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Re: [xmca] varying definitions of perezhivanie
Further fleshing out "inner" and "outer," I came across these interesting
sources regarding Simmel's and Weber's take on inner and outer as a
historical development (Quoted directly from H. J. Jung's article in Ethos
(see refs below)):
"Georg Simmel noted 'psychologism' as 'the essence of modernity,' by which
he meant 'the experiencing and interpretation of the world in terms of the
reaction of our inner life and indeed as inner world' (as described in
Cronan 2009: 91). Max Weber also observed psychologism as a feature of his
time. By the famous metaphor of an iron cage, Weber (1997) made a poignant
critique of Western rationalism, and argued elsewhere that the 'culture of
feeling' and 'inwardness' arose as one response to the modern condition
(Scaff 1987: 743). In Weber's interpretation, the 'specific and peculiar
rationalism of Western culture' (1997: 26) generates the specific and
peculiar kind of response, psychologism. The cultural significance of
capitalism, therefore, lay in the 'cultural discontents of modernity'
Cronan, T. (2009). Georg Simmel’s Timeless Impressionism. *New German
Critique*, *36*(1 106), 83–101.
Jung, H. J. (2011). Why Be Authentic? Psychocultural Underpinnings of
Authenticity among Baby Boomers in the United States. *Ethos*, *39*(3),
Scaff, L. A. (1991). *Fleeing the iron cage: culture, politics, and
modernity in the thought of Max Weber*. Univ of California Pr.
Apparently a lot of folks were noticing this at the opening of the 19th
All makes me wonder: what is life like without "inwardness"?
On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 2:44 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Completely different, Haydi.
> "The Psychology of Experiencing" is really about how people manage crises
> in their lives and is structured mainly around the different types of inner
> and outer world.
> Haydi Zulfei wrote:
>> How close is this paper to Vasilyuk's "Psychology of Experiencing" ? In 3
>> parts .
>> From: Christine Schweighart <email@example.com>
>> To: Haydi Zulfei <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Thursday, 12 January
>> 2012, 12:01:46
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] varying definitions of perezhivanie
>> Dear Haydi,
>> We could also contact Jack (actionresearch.net) - I've mentioned my
>> interest to him - but I think I would need to approach with a question 'for
>> him' he is working towards a concept of 'hope' and embodied values
>> currently . ( I would go back to contrast with 'hope' , Freire and -
>> (personally), nature of 'embodied' in actuality. Jack does draw leverage
>> from 'biography' in his supervision.
>> BTW I didn't intend to point to Petrovsky in particular, rather here
>> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 5:57 PM, Haydi Zulfei <email@example.com>
>> Dear Christine
>>> Thank you for the message !
>>> To tell you the truth I did not know Vasilyuk is alive . It's Mike who
>>> knows all this . And it is not the first time vasilyuk's work and the
>>> 'perezhivanie' are being discussed as you can see from what Dot Robbins
>>> came up against very long ago (Notes on Perezhivanie-third link to the end)
>>> . Mike has also had his different denotational (literal) as well as
>>> connotational psychological features of the term , too . Andy maybe takes
>>> Michael Levikh back to that time . But you did a very good thing to
>>> introduce the 'scribd' version to us to read before Mike could give a push
>>> to all mechanical as well as technological devices and possibilities for a
>>> pdf version . Thanks really ! Amazon presents it with what we can call the
>>> 'juice of our personality' :-) . Dollar here just not soars but really
>>> uproars ! You were lucky with that little book , dear .
>>> Yes , Vasilyuk happily proved to be alive . I sent him a message and
>>> unluckily conveyed the idea with full respect and rejoice . He is now
>>> charged with all kinds of responsibilities . We wish him great success . I
>>> asked him if he is still 'loyal' to his own writing . He has not provided a
>>> reply yet . What you found is included among and along some other articles
>>> in the first issue of the said journal . I don't know Russian and the
>>> translations are limited to the contents of the web pages .
>>> As about to the extent to which Jack Whitehead could approach himself to
>>> the 'activity theory proper' , there could be lots of debate . But I read
>>> it to the end and listened to the talks and ,between ourselves, there was a
>>> mother-tongue translation of Mandelstam's poem plus some other good things
>>> which looked a bit strange (unexpected) within that context . I have a
>>> political piece by a V.A.Petrovsky of whose identity I'm not sure .
>>> Psychologically speaking , Petrovsky is not a no fame name , by the way .
>>> Sorry for the unintentional excess talk !
>>> From: Christine Schweighart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> To: Haydi Zulfei <email@example.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>> Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Thursday, 12 January 2012, 6:56:18
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] varying definitions of perezhivanie
>>> Dear Haydi,
>>> Your first two links go to Jack Whitehead's work. I met Jack through
>>> his interpretation of 'living contradiction' - which in the conditions of
>>> educational practice becomes an agonistic problem-structuring around 'how
>>> can I? . For me this 'I' reflects conditions of practice where enquirers
>>> begin in an 'unempowered' reflection - not conditions of activity
>>> theoretical development. It is possible maybe that a journey can arise and
>>> expand from there....
>>> However, despite encountering Jack's work, i did not encounter Vasilyuk
>>> from his writing ar in discussion with him- rather I became interested in
>>> work I found appearing here as I express and set out in a message to
>>> another who knew of him:
>>> "I was looking on
>>> this database at the topics being worked on in this journal:
>>> Mainly because the website translates into english. I can't recall
>>> exactly how I focused on him in particular , but I went to his web
>>> page and the book title looked interesting, so I found it in a second
>>> hand bookshop. ( It has a dedication -by the author I think) £7.77.
>>> When it came I couldn't believe what I encounterd brought together -
>>> still haven't been able to read it 'fully', as I want to notice what I
>>> notice (
>>> if you know what I mean - I don't want to 'lose' it).
>>> So I held back and then 'googled' him/the work - unbelievably I found
>>> Jack Whitehead had been writing about him... That was the order of
>>> encounter. I did not read Jack's page - just enought to wonder if he
>>> grabbed a bit in a form useful to him at the time ( perhaps no harm -
>>> but potentially devastating if it's dissociated from its relations and
>>> future students etc will 'hit into it') - and that is not my interest
>>> My interest is to work through how he brings 'value' - not to follow
>>> him but to 'imagine' myself how that impacts the dynamics of -motive
>>> ( and therefore all other relations) BUT this is to see if it explains
>>> my difficulty, and I think that will be productive."
>>> At that point I set out my question re biography to Andy- and I need to
>>> revisit that.
>>> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM, Haydi Zulfei <
>>> email@example.com> wrote:
>>> Thanks Andy ! In my view , whom I always consider just as a naive
>>> reader , a very illuminating synopsis coming out of a deep understanding
>>> of the 'activity theory' . The 'scribed' version though so much scrambled
>>> partially .
>>>> Your synopsis caused me to google 'fyodor vasilyuk' . Some links came
>>>> up , three of which of likely interest . Forgive if redundancy is at work !
>>>> From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, 10 January 2012, 4:01:27
>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] varying definitions of perezhivanie
>>>> Michael, Haydi, Christine and others, thank you for drawing my
>>>> attention to Fyodor Vasilyuk. Just read his book and loved it. It's one of
>>>> those books that even though you can follow it as you read, it is not easy
>>>> to recall afterwards. Anyway, here is my synopsis.
>>>> *The Psychology of Experiencing*. The Resolution of Life’s Critical
>>>> Situations. by Fyodor Vasiluk Progress Publishers 1984.
>>>> This is a book about living through critical situations in life.
>>>> “Experiencing” is a translation of “/perezhivanie/” and Vasilyuk uses it to
>>>> mean “any process which brings about resolution of a critical
>>>> life-situation, irrespective of how that process is directly felt by the
>>>> individual.” Vasilyuk is an Activity Theorist, and sees experiencing as an
>>>> activity, not just something to which happens to a person, but that
>>>> hitherto Activity Theory had no term for it. So he has appropriated
>>>> Vygotsky’s use of the term as a unit for the development of character. But
>>>> I notice that for Vasilyuk, /perezhivanie /is the whole “working through”
>>>> of the crisis situation, which is elsewhere called “catharsis,” whereas
>>>> what others call the /perezhivanie /he calls the crisis-situation. The
>>>> situation is of course equally subjective and objective, arising in the
>>>> world, as it is experienced by the subject according to the subject’s
>>>> commitments in the
>>>> world as well as uncontrolled events arising from the objective world.
>>>> Vasilyuk is a superb dialectician. Experiencing is the process in which
>>>> character is formed, but also, it is the process of character itself: both
>>>> process and product.
>>>> The main part of the book hinges on the idea that the inner world of
>>>> the subject, the active side which cognizes, feels, perceives and acts may
>>>> be either /simple/ or /complex/; the outer world of the subject, the
>>>> subject’s life-world is either /easy/ or /difficult/. It is not so much
>>>> that there are two kinds of inner and outer world, but that any specific
>>>> crisis is derived from one of the four possible conjunctions: simple-easy,
>>>> complex-easy, simple-difficult or complex-difficult. Each possible
>>>> conjunction also contains the others, but one conjunction is dominant in
>>>> the specific case.
>>>> Vasilyuk calls an activity a “life relation” but so far as I can see
>>>> the word “project” perfectly describes what he has in mind. A simple inner
>>>> world means that the crisis arises from the pursuit of just one activity
>>>> and has no implication for any other project. A complex inner world means
>>>> that the subject is motivated by multiple projects so that changes in the
>>>> progress of one project has implications for other projects (eg they may be
>>>> conflicting, or dependent on one another) and resolving a crisis becomes
>>>> something complex in that sense. An easy outer world means that the crisis
>>>> arises from inner causes, not existential threats to the project or
>>>> blockages having their origin independently of the subject. A difficult
>>>> outer world means that a project in which the subject is committed faces a
>>>> blockage or disaster.
>>>> Vasilyuk goes through all the possible combinations of strategies that
>>>> subjects resort to to resolve a crisis arising in each of these four
>>>> worlds, and there are all sorts of sub-types, etc. These categories are
>>>> ahistorical so Vasilyuk is able to explore the possibilities by logical
>>>> means rather than abstracting them from empirical data. Of course the
>>>> circumstances which give rise to crises and the strategies available to
>>>> subjects are culturally and historically determined. But analysis of a
>>>> crisis and therapeutical assistance depends first of all in diagnosing the
>>>> kind of crisis the subject is undergoing. So the elaboration of the theory
>>>> is very logical, but one gets the feeling that Vasilyuk has had the benefit
>>>> of the experience of offering assistance to thousands of people going
>>>> through severe crises and that his theory is robust as a diagnostic tool.
>>>> The four kinds of crisis are (simple-easy) stress, (simple-difficult)
>>>> frustration, (complex-easy) conflict and (complex-difficult) crisis. He
>>>> says that /stress /is a “hedonistic” crisis – the subject is concerned only
>>>> with the here and now and getting more; /frustration /is a “realistic”
>>>> crisis – the subject has to accept the unattainability of the object and
>>>> determine what it is they /really/ need, not just the specific thing which
>>>> has the meaning for them of their object; /conflict /is a "crisis of
>>>> values" – the subject is obliged to revisit the bases for their past
>>>> actions and question their values which have led them into a tragic
>>>> situation; crisis as such is a creative crisis, which obliges the subject
>>>> to transform the meaning of the absent object so as to make the
>>>> psychologically impossible situation possible; this means a life-crisis
>>>> resolved by creating a new life-world, a new self. This is all very complex
>>>> and I can’t do it
>>>> justice. It will take a lot of study. I like the way he deals with the
>>>> concept of "values" as deep structures, underlying commitments which can be
>>>> brought to light only by a subject's /perezihivanie/.
>>>> The section on psychotherapy relied on a different categorisation of
>>>> four “levels of awareness.” These are the Unconscious, Experiencing (here
>>>> in the ordinary meaning of the word, more like Undergoing), Reflection, and
>>>> Apprehension. This structure of consciousness or awareness is defined by
>>>> the activity of the Observer and the Observed (a bit like Mead's I and Me).
>>>> Crises may be felt in one (mainly at the given moment) “level” and Vasilyuk
>>>> says that a different therapeutic strategy is required in each case. In the
>>>> case of the Unconscious, it is a /monologue by the therapist /who tells the
>>>> patient what the break in consciousness reveals; in the case of Undergoing
>>>> it is a /monologue by the patient /who gives voice to their experience so
>>>> as to become aware of it, with the empathy of the therapist, can move it
>>>> into Reflection; in Apprehension therapy requires a /dialogue /between the
>>>> therapist and the patience to bring out the nature of the
>>> in Reflection the therapy is an /internal dialogue/ of the patient
>>>> themself through which the crisis can be transformed and resolved
>>>> Michael Levykh wrote:
>>>>> I hope the following paragraph from my 2008 PhD Theses might shed a
>>>>> bit more
>>>>> light on your discussion:
>>>>> Vasilyuk (1984) writes in his annotation to Psikhologia
>>>>> (Psychology of Perezhivaniye), that in order to manage
>>>>> "situations of stress, frustration, inner conflict, and life
>>>>> crisis, quite
>>>>> often a painful inner work has to be done in re-establishing
>>>>> equilibrium and reconstructing a new meaningful life" (para. 1,
>>>>> translation). For him, even a painful experience in the past
>>>>> can be
>>>>> recreated as a positive, pleasurable, meaningful
>>>>> future-oriented experience
>>>>> of personality. Hence, perezhivaniye is a future-oriented,
>>>>> conscious, and
>>>>> individual emotional experience of past events achieved in the
>>>>> "here-and-now" through reflection on the individual's struggle
>>>>> himself/herself (e.g., as if struggling between the dual
>>>>> consciousness of
>>>>> self and the character he/she portrays) and with the social
>>>>> (e.g., his/her audience). Although perezhivaniye connotes
>>>>> mostly negative
>>>>> (painful) experience of the past, its future-orientedness
>>>>> possibilities for positive outcomes. Such positive
>>>>> possibilities are also
>>>>> reflected in Vygotsky's optimistic views on cultural
>>>>> development in general.
>>>>> Michael Levykh
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> xmca mailing list
>> xmca mailing list
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1>
> 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
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego
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