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Re: [xmca] Collective Experience vs. Individual Experience? (Help, anyone?)

With Mike (though not physically in the same place), I too experienced the
recent black-out here in San Diego, and its ramifications are still
unfolding in various ways.  I've had several conversations with people about
(as far as I can tell) the almost universal phenomenon that large numbers of
people walked out of their electrically dead houses and began walking the
streets, talking to one another, eating together, etc... This created
pockets of interaction all across the city.  Later, days after, even today
(after almost two weeks), what really astounds people is how similar their
memories of these pockets of interaction are: "oh, yeah, that happened to me
too!", "yeah, people were on the streets, it looked like a different
neighborhood".  This retrospective story-telling (and sharing) is different
from those interactional pockets during the earthquake.  Both are shared
spaces, but they are construed (come into being interactionally) very
differently, but they are intimately connected, and inform not only
individual experience, but collective memory.

To me, this says that collective experience takes a ride on large-scale
phenomena, as something like a blunt fact that everyone knows about, but
remains unarticulated, remains as seed in soil.  But not all seeds sprout,
and even if some do sprout, not all grow to maturity.  How should we
characterize the levels of shared experience along this gradient?  Andy's
idea of a project growing out of shared experience as collective doing is
closer to the mature plant end of the gradient, but I would find it odd if
we couldn't have all manner of shared "xxxx" much less articulated than that
and still be able to speak of them as experience.


PS (This probably belongs in a separate post, but I think that in*formation
and dwelling-in, and some other evocative notions that have sprouted here on
xmca in recent months can be connected to "space" as it appears here, and to
experience.  What is had/felt/done/thought "in" what is, after all, central
to our enterprise here.  I've attached an article I shared with Mike, who
suggested I share with you, *Alan David Rayner (2011) Space Cannot Be
Cut—Why Self-Identity Naturally Includes Neighbourhood* , which appeared
recently in Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science.  It
problematizes, in my opinion, the distinction between individual and
collective experience, by way of the notion that any identity (and other
things besides) "naturally include" a "neighborhood" which identity includes
in itself and in which it is included at the same time.  The abstract is

Psychology is not alone in its struggle with conceptualizing the dynamic
 relationship between space and individual or collective identity. This
general  epistemological issue haunts biology where it has a specific focus
in evolutionary  arguments. It arises because of the incompatibility between
definitive logical  systems of ‘contradiction or unity’, which can only
apply to inert material systems,  and natural evolutionary processes of
cumulative energetic transformation. This  incompatibility makes any attempt
to apply definitive logic to evolutionary change  unrealistic and
paradoxical. It is important to recognise, because discrete perceptions  of
self and group, based on the supposition that any distinguishable identity
can be  completely cut free, as an ‘independent singleness’, from the space
it inescapably  includes and is included in, are a profound but unnecessary
source of psychological,  social and environmental conflict. These
perceptions underlie Darwin’s definition of  ‘natural selection’ as ‘the
preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life’.  They result in
precedence being given to striving for homogeneous supremacy,  through the
competitive suppression of others, instead of seeking sustainable, co-
 creative evolutionary relationship in spatially and temporally
heterogeneous  communities. Here, I show how ‘natural i nclusion’, a new,
post-dialectic  understanding of evolutionary process, becomes possible
through recognising space  as a limitless, indivisible, receptive
(non-resistive) ‘intangible presence’ vital for  movement and communication,
not as empty distance between one tangible thing  and another. The fluid
boundary logic of natural inclusion as the co-creative, fluid  dynamic
transformation of all through all in receptive spatial context, allows all
 form to be understood as flow-form, distinctive but dynamically continuous,
not  singularly discrete. This simple move from regarding space and
boundaries as  sources of discontinuity and discrete definition to sources
of continuity and dynamic  distinction correspondingly enables self-identity
to be understood as a dynamic  inclusion of neighbourhood, through the
inclusion of space throughout and beyond  all natural figural forms as
configurations of energy. Fully to appreciate and  communicate the
significance of this move, it is necessary to widen the linguistic,
 mathematical and imaginative remit of conventional scientific argument and
 explication so as to include more poetic, fluid and artistic forms of

On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> I am bewildered by this pagem Tony.
> Can you recommend a page where I can read Dewey on philosophy at some
> length - his work on group problem solving, learning, his critique of Hegel,
> and so on.
> Andy
> Tony Whitson wrote:
>> Thanks, Andy, that is helpful.
>> The Dewey is posted here:
>> https://tw-curricuwiki.**wikispaces.com/Dewey--culture%**2C+experience<https://tw-curricuwiki.wikispaces.com/Dewey--culture%2C+experience>
>> On Tue, 20 Sep 2011, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>  Herder, as I understand him, saw collective experience as an important
>>> facet in the formation of the character of a people. I think part of the
>>> problem is that "experience" has been such a contested term, Tony. Generally
>>> it has been co-opted by Empiricism, which is by its nature individualist and
>>> by definition the philosophy of experiene, but Dewey used the word in
>>> formulating his view. But didn't he later say that he regretted using the
>>> word "experience" because it led to misunderstandings? Personally, I think
>>> /shared/ experience is the most powerful force in changing Zeitgeist and
>>> individual mninds en masse. You have an experience, and then you find that
>>> everyone else experienced the same thing and that event then becomes a
>>> central focus of your collaboration with other people. What could be more
>>> world-changing?
>>> Andy
>>> Tony Whitson wrote:
>>>> This query is prompted by a new book:
>>>> Peck, Don. Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and
>>>> What We Can Do About It. New York: Crown Pub., 2011.
>>>> http://www.amazon.com/Pinched-**Great-Recession-Narrowed-**
>>>> Futures/dp/0307886522<http://www.amazon.com/Pinched-Great-Recession-Narrowed-Futures/dp/0307886522>
>>>> /
>>>> in which the author looks more deeply into predictable ramifications of
>>>> the
>>>> current economic situation than I have seen in other recent work.
>>>> Based on historical, sociological, and other literatures and modes of
>>>> research, the author argues that what we're dealing with now is not just
>>>> a
>>>> wave in a recurring cycle. He predicts lasting changes that he expects
>>>> to
>>>> deeply impact different generational cohorts for decades to come.
>>>> His argument is plausible, at least, to me. But it prompts me to wonder
>>>> about experience that is really collective experience, as opposed to
>>>> individual experience.
>>>> Exposing my ignorance, I realize that I can't think of literature on the
>>>> nature and structure of collective experience. It seems like there must
>>>> be a
>>>> lot; but I can't think of it. It also seems like xmca is a likely place
>>>> to
>>>> find people who would be interested, and would know about such
>>>> literature
>>>> (although it's not on-topic in the current threads).
>>>> I'm thinking of my first earthquake experience last month as an example
>>>> of
>>>> an individual experience. It was totally unlike anything I'd ever
>>>> experienced before, and it took me a few seconds to even recognize that
>>>> an
>>>> earthquake is what was happening (we don't have those in Delaware). I
>>>> was at
>>>> my desk, at home, by myself when it happened.
>>>> Of course, the experience was mediated after the fact from my
>>>> sociocultural
>>>> awareness of earthquakes. Still, I think it was an individual experience
>>>> in
>>>> the moment, compared with the collective experience that Don Peck is
>>>> writing
>>>> about -- an experience of events and developments over time, in which
>>>> the
>>>> experience of others participates, throughout, in the experience of any
>>>> one.
>>>> I am thinking that there might be something else that could be called
>>>> "shared experience," intermediate between individual and collective
>>>> experience.
>>>> Does this make any sense? Is this question of interest to anyone? Or am
>>>> I
>>>> naďvely wondering about things that have been well developed in the
>>>> literature?
>>>> I would be interested if anyone has ideas or references to share on
>>>> this.
>>>> ______________________________**____________
>>>> _____
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>>> --
>>> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
>>> ------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/**
>>> smpp/title~db=all~content=**g932564744<http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744>
>>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
>>> ______________________________**____________
>>> _____
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>> Tony Whitson
>> UD School of Education
>> NEWARK  DE  19716
>> twhitson@udel.edu
>> ______________________________**_
>> "those who fail to reread
>>  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>>                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> --
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/**smpp/title~db=all~content=
> **g932564744<http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744>
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
> ______________________________**____________
> _____
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>

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