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Re: [xmca] varying definitions of perezhivanie

I fear that I may be responsible for causing confusion by introducing Vasilyuk's terms "inner world " and "outer world" without proper explanation. I will pick a few pages to scan over the weekend to give people a better idea.

In the meantime, I think it would be fair to say that he characterises "inner world" by commitment to one or many projects or "life relations." Such projects are perfectly objective, but of course the conception of them, the commitment to them, their value and meaning is personal. All social life is both subjective and objective. The outer world he characterises as "easy" or "difficult" according to whether the projects to which a person is committed face obstacles or disasters that originate independently of the subject. EG a person's "inner world" may be characterised by their love for their wife and the outer world is characterised by the fact that their wife has just died. The subject is faced with a psychologically impossible situation. It might be resolved in a number of ways, ....

So it's not the same as the "inner world" I think Simmel and Weber are talking about.


Greg Thompson wrote:
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'
(Scaff 1987:740)."

 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),
279-299. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1352.2011.01194.x

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 <ablunden@mira.net> 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 <schweighartc@gmail.com>
To: Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com> 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 <haydizulfei@rocketmail.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 <schweighartc@gmail.com>
To: Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture,
Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> 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 <
haydizulfei@rocketmail.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 <ablunden@mira.net>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
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



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