[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Thirdness and its various versions



Miguel,
The article I have been referencing is from Jessica Benjamin's article
"Beyond Doer and Done To: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness"  There is
an extensive bibliography .  Interestingly Jessica's dissertation was
written in 1978 with the title, "Internalization and Instrumental Culture:
A Reinterpretation of Psychoanalysis and Social Theory"
Rod,
Jessica references Colwyn Trevarthen as a source of her notion of
"surrender". Yes, this word will make some uncomfortable, but this term
must be seen as clearly differentiated from the notion of "submission"
which Jessica believes are often conflated. I view "surrender" as Jessica
uses the term as an "agentic" act that is ethical. It is an act [or
enactment] which is felt as expansive, not as restrictive of "self"
 I am going to share a quote from Jessica's paper that she offered to
differentiate the palpable difference between "surrender" and "submission".
She is quoting Stephen Mitchell who is a key person in developing
relational and hermeneutical psychoanalysis.
Mitchell wrote:

When my older daughter was about two or so, I remember my excitement at the
prospect [LP-imaginal] of taking walks with her, given her new ambulatory
skills and her intense interest in being outdoors.  However, I soon found
these walks agonizingly slow.  My idea of a walk entailed brisk movement
along a road or path.  Her idea was quite different.  The implication of
this difference hit me one day when we encountered a fallen tree on the
side of the road....
The rest of the "walk" was spent exploring the fungal and insect life on,
under, and around the tree.  I remember my sudden realization that these
walks would be no fun for me, merely a parental duty, if I held onto my
idea of walks.  As I was able to give that up and SURRENDER to my
daughter's rhythm and focus, a different type of experience opened up to
me.....  If I had simply RESTRAINED myself out of duty, I would have
experienced the walk as a compliance.  But I was able to become my
daughter's version of a good companion and to find in THAT another way for
me to be that took on great personal meaning"  [Benjamin, page 26]

For Benjamin and Mitchell this quote expresses the principle of necessary
asymmetry, by accommodating to the other as a way of "generating"
thirdness. and within the "surrendering" the person is transformed, through
opening up to mutual pleasure.

Jessica is asking how we distinguish between the compliance of "twoness"
from the transformational learning of thirdness. For Jessica the answer is
ethical, in the form of reflections on what will create intersubjective
connection in our relationship, and through this reflection, opening up to
surrender and transformation.  This creative enactment expresses agency and
is not coerced. It is an ethical response. This "intention" to connect and
the resulting self-observation create what Jessical calls "moral
thirdness", the connection to a larger expansive connection beyond giver
and given to that is felt as palpably "right".
In all Jessica's work she is distinguishing "surrender" from "submission"
[including submitting to an "ideal" of "pure" empathy. which is a denial of
self and leads to complimentary doer and done to.

For Jessica this moral third space is the space where "self-regulation" and
"co-regulation" meet. But that would require further elaboration.
Larry

On Sun, Jan 18, 2015 at 8:54 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:

> Larry,
>
> Many thanks for your very clear account of Jessica Benjamin's distinction
> between 'submitting' and 'surrendering' (though I suspect that both terms
> might trigger associations for many which might make them uncomfortable
> about using them in these ways). Your observations about possibility
> (doableness) make me wonder about how a shared history and common
> experience might contribute to the building of richer and more extensive
> possibilities among a community or a group of people who spend time
> together (especially 'down' time, when they are more relaxed and their
> social guards are down). It is easier and more agreeable to 'surrender'
> into this sort of group, to 'go with the flow' of social conversation with
> no real concern about where it might lead and, in so doing, to contribute
> to the co-construction of a third space which is shaped not so much by the
> thingness or iddity of participants as by the movement of interactions
> between them. This sort of surrendering into a group feels very different
> from submitting to the ordered, planned procedures of a 'getting things
> done' sort of meeting (though there is room for overlap).
>
> >From a baby watcher's perspective, this surrender sounds very much like
> what Colwyn Trevarthen called primary intersubjectivity - when baby and
> caregiver 'lose themselves' in interaction purely for the sake of engaging
> with each other (or rather, perhaps, of engaging with the 'great we').
>
> I think there is a lot to be said about the way our sense of our own and
> other selves moves in and out of this sort of third space. Vera captured
> some lovely aspects of this in her book 'Creative Collaboration' - how the
> 'dailiness' of being with other members of a group lubricates the
> possibilities, allowing idea sharing to blossom.
>
> 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: 18 January 2015 16:26
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Thirdness and its various versions
>
> Rod, I concur with your interpretations.
> I would add to your comment:
>
> In terms of signification, the choice of a staff is likely to prompt
> others into a slight lurch of expectations which might help to remind them
> that things are not simple, categorised and predictable - what looks at
> first like a frail old woman may turn out to be a person!
>
> The "choice" emerged from within a symbolic imagining of others
> expectations.  This interpretation is within the subject's internalized
> "scripts".
> This is exploring "my" act and your return act.
>
> Third space notions ask or question if there are "intersubjective" ways to
> enact "shared imaginal places which are first symbolic imaginal "potential"
> places.  Shared mutual metaphorical spaces/places that do not yet exist
> but are "possible"  The focus on the morpho-genesis of "posse" [meaning
> can] with the suffix ibilas "causing" a "transformation" through activities
> [enactments, performances from WITHIN this "middle shared realm".
>
> This way of understanding is playing with notions of metaphorical and
> imaginal and symbolic "places" as "existing" WITHIN shared potential
> spaces.  This posits shared mutually imagined third spaces of "possibility"
> within "as if" realms of becoming that open up spaces in which things are
> not yet "things" and "facts" that are simple, categorized, predictable, and
> with a yearning to be known as "real" and "actual".
>
> What both Kris and Jessica share is an exploration of "intersubjective"
> mediated metaphorical third spaces "as if" real and actual.
>
> Jessica Benjamin also makes a distinction between "surrendering" to "exist"
> in third spaces in contrast to "submitting" to the other. [other as things
> or persons]. Sumitting to objects or persons is experienced being reduced
> by the other. It abstracts us from "third spaces" and collapses into
> complimentary "twoness" of "giver and given" or "doer and done to"
> Third spaces are palpably "liberating" through "surrendering" and
> "becoming  within the "potential" or the "possible" symbolic "third" that
> which does not yet exist in actuality or "facts"
> The third space must be enacted performed or take action but moving out
> from within this imaginal shared space.
>
> This notion is playing with the not yet but shared "existence" becoming
> actual simple categorized concept-y. There is no absolute freedom
> fundamentally nor is there absolute constraint fundamentally.
> However for transformative liberation there must be imaginal symbolic
> shared and mutual ways within which we "surrender" This in no way means
> "submit"
>
>
> On Sun, Jan 18, 2015 at 2:55 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> > I am feeling my way into the talk around thirdness - dimly conscious
> > of a variety of contexts in which thirdspace has been explored.
> >
> > In your example, Mike, your friends choice of a staff has a
> > significance because it plays off the cultural expectation that it
> > should be a cane. In this sense it is a particularly striking example
> > of what we all do every day when we make choices about how we will
> > represent ourselves to the world. Our choice of clothes, how we do our
> > hair, what we smell like, how we stand and walk, how we greet people
> > etc. all play off our knowledge of what different choices are likely
> > to be taken to mean (by different groups of people). I think this
> > links to what Larry (I think) was saying about the concept-y-ness of
> > the context-y environment in which babies play their way into meanings.
> >
> > In terms of signification, the choice of a staff is likely to prompt
> > others into a slight lurch of expectations which might help to remind
> > them that things are not simple, categorised and predictable - what
> > looks at first like a frail old woman may turn out to be a person!
> >
> > I wonder how much we need to be aware of the internalised cultural
> > knowledge which informs our choices about how we will present
> > ourselves? I suspect this contributes to the (palpable) feeling of
> > ease or unease which comes from knowing or not knowing how we are
> > 'meant' to behave in a familiar or unfamiliar context. When the
> > rhythms are part of our embodied experience it is easy to join in but
> > when we encounter different, exotic rhythms we need to watch from the
> > periphery for a while before we presume to know what we are doing.
> >
> > 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: 18 January 2015 07:56
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Thirdness and its various versions
> >
> > Mike,
> > You mentioned multi-modality and I agree. Yes cognition and social
> > emotions are intimately involved along with other "musical" rhythmic
> > modalities.
> > Thought and language and the figural  within enactments [performances]
> >
> > You asked if the staff is a sign? or a tool? I would have to say it is
> > a "sign" but the word "prop" also comes to mind.  I want to explore
> > what I see as the "imaginal" at play in the "symbolic" and cognitive
> > enactment of using the staff rather than a cane in setting the "scene"
> > The notion of a "middle way" within "third spaces" is exploring
> > enacting [or performing] within imaginal symbolic play.  Is the
> > "image" of a cane being replaced by a staff a "fact" or is it a more
> metaphorical enactment.
> > Do the staff or cane exist as "facts" having objective truth? Or is
> > the cane and staff imaginal symbolic ways of imagining being in the
> > world as "possibility".
> >  In Winnicott's language is this middle way or third space a
> > "potential space" or a "transitional" space which when enacted brings
> into "actuality"
> > the rhythmic pattern or dance of relating to an old lady [as a
> > possible "scene"] or a pattern of relating to an eccentric person and
> > enacting this alternative possible "scene".
> > The "scene" when enacted or performed always expresses palpable felt
> > experience. In the enactment the possible becomes "actual" and becomes
> > "factual"  Mike your friend in choosing a staff over a cane was acting
> > from within an imaginal symbolic "place" Is this "place" internal or
> external?
> > or is it a "potential place" of possibility which does not yet exist?
> > Within this imaginal symbolic presenting [not representing] presence
> > [both internal imagining and external performances] there are always
> > palpable felt experiences and every "interpretation" is guided by
> > these multi-modal ways of understanding.
> >
> > Third spaces as ways of understanding explore "self-regulation" and
> > "dis-regulation" within intersubjective enactments and palpable felt
> > experience. I am also emphasizing their imaginal symbolic dimension as
> > "potential" or "transitional" spaces
> >
> > The aspect that is being highlighted by the notion of  third spaces is
> > there embodied presence  and there witnessing quality which is often
> > marginalized or disowned when we privilege a particular "type" of
> > rationality and thinking.
> >
> > What seems to be shared in common across multiple notions of "third
> spaces"
> > is privileging ethical or moral aspects of enactments. Who is included
> > and who is excluded.
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 1:49 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > I am working backwards here, but I have been thinking a lot about
> > > what I was conceiving in my own way as a form of thirdness that I
> > > think links to what is being said here. Straighten me out if I am
> > > wrong. (I promised to get out of here shortly, but its interesting!).
> > >
> > > We have a friend, now in her 60's, who is a college classmate of my
> > > wife and a life long friend of our family. She has been in ill
> > > health for sometime and looks a good deal older than her years.
> > > Balance is an issue for her.
> > >
> > > When I first saw her the other day after many years I noticed that
> > > she was carrying a large staff.
> > > I laughted, and my first words  were "You look just like Gandalf!
> > > and gave her a big hug."
> > >
> > > Over tea she discussed that by carrying the staff instead of a cane,
> > > she lost the invisibility created by old age and she became a perons
> > > to others. People constantly started up conversations with her and,
> > > being a skilled conversationalist interested in people, it made her
> > > feel like a whole person.
> > >
> > > Seems interesting to me. Is it a kind of thirdness? A sign or (?) a
> tool?
> > > Seems like cognition and social emotions are somehow involved as well.
> > >
> > > mike
> > >
> > > mike
> > >
> > > On Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 1:03 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Miguel, Rod,
> > > >
> > > > I am moving our conversation to a new thread to honour the other
> > > > thread exploring "laws" of history and writing systems. I see
> > > > these topics as overlapping but notions of "thirdness" that
> > > > contrast with
> > "twoness"
> > > > [Jessica's doer and done to, or giver and given two, or knower and
> > > learner,
> > > > etc.]
> > > > Rod I must acknowledge when I read Jessica using the term "baby
> > > watcher's I
> > > > was thinking of your work and posts. Jessica's work is one stream
> > > > in intersubjective notions of thirdness. Lacan privileges language
> > > > in his notion of thirdness. There is also the work of Stolorow
> > > > Atwood, and Donna Orange, [intersubjective psychodynamics] who do
> > > > not imagine "intersubjectivity" as a developmental achievement as
> > > > bothDaniel Stern
> > > and
> > > > Jessica Benjamine understand thirdness.
> > > > In Jessica's words:
> > > > "I see such engagement in reciprocal recognition of the other as
> > > > growing naturally out of the experience of being recognized by the
> > > > other, as a crucial component of attachment responses that require
> > > > mutual regulation and attunement, and therefore, as ultimately a
> > pleasure and not a chore"
> > > >
> > > > Miguel you mentioned our Western bias to privilege "seeing" and
> > > > other cultures may privilege hearing and sound and rhythmicity.
> > > > My bias is to suggest when these various modes [seeing and
> > > > rhythmicity] are felt to be
> > > in
> > > > sync then they mutually constitute thirdness. However, when there
> > > > are inevitable (mis)understandings and ruptures on the way to
> > > > understanding
> > > we
> > > > may have a tendency to fall back on seeing and reasoning as our
> > > > primary mode and to discount the rhymicity of the ear and felt
> > experience.
> > > > Jessica's work engages with Hegel and the notion of the "struggle
> > > > for recognition" as an aspect of creating "twoness" and "thirdness"
> > > > Her
> > > project
> > > > is to critique notions of complimentarity "twoness" as a model for
> > > > expressing this struggle for recognition.
> > > > She would suggest the way through this complimentary struggle for
> > > > recognition is through a developmental trajectory of
> > > > intersubjective development of thirdness.
> > > >
> > > > Miguel, I would like to follow your lead that through privileging
> > > > sight [seeing and reasoning] that we are biased to come to "know"
> > > > the other as "object" As you say "the subject-object relation as
> > > > this analytic kernel
> > > is
> > > > one "type" of knowing the other. You are asking if there are
> > > > alternative subject-subject relations that are not mediated by
> > > > objects? This may be another "mode" and a distinct kind of "seeing"
> > [with the mind's eye?].
> > > >
> > > > Miguel when you say you speak from personal experience as a
> > > > father, and this is a spiritual space of connection, it gestures
> > > > to another
> > > dimension,
> > > > another quality of thirdness as embodied enactments/performances.
> > > > I
> > > would
> > > > like to offer that Enrique Dussel's "ethical hermeneutics" can
> > > > offer validation for Jessica and Daniel Stern's embodied hearing
> > > > the other [rhythmically] into voice.  I would emphasize your
> > > > notion of
> > > "intersecting"
> > > > multiple truths. I would also offer the term "transversal" [across
> > > verses]
> > > > truths as multiple and plural and "palpable"
> > > >
> > > > Rod, I concur with your reflections that there are other forms of
> > > learning
> > > > [especially social learning] which do not emphasize concept-y ways
> > > > of thinking. I want to also acknowledge the centrality of
> > > > concept-y ways of seeing and reasoning but as you emphasize the
> > > > children were able to join
> > > in
> > > > WELL before they were able to understand conceptually or be able
> > > > to
> > > explain
> > > > what was being enacted. This does not refute that the "world" or
> > > "context"
> > > > in which the children are joining in is symbolically formed and
> > > > historically situated.
> > > > What Daniel Stern, Jessica Benjamin, V. Reddy, Winnicott,
> > > > Trevarten, Fonagy, Gergely and other "baby watchers" are
> > > > indicating is the
> > > centrality
> > > > of "gestures" [meaningful performances or enactments as also
> > > > profoundly implicated in the formation of our contexts and worlds.
> > > > Worlds of experience are "palpable lived experiences" and this
> > > > does have a phenomenological quality, a hermeneutical quality, and
> > > > a cultural historical quality.  Worlds are also deeply concept-y
> > > > and
> > > institutionalized
> > > > and places of doer and done to. The question is how do we
> > > > ethically and morally respond to these palpable conditions?
> > > >
> > > > "Thirdness" in its multiple versions may offer possible new
> > > > understandings to guide us symbolically AND  rhythmically
> > > > co-creatively inventing AND discovering [both/and]  "third spaces"
> > > > AS potentially liberating contexts.
> > > >
> > > > Sanders understands palpable rhythmic resonance as one of two
> > > > basic "principles" of all human interaction. Jessica's project is
> > > > to underline this aspect of rhythmic resonance as primal in
> > > > understanding the notion
> > > of
> > > > "recognition".
> > > >  As the way through and beyond complimentary "twoness" of doer and
> > > > done
> > > to
> > > > or giver and given toperson must experience a palpable "witnessing"
> > > within
> > > > thirdness.
> > > > THIS is an intersubjective way of understanding thirdness
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an
> > > object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
> > >
> > ________________________________
> > [http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/images/email_footer.gif]<
> > http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/worldclass>
> >
> > This email and any files with it are confidential and intended solely
> > for the use of the recipient to whom it is addressed. If you are not
> > the intended recipient then copying, distribution or other use of the
> > information contained is strictly prohibited and you should not rely on
> it.
> > If you have received this email in error please let the sender know
> > immediately and delete it from your system(s). Internet emails are not
> > necessarily secure. While we take every care, Plymouth University
> > accepts no responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to
> > scan emails and their attachments. Plymouth University does not accept
> > responsibility for any changes made after it was sent. Nothing in this
> > email or its attachments constitutes an order for goods or services
> > unless accompanied by an official order form.
> >
> >
> ________________________________
> [http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/images/email_footer.gif]<
> http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/worldclass>
>
> This email and any files with it are confidential and intended solely for
> the use of the recipient to whom it is addressed. If you are not the
> intended recipient then copying, distribution or other use of the
> information contained is strictly prohibited and you should not rely on it.
> If you have received this email in error please let the sender know
> immediately and delete it from your system(s). Internet emails are not
> necessarily secure. While we take every care, Plymouth University accepts
> no responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan emails
> and their attachments. Plymouth University does not accept responsibility
> for any changes made after it was sent. Nothing in this email or its
> attachments constitutes an order for goods or services unless accompanied
> by an official order form.
>
>