[xmca] Word meanings making up "personality"

From: varnam soupend <heidizulfai who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Feb 22 2008 - 11:18:29 PST

  This is , however, your conclusion :
  "That's why I think Bakhurst's right; the whole method comes from Marx. But we can only really clearly see this when we discard "activity" as the fundamental unit of analysis and go back to LSV and word meanings. Word meanings always involve the interface between persons; they are what make up personality."
  I tried to understand what you mean by "herd" and "dividual" etc.
  Let's first read just the first two a bit lengthy paragraphs from Ilyenko's "Activity and Knowledge" ; it's full of points in this respect :
  [In pedagogy, there is a troubling and (when you think about it) strange problem that is usually described as the problem of “the practical application of knowledge to life.” And it is in fact true that the graduate from school (whether high school or college) finds himself in the quandary of not knowing how to “apply” knowledge to any problem that arises outside the walls of school.
  This seems to imply that human abilities should include the special ability of somehow “correlating” knowledge with its object, i.e. with reality as given in contemplation. This means that there should be a special kind of activity of correlating knowledge and its object, where “knowledge” and “object” are thought of as two different “things” distinct from the person himself. One of these things is knowledge as contained in general formulas, instructions, and propositions, and the other thing is the unstructured chaos of phenomena as given in perception. If this were so, then we could clearly try to formulate rules for making this correlation, and also to enumerate and classify typical errors so that we could warn ahead of time how to avoid them. In instructional theory, one often tries to solve the problem of knowing “how to apply knowledge to life” by creating just this kind of system of rules and warnings. But the result is that the system of rules and warnings becomes
 so cumbersome that it starts to impede rather than help things, becoming an additional source of errors and failures.]
  And now from Leontyev's "Activity and Consciousness" :
  [The old psychology was concerned only with internal processes, with the activity of the consciousness. Moreover, for a long time it ignored the question of the origin of these activities, i.e., their actual nature. Today the proposition that internal processes of thought are produced from the external has become almost generally acknowledged.]
  From the same source :
  [ This process originally arises in the system of objective relations in which the transition of the objective content of activity into its product takes place. But for this process to be realised it is not enough that the product of activity, having absorbed this activity, should present itself to the subject as its material properties; a transformation must take place that allows it to emerge as something of which the subject is aware, that is to say, in an ideal form. This transformation is effected by means of language, which is the product and means of communication of people taking part in production. Language carries in its meanings (concepts) a certain objective content, but a content completely liberated from its materiality.]
  And :
  [Thus, meanings refract the world in man's consciousness. The vehicle of meaning is language, but language is not the demiurge of meaning. Concealed behind linguistic meanings (values) are socially evolved modes of action (operations), in the process of which people change and cognise objective reality. In other words, meanings are the linguistically transmuted and materialised ideal form of the existence of the objective world, its properties, connections and relations revealed by aggregate social practice. So meanings in themselves, that is to say, in abstraction from their functioning in individual consciousness, are just as “psychological” as the socially cognised reality that lies beyond them.]
  And finally from the same source :
  [...By this I mean that the individual does not simply “stand” in front of a display of meanings from which he has only to make his own choice, that these meanings – notions, concepts, ideas – do not passively await his choice but burst aggressively into his relations with the people who form the circle of his actual intercourse. If the individual is forced to choose in certain circumstances, the choice is not between meanings, but between the conflicting social positions expressed and comprehended through these meanings.]
  Now back to your conclusion :
  1. No doubt by word meanings you don't mean like those in a dictionary . You say "the interface between persons" . Here lies the complication . Leontyev whose "activity" as the unit of analysis you wish to discard says something quite similar just "in appearance" : "do not passively await his choice but burst aggressively into his relations with the people who form the circle of his actual intercourse." Do you think your"interface" and L's "actual intercourse" are the same ? Do you think your "herd" and L's "the people who form the circle of ..." are the same ? O.K. If these are the same , then either you are an activity-oriented scholar or Leontyev is a follower of the meaning-type you're advocating . A third alternative is also imaginable . In their originality there could be no difference between "subject-semiosis-object(person)" and "subject-activity-object" . This could not be too far from being truthful . It's just necessary to discover the relationship between
 "activity" and "meaning" .
  2. Yes , word meanings burst agressively into ... . I suppose your "interface" and not "actual intercourse" --inter-action--refers to dialogues and dia-logic-ality of the two people in conversational relation to each other or at best dialogics among members of a herd . I suppose this way one at most becomes a Witgenstein not a Vygotsky , Leontyev , Marx etc. A Witgenstein with his "use" of words in particular "situations" , stopping there , forgetting about the intermingling and the interweaving of meanings and objects not in their appearances but in their "essences" . In this respect , you know everything about the "particular" "universal" , the "concrete" "abstract" "objects in themselves" and their "necessary" relationships . And let's always remind ourselves of "If the individual is forced to choose in certain circumstances, the choice is not between meanings, but between the conflicting social positions expressed and comprehended through these meanings" . Does your
 "interface" imply the latter part of this sentence ? If so , then no conflictual standpoints .
  3. And last , if we stop at the individual disparate situations of life and , in my opinion , that's when we discard activity , action , operation , and , in my opinion , that's what one captures by concentrating on "interface" as you clarify , neither "objective meaning" is obtained nor "personal meaning" because both of these are based on "actual intercourse" and "social interactions and relationships" which arise from the essense of life itself and act as the building blocks of "personality" .
  I'll be honoured by your explanations as well as corrections as all of us are observing in your fruitful messages .

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Received on Fri Feb 22 11:22 PST 2008

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