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Re: [xmca] (no subject)

I find this a very challenging topic, Mike, but as I see it the idea of future invoked here goes back to Aristotle's conception of the essence of a thing being that which it is moving towards. Or, a person is their destiny, not just the various attributes that they manifest at a given moment. So in our language, that of Activity Theory, the future is the aim which is immanent in an Activity, or what Vasilyuk calls a "life relation." By our commitment to a project (aka a life relation, an activity) we build our personality. There may of course be mutliple projects, and the possibility of conflicts and of difficulty. This should be distinguished from the idea of character being made up of prejudices, skills, memories, etc., which have kind of rubbed off on us through participation in past activities. This is something different from personality, I think. These are things which can be said of us, but are not essentially us.


mike cole wrote:
Larry. Thanks for your earlier posting selecting from the Vasiliuk text. I
know too little about the realm of ideas
into which you took this passage to comment. -- But I found the passage
very helpful. Here is the passage again.

Andy, Thanks for sending out Chapter ll of Vasilyuk's book.
On page 87, I appreciated how he articulated the "ontology of the isolated
individual." I quote:

For the latter [ontology of the isolated individual], the situation taken
as primary for subsequent theoretical development is one where you have, on
the one hand, a separate being isolated from the world, and, on the other
hand, objects, or more precisely things, existing "in themselves".  The
SPACE BETWEEN, empty and contentless, only keeps them APART from one
another. Subject and object are both thought of as existing from the
BEGINNING and as INTRINSICALLY definite, PRIOR TO and independently of any
practical connection between them; they are independent natural ENTITIES.
Activity, which brings about a practical connection between subject and
object is STILL IN THE FUTURE; in order [for activity] to commence, it must
be sanctioned while the PRIMARY situation OF SEPARATION between subject and
object still prevails."

This is the classical psychological understanding of the source of activity
as DERIVED and IN THE FUTURE. In the ontolology of the isolated
individual's  most highly rationalized FORM can be REDUCED to a view that
activity is BASED on a cognitive calculation thesis.  Reflection PRECEDES
the activity within the subject's mind and only after does the activity
take place.

Larry suggest this passage as a jumping off point into a discussion of
terms such as "personality" and
"character" . I hope to keep learning from that discussion, but meantime, I
would like some advice on
the productivity of thinking about alternative formulations in terms of the
way they deal with temporality.

We see very clearly in this passage a characterization of what Goethe
attributes to those scientists who
first declare a "first" from which seconds and thirds can be deduced. He
uses the weaving metaphor
to capture the properties of the life process which have been exterminated
as the scientist murders while
dissecting. So far as I can tell, the weaving metaphor is a lot more useful
to thinking about life processes, so long as
we think of weaving as the constant creation of a variety of strands.

There is an argument about the ontology of the individual that focuses on
the issue of being able to reflect upon
the world BEFORE acting on it; reflection before action. If I understand
correctly the views of people such as Vladimir Zinchenko, a student of
Leontiev's, based upon a variety of evidence from his research on
stabilized images on the retina and the microgenesis of action, both point
toward a kind of "simulation" theory of mind, one which can operate far
more rapidly than the events they are a part of and constituting. It is
implied by the very folk cultural notion that
we all should remember to "stop and think" when things are not flowing
smoothly our way.

It seems to me that it is premature to turn away from kind of claim. It
goes well beyond any narrow discussion
of obscure Russians doing obscure stuff. Its sits right in the middle of
some influential contemporary developmental theories concerning "theory of
mind" that are the foundation of forms of education and therapy ubiquitous
in society.

There are probably some issues of morality of concern at this level, as


To begin with

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