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Re: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
Three things I noticed in perusing the article:
a) Like you, I noticed that the "you-me" relationship is "one possible perspective" on the development of reflected upon experience.
b) But I also noticed, with faint annoyance, that the author seemed to be be claiming universality, despite clear evidence in her own data (e.g. "Show mommy the potty, Nanny") that her conclusion might be very child specific.
c) I noticed, with some relief, a minimum of 'theory of mind" discussion. I guess we are finally getting it through our thick skulls that a theory of mind is going to develop as long as the mind that contemplates and the mind that is contemplated does so.
Let's assume that Reddy is right, and that the "you-me" interaction is the essential source of all joint intersubjectivity in later life. That still leaves us an essential problem--and for Brecht, and for Chinese opera, as well as for my ruminations on murders witnessed but not experienced, it is the essential problem--of how we get from empathy to objectivity, from the second to the third person.
I think Rod is right. On the one hand, Vygotsky refers to word meaning as the microcosm of consciousness in the conclusion to "Thinking and Speech" and on the other he clearly lists "perizhvanie" as the unit of child consciousness in "The Problem of the Environment" (p. 342 of the Vygotsky Reader).
Neither unit is "activity" in the sense used by activity theorists; neither has an outcome in production. Neither inheres in a purely "you-me" relationship which can be and often is carried out without any use of word meaning or any self-reflection. But, as Rod points out, both are inextricably bound up with the "activity" of using verbal meanings upon yourself.
And that, to me, explains why when we observe some horrific incident and we immediately notice, whether with relief or with guilt, the unmistakeable fact of our own non-involvement, we often say "It was just like a movie" but we never say "It was just like a book".
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
--- On Sun, 3/18/12, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Larry Purss <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 6:23 AM
Rod, David, Peter
The relationship between perezhivanie and reflecting on *second hand*
experience. How does this relationship manifest? What sequences unfold
in this process.
Rod, a year ago you recommended a book by V. Reddy who was exploring the
negotiation of feelings as well as understandings within what is referred
to as primary intersubjectivity developing within 2nd person communicative
I recently came across this 6 page summary of V. Reddy's *2nd person*
perspective on lived experience as the basic process from which emerges the
derived 3rd person perspectives which are *borrowing* the processes
previously lived through within 2nd person engagements.
The article uses charts which clearly distinguish her perspective from more
cognitively oriented accounts
>From Reddy's perspective, these borrowed 2nd person processes are
profoundly transformed within language games [Wittgenstein's term] acquired
as culturally informed skilled practices expressing the giving
of reasons. Reddy posits the skill of offering justifications in the 3rd
person as derived from 2nd person *I-YOU* encounters previously lived
through. Derived justifications borrow the content from 2nd person lived
through experiences and use this derived content within the activity of
I also noticed she posits two *basic* movements within our emotional 2nd
person engagements: *hiding* & *revealing* our selves. As I understand
Reddy's position these basic intersubjective orientations continue to play
out within more complex cultural-historical informed engagements.
Reddy's 2nd person perspective offers one possible approach into the
perhezivanie and activity.
On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 4:45 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> Many thanks for this, David - a really valuable clarification of the
> relationship between perezhivanie and activity. I wonder what you would
> have to say about the extent to which your second type of reflection is
> actually a culturally mediated process of mediation. In other words,
> when we practise the activity of reflecting on a 'second-hand' experience,
> in order to colour it with the 'body and vitality' of our own spontaneous
> concepts, are we 'borrowing' processes which we have picked up, absorbed or
> internalised from our experiences of engaging with others (and negotiating
> the sharing of feelings as well as understandings)? When we reflect in
> tranquility on observed second hand (second body) experiences do we not
> have to draw on internalised sociocultural processes to be able to do this?
> All the best,
> From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf
> Of David Kellogg [email@example.com]
> Sent: 18 March 2012 03:33
> To: xmca
> Subject: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
> We have been worrying about how to correctly render the word "переживаний"
> in Korean, and above all how to link it to "activity" (because it is clear
> to me that Vygotsky saw the one as a reflection upon the other). At the
> same time, I have been following the news from Syria, where I witnessed, in
> the early nineteen eighties, a similar bloody uprising against the current
> leader's father.
> It has been estimated that by the time a child is twelve or thirteen years
> old the child has witnessed, on television, several hundred, possibly many
> thousands, of simulated murders. We didn't have a television when I was a
> kid, but when I first witnessed real murders as a twenty-year-old I
> remember thinking that it was "like a movie".
> Of course, when you say that, what it means is that you are undergoing the
> visual experience of observing something but that the acutal переживаний,
> the lived experience or the feeling of what is happening to you, is somehow
> missing. It means almost the same thing as when you say that something is a
> dream (I still dream a lot about Syria, and sometimes I dream things that
> are very disturbing, but I know that the dreams feel very different from
> the way the reality felt).
> Here, it seems to me, we have an almost complete contrast of the two
> meanings of reflection. For on the one hand, the scene that you see before
> your eyes is a clear reflection; when you say that you feel like a
> particularly gruesome or traumatic scene is like a movie or like a dream,
> you do not in any way have the sense of watching a movie or dreaming. What
> you mean is that you are seeing the sights but not feeling the feelings of
> what happens to you; you are lacking the переживаний.
> And it seems to me that there are two ways to interpret that lack that
> corresond to the two meanings of the word "reflection". One is to say that
> you are not feeling and thinking the experience because you are too busy
> directly experiencing it, reflecting it like a mirror or a TV screen or a
> flickering image on the back of your dreaming eyelids.
> But the other is that you are not participating in the experience, and
> that your first reaction is that you yourself are neither the murderer nor
> the murdered one. In other words, it is an experience, but it is not an
> activity. And an experience that is not an activity is not a lived
> experience: it is like a movie or like a dream.
> It's that SECOND meaning of reflection, which I am almost sure really is a
> type of activity, even though it involves no actions and only indirectly
> involves verbal meanings, that converts an experience which is not an
> activity, into переживаний, or what Wordsworth would call emotion reflected
> upon in tranquility.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> xmca mailing list
> xmca mailing list
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