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[Xmca-l] Re: Imagination or Fantasy



Mike

     I have read Schmitau and contacted the people in Hawaii, but I don’t know about Zuckerman.

     I have, by the way, desperately tried to stick to my original subject line. People on this list have far to much imagination (smile).

Ed

> On Dec 7, 2015, at  7:27 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> 
> Ed and Huw.
> 
> The best English descriptions of Davydovian math education is in the work
> of Jean Schmitau. She has articles in a couple of places, one in MCA. She
> has fuller accounts that are, I believe, referenced there. Otherwise,
> Galina Zuckerman, whose English is terrific, is the person I would turn to
> in search of concrete, detailed, description.
> 
> Can we keep this thread on imagination? Maybe Imagination in Education
> could be a thread?
> 
> Maybe Imagination and Indian Philosophy could be another subject line?
> 
> Following the threads and the way they mutually inform each other in the
> course of the discussion would be facilitated, for me at least, by keeping
> Imagination as the lead word to be followed by constituent "and" identifier.
> As in Imagination and Indian Philosophy.
> 
> Can we self organize to have such a complex discussion using the existing,
> to hand, technologies? The topic of imagination seems a fitting one on
> which to try out the idea. A great variety of histories appear to lead to
> this common discussion point, but they are almost mutually interpretable (
> I know zero about Indian philosophy + what I am reading here.
> 
> I do know that the when Varela, Rosch, and others at Berkeley ignited the
> embodied cognition movement, it was Eastern religions that they drew upon.
> 
> mike
> On imagination. What is the precise reference for the concrete-concrete
> form of imagination? I found the discussion about distinguishing fantasy as
> a form of imagination very helpful.
> 
> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 5:05 PM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
> 
>> Annalisa
>> 
>>      What I would like to see is an analysis of imagination or
>> representation from the point of view of each of the six systems of Indian
>> philosophy: Nyaya; Vaisheeshika; Sankhya; Yoga; Karma Mimansa; and Vedanta.
>> It is said that knowledge is true only when it is acceptable in the light
>> of each of these six systems. I had thoughts about doing such an analysis
>> in the past, but realized it would be quite! nontrivial. Are you applying
>> (smile)!
>> 
>> Ed
>> 
>>> On Dec 7, 2015, at  12:05 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Greetings,
>>> 
>>> I would like to offer a few ideas to the mix in this discussion about
>> imagination vs. representation.
>>> 
>>> Representation as a word has posed a problem in understanding modes of
>> thought and cognition, and most of all, and I realize I am preaching to the
>> choir, it tends to commodify the thought as an object as-if coming off a
>> conveyor belt, a finished product in isolation. And as Mike points out,
>> there is no conveyance of affect in this thought factory of
>> representations, nor cultural-historical influences.
>>> 
>>> The usage of "representation" also has tended to give legs to the
>> mind-brain, which hasn't been helpful in our understanding (I'm sorry to
>> mix my metaphors, but I think it makes a great picture). The brain becomes
>> the CPU of the body.
>>> 
>>> I'd also like to offer a few concepts that derive from Vedic theory of
>> mind, and these are the vritti, and the samskara.
>>> 
>>> Vritti translates roughly from Sanskrit as "thought-modification." I
>> find this concept incredibly powerful for many reasons.
>>> 
>>> First, it bypasses all Cartesian artifacts and constructs in how we
>> think about mind.
>>> 
>>> Second, it copes nicely with the problem that Ed and Mike are discussing
>> text vs image.
>>> 
>>> Third, it seems to have intuited neurological activity in the brain and
>> body, thus uniting mind with movement, embodied thinking, affective
>> thought, etc.
>>> 
>>> And there are likely other benefits that I've not yet considered.
>>> 
>>> So what is a vritti?
>>> 
>>> In the Vedic paradigm, as I understand it, the mind is very subtle
>> material, like light is subtle, and thus it interacts with the gross body
>> while both are interacting with the world. Considering the mind as material
>> means that it is not separate from the body, it is just more subtle and
>> therefore we are talking about degrees of physicality rather than mind
>> being an entity that exists somewhere else and a body is connected to that
>> mind through the pineal gland, etc, which to this day I've never been able
>> to get my head around. ;)
>>> 
>>> The second concept that is useful is samskara, which is an impression in
>> the mind. We can be born with samskaras, but also activities and thoughts
>> can create samskaras. Some can be deeper and more fixed, or transient and
>> shallow, or anywhere along those two continuums.
>>> 
>>> Further, the notion of samskara as impression can be useful when
>> considering obsessive thinking, plasticity, and various forms of learning.
>> I don't think samskara need be fixed to the mind, perhaps also to the body,
>> but I'm not sure.
>>> 
>>> Considering samskara, it might be useful to think of the way sand can
>> have impressions made upon it by the wind or the tide or... a child's
>> shovel and pail.
>>> 
>>> When the child creates a sandcastle with the tools of the shovel and
>> pail, at that very point the sandcastle becomes is recognizable, it is
>> considered a vritti (and the word crowns the deed). Likewise when the child
>> takes the very same sand destroying the castle and then creates a starfish
>> and it becomes recognizable as such, then it is another vritti. The
>> important takeaway here is that the material *does not change*, but the
>> shape *does*. That's why it is a "thought-modification."
>>> 
>>> Clay as material could be another useful metaphor, in that sense. The
>> potter at the wheel takes a lump of clay and makes a vase and then
>> transforms the vase into a bowl, and finally a plate. Analogously, these
>> would be three vrittis.
>>> 
>>> However, the reason the vritti need not be visual is that its material
>> is "mind" itself (consider mind "as-if sand" or "as-if clay"), with mind
>> itself processing all perceptual information. With the same "sand" it
>> creates the thought-shapes for sound, touch, smell, and taste, not only
>> sight. But these are combined, not isolated as individual percepts in any
>> kind of units.
>>> 
>>> This also gets away from the traps of right-brain/left-brain theory, as
>> come to think of it.
>>> 
>>> Memory and doubt are also aspects of mind, and this might be where the
>> affect comes in, because of the recognition of language, emotional content
>> from the past, meaning, etc, all these various mental processes become part
>> of the vritti.
>>> 
>>> I'd also like to offer that Kant's notion of givenness also helps in
>> this conception, because it is the appearances of external objects we
>> perceive and feel that as-if shape the vritti as well as memory, doubt,
>> recognition, and so forth. In this sense there is a kind of overlap of the
>> external world onto the mind. But the reverse can be true as well. That is,
>> the mind can "as-if" overlap onto the world. I'd say this is imagination.
>> It could also be fantasy, but that seems to have a different affective
>> stance than imagination. Imagination still possesses that self-awareness
>> that it is imagined. Fantasy seems to not have that in its extreme
>> manifestation, thereby taking what is imagined in place of the external
>> world.
>>> 
>>> I'm not sure what the technical term is for the moment of neural
>> activity when we see the brain light up in a particular pattern in the
>> brain (and likely body, but we lack the means to detect this as we do with
>> an fMRI scan of the brain), but it does have a particular shape when there
>> is, say, more visual stimulation than aural. The "material" of that thought
>> is an electrical impulse, which is subtle, like light.
>>> 
>>> So I think these terms are very insightful, and they can help free us
>> from Cartesian conceptions and that's why I like them so much. They also do
>> not conflict with Vygotsky's work, as far as I can tell.
>>> 
>>> Kind regards,
>>> 
>>> Annalisa
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> 
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch