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Re: [xmca] Vladislav Lektorsky's notion of the subject
I believe that the term mind is problematic and you will find it as
the direct translation for consciousness, self-consciousness, and even
soul, rendering the texts that I handled a decade or more ago very
modern or contemporary. These Buddhist texts, however, already
acknowledge the inner-self or the 'inner world', especially as means
of self-regulation. But in Buddhism, the mind is an illusion and must
be cast out. In other words, you have to get rid of mind through mind!
"If one is capable of not seizing on interpretations, not creating the
mind of delusion, and not esteeming profound knowledge, then he will
be a peaceful person. If there is one dharma to be esteemed or valued,
this dharma will be the one most capable of binding and killing you,
and you will fall into having mind. This is an unreliable state of
affairs. There are innumerable common men throughout the world who are
bound by terminology and the written word."
(From Record II, the Boddhidharma Anthology, 6th century)
"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws
"How will you become free?
With a quiet mind
Come into that empty house, your
And feel the joy of the way
Beyond the world.
The rising and the falling.
How sweet to be free!"
"Are you quiet?
Quieten your body.
Quiten your mind.
You want nothing.
Your words are still.
You are still."
"You are the master,
You are the refuge.
As a merchant breaks in a fine horse,
(From the Dhammapada, The sayings of the Buddha, circa 300 BC?)
I think we are dealing with the human capability for reflection, the
way the inner-self gets referred to and the way you master that
capability (the artefacts used with that purpose) is absolutely
In Aristotle's time those means may have been called 'religion'.
I tend to agree with David about the particular locus of the inner
self in the formation of the child's will. However, I tend to side
more with Bratus and the late AN Leontiev in terms that 'personal
sense' (not merely sense as oppossed to meaning) is more trascendental
than previously thought and without that personal sense there is no
way to coherently integrate activity and even one's own mental
regulation does not acquire sense. In other words, I will go further
than what David has stated so far, which I believe is utterly correct,
and I would say that the development of the child is all about ethical
regulation, not about simply 'controlling his mind' or handling
symbols or completing adequately certain tasks.
On 5 January 2012 10:58, David Kellogg <email@example.com> wrote:
> In the History of the Development of the Higher Pschological Functions, Vygotsky begins by saying that the cultural development of the child, the development of the higher psychological functions, and the formation of the child's will are one and the same thing. He asks us to simply take these things as being externally connected and simultaneous for the moment and then, in the course of a number of special studies, he shows how they are internally connected.
> Some of the special studies are not obviously connected with the formation of a self in the sense of an inner world. For example, David Kirshner and I have been reading his study on the development of counting, which Vygotsky sees has happening through the DIVISION of visual-graphic displays rather than through the addition of descrete objects (because Vygotsky is really interested in the child's ability to control his own mind rather than simply manipulate objects).
> But some of the special studies clearly ARE about the formation of the self in the sense that Andy is using it (e.g. Chapter 12, Self Control, and Chapter 15, Development of Personality and World View). This isn't exactly an "inner world" (actually, I'm not sure I have one of those myself). But it's clearly one of the many things we mean when we say "self".
> Aren't CHILDREN the logical place to look for the formation of a self, and also for what life looks like when you don't yet have one? I suppose you COULD use Aristotle if you really wanted to, but I think Larry is right to go back further.
> Jaynes, who knew a lot about selves because as a schizophrenic he had a couple of them, wrote that the Iliad and the Odyssey could not be by the same person, because in the Iliad, people don't really have selves; when they want to have ideas, Gods appear and talk inside their heads, but in the Odyssey, Odysseus is keeping secrets from everybody, even the Gods. I by the time of Aristotle, Greeks knew what the sentence "Ajax killed himself out of pique" meant. But they probably did not know what "I need to take a year off and find myself" means.
> The difference seems significant to me. Death, the end of self, is a biomechanical event, as well as a sociocultural artefact (funerals are sociocultural artefacts, burial or cremation is a biochemical transformation). It makes sense to me that Aristotle would grasp a sense of self that is closer to man's biomechanical origins but not one that is part of our sociocultural present.
> I know that Mike rightly resists any parallelism between the youth of our own culture and the youth of our youth. But I still think that children are the place to look if we want to study how selves are formed and how they can be dissolved.
> I am not sure, but I think that children do not yet grasp either "kill myself" or "find myself". The existence of invisible friends, the obsession with being popular, and the incredulity of the teenager before the bedroom mirror all seem to be part of that process. That is why the recent news of child suicides, both here and in the USA, are so distressing to me: a gesture that is meaningful for others, but meaningless to the self.
> I remember that when Bill Clinton was running for president, he signed the death warrant of a mentally disabled man who was, we were told, legally an eight year old child. He was offered a last meal, but he was full and couldn't finish his ice cream, so he set it aside and told the warden that he would come back and finish it when the execution was over.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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