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Re: [xmca] The Frail Chain
- To: Larry Purss <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] The Frail Chain
- From: mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2012 20:28:46 -0700
- Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
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People have different ways of trying to combine insights associated with
Vygotsky et al that we call CHAT.
So I guess I don't really want to discuss is CHAT a Romantic science. Andy
has done a ton of work tracing
back lineages of Romantic science. A pretty long and diverse lineage.
I specifically do not want to grant David's comment that "an even more
important reason to reject the epithet of romantic science is that it
assumes a very ahistorical and non-dialectical opposition between
romanticism and enlightenment.
I do not interpret Luria this way, so entering the discussion on that basis
just doesn't attract me. Who among us would start out with that premise?
Not David, not me. So, for me the discussion is to explore the varieties
and choices and what we, ourselves, are seeking to do in our work/lives.
Luria and Vygotsky spoke of will.self control as learning to control
oneself from the outside. They sided with many who declare that "in the
beginning is the deed." When you put those ideas together, how are they
I was serious when I said that the quotation from Marx seemed apropriate.
Luria was a clinician AND an experimentalist, often with the same
individuals. In at least two famous cases, he interacted with individuals
over decades. His version of Romantic Science was decidedly BOTH/AND not
either/or and the crucible of
practice was where the two, historically intertwined work views reveal
I think David engages in this form of science, too. You see it in his
ability to bring his academic knowledge of
language, thought, and development to the practice of teaching as a second
language. In another way he
does it in his finest examples for great works of art and their analysis
through Vygotskian thought.
I am simply intellectually incapable of now adding more voices into the
discussion without reaching some
understanding of our presumed common starting points, to the extent to
which such exist! (Which is one of
the issues we struggle with always on xmca!).
I beg you pardon for asking you to pause before moving on. I feel on too
unsure a footing to follow at the moment.
On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 7:24 AM, Larry Purss <email@example.com> wrote:
> Good morning Mike and David
> THIS topic: Is CHAT a Romantic science?
> seems central to explorations of the yearning and desire to transform the
> world. David , your sharing Hazlitt's insight that volition and will are
> not retrospective, or focused on the present, but rather oriented to
> anticipating how to act in the future seems to be a wonderful temporal
> dimension to explore.
> Another way IN to this topic is your comment,
> It seems to me that an even more important reason to reject the epithet
> of romantic science is that it assumes a very ahistorical and
> non-dialectical opposition between romanticism and enlightenment.
> So, I would like to propose that "seeing through" THIS tension [or way of
> reading] the historical movement BETWEEN romanticism and enlightenment IS
> the narrative to explore.
> An analogy to Freud and Jung's ongoing conversation about dreams and where
> they come from and their function may be relevant to this topic as a way to
> show a dialectic within psychology as an expression of psyche.
> Freud saw dreams as retrospective, memory traces, expressing the infantile
> wishfulfillment at the heart of the unconscious. Jung saw dreams as having
> a teleological function calling us into the future.
> Now both Freud and Jung constructed autobiographical myths where they
> positioned themselves as the protaganosists who were DISCOVERING this new
> realm of the unconscious. In fact, this conversation had been
> EXPLICITLY developing for at least a century as a RESPONSE within German
> Romanticism to the enlightenment yearnings for certainty. For example
> dreams as PROSPECTIVE and prophetic was a key notion of German
> Romanticism. These ideas were being developed and extended by authors such
> as Flourney as a deepening conversation between the enlightenment and
> German Romanticism. However, in the egocentric yearning for recognition of
> "I" as the author of a discovery, the HISTORICAL conversation BETWEEN
> Romanticism and enlightenment impulses [as the location of the development
> of the narrative] becomes lost.
> I wonder if this same tendency may be at play in the ongoing conversation
> in CHAT exploring the creative imagination and instrumental orientations?
> One further aside. Dreams and play were also being explored at this
> time for the common functions expressed in rehearsing the NEXT steps in the
> developmental process within dreams and play as analogus impulses.
> While I'm here, I want to add an insight from Zygmunt Bauman's notions of
> solid and liquid modernity in his discussion of Freud's book *Freiheit and
> Sicherheit* [translated as Freedom and Security].
> Bauman calls our attention to an error in translation of this title as
> "sicherheit" is a much more complex term than "security" and expresses the
> UNITY of three English terms that are seen as autonomous concepts.
> Sicherheit as a notion expresses the UNITY of the terms security &
> certainty & safety which are viewed as autonomous concepts in English.
> Bauman suggests as we read Freud's writing we see he was exploring the
> themes of freedom [romantic notion] and sicherheit [security, certainty,
> and safety as enlightenment orientations].
> Bauman's key idea is that historically we are in transition from a time of
> solid modernity to what he terms liquid modernity. Freud was writing at a
> time of solid modernity when the quest for sicherheit as ORDER and
> NORMS made the yearning for freedom vulnerable. Today, in times of liquid
> modernity, the trade off is now reversed. Individual freedom is in the
> ascendence but the prime consequence is the fragility of sicherheit AS
> ORDER and NORMS.
> Bauman writes,
> "In liquid modernity the dearth of risk-free CHOICES and the growing
> unclarity of the game-rules which render most of the moves and above all
> the outcomes of the moves - which rebound as perceptions of threat to
> SAFETY - first the safety of the body and then the safety of property -
> that space-body extension. The withdrawal into the SAFE haven of
> territoriality is an intense, desiring temptation - and so the DEFENSE of
> the SAFE home becomes the passkey to all doors which one feels must be
> locked up and sealed off to stave off the TRIPLE threat to SPIRITUAL and
> MATERIAL sicherheit" [Bauman, "social Issues of Law and Order" in The
> British Journal of Criminology, 2000, v.40, p205-221]
> Bauman's exploring the yearning for law and order as SAFETY would explain
> the tea party movement, etc. which he suggests is a GENERAL response to
> liquid modernity and its deep bias towards individual freedom. For Bauman,
> this pursuit of a romantic ideal has consequences of increased
> vulnerability to sicherheit. [which is displaced into the pursuit of
> SAFETY because security and certainty are existential human yearnings
> but governments can respond to safety concerns
> Mike, David, I hope the invitation to explore the hermeneutical historical
> conversation BETWEEN romantic and enlightenment will generate further
> responses. Opening this theme as a generative conversation within our
> Western history may make explicit the tension between freedom [romantic
> ideal] and sicherheit [enlightenment ideal] that is in play in our searches
> and researches
> On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Well it turns out that my prior message is relevant to this one from
>> David - Kind of you to remind us that rust we must and thanks very much
>> the Hazlitt.
>> I really do not like the notion of Romantic Science as you characterize
>> it. Theme for a longer discussion.
>> And thanks for that too!!
>> On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM, kellogg <email@example.com> wrote:
>> > First of all, many congratulations to Mike on becoming a robust and
>> > even somewhat rusty link in the delicate chain of development. May
>> there be
>> > many more.
>> > I think Virginia Woolf once said that the First World War was, on a
>> > microgenetic level, kept going by millions of minuscule failures of
>> > imagination, for otherwise it were impossible, knowing what another
>> > person's life must mean to him, to take it away. I have been thinking of
>> > this in the context of a wonderful essay by William Hazlitt which I have
>> > always loved (yes, that is the exactly the right word).
>> > Hazlitt wants to construct a theory of human action to disprove the
>> > Smith/Hume odel based on rational self-interest. He does this rather
>> > deftly, by demonstrating that neither the past nor the present can be
>> > object of human will (since human will can alter neither) and therefore
>> > volition can only be future directed.
>> > But the future of the "self", whatever that may turn out to be, is no
>> > real to rational self-interest than the future of some other person,
>> and in
>> > fact is considerably less so, because other persons are a very tangible
>> > presence in the present. All volition, whether directed to the self or
>> > the fellow man, is based on imagination, and a strictly rational
>> > imagination is hardly anything more than perception, which he has
>> > demonstrated can be no basis for human action (since the objects
>> > to perception are in the present).
>> > I have always resisted identifying Vygotsky with "romantic science"
>> > (although I know that was Luria's phrase), and not just for the obvious
>> > reason that Vygotsky had a holy horror for the cult of the individual,
>> > for sentimentality, and for the gothic, and in many ways was a true
>> > of Spinoza and he enlightenment. It seems to me that an even more
>> > reason to reject the epithet of romantic science is that it assumes a
>> > ahistorical and non-dialectical opposition between romanticism and
>> > enlightenment.
>> > But if there is a frail, romantic link in our clanking chain, here it
>> > Andy points out that activity theory has suffered a lot from an
>> > (that is an instrumental, object oriented) bent, ever since the days
>> > Leontiev declared that motivation is little more than backwash from an
>> > object. Here's the antidote!
>> > David Kellogg
>> > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> > <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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