Re: [xmca] Return to the ideal?

From: <ERIC.RAMBERG who-is-at>
Date: Tue Oct 09 2007 - 08:46:45 PDT


I don't know if you have ever watched the U.S. late night show Saturday
Night Live, but on this show the late comedian Gilda Radner portrayed a
character, Emilie Latella. She would come onto the news spoof "Weekend
Update" and comment on daily life. One time she was speaking about the
subject of violins on television and that she had heard there was a
movement to decrease the amount of violins on television. Emilie Latella
thought this was too bad because she found violins to be beautiful and she
enjoyed the music that violins made. Then either Jane Curtin or Chevy
Chase leans over and says, "Emily that is violence on televiosn. People
want to get rid of violence on televison." Emilie would look into the
camera and say, "Oh, that's different. Well, never mind."

; - ) eric

                      Andy Blunden
                      <ablunden@mira.n To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
                      et> cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Return to the ideal?
                      10/09/2007 09:26
                      Please respond
                      to "eXtended
                      Mind, Culture,

Rolling back through this discussion, I come I think to the following words

of yours, Eric, which I think was what prompted me to re-post the link to
Ilyenkov on the idea:

Eric said:
>I truely believe that the result may be far from the ideal. However, if
>there is a discourse taking place between people who are engaged in a goal
>directed activity, then within the paramaters of this discoursing the
>"ideal" is the "object"??? ...
>Perhaps I have mice in my basement. I go to the feed mill and talk to an
>expert on mice eradication. The ideal would be to rid my basement of
>The discourse between I and the expert revolves around ridding my basement
>of mice. This may not result from the efforts I engage upon my return
>but nevertheless, when I am talking to the expert we are engaged in a
>discourse of "rid the mice"; not, "get rid of SOME of the mice."

The way you are using the word "ideal" here, it seemed to me was different
from the sense in which it is used as a technical term in CHAT. Here's my
selected excerpt from the Ilyenkov essay:

"The ideal form is a form of a thing, but a form that is outside the thing,

and is to be found in man as a form of his dynamic life activity, _as goals

and needs_. Or conversely, it is a form of man's life activity, but outside

man, in the form of the thing he creates. Ideality as such exists only in
the constant succession and replacement of these two forms of its external
embodimentand does not coincide with either of them taken separately. It
exists only through the unceasing process of the transformation of _the
form of activity into the form of a thing and back - the form of a thing
into the form of activity._"

So yes, Ilyenkov begins exactly with the sense you use, the ideal as a form

of things which accord with people's needs, but then he takes it a step
further where it really becomes something else. The example of the
commodity is the paradigmatic case because Marx devoted so much effort on
it. The commodity has value. This value is not connected with any property
of the thing, its weight, its hardness, even its beauty because it is
actually a _social_ relation: it is an ideal. Value is an ideal. Where does

this ideal exist? That is the issue. Marx shows that historically it
emerged mediated through relations with other commodities in the activity
of people exchanging products of labour, but ultimately, the ideal, the
value of all commodities, became a material thing, gold, or money. That is,

people created a new material thing, an artefact, which embodied this
ideal, value. So the ideal is a material thing in the world alongside other

material things.

I didn't get the sense that you were using the term "ideal" in that way,
but I could be quite wrong, Eric.


At 08:40 AM 9/10/2007 -0500, you wrote:

>Thank you for the understanding that this is a difficult philosophical
>subject. In rerereading Ilyenkov I am attempting to discover the essence
>of how the ideal provides understanding of conscious
>action/internalization/appropriation and activity.
>Wells article discusses how discoursing mediates goal directed activity,
>this sense Wells refers to the transitional discourse between subjects as
>it relates to the object as being the "ideal". Gordon, if I am wrong here
>please jump in.
>Please consider the following quote from Ilyenkov Page 19 from the
>hyperlink article found on the website:
>This Hegelian definition of the term "ideality" took in the whole range
>phenomena within which the "ideal", understood as the corporeally
>form of the activity of social man, really exists.
>Without an understanding of this circumstance it would be
>impossible to fathom the miracles performed before man's eyes by
>COMMODITY, the commodity form of the product, particularly in its
>form, in the form of the notorious "real talers", "real rubles", or
>dollars", things which, as soon as we have the slightest
>understanding of them, immediately turn out to be not "real" at all,
>"ideal" through and through, things whose category quite
>includes words, the units of language, and many other "things".
>which, while being wholly "material", palpable formations, acquire
>their "meaning" (function and role) from "spirit" and even owe to it
>specific bodily existence .... Outside spirit and without it there
>even be words, there is merely a vibration of the air.
>Andy, I see little difference between Gordon's claim and what
>writes about the ideal.
>xmca mailing list

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

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Tue Oct 9 08:48 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Nov 20 2007 - 14:25:43 PST