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[Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and the Gothic

Perhaps it is just what I am reading right now (Heidegger and Marcuse on technology - Marcuse by the way was a close associate of Bloch and they shared a Utopian vision of hope as moving beyond a class based society).  But to get back to my point - is present something we can take from the past?  The idea of present as an utterance taken from Bhaktin?  Is technology changing our understanding of what the present means.  I read posts in the present such as those from David and Annalise but they then they fall into the past as I move on to other things.  Then I read a post that brings their words back into the present, in concrete terms (as Huw so often does), or in reflection on the current thinking of the poster (as Larry so often does) or simply as an extension of the conversation as in the post below from Helena.  Do technologies allow the past to keep circling back into the present - and what does that mean for our concept of time?

Notes from a very, very cold day in Columbus - can't wait for winter to be in the past.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 12:29 PM
To: vygotsky@unm.edu; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and the Gothic

I love the idea of the present as "the length of an utterance." So, how long is an utterance? I remember from The Dialogic Imagination that an utterance is the unit of speech that occurs between two other links in a dialog (a quick google search on this got me here) "in any sphere."  

Bakhtin certainly views dialogs as spanning vast eras, and views the individual turns in a dialog as spanning more than just one person's contribution. 

So if we think of a bounded thread of cultural history -- like feminism, for example, or slavery, or terrorism - as one link in a continuing dialog about each of these, we can talk about the "present" of feminism, the "present" of slavery, the "present" of terorism. We are all (or many of us) talking about feminism in a certain way today, which is different from the way we talked about in the previous bounce, or turn, or whatever you want to call it, of the dialog. So starting with when the current meaning of feminism started, and bounded in the past by when the previous meaning began to shift, we can talk about the "present" of the utterance of the dialog of feminism. This gives us something that we can look at and think about.

Too loose for only one cup of coffee? It's a nice foggy day in the Bay Area, not enough to count as rain but at least it's damp.

Obviously, I've just seen "She's Beautiful When She's Angry," a really good movie.

Helena Worthen

On Feb 16, 2015, at 9:35 PM, Vera John-Steiner wrote:

> 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 understanding.
> 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.
> Vera
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] 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
> David!
> You made me chuckle in the presentation of your opera which was a nice 
> present!
> 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 moment!
> 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 Mission Accomplished).
> 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 psychological processes.
> 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 that effect.
> 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 anyway.
> 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, still!
> And now still!
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa