Re: [xmca] Banana Mediated Emotions

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jul 26 2007 - 23:51:53 PDT

Michael, you say:

        "in the reproduction of power relations, for example, which is a
symbolic issue,
        we can get all upset about injustice and so on. But being upset is
related to
        experienced physiological changes, sweat, hard pounding, etc. over
        we don't have control."

Firstly, what do you mean by "symbolic issue"? If you mean "symbol" in the
way Vygotsky and Peirce meant "sign", as material things
mediating perfectly material relations, then why use the word "symbolic"
which has a definite connotation of being "only" symbolic, whereas
possession of the means of subordinating others within a social framework
is a very material thing, ultimately threatening their life. If you mean
"only symbolic" how can you talk of power over people in that way?

I guess you are drawing attention to how things which are "dead" (symbols)
and "cold" (knowing) become "hot", but isn't knowing just as biological as
feeling? Why the sudden turn to prioritising biological mechanisms here?
What is the significance of us not having control? What if I know how to
keep calm under pressure? What does that change?


At 10:28 AM 26/07/2007 -0700, you wrote:
>Hi David and Andy and Paul,
>as I was riding my bike to the dentist, I was thinking that you were
>perhaps not reading my piece in the way I intended. I am thinking
>about activity in terms of the three levels, and have written
>repeatedly about how they mutually constitute each other. I proposed
>a scheme a little like this:
>activity (motive)
> > sense
>action (goal) > meaning
> > reference
>operation (condition)
>where sense, reference, and meaning are dialectical relations.
>Meaning, therefore, is enacted integrally within activity, where
>actions are dialectically related both to activity and to operations
>(for which they serve as referents).
>We know this to be the case, because in the reproduction of power
>relations, for example, which is a symbolic issue, we can get all
>upset about injustice and so on. But being upset is related to
>experienced physiological changes, sweat, hard pounding, etc. over
>which we don't have control.
>Conversely, our physiological state that underlie emotions we
>experience, mediate what we do, how we do, decisions we make, etc,
>all of which mark sense within sociocultural and cultural-historical
>So I don't think I am reductionist, far from it. I understand myself
>as implementing and developing Vygotsky's work by radically sticking
>to his dialectical program-----and it is this dialectical program
>that gets almost completely neglected and washed away in Western
>scholarship. I feel as if it is not me being reductionist but others
>who only talk about meaning or only about physiological states, and
>about all of these independent of the cultural-historical forms of
>activity, and independent of societal life which comes to be
>preserved in and through the lives we lead.
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Thu Jul 26 23:53 PDT 2007

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