiliary means of a cultural method thus forms a structural and
functional centre, which determines the whole composition of the operation
and the relative importance of each separate process.

The inclusion in any process of a sign remodels the whole structure of
psychological operations, just as the inclusion of a tool remodels the whole
structure of a labour operation. The structures thus formed have their
specific laws. You find in them that some psychological operations are
replaced by others which cause the same results, but by quite different
methods. Thus, for example, in memorizing mnemotechnically, the various
psychological functions, such as comparison, the renewal of old connections,
logical operations, reasoning, etc., all become aids to memorizing. It is
precisely the structure which combines all the separate processes, which are
the component parts of the cultural habit of behaviour, which transforms
this habit into a psychological function, and which fulfils its task with
respect to the behaviour as a whole.
The genesis

However, that structure does not remain unchanged. That is the most
important point of all we know concerning the cultural development of the
child. This structure is not an outward, ready-made creation. It originates
in conformance with definite laws at a certain stage of the natural
development of the child. It cannot be forced on the child from outside, it
always originates inwardly, although it is modelled by the deciding
influence of external problems with which the child is faced and the
external signs with which it operates. After the structure comes into being,
it does not remain unchanged, but is subject to a lengthy internal change
which shows all the signs of development.
A new method of behaviour does not simply remain fixed as a certain external
habit. It has its internal history. It is included in the general process of
the development of a child’s behaviour, and we therefore have a right to
talk of a genetic relation between certain structures of cultural reasoning
and behaviour, and of the development of the methods of behaviour. This
development is certainly of a special kind, is radically different from the
organic development and has its own definite laws. It is extremely difficult
to grasp and express precisely the peculiarity of that type of development.
In basing our position on critical explanations and on a series of schemes
suggested by experimental investigations, we shall try to take certain steps
toward the correct understanding of this development.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Gregory Allan Thompson <
gathomps@uchicago.edu> wrote:

> Hi Andy,
> I was just wondering whether you might be willing to say more what is meant
> by "a structural change in the psyche" in your post. This seems a rather
> idealist (vs. materialist) notion. Is that how you mean it?
> In trying to reformulate it in less idealistic terms, I came up with: "a
> structural change in one's understanding of the relationships between signs,
> and in the relationship of those signs to oneself". But I don't know that
> this gets us out of idealism and the attendant dualism.
> Relatedly, you had once posted a question about the difference between the
> "dollar in your head" and the "dollar in your pocket". I assume that this is
> a similar question/problematic.
> Maybe if we spoke of "habits and practices that involve the relationships
> between signs and their relations to us", maybe that gets closer to a
> non-dualistic way of talking about these things?
> Any suggestions?
> -greg
> >Message: 4
> >Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 15:33:51 +1100
> >From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> >Subject: Re: [xmca] Leading activities and central lines of
> >       development
> >To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >Message-ID: <4D37BB2F.9000709@mira.net>
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> >
> >Larry, I am not familiar with Mike and Natalia's paper, and they
> >obviously will speak for themselves. But I think that the central or
> >leading activity, and certainly a central or leading *motive* is not the
> >same thing as "central line of development," which refers to that
> >activity which promotes development towards a structural change in the
> >psyche of the developing person. This may or may not be present in any
> >given situation, for a child playing a game or a grad student
> participating.
> >
> >Andy
> >
> >Larry Purss wrote:
> >> Help with a question
> >> Recently Andy asked a question about clarification of the concept of
> >> "central lines of development.
> >> I  have been reading the article by Mike Cole and Natalia Gajdamaschko
> and
> >> there is a section with the heading
> >> "Heterogeneity of 'Leading' Activity in the Course of a Single Game
> Episode"
> >>
> >> Tmike and Natalia suggest there were several "leading" activities
> >> POTENTIALLY present, each associated with differentage periods.  Leading
> >> activities such as:
> >> - need to be loved and accepted
> >> - play
> >> - learning
> >> - peer interaction
> >> - work
> >>
> >> My question is if these leading activities may not be age specific.
>  Each of
> >> us may be centrally motivated by a particular leading activity which
> >> fluctuates from moment to moment in activity.  In the example in the
> article
> >> an undergraduate, Jill Silverstein, was writing field notes of the fifth
> >> dimension activity.  Mike and Natalia when interpreting the fieldnotes
> >> suggest Jill initially had a central motive of affiliation while play
> was
> >> the leading activity for the children.  There was a confusion about the
> >> rules of the game and the adult entered into the game and learning at
> that
> >> moment became a central motive.
> >>
> >> There were many  transitions in motives during the game  and Mike and
> >> Natalia summed up this section by stating,
> >>
> >> "As this example makes clear, not only are the girls able to be a "head
> >> taller" but a "head shorter" in the course of a single stretch of a
> joint
> >> game play mediated by the computer game and each other" [p.275]
> >>
> >> This statement points to notions of volition [agency] which are fluid
> and
> >> interchangeable when contained within supportive contexts [interweaving]
> >>
> >> How does this observation fit with the notion of a CENTRAL line of
> >> development? Is it possible that there is more heterogeneity in the
> lines of
> >> development than implied in the concept "central"?  Could the concept of
> >> central lines of development be describing historical forms of
> >> development which develop in particular settings when 5 year olds enter
> >> school environments?
> >>
> >> I may still be confused and misinterpreting Mike and Natalia's position
> but
> >> I am trying to understand if some of the more basic leading activities
> [such
> >> as affiliation] remain central WHEN THREATENED but become implicit and
> taken
> >> for granted when the person is secure and contained.  If there is some
> merit
> >> to this position then issues of security and attachment needs may recede
> >> into the background and other leading activities come to the foreground
> when
> >> basic attachment needs are met.  However when there is a perceived
> threat
> >> to  basic security needs then earlier leading activities or motives also
> >> return at any age.
> >>
> >> Larry
> >> __________________________________________
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> >>
> >>
> >>
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