Re: [xmca] Return to the ideal?

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Tue Oct 09 2007 - 15:06:27 PDT

I have been thinking about the ideal as the complement of the
material, both sublated in activity. Thus, Leont'ev writes about the
object as both ideal and material. We can then look at the Engeström
triangle and think of it as really consisting of two layers, two
levels, one pertaining to the material world, the other to the ideal.
Because the two are inherently different, there therefore is an inner
contradiction..... and so on...

On 9-Oct-07, at 7:26 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:

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 mice.
> 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 home
> 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:

> Andy:
> 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, in
> 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 of
> phenomena within which the "ideal", understood as the corporeally
> embodied
> form of the activity of social man, really exists.
> Without an understanding of this circumstance it would be
> totally
> impossible to fathom the miracles performed before man's
> eyes by the
> COMMODITY, the commodity form of the product, particularly in
> its money
> form, in the form of the notorious "real talers", "real rubles",
> or "real
> dollars", things which, as soon as we have the slightest
> theoretical
> understanding of them, immediately turn out to be not "real" at
> all, but
> "ideal" through and through, things whose category quite
> unambiguously
> includes words, the units of language, and many other
> "things". Things
> which, while being wholly "material", palpable formations,
> acquire all
> their "meaning" (function and role) from "spirit" and even owe to
> it their
> specific bodily existence .... Outside spirit and without it
> there cannot
> even be words, there is merely a vibration of the air.
> Andy, I see little difference between Gordon's claim and what
> Ilyenkov
> writes about the ideal.
> help?
> eric
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> xmca mailing list

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

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