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[Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and the Gothic
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and the Gothic
- From: Vera John-Steiner <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 22:35:43 -0700
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Philosophers and related folks have great difficulty in defining the
boundaries of the present; when does it start? when does it end? Michael
Silverstein, a linguist, once defined it as the length of an utterance. I
have been thinking about it in terms of organic processes such as birthing
and dying where each moment leads to a definitive outcome not just an
anticipation but as close to certainty as we are capable of
It is pleasant to discuss the "principle of hope" in what so often feels
like a pretty hopeless world.
And I agree with Annalisa that there are higher mental processes that while
influenced by language are built on other modalities.
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2015 10:07 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and the Gothic
You made me chuckle in the presentation of your opera which was a nice
What was also amusing is the posting of a 2+ hour opera (from youtube),
which makes the trend of posting large objects to the list writ large! :)
Of course I do not mean to substitute the kitsch for the original, by asking
for an orientation to the work of Bloch (what you are calling executive
summaries) Just access, as a starting point, a "you are here" in the present
And by the way I'm still reading the Marvakis paper!
Also, I'll have you know that by solicitous magic carpets I received the
second volume of Bloch in my email box and so if anyone would like it please
email me. Technology can be magical after all! I even received the Principle
of Hope in German (Das Prinzip Hoffnung)!!!! Even Aesthetics and Politics
(1977) which includes essays by Bloch, Brecht, Benjamin, Lukács, and Adorno
(111 pages) in a kind of dialogic presentation of writing which looks quite
intriguing. Last, the piece de la resistance, Bloch's On Karl Marx (1971)!!!
Again there is nothing but bounty out there!
I am sorry that Bergson would bar you from the men's room at the other end
of the mall! But it would be like a dualist to split things up with
distances; dualists do that kind of long division. I would be suspicious of
Catholics for the reason and that moment they spring up unannounced in Monty
Python skits, stealing the show!
Moi, I am still (perhaps naively) of the conception that Vygotsky is always
referencing the moment of change which can only be in the present moment, he
is always open to possibility that something new can happen. This is the
aesthetic experience. Some might interpret that anticipation as hope, I'm OK
with that. But you are the one who is saying (in the present moment -- that
is in relation to this xmca post as I am reading it now, which is a
different now than when you wrote it) that Bergson is accepted by Vygotsky.
Now, for my edification, is this historical or theoretical or hypothetical?
In Vedic thought, we would say that anything that changes is not real;
anything that does not change is the only thing that is real. So it all
depends upon how one defines what is real. Is what is real what we label as
real? (Ceci n'est pas un pipe.) Or is there anything true about this concept
of what is real, at all?
In terms of individuation, apparently there are likely different forms of
mediating between lower psychological function and the higher. I am not
persuaded that higher ones are solely linguistically mediated. Though there
may be a kind of language, or pattern which negotiates this mediation. I
believe there is plural room for other plural forms.
Vygotsky was exceptionally gifted in linguistically mediated higher forms
and so he was sensitive to seeing that in the world, in others. And these
were socially mediated, so I am not refuting that. But then, is it not
possible to have higher forms of psychological processes which are not
linguistically mediated? If not, then why not? That seems like attempting to
prove a false positive (á la Weapons of Mass Destruction leading to a
As someone who thinks in metaphorical pictures, as well as "affective
pictures," I don't experience these as lower psychological functions, and so
perhaps there is too much privileging of "linguistically mediated" higher
ones. Frequently I might have an immediacy of concepts as derived
conclusions, but it is difficult to actually put them into words. But this
poignancy isn't less potent thinking (or lower), in fact it is the case that
the words just do not serve well enough to explain the form of thinking. The
meaning is implicated rather than explicated.
Mozart was not a genius of words, but perhaps a genius of what might be
called "musical pictures" or "musical sentences" however one might want to
represent that. We know that Einstein imagined in pictures as well, I would
protest to describe his thinking as happening in the neighborhood of lower
I always loved in the movie Australia, (OK it is Hollywood... sorry about
that), the aboriginal notion (as represented in the movie) of "I sing you to
me," or, "You are nothing if you do not have your song." Or something to
Which definitely seems to apply to Opera, but in the West, tends to kill off
all the divas. Oh well.(feminist note-taking .) But let's keep singing
I have commented in the past that the scientific revolution did contribute
to the dualism of the rational and the affective and these coincide with
Realism and Gothicism in art. This is why I find art such a great
touchstone, because it is the evidence of the MIND of the times.
In terms of your analysis of Wally's mind, any of these positions and
situations cannot but happen in the present moment, even if it is displayed
in an opera (as the staging of an imagination), because we can only imagine
in the present moment while watching the opera (on youtube, no less) .
Imagination of the past is a memory, in the future an insight or
premonition, in sleep a dream. Despite these mental states in motion, we can
never leave the present moment even if our minds astro-travel through
time-traveling machines called books, which offer to us the means of
visiting other people's imaginations! :)
If you disagree about the present moment being the only location for
imagining (past or future), then please explain to me how to eradicate the
present moment to explain these different kind of imaginings *without* the
present involved? I welcome that explanation!
However I cannot even imagine that because, here I am in the present moment,
And now still!