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[Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance

Most esteemed and fated discussants,

I have been away from the list (and my computer) much of the day and I was amazed to see the flurry of discussion. There are a few concerns that I have that arise from this thread that have to do with content, but also have to do with form, and also with intent. 

My intent to be on this list is to make contact with others who value the ideas given to us by Vygtosky. I am aware that there are many controversies and unclear or unconnected aspects to the theories presented and extended from and by his students, and I would like to suggest that we are also his students in a remote sense, but in a family sense too, because we are attempting to learn from him, to see what it is that he saw in his mind's eye, and to learn from one another. I hope, Martin, that it is OK that I use the word "mind's eye" that way. :)

It is also my intent to understand how to make sociocultural theory relevant to technology design. Why? Because I don't recognize a viable philosophy of design. The manner in which technology design manifests in the world at the present time is not only in complete disregard to our environment, but also to our minds and bodies. Any benefit we derive seems to be accidental. The force that seems to drive technology design is the market, and not science. I don't mean to generalize, but I find that technology design is very surface-oriented and this presents many issues to me, particularly ethical ones. I don't think the market place should be the "decider" for technology design. Since we have minds, I think computer tools should be "shaped" to meet the needs of our minds. I am aware that our minds can be shaped by tools, however can tools be toxic to our well being? If not, then it means we are totally plastic and we have no need to make ethical decisions, and we are just meat being shaped by fate (to get back to the subject line of this thread). 

In the time I've been on this list, I've witnessed the voices of a few people here, and I've come to understand something about the river of thought as shared here in this community. One of my hopes is see more people discussing and sharing, and if my own experience is something to go by, I have felt intimidated to post because of being shut down. I think there are more cooperative ways of conversing on this list and so that's something of my motivation to my previous posts about "what is it like for me," because we are all going to have different view points, and diversity should be honored and welcomed here. It should not be that we must agree with everyone, but it also should not be that people with differences are not felt welcome to speak up. 

There seems to be a culture of debate that has revealed itself here that can become too muscular, too rigorous, and when it manifests it seems hurtful. Not just to the people involved but to readers too. Maybe I am too sensitive, but I think this list should be as much for novices as for experts, and novices are certainly not going to post while watching Popeye and Bluto have it out while Wimpy eats hamburgers. These cartoon references are to show how they look from the outside, but they are not funny. Watching violence as a cartoon is not that funny, and neither is watching it as a muscular, intellectual debate. But that is me, that is what it is like for me. 

This sort of leads me to form. This list is difficult to traverse because it is like a river coursing by in time. Sometimes all that one can do it hold one's nose and jump in. I have made my share of belly flops, to be sure. But my intent is good-natured and I try to keep my humor. I would hope that we could always maintain a connection to humor in the good-natured form, rather than the kind of humor at someone else's expense. I haven't always been sure of that, and I don't like feeling that kind of doubt. 

Now with regard to content, I'd like to return to what I'd said about word and form, and time and space and that seems to have stirred up a tempest in this teapot. I apologize for any misunderstandings, however, if you look to my posts, I never denied that word was material. By considering word as a form, this does not make me a Platonist preoccupied with ideal forms. I don't like that I was boxed into that corner, just for using that word "form." When I say form, I'm talking about sounds traveling through space. What I meant when I was considering word as material, is that saying it is material is *not enough.* Because then all sound would be words, and I don't experience that to be the case, which means the word must be a particular form. I can accept this. Is it safe to say that the word is material in motion? I don't know. It seems to be the case because words over time change in meaning and cultural reference. Nothing about a word is static. So when I say form, I mean all the manifestations of a word– this includes its cultural associations. Whatever is a word is perceived in the mind and acted upon accordingly, either as thinking or as speech (as spoken word or written word). I can accept that too.

Now what you consider as mind is up for grabs, and I can see that people on this list have a different concept of what mind is, and I'm OK with that. Must we bogged down about that right now? As far as I'm concerned we are blind men with the elephant, each describing from our own perspectives."What it is like for me." I am proposing this approach so that there is a little room for discussion, not because I want to dictate that everyone must accept my worldview. There has to be a way to respect worldviews and not bruise others. I think there is much more to lose if we can't find a way to do that. The interesting point I'd like to make about that, is that you won't even know what you lose because any person who might have engaged will not so there will be no awareness that you lost anything. Incidentally, this is why I am remiss that there isn't a "newcomer's" page for the list. Each new person who comes to this list should be greeted as a welcome guest to a wedding or birthday party, with the idea we want this new arrival to join in on the fun. Is this possible? To create that kind of warmth and generosity?

With regard to mind and how that is conceived, I will share that it is my observation that Descartes has more of a grip on science 450 years after him than we may realize. But that's a separate thread. 

So to return to the discussion on words, I can accept words as material for a culture, in the same way I can accept fashion as fabric, but doing so doesn't take me very far with regard to culture. What I like about word-meaning (a very specific construct of "form", a technical phrase) instead of "material" is that affect is not left behind, material alone insinuates inertness, and I have a problem with inert emotions. These words, "inert emotions," don't ring true to me, it's an oxymoron. Word as material alone does not work to me for that reason. This is why form works better because like fashion houses express their own dress-forms over the course of time at different seasons, we use words to express our own cultures over the course of time. I'm sorry if reaching to fashion as a metaphor is too captialistic, but if you can put that aside and just think of the relationships I'm attempting to reference, with fashion as an expression of culture, I think it works as a way to myself. 

There is more that I could say about time and space, but I think for this post it's enough.

Kind regards,