RE: Response to Steve G on EVI and Bakhurst - The annotations

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Sat May 15 2004 - 18:41:06 PDT

Dear Steve, Victor, and everybody-
In my view, that the opposition to ideality is death (the total absence of
any biases, goals, and subjectivity - returning into the purely material
world) while the opposition to meaningfulness is alienation. Using Russian
connotation of the word "alienation" (I do not know if English or other
languages have this connotation), I perceive "alienation" ("ot-chuzh-denie")
as if the activity is done by another other person - not by me. I am not me
who is acting. I, in the totality of my relationships with other people and
the world, cannot accept the activity and its ideality, I'm involved in.
Meaninglessness creates doubleness, I'm doubled (cf. Dostoevsky's story
"Double" analyzed by Bakhtin). Often, meaninglessness, alienation, is
produced by a conflict in a community/society (e.g., teaching for tests in
school). It is important to emphasize that meaninglessness is always a type
of ideality (alienated and conflicted ideality) and it is (alienated and
conflicted ideality) material as well. Meaninglessness is always relative
and subjective as well as objective. US companies some time destroy
overproduced goods so the prices do not drop too much while people in the
third world may die because of lack of these goods. Meaningless? Yes! But
for whom and for what? It is meaningless for me, in my totality of
relationships with other people and the world, to participate in this
activity because other people would suffer and labor is destroyed as a
result of this activity. But there are people in their totality of their
relationships with other people and the world who found this activity very
meaningful since it gives them profit and capital for further exploitation.
What do you think?

From: Steve Gabosch []
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: Response to Steve G on EVI and Bakhurst - The annotations
Got installment one. Great material [ideality? :-)) ] to work with. Will
comment after more installments, unless you want something before you go on.

Regarding par 31 you comment: "Assimilation of social consciousness is
then, as Vygotsky puts it, learning the production of meaningful objects:
Idealities." This directly relate the relationship of the concept of
ideality to the concept of meaningfulness (your end notes do this several
times), a relationship I am more and more seeing as close to synonymous
(keeping in mind these perhaps equivalent concepts originate in different
knowledge domains). In making this transition from "ideality" to "meaning,"
we may be passing from philosophy to psychology and social science. My
questions, what did Vygotsky have to say about meaning that relates to our
discussion of ideality, and did he relate meaning and ideality directly?

A side comment: I think ideality (meaningfulness) needs to be distinguished
from materiality when we speak of produced objects - we produce both the
material object and its meaning (its ideality). A meaningful object has
both ideality and materiality. A meaningful object is not the same as
ideality and ideality is not equivalent to meaningful objects.

- Steve

At 04:23 PM 5/14/2004 +0200, you wrote:

I'm sending you my annotations in installments. This is the first 4th of
the paper and probably the most important part.
A few words on the annotations. The original annotations included precis
and criticisms of each paragraph. Of these there are two sets, the first is
black, the second (done later is dark red). Some of these still appear in
the version I sent you, but not all. In response to your questions etc. I'm
annotating the paper once again, this time in a lighter purple script.
Instead of annotating each paragraph I've annotated some paragraphs that
appear to me to be of critical significance while other annotations are
relevant to groups of paragraphs. The annotations themselves are presented
as end notes and you can identify the reference by traversing between
commentary and text.
This third annotating review of EVI has enabled me to clarify further my
critique of EVI (see notes on paragraphs 39 through 41 and especially the
2nd paragraph of my notes for EVI's paragraph 41).
As you should see from the annotations I am building on EVI's work rather
than simply criticising it.
Looking forward to your response,
----- Original Message -----
From: Steve <> Gabosch
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 2:17 PM
Subject: Re: Response to Steve G on EVI and Bakhurst
Hi Victor,
Your great response convinced me that I need to, for the moment, put aside
Bakhurst, Jones, and many of the very excellent and important issues and
points you raise, and work specifically on Ilyenkov's article on the concept
of the ideal. I hope you will join me.
Two posts are on their way.
The first post has a large file attachment. I have annotated the EVI
article "The Concept of the Ideal" paragraph by paragraph. Doing this has
been an amazing learning experience. I think I did a pretty good job with
this annotation project.
The second post is a discussion of the EVI article, including some thoughts
I have on possible implications of EVI's concept of the ideal.

- Steve

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 12:05:48 PST