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[Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference



David,

Thank you for the response. Never thought about the power of one book had
on one continent and then the world. The Bible was used as a tool of
liberation, enlightenment, slavery, power by the state, and learning. Good
point.

Though I disagree that our critical responses to power have to be
verbocentric. Computers have pointed out the obvious that symbol systems
 used for meaning making go beyond the word.

Lets think about the images I used:

*The first image *is a very popular image in the genre of "reactionary
gifs." It is is scene from a movie involving a popular American actor and
comedian. It is used as a sense of shock or surprise, and like most
reactionary gifs in a very hyperbolic way.

I see the genres and cultures that exists because of the computer to be one
point for compute over the printing press.

Reactionary gifs are just one part of many cultures that can now network
online. The genre is so popular that the Speaker of the House (third in
line for President in US) sent out a reactionary gif rebuttal to President
Obama's plan for free college education:
<http://www.speaker.gov/general/12-taylor-swift-reactions-president-obamas-free-college-idea>


We do our identity work in new ways because of the web. That set from The
Speaker contain a famous pop star. The obvious connotation is Republican
outreach to tech and youth.

Given your points about the Bible, Martin Luther filing the world's most
famous customer complaint, and the fall of monarchy I can see you an Arab
Spring and call the score 1-1.

*The second set of images* played off the tortoise and hare to compare the
scope and speed at which the Web spread compared to the printing press.

*The next image compares* the amount of digital information stored in the
library of congress versus the amount of digital information created. If we
consider them both, the book and the computer,  tools for external storage
the computer

A clear 2-1 in favor of computer.

*The next few images *were links to either mutlimodal poems I have written
or remixes of academic work. These were in relation to the ideas of how the
printing press changed the unit of analysis. I think the computer requires
the same rethinking. A return of non-verbocentric symbol systems.

I must admit this is where my n00b status starts to show. I originally
joined XMCA bc my ed psych program had great thinkers in the field of
learning sciences, and situated cognition, but no strong Vygotsky and CHAT.
So I do not have a complete understanding of linguistics to argue the
unique ways of making meaning the computer has enabled.

Instead I just do my identity and thinking production in images and sounds.

That would leave it at 3-2.

*In your reply *you argue that the printing press had a gradual effect on
production and the computer a catastrophic effect. I thought the question
was which had a BIGGER effect and not a BETTER effect.

*In terms of production* this clearly has to be the computer. There is not
one component of human activity that has not been shaped by the computer.
Transportation, food production, migration patterns, shift in economic
value. All of these were altered by the computer.

Where does that the score? I wonder if it shouldn't be the computer or the
printing press at all but writing itself. It was the genesis tool of all
the external storage and symbol systems.

It has accelerated at a spectacular pace in human race. More efficient
tools for writing replace less efficient ones. Paper the cunieform,
printing press vs scrolls, word processor vs typewrite. n each iteration
the window between releases shrunk. Then the computer. I

Now then things changed. New tools for meaning making emerge every day that
no longer supplant older tools but supplement and co-exist. Facebook,
Twittter, youtube, blogs...more people are writing more words than any
single point in history and this growth will not stop.

Behind it all is a set of universal directions that render bits into
symbols.

Code is the ultimate lingua franca.



On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 5:44 PM David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Some of the images in Greg's response to my post are somewhat unsettling
> (e.g.  the black guy eating gruel?). But I think the main problem with it
> is that, like so much of the uncritical, positivistic, even
> Whiggish, celebration of  the powers of computers, it doesn't deal with the
> distinction between (essentially gradualistic) improvements in the
> instruments of production and (essentially catastrophic) changes in the
> relations of production.
>
> Yes, the printing press did vasty increase the number and variety of texts
> that were available to readers. But in some ways the most revolutionary
> transformation of Europe was brought about by the publication of just one
> of those titles. When Gutenberg invented the printing press, he enabled
> every thinking Christian to own a copy of the Bible. Before that moment,
> the only tangible proof of the Christian doctrine was the existence of the
> world itself; everything else had to come through the Church. Now, suddenly
> everyone had the same texts that the Church had been mediating for hundreds
> of years--and it turned out to be a set of texts much like any
> other--passages of history, long chapters of legal codifications, beautiful
> pornography in the Song of Solomon, and even individual psalms that
> combined exquisite lyricism with disgusting exhortations to genocide (Psalm
> 137).
>
> I think that the the great struggle between Protestant and Catholic, and
> the underlying struggle between whether language--sacred or
> profane--inheres in social institutions or reflects the intrinsic
> architecture of the human mind, dates from then, and has still not been
> resolved today. But this struggle has been, at bottom, neither a struggle
> between technologies (oral vs. printed) nor between ideas (dogmatism vs.
> rationalism); it's been a struggle between living, breathing, fightig and
> dying human beings. The grist of the struggle was ultimately
> neither technology nor theology but rather the rise and fall of the
> absolutist monarchy, and with it the last productive relations of
> the feudal order. As was recently pointed out on this list, some forms of
> primitive accumulation from absolutist times (e.g. the role of debt in
> appropriating surplus value from sectors of the population not engaged in
> commodity production) have still not disappeared.
>
> One of the vulgarizations in Marxism that Stalin introduced in crushing
> Trotsky to the left of himself and Bukharin to the right was to declare
> "diamat", or "dialectical materialism" the "official philosophy" of the
> USSR, making the Soviet state the world's first secular theocracy. In
> history, this meant the introduction of a rigid set of five stages:
> primitive communism, barbarism, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, with the
> distinction between the stages reducible to the instrumentation of
> production: as Lenin had said, the construction of socialism was to
> be essentially a matter of adding electrification to the political power of
> the democratically elected Soviets. By removing the democratically elected
> Soviets, Stalin made sure that this would be a liberal, Whiggish,
> gradualistic affair, with no underlying transformation of the relations of
> power.
>
> Interestingly, the same thing has happened in work by Leontiev on the
> problem of child development known as the crisis. Here's what Vygotsky has
> to say in his lectures on the crisis which we are currently translating:
>
> "These ages (i.e. stable ages--DK) and this type of child development have
> been studied more completely than ages characterized by a different course
> of child development (i.e.the crisis--DK). These latter were discovered by
> empirical paths, one by one, in a haphazard manner, and many have still not
> been shown by the majority of investigators in systems and are not included
> in the general periodization of child development. Many authors have even
> doubted the evidence of the inner necessity of their existence. Many are
> inclined to take them more as “maladies” of development, as deviations of
> the process fromthe normal path, than as internally necessary periods of
> child development. Almost none of the bourgeois investigators have realized
> their theoretical signfiicance, and the attempt in our book at their
> systematization, at their theoretical interpretation, and at their
> inclusion in the general scheme of child development for this reason should
> be seen as perhaps the first attempt of this kind."
>
> Compare:
>
>   “These crises—the three year old crisis, the seven year old crisis, the
> adolescent crisis, the youth crisis—are always associated with a change of
> stage. They indicate in clear, obvious form that these changes, these
> transitions from one stage to another have an inner necessity of their
> own. The existence of development of crises has long been known and their
> ‘classic’ interpretation is that they are caused by the child’s maturing
> inner characteristics and the contradictions that arise on that soil
> between it andthe environment. From the standpoint of that interpretation
> the crises are, of course, inevitable, because these contraditions are
> inevitable in any conditions. There is nothing more false, however, in the
> theory of the development of the child’s psyche than this idea. In fact,
> crises are not at all inevitable accomplishments of psychic development. It
> is not the crises which are inevitable, but the turning points or breaks,
> the qualitative shifts in ddevelopment. The crisis, on the contrary, is
> evidence that a turning point or shift has not been made in time. There
> need by no crises at all if the child’s psychic development does not take
> shape spontaneously but in a rationally controlled process, controlled
> upbringing.”  (pp. 398-399)
>
> Leontiev, A.N. (1981). Problems of the Development of the Mind. Progress:
> Moscow
>
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On 18 March 2015 at 10:11, Greg Mcverry <jgregmcverry@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Some one questioned if computers made a difference:
> >
> > I decided to have a little fun with my response:
> > http://jgregorymcverry.com/computers-versus-printing-press/
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 5:43 PM David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Yes, that was Leonard Bernstein's theory--that "mmm" was the first word
> > in
> > > every language, and also the first musical note. Vygotsky prefers Lear:
> > > "When we are born we cry that we are come/To this great stage of
> fools."
> > > And the girl in the advertisement for lunch boxes was certainly
> agreeing
> > > with Vygotsky: "ing! ing!" is how Koreans transcribe the sound of
> > weeping.
> > >
> > > Last night in my class on "Teaching Young Learners" we got to
> discussing
> > > what Vygotsky means when he distinguishes so starkly between the naming
> > > function and the signifying function of language: how exactly are they
> > > different? One way to look at it is to say that naming is sticking
> labels
> > > on physical objects--that is why children who do this are convinced
> that
> > > names are part of the object itself, the way that a label is part of a
> > milk
> > > carton and the carton is what gives shape to the milk within.
> Signifying,
> > > on the other hand is just like naming, but the named "object" is purely
> > > imaginary--something like a mathematical set--a concept.
> > >
> > > The problem is that putting it this way makes it all about the object
> > that
> > > is being named or signified, and I'm pretty sure that's not what
> Vygotsky
> > > is thinking about--or anyway it's not the only thing that he's thinking
> > > about. Both Piaget and Vygotsky take as their starting point the
> > > interesting fact that the child rejects the idea of calling the sun
> > "moon"
> > > and the moon "sun", and claims that the sort of a cow that you can call
> > > "dog" will have little horns and give a little milk (not dog milk but
> cow
> > > milk).
> > >
> > > But as usual from the same fact they draw totally different
> conclusions.
> > > Piaget's conclusion is that the child will eventually have this
> illusion
> > > crushed and come to terms with the meaninglessness of the connection
> > > between sign and signifier on this great stage of fools. Vygotsky's
> > > conclusion is that there really IS a set of words of which this true!
> > >
> > > First of all, we have words like "blackbird" and "sidewalk" where an
> > > important, if epiphenomenal trait of the object really is encoded in
> the
> > > word itself. Of course, you can complain that there isn't anything
> > "black"
> > > in the word black, but that doesn't change the fact that if you want to
> > go
> > > around call bluebirds "blackbirds" and sidewalks "center-runs" then you
> > are
> > > going to have to make major changes to more than one word in your
> > language
> > > system.  And, as Vygotsky demonstrates, if you go back in the etymology
> > of
> > > almost ANY word you will find something like a blackbird or a
> > > sidewalk--even the word "cabbage" means "head" in its Latin root.
> > >
> > > Secondly, as Rod points out, there is onomatopoiea and what we in
> Korean
> > > call "ouiseongeo", or words which are intended to imitate the sounds
> made
> > > by actions and thereby signify the action (e.g. "crash", "smash",
> "bash",
> > > "mash", etc.). Here the sound of the word is surely part of the
> meaning,
> > > and here too the child is right when he/she insists on the
> > > non-interchangeability of words. Both "shhhhhh" and "Ker-splash!" have
> > the
> > > sound /sh/ in them, but that doesn't make them interchangeable.
> > >
> > > So Vygotsky turns the whole question rather on its head: where and when
> > > does the interchangeability of terms arise? When do we learn to look at
> > > language and laugh that we are come to this great stage of tomfoolery?
> > >
> > > Perhaps here:
> > >
> > >
> > > http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/rene-magritte-
> > > ceci-nest-pas-une-pomme-5650359-details.aspx
> > >
> > >
> > > Magritte's painting is not an apple or even part of an apple; it's a
> > > painting of an apple. In the same way, if a child plays "war", the
> child
> > is
> > > not a soldier but a "painting" of a soldier. It's this negative
> > > relationship between the sign and the thing which is abstractly
> > everywhere
> > > the same, and everywhere abstractly interchangeable: all words are NOT
> > the
> > > things that they signify.
> > >
> > > There's a very beautiful and bloody children's story in Korea called
> "Sun
> > > and Moon" about two children with those names. They are orphaned by a
> > > tiger, but they take revenge on the tiger by climbing up ropes to
> heaven,
> > > offering a rotten rope to the tiger, who tries to follow and kills
> > himself.
> > > Once in heaven, the girl named Moon at first insists on shining all day
> > and
> > > the older brother named Sun shines at night only. But after the first
> day
> > > on her new job, Moon decides that she is shy--and she would rather have
> > her
> > > older brother's job. So they switch. After all, it's just role play.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > >
> > >
> > > ...
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 17 March 2015 at 01:39, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hello All,
> > > > The following has occurred to me as I follow this thread:
> > > > -Perhaps it would be useful to think of computers as on the
> > > > environmental-literacy side of literacy, as contrasted with a more
> > > intimate
> > > > book-in-hand side of literacy. Vera John-Steiner, in her Notebooks of
> > the
> > > > Mind, discusses how writers choose their tools: Some write long hand;
> > > > others type. The mix of technologies seem to affect the
> reading/writing
> > > > process in very deep ways. I wonder if this sheds any light on the
> tool
> > > vs.
> > > > sign distinction elaborated in Andy’s Academia article on tool vs.
> > sign.
> > > > -No one, as far as I remember, has discussed on this web the
> > differences
> > > > between logographic (Chinsese) and alphabetic writing systems. Again,
> > > this
> > > > seems to me to be a continuum, given the capacity, on the one hand,
> of
> > > > Chinese literacy to write phonetically and the flood, on the other
> > hand,
> > > of
> > > > icons in alphabet-based writing (take the McDonald arches).
> > > > -Rod’s post reminds me of a long-standing problem I have with
> > > l’Arbitraire
> > > > du Signe “law” that there is no necessary connection between the
> > > > phonological pole and the semantic pole, with the relatively unusual
> > > > exception of onomatopeia or the MMMMM/YUCK distinction made by little
> > > > gourmands. The best counter evidence, it seems to me, are the choices
> > we
> > > > make in how much our writing in English draws on vocabulary of
> > > Anglo-Saxon
> > > > origin and how much of Latinate origin.
> > > > I’m not sure if I am hinting at a wider issue of how much culture
> > > reflects
> > > > differences BETWEEN cultures and how much reflects the way in which
> the
> > > > mixes of technology of each culture point towards universal
> tendencies
> > of
> > > > seeking balance, some sort of homeostasis. Some may think I’ve bit
> off
> > > more
> > > > than I can chew. Yuck or Yum?
> > > > Henry
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > > On Mar 16, 2015, at 2:59 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> > > > R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > I wish I could remember where I read that the first 'words' are
> > > > variations of 'yum' or 'mmm' for approval and 'yuk' for disgust -
> > > > exaggerated vocalisations oral 'taking in' - ingesting what is
> > > pleasurable
> > > > and spitting out, ejecting what is unpalateable. So is 'ing' Chinese
> > for
> > > > 'mmm'?
> > > > >
> > > > > Rod
> > > > >
> > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> > > > > Sent: 16 March 2015 08:28
> > > > > To: Haydi Zulfei; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference
> > > > >
> > > > > This morning I went out shopping and noticed a billboard selling
> > > > lunchboxes. It featured a young girl whose boyfriend was obviously
> off
> > > > doing military service (two and half years of rigorously
> > > institutionalized
> > > > bullying and beatings); she was dressed up in a military uniform and
> > > eating
> > > > out of a lunchbox in solidarity with the absent one, and the sound
> she
> > > was
> > > > making was "ing! ing!"
> > > > >
> > > > > My sentiments exactly! I have been kicking myself, if not quite
> > beating
> > > > myself with a shovel, for arguing yesterday that consonants are
> > > > differentiated before vowels. I am currently reading a set of studies
> > > > coming out of China that try to argue this, and try to explain it on
> > the
> > > > grounds of the greater salience of consonant sounds. But vowels and
> > > > consonants are not part of Chinese; the smallest meaningful
> difference
> > in
> > > > Chinese is a whole syllable. It's just another example of the
> > imperialism
> > > > of Western linguistics--everything has to be treated as if it had,
> deep
> > > in
> > > > its guts, a Western alphabet trying to get out.
> > > > >
> > > > > Even in English, it seems to me that vowels and consonants have to
> be
> > > > differentiated side by side, out of some prior sound that is neither.
> > And
> > > > that prior sound? Well, actually, it's the most common sound in the
> > > Chinese
> > > > repertoire--the naseopharyngealized semi-vowel that babies make when
> > they
> > > > are born, which rhymes with "ing".
> > > > >
> > > > > David Kellogg
> > > > > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > > > >
> > > > > On 15 March 2015 at 17:16, Haydi Zulfei <
> haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >> Thanks , David ! I'm following the case using what you wrote as
> > clues
> > > > >> to clarification .
> > > > >>      From: David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> > > > >> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > >> Sent: Sunday, 15 March 2015, 1:12:48
> > > > >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Well, of course, from the child's point of view, "Baby Bites" is
> > > > >> probably not even monosemous, merely alliterative.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> As Haydi says--how does the child avoid Buridanism before speech?
> I
> > > > >> take it that what he means is that in order to master the system,
> > what
> > > > >> is required is not simply the mindless internalization of some
> > purely
> > > > >> external resource but rather (as in the crises we find in other
> > forms
> > > > of development, e.g.
> > > > >> sociogenesis and even phylogenesis) the constraining of some
> > > > >> super-productive neoformation that emerges at the interface
> between
> > > > >> the child and the environment--that is, the narrowing of the
> > available
> > > > >> choices we find in ('autonomous') child language to fit the
> > > > >> phonological system of the mother tongue (as Halliday points out,
> > > > >> learning a mother tongue is really learning a second language!).
> > > > >>
> > > > >> I think the answer is that the child initially treats speech as
> > > > >> something that is not even monosemous but merely
> alliterative--sound
> > > > without meaning.
> > > > >> So how does the child master the sounds? According to the genetic
> > law,
> > > > >> sounds would be initially constrained by imitation and then
> > elaborated
> > > > >> by
> > > > >> self-imitation: that is, repetition. But how?
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Alliteration appears to be clearly differentiated before rhyme in
> > > > >> English poetry (c.f. "Gawain and the Green Knight"). Ontogenesis
> > too?
> > > > >> That would mean that the child is aware of a choice of different
> > > > >> consonants before the child is aware of a choice of different
> > vowels,
> > > > >> and that does seem to be the case.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> David Kellogg
> > > > >> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >> On 15 March 2015 at 01:40, Martin John Packer
> > > > >> <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> > > > >> wrote:
> > > > >>
> > > > >>> Nonsense, David, she's reading the list of ingredients printed on
> > > > >>> the bottom!
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> And isn't "Baby Bites" wonderfully polysemous?
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Martin
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> On Mar 13, 2015, at 4:17 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com
> >
> > > > wrote:
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>>
> > http://www.greatnewplaces.com/images/Kids/img7189_30122012121700.j
> > > > >>>> peg
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> My students were struck by the fact that the child, surrounded
> by
> > > > >>> elaborate
> > > > >>>> tools not of her own making, seems much more interested in the
> > > > >>>> objects
> > > > >> as
> > > > >>>> objects than in their use as signs.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
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