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[Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

Nice to hear your voice, Susan, rising up from the dark world of lurkers!

As to translation of Dewey's works into Russian. It seems, though I am only going on a few glimpses, that Russians have translated "experience" in Dewey's writing as opyt. If this is the case, then obviously Dewey will seem to Russians as just another Empiricist and the real novelty of American Pragmatism will escape their attention. I raised the possibility of translating "Having An Experience" into Russian on the Facebook page, and the only response was that Dewey reads so well in English why translate him into Russian. :) But in my opinion a translator would be obliged to translate "experience" sometimes as opit and sometimes as perezhivanie, depending on the exact point and context. Dewey has to struggle to bend the English language into making this distinction which is provided ready-made in the Russian language. But I think mainly if you follow the clue as to whether he uses the word as a count noun or as a mass noun, you can correctly translate him into Russians, choosing perezhivanie or opit accordingly. Dewey's critique of the Reflex Arc is an example far from the artist's trade where he explicitly poses the "double-barrelled" nature of acts/experiences.

"Having An Experience" is presented by Dewey as part of his work on Aesthetics, and aesthetic ideas play a big part in his explanation of this idea. But can I suggest that in Art, perezhivanie is particularly developed and stands out in particular sharpness from opit, and this is great help in understanding what "an experience" is, as opposed to that general background of thoughtless doing and passive undergoing. But perezhivanija are not limited to the work of the artist. The artist is obliged to recognise a perzhivanie and works at how to evoke it in others, at least approximately, but it figures in all our lives even if we never get to write our autobiography, reproduce them on stage or express them on the canvass. But we do live through them and change ourselves and the world in the process.

Can I ask you: what in your opinion does Dewey mean when he talks about the aesthetic quality of perezhivanija when he is discussing ordinary life, not the work of an artist?

*Andy Blunden*
On 19/07/2015 5:54 PM, Susan Davis wrote:
Hi all,

I am an xmca lurker, but am particularly interested in some of the matters
raised on this thread in relation to experience, the arts perezhivanie and
learning so I will venture forth! My particular background has been drama
(including process and improvised forms of drama) and teacher education
but I have been involved in many projects working with children and young

I would like to present a number of points for consideration that respond
to some of the issue raised:

It is important to note that Dewey was making a point that the
art-making/creative experience was somewhat different from general
experience per se.

In relation to art and experience, art-making becomes a mediated,
expressive and reflective process whereby experience is crystallised and
ideas/emotions internalised and externalised in specific expressive modes.
Through art and creative processes, experience and emotion is shaped
through expressive 'forms', with the subjects or agents projecting and
externalising their expression of emotion and ideas.
Through art making these emotions and ideas are not just Œexperienced¹ but
selected, shaped and communicated socially in
some material form.  ³Selection and organization of material are at once a
function and test of the quality of the
emotion experienced² (p. 72).  These forms (such as art, music, theatre
and so on) are realised through reflection-in-action which involves
processes of selection and the relationship of qualities (and here
Eisner¹s work on the quality of qualities is also
pertinent) ­ ³Only when the constituent parts of the whole have the unique
end of contributing to the consummation of a conscious experience, do
design and shape lose superimposed character and become form² (p. 122).
Dewey¹s work draws attention to the process
and materiality of the making, and the embodiment of emotions and
imagination through Œform¹ involving these processes of selection,
organisation, elimination and resolution: ³In short, art, in its form,
unites the very same relation of doing and undergoing, outgoing and
incoming energy, that makes an experience to be an experience².  (Dewey,
Therefore when it comes to possibilities to studying perezhivanie or
children¹s experience, while you can never get inside their
personal experience, it is possible to record their external expressions
of experience (through video/audio etc) and also their art-making
(drawing, dance,dramatic play, songs etc) and also engage them in
reflection-on-action about their experience.  It is also possible to trace
ongoing activity and expressions to trace their appropriation of concepts
and tool use and the development of ideas in their externalised
In relation to experience and reflection perhaps it is worth considering
two different notions of reflection and two different Russian terms that
relate to experience ­ perezhivanie and opyt. At a Perezhivanie forum
convened at Monash University earlier this year Nikolai Veresov noted that
in Russian the title of Dewey¹s book used another word Œopyt¹.Opyt implies
an experience that is in the past or is like the Œaccumulated body of
experience¹ (see Meshcheryakov in Blunden 2010).  However, it could be
argued that what Dewey was discussing was perezhivanie and a much more
immediate, active process, as Dewey says ³Experience Š..it signals active
and alert commerce with the world²(Dewey 1934, p. 18).
I wonder if there has been any recent analysis of the Russian translations
of Dewey¹s ŒArt as experience¹ to consider whether it really is
appropriate to translate it as opyt or whether it should be perezhivanie
(or perhaps both).
Likewise in art making and criticism, two different types of reflection
are involved, as proposed by Schon ­ reflection-in-action and
reflection-on-action.  These inform the immediate experience but also the
ongoing possibilities for the experience to be remade, reconceived and
inform future experience (and perhaps as Beth suggestions chains of
ideas/events/experience). Reflection-in-action is an active reflective
process that is part of the art-making experience, where the artist is
actually reflecting upon what is happening and being created, and drawing
on their toolkit of skills and knowledge and weighing up the qualities of
such to make moment by moment decisions about what to do next.  This
experience has a unity in itself, however there is also a provisionality
about it.  Reflection-on-action may then be engaged in after the
event/experience, as the experience is interpreted and made sense of and
other modes of expression and communication may be involved (eg.
Reflecting on a visual arts or music experience using verbal or written
language). This may be an act in itself or may inform further creative
activity and experience that may even extend upon, reinvent or reinterpret
the first.

I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts about these points.
Kind regards

Sue Davis

Dr Susan Davis
Senior Lecturer | School of Education & the Arts/Higher Education Division
CQUniversity Noosa, PO Box 1128, Noosaville Qld 4566
P +61 (0)7 5440 7007 | M +61 (0)418 763 428 | E s.davis@cqu.edu.au

On 19/07/2015 3:43 pm, "Lplarry" <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

Greg, Beth,
How do we find a way to describe (in a way that is true) what the
preschool children are experiencing.

The images of the video that Greg sent on the magic of synchronized hand
clapping is one example of "showing" or "perceiving" Can this experience
we see in the video  be described in a way that expresses the truth of
the way the children are having this experience.
can we do this type of truthful describing as observers of the
Or must we undergo the experience (with) the children prior to describing
the experience?
Is synchronized hand clapping which is transformative a matter of
describing "subjects" and  "objects" or does the truth of this matter as
lived experience exist in the undergoing the experienc of hand clapping.

Greg, I am reading the Gendlin article on (befindlichkeit) and this
concept seems relevant to this theme of having an experience and the
truth of describing synchronized hand clapping

-----Original Message-----
From: "Greg Thompson" <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
Sent: 2015-07-18 8:37 PM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

"a method of perezhivanie" sounds like a brilliant and important thing to

I wonder if you might be able to use it to get at that sentiment that you
described earlier where, talking about children's experience of time, you
said "time is so condensed for young children so it is happening all the
time". How to translate that experience to adults for whom time has slowed
and expanded and for whom it is difficult not to impose on those poor

(and I love the little gems you dropped throughout - "conserve the effect"
(and perhaps the "affect" too!) is just one of many favorites...)

Much appreciated.

On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 2:40 PM, Beth Ferholt <bferholt@gmail.com> wrote:

This chain of ideas is the closest I have ever felt to what interests me
most.  It covers all the interests that brought me first to play and
to the playworlds and then to perezhivanie.  Before I went to LCHC I
was a
preschool teacher and this is a profession that I think can be
described as
being, in its first part, responsible for reflecting upon the 'having an
experience' that is happening all around you every day (time is so
condensed for young children so it is happening all the time) so that
can support the self-creation beings who are able to "have an

Like with Greg's students, as a preschool teacher you find that what is
most important is to describe what is happening in a way that is true to
the children's experiences. Vivian Paley shows us how to do this.  If
don;t do this you find dealing with the Golem who has had the words that
give it life removed from its mouth: you just have dirt, nothing even
remotely related to the Golem, not even weight.

I think it is the teacher/artists who can find for us those properties
will characterize the experience as a whole.  What Monica named
didactics from within' is a process of working with these people in
research. This sounds like 5D.

Andy, Vygotsky is talking about the the two purposes of art criticism.
is entirely in the domain of social life, he says, guiding what art
in its audience in useful directions.  The other is to 'conserve the
of art as art'.  He says we know this is needed, because art is a unity,
and without the whole criticism is not related to art -- he calls what
have left, without the unity, a wound.  But criticism of art treats art
a parliamentary speech -- often -- he says.  Vygtosky shows how to avoid
this in the chapter on Bunin's short story.

As a preschool teacher you know that art is life because if you forget
then you have unhappy children and your job is impossible, or worse.
As an
researcher, every time you hit something hard you can revert to the
purpose of art/life criticism, or anyhow to the part that does not
the effect, without any consequences on your livelihood.  If we could
a system of science that makes it impossible to leave the hardest
to the first purpose of criticism, then we could have so many people
working on these hardest questions in a meaningful way, but I do not
how to do this even in my own work.

Except one way is to place the desires of the teachers and children
your own.  This is sort of a method of love or empathy.  Kiyo suggested
Method of Hope by Miyazaki (no relation I think) and this is related,
Edith Turner's work where she sees the reality that the people she is
studying see.

Maybe it is a method of perezhivanie.


On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 1:58 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil

Mike, could you elaborate on that?

From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
<xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of
mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 17 July 2015 19:40
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience


a "method of organization" seems close to a synonym for design.


On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil

I like very much how Greg brings in a methodological issue here with
mention about ethnography and his reading of "fidelity"; that the
not about representing exactly, but about describing events in
terms of
consequences for the participants, which they display for each
other in
their actual practice.

This methodological aspect makes me think that the the notion of
BY UNITS, which has been discussed in xmca before, is useful here.
analysis reminds us that, as units, experiences, as concrete and
phenomena, have some form of organization that extends in time.
That is
why, if I understood the discussion below correctly, Beth is warned
think of the unit of experience as a unit "in itself".

Dewey and Bentley 1949 made the differentiation between self-action
transaction. In self action, things are explained by their own
is, I believe, what Vygotsky would have referred to as analysis by
elements. In transaction, they say, ³deal[s] with aspects and
phases of
action, without final attribution to Œelements¹ or other
detachable Œentities,¹ Œessences,¹ or Œrealities,¹ and without
presumptively detachable Œrelations¹ from such detachable
experience can be studied precisely because it is not a thing in
is always a moving, gesture, a "method of organization" as Dewey &

I thought this my add something to your fascinating discussion,

From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
<xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf
mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 17 July 2015 18:23
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

Marx: It is only in a social context that subjectivism and
spiritualism and materialism, activity and passivity, cease to be
antinomies and thus cease to exist as such antinomies. The
the theoretical contradictions is possible only through practical
only through the practical energy of man. Their resolution is not by
means, therefore, only a problem of knowledge, but is a real
problem of
life which philosophy was unable to solve precisely because it saw
purely theoretical problem."

On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 10:45 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
No, no, Beth. As Dewey says:

    "This unity is neither emotional, practical, nor
    intellectual, for these terms name distinctions that
    reflection can make within it. In discourse//about//an
    experience, we must make use of these adjectives of
    interpretation. In going over an experience in
    mind//after/ /its occurrence, we may find that one
    property rather than another was sufficiently dominant
    so that it characterizes the experience as a whole."

Isn't this beautiful scientific prose! We make these distinction
*reflect* on an experience. And perhaps we include the experience
autobiography, act it out on the stage, analyse it scientifically,
which presupposes analysis and synthesis. But it is important to
that the unity is prior. It is not only a unity of emotion and
(for example) but also of attention and will - and any other
abstract from an experience.

*Andy Blunden*
On 17/07/2015 3:00 PM, Beth Ferholt wrote:

Or reproducing the part that represents the whole? Like a
fractal? I
think it is the similarity across scales that makes an experience
proleptic, or gives that 'bliss conferred at the beginning of the
redemption" that Vasilyuk refers to.  You have an experience on
timescales and so a sense of deja-vu is central to having an
This is what I am thinking about after reading both the paper of
and your recent piece on perezhivanie, Andy, although I am
on a
small piece of the last email in this chain -- : If something is
itself in its whole then you can't study it, is what is bothering
On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 11:22 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

     Not "getting at something", Michael. Just pursuing
     this question you raised about Dewey's saying that the
     aesthetic quality of medieval buildings arises from
     their not being "planned" like buildings are nowadays.
     He goes on to say "Every work of art follows the plan
     of, and pattern of, a complete experience." The puzzle
     he is raising here is the completeness of an
     experience which gives it its aesthetic quality, and
     this cannot be created by assembling together parts in
     the way a modern building is planned. An experience -
     the kind of thing which sticks in your mind - is an
     original or prior unity, not a combination, and this
     is what gives a work of art that ineffable quality,
     something which can only be transmitted by reproducing
     that whole of an experience.

     *Andy Blunden*
     On 17/07/2015 2:32 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:


         I'm still not sure about your question.  Did I set
         out to have that experience, that morning...no, I
         don't think so (it was a long time ago, but I'm
         pretty sure no).  Could I have just treated it as
         an indiscriminate activity, probably, I had done
         so before.

         But I am guessing you're getting a something here


         -----Original Message-----
         <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of
         Andy Blunden
         Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:21 PM
         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

         YOu said: "... But that time I had the experience
         with the paintings..."

         I mean that was an experience. Did you set out
         that morning to have that experience?
         RE, your question: "what does he mean when he says
         you can't do things indiscriminately and have
         vital experience, but you also can't plan things?"

         *Andy Blunden*
         On 17/07/2015 2:09 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:

             Well I'm not sure I understand your question
             Andy, but perhaps it has
             something to do with my grandfather's favorite
             saying (translated from

             Man plans, God laughs.


             -----Original Message-----
             On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
             Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:04 PM
             To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

             So Michael, there was just that one occasion,
             in all your museum-going, when you had an
             experience. Was that planned?
             (I don't mean to say you haven't had a number
             of such experiences,
             Michael ... just some number actually)


             *Andy Blunden*

             On 17/07/2015 1:19 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:

                 Hi Larry and all,

                 I think this is one of the most complex
                 aspects of experience, what does he mean
                 when he says you can't do things
                 indiscriminately and have vital
                 experience, but you also can't plan
                 things?  I have discussed (argued) about
                 this a lot with my students.  I have
                 especially seen him raise this point in at
                 least two of his great works, Democracy
                 and Education and Experience and Nature -
                 and again of course in Art as Experience
                 (notice he is not saying how Art enters
                 into experience but how art is experience
                 - I have come to notice these little
                 things more and more in his writing).

                 The difficulty we have, at least in the
                 United States because of the dominance of
                 the idea of meta-cognition, is that we too
                 often translate what individuals are
                 bringing in to experience to organize it
                 as a form of meta-cognition.  It is kind
                 of possible to make that interpretation
                 from Democracy and Education, although
                 what I think he is doing more is arguing
                 against misinterpretations of his work as
                 random, child centered activities.  I
                 think he is clearer in Experience and
                 Nature that we bring in who we are at the
                 moment into the activity, and use who we
                 are (I don't want to say identity) as an
                 organizing principle for what we do.  It
                 is perhaps one of the places where Dewey
                 and Vygotsky are close.  Perhaps I can use
                 the same Jackson Pollock example.  The
                 first few times I saw his paintings I was
                 trying to "apprecitate" them because I was
                 told that was the best way to experience
                 them.  Dewey says no vital experience
                 there because my activities become stilted
                 and artificia
                     l.  Sometimes I went through the
                 museum and just looked at pictures, one to
                 the other.  No vital experience there,
                 just random threads. But that time I had
                 the experience with the paintings I was
                 allowing who I was, what had been built up
                 in the trajectory of my life to enter into
                 my experience with the painting, making it
                 a vital experience.  I think Dewey makes
                 the argument in Experience and Nature that
                 it is not just the experience the moment
                 before, but the experiences leading to
                 that experience, the context of my life,
                 of my parent's life, of a long line of
                 historical experiences.

                 Anyway, my take.



Beth Ferholt
Assistant Professor
Department of Early Childhood and Art Education
Brooklyn College, City University of New York
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889

Email: bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu <mailto:
Phone: (718) 951-5205 <tel:%28718%29%20951-5205>
Fax: (718) 951-4816 <tel:%28718%29%20951-4816>


Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova &
Ecological Niche, 2008)


Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova & Storch,
Ecological Niche, 2008)

Beth Ferholt
Assistant Professor
Department of Early Childhood and Art Education
Brooklyn College, City University of New York
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889

Email: bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Phone: (718) 951-5205
Fax: (718) 951-4816

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602