Well, Eric, this does seem to take us back to High and Low, doesn't it?I like Tolstoy's point that art is continuous with everyday life, that it is too easy to exaggerate the difference between a good everyday flower arrangement, a professional artistic one, and sunflowers painted by van Gogh. Or between the spontaneous wit that succeeds beyond our expectations and the crafted wittiness of literary dialogue. There are many differences, but not, I think, a qualitative dichotomy.
Russell is also right that mathematicians appreciate a beauty and an emotional value in great mathematics that is very like what people feel about art. But obviously the feeling is different, and comparing it art is just a rhetorical means to affirm its very great value. Russell's own poetic comparison here, that in both we feel "more than Man" belongs to a particular cultural discourse, a sort of secularized religious discourse. Russell himself was an outspoken atheist, but I think he wanted to affirm that within the cultural values of humanism there was still room for something transcendental, though art, poetry, and mathematics.
In all these cases, if there is perhaps a common element of "higher", it is, I think, that they all involve our having intense feelings about the "virtual", the imagined, the semiotically called- into-"being", as opposed to the feelings we have through our interaction with the everyday concrete world, which do not require that we have culturally refined and elaborated capabilities of both understanding such abstractions or projections and imaginations (what I call the irrealis layered on top of the realis, the IF that builds on the THAT) and feeling strongly about them.
So in that sense there is some basis for a difference of Low and High in cognitions and feelings, though maybe we want to call it Basic and Elaborated, or Realis and Realis-plus-Irrealis, and just note that the former is more tightly bound to the here and now, and the latter freer to imagine what is not here-and-now. The former comes earlier in ontogeny, the latter later and sometimes not very much at all. The former is more uniformly developed by all of us, the latter much more unevenly so. And the role of culture, while important in the former, may be even more preponderant in the latter.
But even this dichotomy of convenience can and should also be subverted by a better understanding of just how the irrealis capabilities arise from and remain anchored in the realis ones. Surely this was the grand task that Vygotsky had set himself, and which we continue to pursue?
JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke Visiting Scholar Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication University of California -- San Diego La Jolla, CA USA 92093 On Dec 7, 2009, at 7:31 AM, ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:
From Wikipedia:Many mathematicians derive aesthetic pleasure from their work, and from mathematics in general. They express this pleasure by describing mathematics (or, at least, some aspect of mathematics) as beautiful. Sometimes mathematicians describe mathematics as an art form or, at a minimum, as a creative activity. Comparisons are often made with music and poetry. Bertrand Russell expressed his sense of mathematical beauty in these words: Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty ? a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such asonly the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, theexaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.Here is what Tolstoy wrote about aesthetics in his "What is art?" essay:We are accustomed to understand art to be only what we hear and see in theaters, concerts, and exhibitions; together with buildings, statues,poems, and novels. .. . But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with one another in life. All humanlife is filled with works of art of every kind?from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress, and utensib to church services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions. It is allartistic activity. So that by art, in the limited sense of the word, we do not mean all human activity transmitting feelings but only that part whichwe for some reason select from it and to which we attach specialimportance. This special importance has always been given by men to that part of this activity which transmits feelings flowing from their religious perception, and this small part theyhave specifically called art, attaching to it the full meaning of the word. Is one of them right and the other wrong? In the dialectic there is a place for both opinions. Does this mean emotions the emotions of mathematics is different than that emoted from religios experiences? eriuc Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent by: email@example.com 12/06/2009 09:38 PM Please respond to ablunden; Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>cc: Subject: Re: [xmca] Emotions and Culture Try subtracting dualism from our understanding of mental life as cognition/emotion. All mental life has both a physiological substrate and meaning (intention, teleology). True of emotion as much as cognition. What it is in the object perceived which is beautiful or fearful is perhaps different from understanding 'coldly' what its cause is or its value to human life, but really, when you think about, you cannot draw any kind of line here. Andy Jay Lemke wrote:Andy,Thanks so much for this great synopsis. I'm looking forward to readingthe LSV myself if Achilles does get an OCR version out to us all.And I'm very happy that I agree with all the points LSV makes, at leastas far as your summary relates them! It does seem really obvious after thinking about for a while that the "higher" emotions (finer, more elaborated, subtler, "later" ...) areboth grounded in the bodily feelings and go substantially beyond them,both in feeling and meaning.What really intrigues me is just how LSV might have imagined the ways inwhich meaning is an integral part of emotion. It's certainly true, butit's the How's that I want to understand more. JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke Visiting Scholar Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication University of California -- San Diego La Jolla, CA USA 92093 On Dec 6, 2009, at 3:58 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:*Vygotsky on the Teaching About Emotions* After all these years I at last got around to reading Vygotsky's 'Teaching about Emotions'. So far as I know, this and the lecture onthe development of emotions in Volume 1, are all that is available inEnglish of Vygotsky on the emotions. It is an amazing article. For 170 pages, Vygotsky is like a tiger circling the hunter, preparing to attack, circling and circling: ranging from Descartes to James and contemporary writers and back again, he brings out the contradiction and dualism of descriptive psychology and explanatory psychology, centrifugal or centripetal sources of emotion, higher and lower emotions, causal or intentional explanations, physiological or intentional descriptions, natural scientific or theological approaches, etc., etc. It is a protractedimmanent critique of the teaching about emotions from Descartes to his own time, allowing each voice to speak against the others, or itself.Occasionally, Vygotsky notes something with approval or makes theoccasional characterisation of his own, but generally every system is eventually drawn into contradiction with itself. We are left with onlythe barest hints of a way out. This is the only case I know of an immanent critique which does not conclude or follow up with a transcending proposal. Dated 1933, I can only conclude that Vygotskydied before he could complete the exercise. It does read like someonetrying to solve a puzzle. It is not polemical; it's like thinkingaloud.So, people like Achilles and Mabel who are working on emotions along Vygotsky's lines have a marvellous and challenging task before them!Not just completing Schubert's unfinished symphony, more like writingShakespeare's 'Elizabeth I'. One of the surprising things, to me, was that Vygotsky says, in effect, that the entire history of the teaching about emotions is contained in Descartes. Those who came after picked up one side orother of Descartes' dualism, but soon or later found them forced back to some kind of dualism. Spinoza gets a mention, and is credited withsome correct criticisms of Descartes, but given how much others makeof Spinoza on emotions, and how much we know Vygotsky admired Spinoza,he has surprisingly little to say about Spinoza. Also, in the entirearticle there is only one mention of words, so anyone who thinks thatVygotsky reduced consciousness to word meaning must be mistaken. Because what Vygotsky is discussing is not just emotion, but really the whole history of psychology.As I say, I don't think Vygotsky actually comes to a conclusion, but afew points can be made I think. 1. A science of the emotions worthy of the name must be able to dealfully with the 'higher' or 'finer' emotions - like the satisfaction a mathematician feels on completing a theorem or the pain of a composerwhose arpeggio is not quite right - and yet must be explanatory; if limited to descriptive psychology (like a phenomenology of the emotions) it cannot claim to be science.2. The physiological substrate of emotions (adrenalin, blood pressure,tightening of muscles, etc), including body chemistry and motorfunctions, and the associated sensations, are _diffuse_ in nature, andcan only give a limited range of qualities to emotional experience,compared with the infinite range of emotions known to literature. Both great joy and great sadness can be associated with tears and shaking;both anger and fear include heightened heart rate. 3. The perception of these 'peripheral' changes are merely supplementary to the experience of emotion, not essential and certainly not the _substance_ of emotions as claimed by James. Vygotsky seems satisfied that an emotion can be experienced with no measureable changes in the relevant peripheral functions. (I don'tknow if the idea of 'brain maps' of the body has any impact on this.)4. Emotions are intentional, in the philosophical sense, i.e.,directed at something in the objective world. (Thomas Scheff includeswhat an emotion is directed to as part of his categorization of emotions too, e.g., other-directed or self-directed or object-directed.) And words like teleological and will come intoVygotsky's text, but he does not explicitly introduce striving as partof the essence of emotion. But it seems to me, it is hard to see how affect can be independent of meaning in relation to a person's striving or desire. And that is outside the person.5. It seems that Vygotsky wants to include _meaning_ as an irreduciblepart of emotion. If the silhouette of a woman engenders an emotion,then that image and all its associations are part of the emotion, not just an external stimulus for a feeling; the grief of a woman over thedeath of her son cannot be separated from her whole consciousness of her son and his death, memories, etc., all of which impart qualities to the emotion This means that an exclusively physiological explanation of emotion is absolutely ruled out. Jay's point aboutemotions being to some extent shared is supported here by Vygotsky, Ithink. I suspect that because of the various kinds of visceral phenomenaassociated with strong emotions and shared with the animals, there hashistorically been a tendency for thinkers to abstract emotion from other, 'cold' or 'higher' modes of consciousness. The more so I suspect that all such speculations are the work of a class of people for whom calculation not passion is the norm. The whole ethos of intellect versus animal passions, etc. Vygotsky wants I think to put these pieces back together, to accept that certain extreme perceptions engender modes of response in the body appropriate to the perception, and these produce affects which_accompany_ a perception and add further quality to the affect. It isas if the categorizing impulse that drives positivist (abstract empirical) science, in its effort to tear the subject apart, tears affect away from apprehension, and then goes about categorizing affects, and seems to believe that because of this act of cognition, there must be, in the subject itself, an abstraction of causes. But all perception is also affect, isn't it. There is no such thing aspurely intellectual perception or intention. To understand grief, onedoes need that perception of powerlessness and depression, but also the disorganization of consciousness which loss of a person close to you brings. Vygotsky mentions the difference between fear of a ghost and fear of an approaching bear. There is a difference. And the difference lies in the object of fear, and cannot be separated from consciousness as a whole and it structure. ............For those who have high speed internet, Achilles has created a PDF ofimages of the text which is athttp://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1933/emotions/emotions.pdf (65Mb)but Achilles has also OCR-ed the text and is currently correcting it and it should be available at the same location in a few days. ----------------- Achilles Delari Junior wrote:Hi, excuse-me, It's only to share a little information. Some time ago, Anton provide us a copy from the text from Vygotsky, Samukhin an Birembaum about Pick's Disease - and it had important influences from Lewin and others. That two Vygotsky's collaborators studied in Germany, I guess, as did Zeiganik. There are something about the problem of that they call the "affective systems" of two patients... It is from 1934, and was not translated yet. Thank you, nothing to detour the discussion, only an information about Vygotsky and Gestalt in clinical settings... Best. Achilles.From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: [xmca] Emotions and culture Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 07:16:28 +0000 Hi, Larry. Just for the records, I am really not interested in relationalgestalt theory neither psychoanalisis. I will not change that in mythesis, much less at this stage. I define myself as a Gestaltpsychotherapist, because I have a paper that says so, and it is theway in which I make (or theoreticallycan make) a living. I use art (but I do not have a paper that says that I am an art-therapist or an artist :).Theoretically speaking, and that is how I understand what happens in my practice, and in all the other practices of which I participate, what I know a bit is Vygotsky. Just cause, I do not like those otherlabels, sorry. Cheers, MabelDate: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 22:07:07 -0800 From: email@example.com Subject: Re: [xmca] Emotions and culture To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi JayYes, your summary of emotions at different time scales seems to bein "sympathy" with my perspective. I've welcomed the opportunityfrom the CHAT community to find out what I "think" and "feel". MabelYour interst in relational psychoanlysis and Gestalt theory is shared by others.I googled "relational gestalt theory" and found many references toGestalt theorists who are bringing relational theory into their practice.A general question for the CHAT community on the contrasts between"genetic" and "stage" theories of development. If genetic impliesemergence and greater complexity whereas stages imply transcendence from one epistemology to a radically "other" stage why is Piaget's"genetic epistemology" theory describe various stages? This contrast in perspectives seems to have profound implications to how we view development. Larry ----- Original Message ----- From: Jay Lemke <email@example.com> Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 8:31 pm Subject: Re: [xmca] Emotions and culture To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>Mabel and Larry focus on what I think is a key issue inunderstanding emotion. First, that emotions are generated in time,as a process. It is a process in which we ourselves are ACTIVE, and not, as in some folk theories taken over into psychologicalmodels, merely reacting to external events and conditions. Second,its genesis takes place over multiple timescales. There is the very short term, moment-to-moment, rise and fall of various feelings, their layering onto oneanother, the transitions from one to another. Then there is alonger-term tendency, closer to the mood of the "moment" (which is a much longer moment than the first timescale), which may define a trendin the progression of our feelings. And this in turn is coupled more into the situation and setting, who else is there, what is going on, what is the activity and the goals that we are engaged with. Then further, there are still longer term scales, over months or years of our lives, which merge more into socialprocesses and the expectations of the culture and subcultures, thecommunities we operate within.I very much like the idea of ethnographic neuroscience, and I wish there were more neuroscientists who did! but they are not trainedin this way, and it requires a collaboration at least. It is so much easier for them to study only short-term, isolated, laboratory- controlled events as they appear in their neuro- physiological correlates, which makes sense if they imagine that they are looking at universal processes, which occur in the same way every time. But of course they don't, and how they appear is very contextdependent. At least we know this is the case in terms of how theyfeel to us, and how they emerge over the shorter and longertimescales of relevance. It would be very interesting to know whatis the same and what is different across cases and events, in different situations and settings, for "the same" emotionalresponse. This will, I think, be on the agenda of the neuroscienceof a decade or two from now. JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke Visiting Scholar Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication University of California -- San Diego La Jolla, CA USA 92093 On Dec 1, 2009, at 1:58 PM, Mabel Encinas wrote:Hi, Larry and all. Thank you very much Larry, for having introduced Stern. I amnotinto psychoanalysis. I am a Gestalt psychotherapist, andmaybebecause this perspective emphasizes the 'here and now', Irealisedthat I had to discuss the present moment, and theperformativemaking sense of the situation when I faced the challenge toanalysemy videos about classroom interaction. Also, I discussthedifference of actions that seem intentionally loaded, withothers inwhich intentionality is quite contestable. My research isbased inmicroanalysis. For being able to study emotions, I decided tostudyVygotsy's understanding of emotions. Also I found in thisanalysisof video (I did not interview neither the teachers or thestudentsabout their emotional experience, although I did hadlongconversations with the teachers), that in order tounderstandvideos, there was important to find 'whole' situations inwhichemotions were first of all 'evident'. The segments then werefromabout 1 to 4 minutes long, and I then describe them indepth,including drawings of the interactions. I study this excerptsasdevelopmental in terms of emotions. I already said that themetaphorI use is that I study certain threads without taking them awayfromthe tissue. In my descriptions, I present the richness of thetissueand I relay in the concept of context that weave together(Cole,1996). I discuss how emotions emerge and impact the situation,andhow this impact 'informes' in turn the sense that individualskeepmaking of the situation instant after instant. My conclusions are more about the way in which emotions canbestudied, and I pose questions to neuroscience, as I see Sterndoes!I suggest to do 'ethnographic nueroscience'. Stern (2004) says: " Two kinds of data are needed. First, accurate timing ofbrainactivity correlated with phenomenal experiences. Second, thetimingof th analogic shifts in intensity or magnitude of neuralfiringduring the same phenomenal expereinces". I have to read more about Stern, I would like to understandwhat arethe similarities and differences with Vygotsky's thought, andtheusefulness of Stern's contribution. So far, so good :) Best wishes, MabelDate: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 12:45:44 -0800 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [xmca] Emotions and culture Hi everyone I wanted to look at another level of the discourse onemotions.This is to add to the recognition of the other levels suchasinstitutionally and historically contexts of emotion. This innoway minimizes the critical importance of these levels ofprocessfor understanding emotion. But, in the same spirit of discourse analysis which loos atthemicro level of conversation I believe we expand our horizonofunderstanding by exploring the microgenesis of emotions astheinterface between biology and culture. I have posted beforeon theposition of Daniel Stern and the moment by moment generationofemotion. Today I want to summarize the thoughts of a DONNELB.Stern to this discussion in his book "Unformulated Experience" (p.43)When we talk about content or structure or experienceit isnot a THING at all, but a PROCESS, one that has CONTINUITYOVERTIME. Some processes have more continuity (organization) someless.We act AS IF these discrete abstractions which our folkpsychologhylabels thoughts, memories, feelings, are REAL but they aresociallymediated constructions that locates experience in PARTICULARstableways. Psychoanalysis is interested in how these processeskeepreproducing experience in similar shapes or patternsthroughinterpretive organizing ACTIVITY. Stern discusses a psychoanalyst "ROY SCHAFER" who attemptstotranslate all psychological events and language games intoACTIONLANGUAGE to recognize these psychological events asACTIVITY.Schafer chooses not to take this approach becausecommunicationbecomes awkward. However he does elaborate the processes of REFLECTIVEEXPERIENCE(where we stand back from and observe ourphenomicologicalprocesses. Folk psychology (common sense) leaves theimpressionthat thoughts and emotions just arrive or leap intoexistencewithout the DEVELOPMENT of the thought or emotion. In realityeachmoment of experience is a process of emergence (MICROGENESIS)asequence of necessary steps that must occur as experienceUNFOLDS.Microgenesis, applied to thought and emotion develops frommomentto moment in a process Donnel Stern calls FORMULATINDTHEUNFORMULATED. The microgenetic lens emphasizes thedevelopmentallife (Dewey's "arc") of each present moment OUT OF theexperienceof the recently formulated experience. Conscious,explicit,liquistically articulated experience (formulated)emergesfromactivity (verbal and nonverbal) that took place in thepreceding(sociocultural) moments. This emergence of experienceINCLUDINGTHAT PART THAT ARRIVES IN AWARENESS is ORGANIC and CULTURALand isa continuous dynamic process. Sometimes AFTER THE FACT theway onemoment developed from the PREVIOUS one COMES TO OUR ATTENTIONbutmore often it does not. Donnel Stern uses the terms thought and emotion asheuristicdevices and stress that he sees these processes as a singleprocessof COGNITION (which for him is emotional-thought orthoughtful-emotion) Cognition is formulated as a process of emergencewithinsociocultural activity. William Blake's metaphor "seeing the world in a grain ofsand"captures the spirit of this inquiry at the microgeneticlevel. Ifthis is seen as the unit of analysis it positsidentity,subjectivity, and self-ing as emergent in moment tomomentenactments which become organized into cultural patterns. I hope this captures the spirit of the relational frameemerging inpsychoanalytic discourse. They also are elaborating how themicro,meso, and macro levels of process develop in particulathistoricalcontexts. _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list email@example.com http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_________________________________________________________________ Windows Live: Keep your friends up to date with what you doonline.basics.aspx?ocid=PID23461::T:WLMTAGL:ON:WL:en- xm:SI_SB_1:092010_______________________________________________http://www.microsoft.com/middleeast/windows/windowslive/see-it-in-action/social-network-xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list email@example.com http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_________________________________________________________________ Windows Live Hotmail: Your friends can get your Facebook updates, right from Hotmail®. http://www.microsoft.com/middleeast/windows/windowslive/see-it-in-action/social-network-basics.aspx?ocid=PID23461::T:WLMTAGL:ON:WL:en-xm:SI_SB_4:092009_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list email@example.com http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_________________________________________________________________ Fique protegido de ameças utilizando o Novo Internet Explorer 8. 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