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[Xmca-l] Re: Connecting and stability



Millie, our dog, says that I'm right and your wrong, David.  At least,
that's what I think she says.

Best,
Huw

On 14 December 2015 at 19:51, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> When people (including Vygotsky) think about language, they often think of
> it as a pile of words. This is a true, but it's only true in the sense that
> a building is a heap of bricks. As soon as we have to actually build a
> building (as Lefebvre knew) we find that there are intermediate structures
> that are actually much more important.For the purpose of situating action
> in language, I think we can consider just two levels of intermediate
> structure.
>
> Roofs, floors and walls are externally shaped; they are shaped like the
> great outdoors itself; that is, they are structured the way they are
> structured because of their function, which is to interface with the
> environment. That's why a floor or a ceiling or a wall looks like a two
> dimensional map of the building, and that's why western houses look vaguely
> like castles while traditional eastern houses look more like umbrellas.
>
> Rooms, stairs and halls are internally shaped; they are shaped by other
> units within the building itself; that is, they are structured the way they
> are structured because of their function, which is to interface with the
> inhabitants. That's why a bedroom looks a little like a bed, and a kitchen
> a little like a kitchen table; a toilet looks a little like...well, like a
> toilet, actually; each one is a kind of squaring out of a human need.
>
> Language is like this too: some structures are externally shaped, e.g.
> titles and reference lists, introductions and "topic sentences", and what
> we Hallidayans call "Theme" at the level of the clause. A prepositional
> phrase like that last one "at the level of the clause" is a little like a
> minor clause itself: it has a preposition instead of a verb but it
> certainly has an object and an implicit subject. Other structures are
> internally shaped: e.g. a nominal group like "other structures" is an
> expanded noun in sort of the same way that a bedroom is an expanded bed,
> and a verb group like "are internally shaped" is an expanded verb ("shape")
> in much the same way that a stairwell is an expanded step.
>
> So I think when Huw argues that action can be embedded in language, he's
> absolutely half right. Language is the only symbolic system we have that
> has to be able to put the whole of human experience into words (D. H.
> Lawrence said this about the novel, but when we read "Why the Novel
> Matters" carefully it turns out that, as usual, he is confusing human
> experience with his own body). So there are certainly ways of putting
> actions into words. But the reverse absolutely does not apply: we cannot
> reduce words into actions of the body, any more than we can reduce a
> building to a heap of bricks.
>
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
>
>
>
> On Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Thanks for the interesting contribution, David.
> >
> > >From what I recall, Goethe's criticism of Newton's endeavour was that he
> > only undertook half the analysis and failed to gain a relational
> > understanding of the phenomenon as a whole.  I never really dug into it
> > that much though.
> >
> > For a parallel to "being", "doing", and "sensing", you could consider
> > Lefebvre's application of  "representational", "representations of"
> > and "spatial practice" moments to social spaces.  One of the
> difficulties I
> > think you will have with Lefebvre (The Production of Space), however, is
> > that he is not shy of pointing out that analyses of social space on the
> > basis of language or discourse are inadequate for understanding the
> > production of these spaces.  The same can be said for thinking.
> >
> > But perhaps you can take a stream of discourse from a recounting and
> > reliving of lived experience as it is manifest in (say) emotive
> expression
> > as the expression of a form (outline) for something manifesting a
> 'primary
> > colour' that is not known to the analysis of discourse, namely action and
> > activity.  One could then posit that action within activity was largely
> > responsible for the formation of thought-space that enable the orienting
> > within hearing and the orienting within seeing to yield listening and
> > active looking/perceiving respectively.
> >
> > When it comes to relating thinking as something derived from seeing, I
> > suspect this is considerably biased by personality preference.  What many
> > consider to be thinking proper is a commitment to resolve something
> > construed as a mental problem.  One has to see, perceive and then decide
> to
> > stick with it until one begins to perceive the seeds of something else.
> >
> > Best,
> > Huw
> >
> >
> > On 14 December 2015 at 01:16, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > > In 1706 Isaac Newton created the first color wheel, by taking the
> colors
> > he
> > > observed from his prismatic studies and arranging them carefully in the
> > > order they appeared in a circle. In the nineteenth century, the
> > > impressionists began to arrange their palettes in the same way (instead
> > of
> > > in squares which emphasized shades and tints), but they couldn't really
> > > decide if the cardinal points on the chromatic compass were red, blue,
> > and
> > > yellow or red, green and yellow. This in turn goes back to a
> disagreement
> > > that Goethe had with Newton on the very nature of color, whether it is
> an
> > > objective property of materials or whether it is an effect produced in
> > the
> > > mind: it turns out that modern color printers (with their "millions of
> > > colors" produced by only three inks) are largely based on Goethe's
> theory
> > > and not on Newton's.
> > >
> > > I mention all this because Halliday does more or less the same thing
> with
> > > verbs, or rather with the "processes" that verbs realize. The three
> > > cardinal processes, in the first edition of his "introduction to
> > Functional
> > > Grammar", were "being", "doing", and "sensing" and  we can imagine "to
> > be",
> > > "to do" and "to see" as red, blue, and yellow or perhaps orange, green,
> > and
> > > blue. So for example a verb like "to have" or "to own" is a relational
> > > process, and is a shading or tinting of "to be", and a verb like "play"
> > or
> > > "work" is a material process and belongs near "to act" with the doings
> on
> > > the verbal palette, while a verb like "see", "smell", "feel", and by
> > > extension "think" is a mental process and belongs somewhere in the
> > vicinity
> > > of sensing. In the interstices of these cardinal processes, we find
> > > behavioral ones (sleeping, laughing, crying) located somewhere between
> > the
> > > material and the mental, existential processes ("there is") between the
> > > material and the relational, and above all the verbal processes,
> between
> > > the relational and the mental.
> > >
> > > But that's the functional picture, not the genetic one. From the
> newborn
> > > child's point of view, there is, as Vygotsky says, an undifferentiated
> > > "state" rather than processes, and this is differentiated into feelings
> > on
> > > the one hand and doings on the other largely on the basis of instincts
> > like
> > > positioning and feeding. The "relational"processes require language to
> > come
> > > into being, particularly since, in English anyway, "to be" is a very
> > > strange kind of being that actually relates two "be-ers": a carrier and
> > an
> > > attribute ("Minsu is tall"), an identifier and an identified ("He is
> > > Minsu"), or a token and a value ("Minsu is a boy").
> > >
> > > I think that Vygotsky's early work on imagination is essentially wrong,
> > and
> > > I include "Imaginary and Creativity in Childhood" in this. The reason
> is
> > > that the distinction between reproductive and combinatorial imagination
> > on
> > > which that work rests is associativism which he took over more or less
> > > uncritically from Ribot, and only later repudiated. In Ribot, all
> > thinking
> > > is essentially a pale shadow of seeing--imagination is nothing but the
> > > after-glow of imaging. But not even sensing is reducible to seeing, and
> > > certainly not thinking.
> > >
> > > By the time of Vygotsky's late lectures, he has solved the problem. In
> > his
> > > lecture on the development of creativity in childhood (Volume One in
> the
> > > English Collected Works) he points out that the name of a place--just
> the
> > > name--can conjure up a kind of experience, even if we have never even
> > been
> > > there, and words in the right order create not only experiences that
> have
> > > never been had but experiences which by their very nature are not
> > haveable
> > > by as single human consciousness (e.g. "the French Revolution"). There
> is
> > > no way to get "thinking" out of 'seeing'. We have to recognize that
> > > thinking is a mental process that stands somewhere between seeing and
> > > saying, in much the same way that green stands somewhere between yellow
> > and
> > > blue. Yes, we can produce green by mixing yellow and blue, but that
> > doesn't
> > > mean we can reduce it meaningfully to those two colors. I think in the
> > same
> > > way it makes no sense to reduce a unicorn to a horse and a horn.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Macquarie University
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 8:59 AM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hi Larry and others,
> > > >
> > > > Is, as a verb is not like other verbs, which have to do with action.
> > I'm
> > > > not a linguist, but off the top, I don't think there is a verb that
> > > doesn't
> > > > have to do with action other than "to be." At least in English. We
> use
> > > > "becoming" to signify change, but the infinitive "to be" is a pointer
> > to
> > > > Existence. We don't say I become an eater, or I become a sleeper, or
> I
> > > > become a writer, even though that has some truth to it (i'm not born
> a
> > > > writer), it's not how we speak. I am an eater, I am a sleeper, I am a
> > > > writer. Become is its own verb, isn't it? "to become," is a marriage
> of
> > > the
> > > > word Be and Come. If Become where the word for Be, then that would
> make
> > > the
> > > > game here really different. But Be comes before Become,
> linguistically
> > > and
> > > > existentially! :)
> > > >
> > > > So with that in mind, Is is more of a signifier of existence and the
> > noun
> > > > that accompanies Is takes the particular shape that reflects Is-ness.
> > > Like
> > > > the pot depends upon clay for its existence. If you remove the clay
> > from
> > > > the pot, the pot no longer exists. If you smash the pot, the clay
> > > remains,
> > > > thus the pot depends upon clay to exist. I depend upon Being to
> exist.
> > > >
> > > > Of course I've been thinking also about unicorns! I believe I can
> > explain
> > > > why this definition of Being works even in the imaginary sense.
> (Which
> > is
> > > > to say Being is not a category of the mind in the absolute sense of
> > > Being,
> > > > that all there is to Being is a cognitive category, therefore there
> is
> > > > nothing to Being but a logical or categorical container in speech and
> > > > thought, which is the same as saying Being arises from Mind, "I
> think,
> > > > therefore I am").
> > > >
> > > > Getting back to unicorns! We can say that the is-ness of the horse
> and
> > > the
> > > > is-ness of the horn combine in the imagination, and thus unicorn is.
> > Thus
> > > > the material of the unicorn, which does not exist in the world we
> live
> > > in,
> > > > is identical to the material of the imagination, which is the
> material
> > of
> > > > the Mind.
> > > >
> > > > But this does not stop at the Mind. Because the material of the
> unicorn
> > > is
> > > > no different than the material of the memory of what I ate for dinner
> > > last
> > > > night, or imagining walking on the boardwalk right now while I'm
> > sitting
> > > in
> > > > front of this screen. Just like other imaginations, for imaginary
> > > objects,
> > > > the Is-ness is as-if borrowed from horse-ness and horn-ness, which do
> > > exist
> > > > in the world. It is not possible to create an imagination of things
> we
> > do
> > > > not know about. Imaginations (and dreams) are always of the things we
> > > have
> > > > known before, even if it is superficial knowledge. So the existence
> of
> > > > unicorns depends upon the material of all imaginary objects, the
> > material
> > > > of the mind.
> > > >
> > > > This still supports the notion that Being comes before Mind. And that
> > > Mind
> > > > is dependent upon Being, not the other way around.
> > > >
> > > > Also, Being is not something limited to sentient creatures, but is
> > > > unlimited, the entire world sits in existence. That is why we can
> > > > experience the existence of inanimate or insentient objects: the
> > mountain
> > > > is, the sky is, the ocean is, and since mind is in the world, the
> > unicorn
> > > > is.
> > > >
> > > > The problem is that we can't know what that Being is that makes
> > existence
> > > > possible for everything else. It's not knowable. And this has nothing
> > to
> > > do
> > > > with believing in a God or not believing, but that there is a limit
> to
> > > what
> > > > we as humans can know, and that Being, that which pervades all
> > beingness,
> > > > all names and forms, responsible for the existence all that is here,
> is
> > > one
> > > > of those things we will never be able to know explicitly.
> > > >
> > > > If we were to assert that Being is a product (a category) of Mind,
> then
> > > we
> > > > are back to Decartes's dualism. When you say that "in the end" there
> > is a
> > > > final division (of two) and "that's just the way it is", then we can
> > > > justify hierarchies, we can justify slavery, we can justify class,
> and
> > so
> > > > on. "Slavery is just the way it is." "Inequality is just the way it
> > is."
> > > I
> > > > just can't accept that. If we say really that all that is here is
> > > > Existence, but the multiplicity of objects we experience are just
> > > different
> > > > forms and manifestations of Existence(Being), then we can find the
> > > > commonality among us despite differences, we can justify our feelings
> > of
> > > > oneness with Nature, Love for another, Compassion for strangers,
> etc. I
> > > > prefer the latter over the former: Difference in this case becomes
> > > > incidental and ornamental, while similarities are fundamental.
> > > >
> > > > So I think there is a fundamental ethical reason to see Being before
> > Mind
> > > > from this standpoint.
> > > >
> > > > Kind regards,
> > > >
> > > > Annalisa
> > > >
> > > > P.S. I've pulled out On the Soul by Aristotle from my shelf, because
> I
> > am
> > > > curious about his take on the Soul, because it is quite apparent that
> > he
> > > > does not see Soul as limited to Mind, like Hegel did. The Soul for
> > > > Aristotle is the life-force, or sentiency. In Vedic thought there is
> > the
> > > > concept of Prana, which is also identical to life-force, something
> > > entering
> > > > from the outside of the gross body, Prana is an aspect of the subtle
> > > body,
> > > > but what gives life to the gross body and which leaves at death. This
> > not
> > > > analogously different from electricity passing through a lightbulb
> and
> > > when
> > > > the electricity is there, the light shines, when it is absent the
> bulb
> > is
> > > > dark. The electricity is like the subtle body, the bulb the gross
> body.
> > > >
> > >
> >
>