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[Xmca-l] Re: New Year's Perezhivanie

I agree that LSV's Spinozism (not any kind of supposed Buberism and not
Judaism in general)--is relevant to his monism. To that extent, it is
relevant to his holistic approach to what we are calling
"perezhivanie": perezhivanie is a holistic, monist unit which includes both
the experience and the experiencer. But there are a lot of things in Marc's
article that I think are essentially distractions--things which direct our
attention away from the system of concepts that LSV is trying to evoke with
his use of the term. Here are three.

First of all, I don't think that "perezhivanie" is originally a "special
term" in Russian: there is nothing special about the prefix "pere~"
("trans") or the root "zhivanie" ("life") and Vygotsky was hardly the first
to put them together, even in the context of psychology. When he introduce
the term, he introduces it as a term which is already widely used. As an
analogy, "experience" is not a special term in English, although if you are
a systemic-functional linguist, "experiential" takes on a special meaning
in relation to a system of other functions. So I think that the key to
understanding Vygotsky's "perezhivanie" is not in Vasilyuk (who appears to
be an adept of the anti-Semitic Russian Orthodox church). The key to
understanding Vygotsky's "perezhivanie" is in Vygotsky.

Secondly, and accordingly,  I don't think that "perezhivanie" or any other
term in Vygotsky can be resolved by the kind of "my dictionary is bigger
than yours" arguments that we translators love so much. Just last week we
had a rumble in Seoul over whether the word usually translated as
"spontaneous" could be translated by a Korean word meaning "spontaneous",
or by another one meaning "volitional" or by a different one  meaning
roughly  "indigeneous". A big enough dictionary allows all three
translations. But when we look in Vygotsky (his report on the construction
of preschoools to the All Russian Working Group on the topic), we see that
the real meaning is none of these: "spontaneous" learning, driven by the
child's needs, is contrased with "spontaneous reactive" learning. At this
point it becomes possible to consult a HUGE dictionary and include a VAST
footnote on the various possible meanings of "reactive". But it is also
possible to stop blaming our tools and just return to Vygotsky's report,
where it becomes clear that what Vygotsky really means has nothing to do
with reactology or behaviorism: he is referring to learning that is a
reaction to and against and eventually with a teacher-parent-state
syllabus. So "spontaneous" doesn't mean spontaneous or volitional or
indigenous; it means non-reactive, and "reactive" doesn't mean reactionary
or reactological or radioactive but rather non-spontaneous: Vygotsky's
concepts are part of a system, and their meaning owes, just as Spinoza
would have it, to their position in the system and not to their position in
a dictionary or a thesaurus.

Thirdly, and as a more or less final result, I don't see that the data that
Marc ends his article with is relevant to Vygotsky's perezhivanie at all,
because LSV's "perezhivanie" is designed as a unit for describing the
development of the child's personality in the child's environment. On the
one hand, that means it has to include both the feeling of what happens to
the infant as it happens (e.g. the use of "perezhivanie" to describe the
infant drinking milk in Vygotsky's lecture on infancy" and it has to
include the thougth of what has happened when we reflect on its
consequences *e.g. the use of "perezhivanie" to describe the three children
in the dysfunctional family of "Problem of the Environment"). On the other
hand, it does not have to include--and I think it cannot include--the
response of an adult teacher to an unruly classroom, as Marc would have it

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 4:45 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> The attached article is focused on Vygotsky's Jewish legacy, also by a
> Bella (in response to Larry's "Bella has written a book on the relation of
> Judaic tradition and Vygotsky (which I have not read) but at the heart of
> the Judaic tradition is the human path and humanity existing here and now
> in our living relations.")
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of lpscholar2@gmail.com
> Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2017 2:25 PM
> To: Christopher Schuck <schuckcschuck@gmail.com>; eXtended Mind, Culture,
> Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: New Year's Perezhivanie
> Christopher, your way of reading (entering into) and responding that
> offers examples and then alternatives (the otherwise) i believe captures
> the flow of perezhivanie.
> If the struggle between meaningfulness-meaninglessness is at the heart of
> this month’s article as the heart of crisis, I believe this is also the
> deep question that most often brings persons to Western forms of
> psycho-therapy -in   our particular localized  time and place.
> Your 2nd question of the relation between perezhivanie and (force) seems
> to be relevant. The relation of perezhivanie with less forceful, WEAKER
> notions of (entering into) such as enduring, revisiting, working through. I
> would add (going out on a limb) that we may also want to explore the notion
> of the Judaic tradition that runs through what Zukerman calls (the human
> path) of humanity. I lack background to be specific but do notice the
> number of Judaic scholars who have been and are engaged with psychotherapy
> as expressing the character of human salvation and redemption.
> Martin Buber’s name is often mentioned in this regard.
> Bella has written a book on the relation of Judaic tradition and Vygotsky
> (which I have not read) but at the heart of the Judaic tradition is the
> human path and humanity existing here and now in our living relations.
> If this is going a  step too far, just ignore, and return to the question
> of less forceful (weaker) human paths of enduring and working through by
> (entering into) the meaningfulness-meaninglessness (crisis) as both
> existential and cultural-historical.
> An alternative image to forcefully hammering and smashing the bricks in
> the hope of clearing a space for something new to emerge or be created as
> the bricks scatter and we begin to (de-sign) something brand new from the
> rubble.
> The back and forth that feels like repetition and sameness and being stuck
> may be actually a mood and an (entering into) and (living through) and
> (working through) the crisis.
> I would add and highlight this movement is not an interior journey of
> mastery towards (independence) but is,  using Zukerman’s words, an
> inter/mental back and forth generating a meaningful way forward from within
> the tension of the crisis of perezhivanie.
> My belief is when moving through the crisis we do not travel alone but
> travel with others expressing care and concern for us. The time for heroic
> journeys is now in question?
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> From: Christopher Schuck
> Sent: January 3, 2017 9:39 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] New Year's Perezhivanie
> It's an interesting question (about the brick and perezhivanie), partly
> because that extended, "living-through", repeated doubling-back process
> evoked by the Vygotskian sense of the concept would seem to be at odds with
> a single, discrete act of "smashing" that is immediate, forceful and even
> violent. It would suggest that part of what perezhivanie means is wrapped
> up in the symbolic marking of its end - and that this end, when it comes,
> can be forceful. Certainly, the image could not be more unified and
> embodying of a particular set of meaningful experiences. But is that how
> perezhivanie works? This leads me to ask:
> 1) what are the problems and contradictions encountered in using
> particular metaphors to depict perezhivanie, where perezhivanie is itself
> so defined by imagination and narrativity? Part of this might also be a
> question of what it means to describe and represent one's own perezhivanie
> figuratively/narratively (whether to others, or to oneself), as opposed to
> living that perezhivanie. Especially if the attempt to capture/represent
> one's own perezhivanie is, perhaps, also central to the living of it?
>  2) What is the nature of the relationship between perezhivanie and force,
> either in terms of the internal process or in terms of how it finally
> "ends"?  (Not to mention, how it begins). It would seem that in both
> conceptions discussed in the article there is a certain intensity required.
> But does this in some cases require something more explosive - and does
> Vasilyuk's conception of perezhivanie as activity speak more to this
> possibility? And how do we reconcile this with the less "forceful" notion
> of enduring, revisiting, and working through?
> On Monday, January 2, 2017, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > The pieces of brick thrown up by this political hammering have not yet
> > fallen and made the devastation personally experienced by the
> nation/world.
> >
> > Still, genuinely, we can wish all of us 7.3 billion well in the new year.
> >
> > So what do you think chuck, is this a good representation of
> perezhivanie?
> > :-)
> > Mike
> >
> > On Mon, Jan 2, 2017 at 11:24 AM Charles Bazerman <
> > bazerman@education.ucsb.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > So you think 2017 has any hope of being any better?
> > >
> > > Chuck
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > >
> > > From: mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > >
> > > Date: Monday, January 2, 2017 11:01 am
> > >
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l]  New Year's Perezhivanie
> > >
> > > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > With the New Year, as our Russian colleagues put it!
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > This image forwarded from a friend more or less sums up my
> > > > experience
> > >
> > > > of
> > >
> > > > the past year. Thought you might find it interesting too.
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > Vis a vis the discussion of perezhivanie: Does this image provide
> > > > us
> > with
> > >
> > > > used (re-presented) behavioral evidence of a person undergoing
> > > perezhivanie?
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > Looking forward to the discussion.
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > Feliz año nuevo!
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > Mike
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >