Re: [xmca] LCA-- transparency

From: Ed Wall (
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 15:23:35 PDT


     I think Bateson's example is fine. I would do something like this
in a dark living room. It is just that I didn't observe the tapping
to a great degree. However, I was seeing students out of their rooms
and often on the streets. I do still see the blind with canes, but
seldom - and perhaps I have missed it - do they tap except briefly
when they reach something like a curb (when they come into an unknown
room, they will often use their hands or ask for assistance).
However, and I can't remember if I've seen any canes like this
lately, some canes used to have something springy on the ends so you
could trail that something on the sidewalk if you needed to. But if
you've every walked quickly with a stick in front of you touching or
just above the ground, you may, like my unthinking self, have been
uncomfortably jabbed.
     In any case, I would think the students I saw swinging the canes
were considered more or less competent. I did know of one who said he
did not use a cane and walked without (the byways of Nashville
supposedly). He said he could hear sufficiently (for example the
wires on the poles). However, I didn't observe this.


>I did not understand this phrase, Bill.
>As in other activty, the language we use to direct our eyes becomes
>internalized and the use of our eyes during driving becomes as
>looking while driving becomes an operation, even more so when we
>consider the learning and predicting of the brain as it mediates
>many of our unconscious lookings.
>The example of learning to drive and the transformations that occur
>with gaining expertise is, I recall, an example from Leontiev. Is
>that so? If so, perhaps some of the SFL folks could talk about how
>the role
>of language as one of the mediational means in this transformation
>changes. In all of this, I assume our major objective in THIS
>discussion is how to eal with language in activity.
>In this regard, unable to answer you question, I will answer with
>two other questions:
>1. For the novice, can "learning to drive the car" be considered an
>activity in and of itself? Say, for a 15 1/2 year old? Or it better
>considered a complex form of action, where the motive is to gain
>independence, etc?
>2. Might the relation of language to acquisition of driving
>expertise be accompanied by a transformation of language as explicit
>to implicit semiotic means, a la Ruqaiya?
>Ed-- I will have to think more your example and interpretation and
>how to relate it to the Bateson example. Are the kids you are
>talking about to be considered expert in their use of cane's as
>tools of navitation?
>On 7/4/05, Blanton, William E
><<>> wrote:
>Mike and Michael, I
>I am trying to work my way through transparency, mediation with
>language, interlaization, action and operation, so stick with me on
>this. We mediate the directing of our eyes to look, observe,
>notiice with language as we learn to drive down the road. As in
>other activty, the language we use to direct our eyes becomes
>internalized and the use of our eyes during driving becomes as
>looking while driving becomes an operation, even more so when we
>consider the learning and predicting of the brain as it mediates
>many of our unconscious lookings. If traffic signals were arranged
>differently each morning, many of our lookings would rise to the
>level of action. If I were to become blind and begin using a cane to
>move around, I would use language to mediate activity with a cane in
>my hand, directing the cane to move ahead as if feel and hear
>sensations though the movement and touching of the came. Eventually
>the cane becomes part of new functional system of seeing expressed
>through two modalities. Soon language mediating use of the cane
>becomes internalized. The cane has remediated my activity and
>rewired my the fuctional system for seeing.
>I wonder if the brain activity of one born blind and seing with a
>cane is similar to the brain activity of one who becomes blind later
>and mediates seeing with cane.
><> on
>behalf of Wolff-Michael Roth
>Sent: Mon 7/4/2005 4:15 PM
>To: <>
>Subject: Re: [xmca] LCA-- transparency
>> My observations of the blind have been a bit different than the one
>> Bateson recounts (which doesn't at all contradict what he recounts) -
>> at one point I spent some time at a school for the blind outside
>> Nashville, Tennessee. Many of the young people I observed swung their
>> cane to and fro in front of them (and in some particular situations
>> they let it drag to the side). They didn't seem to be looking for
>> confirming evidence (and they may, for the observant person sharing
>> their space, have been simultaneously been socially clearing the way
>> in front of
>But Ed, do you look for confirming evidence when you walk? Do look
>prior to setting your foot down, then confirm that it's gonna be okay.
>. .
>> them) but for disconfirming evidence - that is, when the cane
>> exhibited stick-like properties. Opaqueness (as in a sheet of paper),
>> so to speak, was crucial and they seemed to be attempting to maximize
>> this with the cane. However, at the same time they needed to use
>> something that could act as an extension of themselves (a heavy iron
>> bar or a feather would not be ideal). Hence, it seems to me, it is the
>> doing (might one say the 'thoroughly internalized' here?) that was
>> mediated that is/was at stake and, in many instance, the 'ideal' tool
>> might be, in use, both appropriately 'opaque' and 'transparent' or,
>> perhaps, in use have the appropriate potentials for being both
>> 'concrete' and 'abstract.'
>Okay, I think we need to talk about these things not in the ideal way,
>not in the abstract, but analyze real concrete practical activity. In
>this, I think that both of your conditions are already met in the
>normal stick, it is both transparent--not thought about, not only
>embodied in operations, but also embodying operations such as providing
>a clearing before them--and material. It is only in their materiality
>that the canes can be used for what they are used in practical
>activity, that they have an effect, that they realize motives and
>I think that a lot of our theoretical problems disappear when we
>approach the issue dialectically, beginning with an analysis of
>activity, not onsidedly with an analysis of tools or transparency or .
>. . We then end up capturing both the material and ideal aspects of the
>CANE IN ACTIVITY. Outside real practical activity, the cane is nothing,
>like any sign or word is nothing outside real concrete activity.
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