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[Xmca-l] Re: fixed/fluid



Thanks Larry,

I suspect that it is more a shift in what meaning means to us (which IS a shift in meaning). Is it not part of the 'fall' - the price we pay for knowing - that once we shift our focus from meaning-in-contexts (particularly a very specific awareness of what things mean TO particular people) to meaning-in-concepts (or, rather, in systems of interrelated concepts), meaning moves from being a process to being a property.

But I think the shiftiness of meaning is also spectacularly beneficial - the more tightly some people try to fix meaning the more it squelches out of their grip as others find other ways to mean what they need to mean. I caught a snippet on the radio the other day about how a German translation of Dylan Thomas's 'Under Milk Wood' was enormously popular in East Germany during the cold war, because its play with language reminded people that language could be played with.

All the best,

Rod

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: 04 November 2014 18:59
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: fixed/fluid

Rod,
I am not sure if my reply reached you.
Raymond is talking about this particular separation [as such] IF one locates the socialcultural in the already formed and known THEN implicity was is beyond the already formed must be located somewhere else and Raymond says at THIS particular epoch we happen to divide the world THIS way and [as such] the living,here, now spontaneous BECOMES SUBJECTIVE.

HE EXPLICITLY SAYS THIS IS A PARTICULAR WAY of defining [LABELLING] the aspects of a unit of analysis.
however, IF WE CHANGE OUR DEFINITIONS then what is known and already formed changes and implicitly what is spontaneous, living here now specific and SUBJECTIVE also changes.
I am fascinated by how we have historically proposed to  *cut* from the continuum of nature and the recognition that the objective and subjective are neither all fixed or all fluid but the relations can shift over time.
Is this shift a shift in meaning?
Larry

On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 12:14 AM, Rod Parker-Rees < R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:

> Larry, please excuse me stepping in with no knowledge of Williams's
> book beyond the paragraph you cite but I was struck by how his account
> of the social (fixed?) and the personal (fluid?) relates to my own
> developing interest in conceptual and contextual frames of meaning.
> Concepts are social, formed and RELATIVELY fixed (though mutable and
> shifting on a slower timescale) and contexts are embodied, here, now
> and RELATIVELY subjective (though also inescapably intersubjective or
> intrasubjective) but, as Vygotsky pointed out in his account of
> language development, the uniquely personal meanings which inhere in
> specific contexts are surrounded by and immersed in the 'final/ideal
> form' of conceptual meanings. The 'spontaneous concepts' which are discovered in the patterns of 'first hand'
> engagement with the environment of things and persons are framed and
> corralled by the already formed, social 'schooled' or 'scientific'
> concepts which are shared by members of a culture so the moving cannot
> really escape from the fixed, though it can certainly wriggle in its
> grasp. And that wriggling, the felt experience of an imperfect fit
> between the 'fluid' and the 'fixed' is what allows both to be
> acknowledged and each to be influenced by the other. Fixed forms
> change as people's ways of interacting change under their grasp and
> our fluid ways of acting and interacting are 'contained' and framed by
> our awareness of (relatively) fixed social patterns, expectations and 'rules'.
>
> My own particular interest in this is in the transition, in early
> childhood, from an umwelt of contextual meanings, where the 'fixed'
> structures of concept systems are 'out there' in the fabric of the
> environment and the minds of others, to a socialised mind which
> progressively internalises and appropriates these conceptual 'languages'.
> But the wriggling does not stop at some point when childhood 'gives
> way' to adulthood and the passions of the flesh are never quite
> contained by the 'dress' of social constraints!
>
> All the best,
>
> Rod
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu
> ]
> On Behalf Of Larry Purss
> Sent: 04 November 2014 07:37
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] fixed/fluid
>
> I have been reflecting on *themes* [activity, meaning, structure, and
> mathematical systems] I also have kept in mind David's comments
> recommending turning to *structure of feeling* [chapter 9 of Raymond
> Williams book "Marxism and Literary"] The theme of the already formed
> [as sociocultural] which leaves the dynamic *forming and *formative*
> aspects of lived experience as moved to the
> *personal* realm.
>
> Williams wrote on page 7
>
> "IF the social is always past, in the sense that it is always formed,
> we have indeed to find other terms for the undeniable experience of
> the
> present: not only the temporal present, the realization of this and
> this, but the SPECIFICITY of present being, the inalienable PHYSICAL,
> within which we may discern and acknowledge institutions, formations,
> positions, but not always as fixed products, DEFINING products. And
> then IF the social IS the fixed and explicit - the KNOWN
> relationships, institutions, formations, positions, - ALL that is
> present and moving, ALL that ESCAPES FROM the fixed and the explicit
> and the KNOWN, IS GRASPED and DEFINED AS the personal: this, HERE, now, alive, active and SUBJECTIVE"
>
> In discussing the *themes* of activity and meaning I find this
> paragraph indicating the way Raymond Williams figures [out] the way
> *meaning* develops illuminating.
> I see this paragraph as informative and figurative.
>
> Larry
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