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[Xmca-l] Re: The Ideological Footprint of Artifacts

A fascinating way to explore the long shadow that concepts entail back to
the sensory "ground" of concepts.

I would like to ask how you situate a third term "symbol" in its
relationship to the "sensory sound" and the "conceptual"

Zinchenko offers one approach to symbols [to prime the pumps of this

"The psychological theory of activity was concerned with the problem of
real [i.e. concrete] tools and objects that humans, also in accordance with
Marxism, place between themselves and nature.  In other words, what makes a
human human? Symbol or thing? The crucifix or the hammer and sickle? If it
is the symbol then this is idealism. If it is the thing then this is
materialism or perhaps dialectical materialism"

"Reading" this question  through your response above I wonder if the answer
is unfinalizable and may depend on the "reciprocal" interpenetration of the
symbolic and sensory.  I am assuming the symbolic as "figurative" and
"con/figurative" phenomena that expresses co-existence.

I am Reading Jan Derry's 2013 book "Vygotsky: Philosophy and Education" and
Zinchenko's quote is on page 14.


On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 5:38 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> The other day I was listening to Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette". It's the
> wedding night, and they got to bed. Because they have no alarm clock, they
> must listen carefully for the sound of the lark, else Romeo will be
> captured by the guards of Verona and hanged.
> Romeo is sleeping with one ear open, and he is the first to awake. Romeo
> hears a bird and tells Juliette, and Juliette replies:
> Non, ce n'est pas le jour.
> Ce n'est pas l'allouette.
> Dont le chant a frappe
> Ton orielle inquiete
> (No, it is not the day
> That is not the lark
> Whose song has struck
> Your sleepless ear)
> But of course the song persists. Juliette reassures him:
> C'est le doux rossignol
> Confidant d'amour!
> (It's the sweet nightengale
> The confidant of love!)
> And Romeo decides, for probably just for the sake of being able to reverse
> roles and sing the song himself, that he will go along with Juliette's idea
> and go back to sleep. So then Juliette hears the sound and realizes that
> you must leave, helas! And Romeo sings, "Non, ce n'est pas le jour...."
> All of which reminded me of the crucial fact that in the sixteenth century
> they did not yet have alarm clocks. But when you hear the woodwinds come in
> precisely at 1:47:35, what you hear, if you are a modern listener, is an
> electric alarm clock.
> Now of course, in Gounod's time they no more had electric alarm clocks than
> in Shakespeare's. But such is the ideological footprint of artifacts;  they
> heard the sound of the woodwinds as that of a nightengale, and we hear it
> as battery powered alarm clock.  Or is it the other way around, and the
> alarm is designed  to mimick a lark?
> Last night we were working on ways of teaching vocabulary which are
> GENERALIZABLE. It is of course the case, as Vygotsky points out, that
> MEANINGS can be related easily to each other, in one way (hierarchically)
> when we teach scientific concepts and in another (sensually,
> experientially) when we are not. It's also true that the WORDINGS are
> related easily toe ach other, as nouns and verbs, as participants and
> processes, and as circumstances. But what kids want are to be able to match
> the soundings and the imagery. In most languages this seems arbitrary and
> so vocabulary seems a piecemeal affair.
> It isn't. As Vygotsky points out, when you go back in time, you find that
> there are (at least) three kinds of associative links which must help the
> young vocabulary learner. We had the following list of Canadian animals to
> teach brought in by a hakweon teacher from Canada:
> moose, goose, badger, beaver, eagle, porcupine
> With "moose" and "goose' the link is sounding--try bellowing the first like
> a moose, and hooting the second like a goose. With "badger" and "beaver"
> the link is wording--badgers badger grubs and bother birds, while beavers
> are always beavering around with dams and nests. Eagle somehow alliterates
> with "eye" and "spy", and "porcupine" suggests a piney, spiney,
> pineapple-pig.
> Of course, none of these are concepts. All are forms of complex. But all of
> them are the ideological footprint, the long shadow, cast by an artefact
> down through history.
> If you want to hear the lark, you will have to wait to the end of the
> opera, where it takes on another meaning. As everybody knows, Romeo dies
> before Juliet awakes. But in Gounod's version, he drinks the poison, she
> awakes, and they are once again joyful in each other's arms, until he
> remembers the poison (a minor detail!) and dies singing...you guessed
> it...2:31:00.
> "No, it is not the day
> That is not the lark...
> It's the sweet nightengale
> The confidant of love!"
> Of course it's absurd (although not quite as absurd as the moment that poor
> Rolando Villazon has to wipe the sweat off the end of his nose before he
> kisses Nina Machaidze). But it's also somewhat terrifying, as a raw
> demonstrating of the ideological footprint of artworks. A single sound has
> the power to be a bird in one century, a piccolo in another, and a digital
> alarm clock in our own. Artifacts cast a long shadow, even at night.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmNULK87lK0
> David Kellogg