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[Xmca-l] Re: In Defense of Fuzzy Things

David, Beth, and others interested in the question of the concept of
perezhivanie/emotional experience/reflected upon emotional experience, etc
(hereafter perezhivanie). The following message was written sometime around
July 8 but I was interrupted and am just getting back to my computer.
Apologies for my delay/mismanagement. I hope its still relevant. (I may
even have sent it in another version but i do not see it in the threaded
discussion log on xmca).

I, too, have been thinking about yesterday's messages, Beth. Why were you
thinking about flash mobs in relation to perezhivanie?

I re-appreciated David bringing Wordsworth into the discussion along with
"contemplate" (the association of which, with perezhivanie, i had found out
about hours before from a Russian acquaintance on Skype. The sheer
coincidence knocked me over. And then I began to think about what it means
when a 19th century English poet provides insight into issues that 21st
century psychologists are aspiring to "research" and that insight is
shared, somehow, by Russians living in far to the east of Moscow. The
Russian presumably did not get it from Wordsworth. Common intuitions across
a vast distance in culture, time, and space?

Then i wondered what it means when a poet provides insight we can all
appreciate but psychologists aspiring to do research provide, so far as I
can tell, no special insight at all.  At least, I know of no empirical
research linking perezhivanie and contemplation (созерцание- sozertsanie).
With perezhivanie in the "lived through, reflected upon, emotion-laden,
experience" sort, the major (only?) published research I know of is
Vasiliuk, and that is in the domain of psychotherapy, where, as Andy has
pointed out, perezhivanie appears to be the living through again
interpersonally, in discussion with the psychotherapist.

I think the example David points to (included below), is interesting. But I
am not sure what the ontogenetic sequence is. LSV's thought
experiment/example at first seems plausible, but as David points out, the
followup about drunk nannies and neighbors is odd.

In any event, I would really appreciate references to empirical studies of
the development of perezhivanie. I myself lived through, peripherally, the
research that Beth, Sonja Baumer, Robert Lecusay, and others did here in
San Diego, and I am pretty convinced that both the children AND the
researchers displayed perezhivanie. My sense of the events as they unfolded
is that there was an "in the moment" form of perezhivanie for children and
adults, and there were reflected upon perezhivanias (oops) among the


Here is the passage that David sent in Russian:
Imagine I possess certain constitutional characteristics – clearly, I
will experience this situation in one way, and if I possess different
characteristics, it is equally clear that I will experience it in quite
a different way. This is why people’s constitutional characteristics are
taken into account when differentiating between those who are excitable,
sociable, lively and active and others who are more emotionally slack,
inhibited and dull. It is therefore obvious, that if we have two people
with two opposite types of constitutional characteristics, then one and
the same event is likely to elicit a different emotional experience
[/perezhivanie/] in each of them. Consequently, the constitutional
characteristics of the person and generally the personal characteristics
of children are, as it were, mobilized by a given emotional experience
[/perezhivanie/], are laid down, become crystallized within a given
emotional experience [/perezhivanie/] but, at the same time, this
experience does not just represent the aggregate of the child’s personal
characteristics which determine how the child experienced this
particular event emotionally, but different events also elicit different
emotional experiences [/perezhivanija/] in the child. A drunken or
mentally ill mother amounts to the same thing as a mentally ill nanny,
but it does not mean the same as a drunken father or a drunken
neighbour. Which means that the environment, which in this case was
represented by a specific concrete situation, is also always represented
in a given emotional experience [/perezhivanie/]. This is why we are
justified in considering the emotional experience [/perezhivanie/]//to
be a unity of environmental and personal features. And it is precisely
for this reason that the emotional experience [/perezhivanie/]//is a
concept which allows us to study the role and influence of environment
on the psychological development of children in the analysis of the laws
of development.