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[Xmca-l] Re: Hyper-text
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Hyper-text
- From: Douglas Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2015 07:41:43 +0000
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Well, I could find the turns--more perhaps than was intended, for it speaks to me in many voices--so I will take up the talking stick again, if only to pose my question more clearly.
The talking stick is a common symbol of being granted the right to speak to a council. But more than that, it was an embodiment of shared community beliefs--literally the narrative of humanity, being carried by the speaker as a magical totem of power of that community's experiences, as the speaker added to that narrative:
The ornamentation of each stick all have meaning. In the LakotahTradition, red is for life, yellow is for knowledge, blue is forprayer and wisdom, white is for spirit, purple is for healing, orangeis for feeling kinship with all living things, black is for clarityand focus.The type of feathers and hide used on a Talking Stick are veryimportant as well. The Answering Feather is usually an Eagle Feather,which represents high ideals, truth as viewed from the expansiveeye of the eagle, and the freedom that comes from speaking totaltruth to the best of one's ability. The Answering Feather can alsobe the feather of a Turkey, the Peace Eagle of the south, whichbrings peaceful attitudes as well as the give and take necessaryin successful completion of disputes. In the Tribe that see Owlas good Medicine, the Owl feather may also be used to stop deceptionfrom entering the Sacred Space of the Council.The skins, hair or hides used in making a Talking Stick bringsthe abilities, talents, gifts and medicine of those creatures-beingsto council in a variety of ways. Buffalo brings abundance; Elk bringsphysical fitness and stamina; deer brings gentleness; rabbit bringsthe ability to listen with big ears; the hair from a horse's tailor mane brings perseverance and adds connection to the earth andto the spirits of the wind. If an illness of heart, mind, spirit,or body has affected the group gathering, snake skin may be wrappedaround the Talking Stick so that healing and transmuting of thosepoisons can occur. The Talking Stick is the tool that teaches eachof us to honor the Sacred Point of View of every living creature.
These powers of the objects and creatures in the world around us, and the narratives of their being and our interactions with them, are in part in the associated characteristics of the parts, signs of these things whose presence invokes the whole. Pseudoconcepts, perhaps; thinking in complexes, as Vygotsky says, and something that we want the child to grow out of, and into the world of thought. But the really interesting thing for me that cognitive linguistics particularly explores is the degree to which these shared complexes--not necessarily verbal at all--underlie so thoroughly verbal interactions that it literally becomes impossible to imagine spoken or written speech existing without the network of social interactions and experiences that form the substrate of speech. Between the idiosyncratic complexes of Luria's mnemonist and the shattered complexes of Luria's heroic solder, attempting to link back together the patterns of associations that turn images and words into the instruments of metaphor and metonymy that are the warp and woof of words and ideas, there is a public thing, a common human creation of meaning, that I would like to see explored more, and perhaps that has been explored more in studies of which I'm ignorant--which is very likely.
I have a feeling Luria's friend Eisenstein, with whom he interacted during Eisenstein's years of searching for a means of evoking the understanding of difficult ideas through images drawing on complexes, in part inspired Luria's interest in a man whose complexes were so rich and unique, and a man whose complexes were impoverished by traumatic brain injury; one man had too many forms of montage occurring simultaneously--a mind exploding with collisions--and the other had a mind that struggled to link hammers to nails, or what the word was for the image that flashed in his mind, or what the word meant that he could say and shape on his tongue, yet not call forth the image it invoked. And while I am deeply aware of a sense of intruding nonsequiturs at the symposium, nonetheless I feel a desire to drag in the world of complexes, because of their continuing power. It's been said of music that "the further music departs from the dance, the less musical it becomes." I have a feeling that is true of language, too, because it is the shared complexes that inform comprehension of meaning; and while my work takes me in other directions these days, in writing about the allegedly rigorous world of structured queries, I know at the core that these structured queries are meaningless without a deep understanding of intangible relationships. Silicon stones and precisely structured languages in computer cores only speak meaningfully when they are inhabited by the ghosts of fur, feathers, communities, dreams, inheritances, implications, and aggregations that are created by the interactions of humans around shared objects and activities.
So among the assembled learned here, I want to change the subject a moment from learning and words, to see if you know of new or old research in CHAT that explores the substrate of culture and its interaction with thought--perhaps papers, or a book or two, or a thought or two pulled out of the shadows. I think this world of complexes is something that interested Vygotsky too, beyond being a dominant phase of childhood development or primitive culture, and is a subject that in different circumstances, Vygotsky, Luria, and Eisenstein might have explored more--and perhaps had explored more in lost work, or work carried out by others--though in what scraps I've stumbled on here and there, what explorations there are seem shattered as Zasetsky's world was, occupying different disciplines, with linkages between them seen laboriously and soon forgotten--and these days, it seems, not most commonly discussed in the CHAT world. Yet the clearest articulation of these things begins with Thinking and Speech, and suggestive things such as Luria's books about the extremes of mind, which inform by example the world of complexes within which we exist, suggest to me that there is more to be found than I would know about, given my relatively hobbyist interest these days. Is there?
So there it is, and the stick moves on.
From: HENRY SHONERD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2015 8:31 AM
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Hyper-text
I couldn’t find the turns between you and Doug regarding the “talking stick”. Be that as it may, I was thinking that such an object would be like the one described in this little grad paper written by a Navajo teacher enrolled in a course on ESL methodology I taught for the Unversity of New Mexico a few years back.
> On Feb 27, 2015, at 9:13 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> In response to Doug, I'm thinking of the question (á la Jeopardy)
> What is a talking stick?