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[Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
- From: "Glassman, Michael" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:50:41 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
Thinking about fidelity, experience and creativity I keep returning to Stanislavskii, who I believe had an influence on Vygotsky, but where I also see similarities with Dewey. In the system he lays out in his trilogy he focuses on emotion, the ability to access this emotion and use it to bring truth to a scene. Once at an acting workshop a veteran character actor described the way he used the system, creating a past for the character and building up that past through his imagination so that it could spark a creative present - creating a diary, living in the clothes the character wore. The creative present was fueled by the imagination. The dialogue, I guess in the language of this thread, serves as a constraint on actions. But the emotional imagination opened up new possibilities for affordances. I remember him talking about finding an egg holder on stage, making that an essential part of his expression, his communication, both to the other characters and to the audience. A hundred actors could play the same scene in a thousand venues and never find that egg holder as a way to communicate. I think Stanislavskii hated fidelity to some pre-determined plan for the character, felt that there was no imagination there. I am always reminded of Marlon Brando's portrayal of Fletcher Christian in the film Mutiny on the Bounty - nothing what I had expected.
I think perhaps that is what Dewey was talking about at least in part with vital experience. Habit is important but it does not foster imagination. In Experience and Nature he decried the way we had separated experience into those who tell you what to do and those who did it - with the lion's share going to those who told you what to do. There is then no emotional memory, no imagination in what we do. I think Andy that is what he was talking about when he talked about planning of modern building. The only ones who could bring their imagination to the practice of building, actually create are the artisans themselves. But they are in a straight jacket of those who tell them what to do, make plans for them, and control them through fidelity.
So this maybe takes us back to Rolf and Alfredo's article. The designers has to design through this unity of action just as they are designing for a unity of action. The objects in the museum as well as its design act as constraints, but there also has to be a way for the visitors to bring their emotional memory into their transaction as imagination - leading to creative vital experiences that play off of these constraints. Realizing that each visitor is capable of finding their own egg holder.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Lplarry
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2015 12:39 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
Greg, fidelity as bring forth ( the therefore AND with (the mit) you bring a "heart" (a quality or character or disposition of "care" leading to repair when called forth) to watch (not re/cognize, re/present) AND RECEIVE
This IS fidelity WITH (mit) an experience of the subject matter consummated (not concluded) The "mood" undergone ( not created or constructed FROM the "will"
Fidelity not to the "being"
fidelity not to the "therefore" ( as conclusion) but therefore as "phase" and completion as consummation
Fidelity focusing on "mit" and "therefore" slanted towards mit/da/sein (with/being/there) and away from aspects of mitdasein as abstracted.
Experience a " being within "a" mood.
Fidelity as bringing your heart and abiding within or undergoing through watching (witnessing) with heart (abiding around the table/hearth) RECEIVING genetic and agentic going forth (bringing to the for) AND (taking in) like breathing. going out, taking in, enveloped, embodied, bodying gesturing, Receiving, RECEPTIVE, (not TO the world, not ENTERING the world, but RECEPTIVELY RECEIVING/PERCEIVING the world.
This is breath
This is life
This is animating vitality
This is moods
This is fidelity of science as poetry
Being within the heart of experience.
Watching and receiving without end. To live is to "breath"/experience prior to objects and subjects.
The fidelity of science as poetry
Theory and practice both consummating movement of mitdasein I put the emphasize on the "mit" as a counterbalance to the focus on either "da" or "sein" or "dasein/therefore"
Fidelity to consummation and not conclusions.
Dewey's profound prototypical slant on undergoing "an" experience expressed poetically/beautifully as "truth"
From: "Greg Thompson" <email@example.com>
Sent: 2015-07-17 8:27 AM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
And to the question that I have calqued (perhaps improperly) as the question of re-presenting the essence of an experience, or even knowing how to talk about an experience, I had two quick ideas:
1. This is a problem that I grapple with every year as I teach undergraduate students ethnographic writing. One of the biggest problems that I see is that students come in wanting to provide a perfect description of events that has maximal fidelity. Now, I suppose that the seeking for fidelity isn't the problem so much as is the way in which they understand fidelity. They understand fidelity to mean a perfect rendering of the exact things that were said and done - every movement, every sound, everything. Yet my fear is that this loses precisely what we are talking about here - the experience (and Jorge Luis Borges has a wonderful essay that I have attached called Funes the Memorious that describes a man, Funes, who was capable of that kind of perfect recollection that students aspire to; and to my mind the essay suggests that Funes has lost the ability to Have an Experience). A perfect description of every little thing that happened without capturing the experiences had is missing what is most essential, most real in human activity. Participants in interaction do not attend to every little thing. Nor is every little thing what it appears to be (particularly to a cultural outsider!).
So I suggest to my students something somewhat radical and perhaps a bit scandalous for the more scientistic of social scientists. I suggest that my students consider fidelity not in terms of one-to-one mappings of word to world and instead try to maintain fidelity of the real and consequential meanings of the experience had by participants. The scandal here is that, because part of the work of ethnography is rendering what happened in one cultural context in the terms of another cultural context (perhaps not unlike the problem confronted by Rolf and Alfredo's designers?), this translation may require representing happenings in ways that are not really perfect representations of what, physically and acoustically, "actually"
happened. The suggestion here is that in representing the "meaning" in one cultural context in terms that will be understandable to people in another cultural context, one might need to alter the details in one's description a bit. This is the art of ethnographic description. (and I imagine that some reading this will have a very visceral reaction to this suggestion - "isn't that just plain lying?").
As I'm writing this, I am reminded of Mike's (Luria's? - Wordsworth - see two stanza's pasted below) famous line that science too often "murders to dissect". That is, we kill the experience in order to study it. I suppose I'm wondering: what is the alternative?
2. For the more philosophically inclined, Heidegger has done some wonderful work with the notion of befindlichkeit. Here is a secondary source (Eugene
Gendlin) describing what it is in case anyone has an interest:
Here is a nugget from that page to get you started:
"Heidegger says that *Befindlichkeit *refers to what is ordinarily called "being in a mood," and also what is called "feeling" and "affect." But Heidegger offers a radically different way of thinking about this ordinary experience. *Befindlichkeit *refers to the kind of beings that humans are, that aspect of these beings which makes for them having moods, feelings, or affects."
Okay, back to experience.
Here are the last two stanzas of Wordsworth's The Tables Turned - a little screed against book-larnin' (and perhaps even better than "murder to dissect" are the closing words: "a heart that watches and receives"):
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:— We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 1:32 AM, Lplarry <email@example.com> wrote:
> Beth in your question:
> "how to study the object which is the unity of the experience?
> Is it possible that to study the "object" (which is the unity) is
> another category error. In other words the unity (as integral) is
> PRIOR to the "object OF" and also prior to the "subject OF" "an"
> The "recognizing" objects (as Dewey contrasts with the concept
> "perceiving" is not "an" experience.
> "an" experience has a particular quality of "having" an experience
> which is not POSSESSIVE. Having an experience is "undergoing" an
> I am proposing that these contrasting concepts of "having" (possessing
> undergoing) are subtle shifts (slants) that Dewey is bringing to the "fore".
> Andy says Dewey uses "beautiful" scientific language to explore this
> phenomena. Beautiful as receptively "taking in" dewey's meaning. THIS
> beauty "hinges" on "an" experience being an experience of undergoing
> or grasping or taking in "an" experience (as a unity of being
> completed through becoming completed. Being is the completed form that
> exists (is
> completed) prior to subjects and objects forming and prior to
> emotion and intellect forming and prior to intuition and reflection forming their
> multimodal qualities. Qualities of these various multimodal "aspects" of
> the unity of "having" "an" experience. These aspects are various ways
> //about// reflecting and RE-presenting "an" already completed and
> existing experience after first undergoing the experience.
> As Andy emphasizes the unity is prior to distinguishing the multiple
> modes that can then be recognized. The unity of "an" experience when
> undergone is "perceived" not "recognized" (as Dewey meant this
> contrast in terms.
> Therefore is place-making contrasted with place-undergoing??
> In Buddhism is undergoing the key phenomena of unity as "dependent
> Yes beautiful and a particular phenomenal/imaginal slant "/"
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Beth Ferholt" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: 2015-07-16 11:15 PM
> To: "Andy Blunden" <email@example.com>
> Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
> But when we reflect on some things it is hard to do so without loosing
> the whole entirely in the process of reflection.
> Jay said in a chain recently, in response to a related question,
> something about having an artist on every research team. I have been
> thinking about this. If the "artist, in comparison with his fellows,
> is one who is not only especially gifted in powers of execution but in
> unusual sensitivity to the qualities of things" then this is who we
> need to tell us which property is the one that can characterize the experience as a whole.
> No? Am I missing something in what you just wrote? The unity is
> prior but how to study the object if this unity is its essence? --
> sort of like the empty space in the bowl being the bowl, so when you
> study the bowl itself then you miss the whole point.
> I am thinking of these two quotes, although maybe I am conflating things?:
> "Its nature and import can be expressed only by art, because there is
> a unity of experience that can be expressed only as an experience."
> “Few understand why it is imperative not only to have the effect of
> art take shape and excite the reader or spectator but also to explain
> art, *and to explain it in such a way that the explanation does not
> kill the emotion*.”
> -- p. 254, Vygotsky (1971)
> I am really meaning this question in a very practical way, thinking of
> how I am always speaking to preschool teachers who describe their
> students and the activities with these students with such art, and how
> I am getting better at creating classroom spaces that support this
> description -- but am still not clear about how to consistently create
> spaces in my papers for similar forms of representation and reflection.
> This question also comes from reading the Alfredo and Rolf paper, and
> thinking about Leigh Star's work.
> On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 1:45 AM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> > No, no, Beth. As Dewey says:
> > "This unity is neither emotional, practical, nor intellectual, for
> > these terms name distinctions that reflection can make within it. In
> > discourse
> > *an experience, we must make use of these adjectives of interpretation.
> > In going over an experience in mind /*after/ *its occurrence, we may
> > find that one property rather than another was sufficiently dominant
> > so that
> > characterizes the experience as a whole. "
> > Isn't this beautiful scientific prose! We make these distinction
> > when we
> > *reflect* on an experience. And perhaps we include the experience in
> > our autobiography, act it out on the stage, analyse it
> > scientifically, all of which presupposes analysis and synthesis. But
> > it is important to
> > that the unity is prior. It is not only a unity of emotion and
> > cognition (for example) but also of attention and will - and any
> > other categories
> > abstract from an experience.
> > Andy
> > ------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > On 17/07/2015 3:00 PM, Beth Ferholt wrote:
> > Or reproducing the part that represents the whole? Like a fractal?
> > I think it is the similarity across scales that makes an experience
> > proleptic, or gives that 'bliss conferred at the beginning of the
> > road to redemption" that Vasilyuk refers to. You have an experience
> > on several timescales and so a sense of deja-vu is central to having an experience.
> > This is what I am thinking about after reading both the paper of
> > Dewey's and your recent piece on perezhivanie, Andy, although I am
> > picking up on
> > small piece of the last email in this chain -- : If something is
> > only itself in its whole then you can't study it, is what is bothering me.
> > On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 11:22 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >> Not "getting at something", Michael. Just pursuing this question
> >> you raised about Dewey's saying that the aesthetic quality of
> >> medieval buildings arises from their not being "planned" like
> >> buildings are nowadays. He goes on to say "Every work of art
> >> follows the plan of, and pattern of, a complete experience." The
> >> puzzle he is raising here is the completeness of an experience
> >> which gives it its aesthetic quality, and this cannot be created by
> >> assembling together parts in the way a modern building is planned.
> >> An experience - the kind of thing which sticks in
> >> mind - is an original or prior unity, not a combination, and this
> >> is
> >> gives a work of art that ineffable quality, something which can
> >> only be transmitted by reproducing that whole of an experience.
> >> Andy
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> *Andy Blunden*
> >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >> On 17/07/2015 2:32 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
> >>> Andy,
> >>> I'm still not sure about your question. Did I set out to have
> >>> that experience, that morning...no, I don't think so (it was a
> >>> long time
> >>> but I'm pretty sure no). Could I have just treated it as an
> >>> activity, probably, I had done so before.
> >>> But I am guessing you're getting a something here Andy?
> >>> Michael
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> >>> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of
> >>> xmca-l-bounces+Andy
> >>> Blunden
> >>> Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:21 PM
> >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
> >>> YOu said: "... But that time I had the experience with the
> >>> I mean that was an experience. Did you set out that morning to
> >>> have
> >>> experience?
> >>> RE, your question: "what does he mean when he says you can't do
> >>> things indiscriminately and have vital experience, but you also
> >>> can't plan
> >>> Andy
> >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>> *Andy Blunden*
> >>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>> On 17/07/2015 2:09 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
> >>>> Well I'm not sure I understand your question Andy, but perhaps it
> >>>> has something to do with my grandfather's favorite saying
> >>>> (translated from Yiddish),
> >>>> Man plans, God laughs.
> >>>> Michael
> >>>> -----Original Message-----
> >>>> From:
> >>>> email@example.com
> >>>> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
> >>>> edu]
> >>>> On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> >>>> Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:04 PM
> >>>> To: email@example.com
> >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
> >>>> So Michael, there was just that one occasion, in all your
> >>>> when you had an experience. Was that planned?
> >>>> (I don't mean to say you haven't had a number of such
> >>>> experiences, Michael ... just some number actually)
> >>>> Andy
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>> *Andy Blunden*
> >>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/ On 17/07/2015 1:19 AM,
> >>>> Glassman, Michael wrote:
> >>>>> Hi Larry and all,
> >>>>> I think this is one of the most complex aspects of experience,
> >>>>> what does he mean when he says you can't do things
> >>>>> indiscriminately and
> >>>>> vital experience, but you also can't plan things? I have
> >>>>> discussed
> >>>>> (argued) about this a lot with my students. I have especially
> >>>>> seen
> >>>>> raise this point in at least two of his great works, Democracy
> >>>>> and Education and Experience and Nature - and again of course in
> >>>>> Art as Experience (notice he is not saying how Art enters into
> >>>>> experience
> but how
> >>>>> art is experience - I have come to notice these little things
> >>>>> more
> and more
> >>>>> in his writing).
> >>>>> The difficulty we have, at least in the United States because of
> >>>>> the dominance of the idea of meta-cognition, is that we too
> >>>>> often
> >>>>> what individuals are bringing in to experience to organize it as
> >>>>> a
> form of
> >>>>> meta-cognition. It is kind of possible to make that
> >>>>> interpretation
> >>>>> Democracy and Education, although what I think he is doing more
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> against misinterpretations of his work as random, child centered
> >>>>> activities. I think he is clearer in Experience and Nature that
> >>>>> we
> >>>>> in who we are at the moment into the activity, and use who we
> >>>>> are (I
> >>>>> want to say identity) as an organizing principle for what we do.
> >>>>> It
> >>>>> perhaps one of the places where Dewey and Vygotsky are close.
> Perhaps I
> >>>>> can use the same Jackson Pollock example. The first few times I
> >>>>> saw
> >>>>> paintings I was trying to "apprecitate" them because I was told
> >>>>> that
> >>>>> the best way to experience them. Dewey says no vital experience
> >>>>> because my activities become stilted and artificia
> >>>>> l. Sometimes I went through the museum and just looked at
> >>>>> pictures, one to the other. No vital experience there, just
> >>>>> random threads. But that time I had the experience with the
> >>>>> paintings I was allowing who I was, what had been built up in
> >>>>> the trajectory of my
> life to
> >>>>> enter into my experience with the painting, making it a vital
> >>>>> I think Dewey makes the argument in Experience and Nature that
> >>>>> it is
> >>>>> just the experience the moment before, but the experiences
> >>>>> leading
> to that
> >>>>> experience, the context of my life, of my parent's life, of a
> >>>>> long
> line of
> >>>>> historical experiences.
> >>>>> Anyway, my take.
> >>>>> Michael
> >>>>> -
> > --
> > Beth Ferholt
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Early Childhood and Art Education Brooklyn College,
> > City University of New York
> > 2900 Bedford Avenue
> > Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889
> > Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Phone: (718) 951-5205
> > Fax: (718) 951-4816
> Beth Ferholt
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Early Childhood and Art Education Brooklyn College, City
> University of New York
> 2900 Bedford Avenue
> Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889
> Email: email@example.com
> Phone: (718) 951-5205
> Fax: (718) 951-4816
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602