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[Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S. Nationalism

I think that the debate over John Lewis's comments and his boycott of the
inauguration today shows how quasi-needs are formed in the body politic. Of
course, all political needs are quasi-needs: we do not require the vote the
way that we require food and drink. But they are also real needs: the right
to an equal share of the commodities you produce is a quasi-need, but
there's a real need there, for sure.

As understand it there are three arguments for boycotting the inauguration:

a) Tu quoques. The Republicans have seized control of government by
delegitimizing the previous president, by complete and unconditional
noncooperation, by taking hostages, and this is now the only way to seize
control of government back again.

b) False equivalence. The Republicans did not have the consensus of 17
intelligence agencies to show that Barack Obama had forged his birth
certificate, and the Electoral College is an explicitly undemocratic
anachronism. So what was an illegitimate tactic in Republican hands is now
justified. This is Lewis's argument, but it ignores the fact that Russians
really did less to win the election for Trump than Australians did (Rupert

c) The "peaceful transition of power" is simply not the way in which new
quasi-needs come into being.

When Obama says that people do not need to "die" for voting rights because
our forefathers did so in our stead, he is both acknowledging that votes
are a consequence and not a cause and suggesting that now they are a cause
and not a consequence: there is one history for our forefathers and a very
different one for ourselves. That isn't the way history works. Yes, the bow
of history bends towards justice; no, the "peaceful transition of power" is
not what bends it.

Back during the election, a propos a dispute over peer review, Roth
suggested that I was arguing at the level of a) or b). I think c) is much
closer to the way I really feel, particularly today.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 2:51 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Yes Michael,
> It feels like the world of the later 1930's about the time I was born as
> that period came down to me through the prism of a family of "premature
> anti fascists."
> For a great re-creation of those times see the highly ambivalent film by
> Frank Capra, "meet John Doe." It has American big capital interconnected
> with fascism combined with populist collectivism in a manner that points at
> the media (as then experienced) as the bad guys in disguise. Happy Ending,
> Beethoven Ode to Joy and all.
> It's come round again, nastier this time.
> Mike
> On Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 6:20 PM Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>
> wrote:
> > Mike
> >
> >
> >
> > It was so interesting to read this note after reading the Cognition and
> > Instruction essay.  All the way through it I kept thinking we have been
> > here before.  It reminded me of the scholars, especially those who had
> > escaped from Germany, trying to make sense of what had happened to their
> > society during World War II.  The foremost in my mind was Lewin.  Except
> I
> > wonder if he would say the process of transformative action starts not
> with
> > emergence of quasi-needs, but our willingness and abilities to step back
> > from our quasi-needs and the ways that they drive us, often to
> > dysfunctional behaviors that it ultimately destructive to both our
> society
> > and to us as individuals.  How hard this is to do, we have to keep going
> > back again and again.  The quasi-needs, tribalism, acceptance, standing
> are
> > always there.  It is how they shape us that is critical.
> >
> >
> >
> > Michael
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> >
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> >
> > Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 8:31 PM
> >
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> >
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S. Nationalism
> >
> >
> >
> > In following  the perezhivanie thread I encountered the note I
> re-membered.
> >
> > And interestingly mis-remembered. A translation into my focus on
> > mediational means. He places the starting point of the process of
> > transformative action at the emergence of quasi-needs (from Kurt Lewin).
> >
> > That seems correct to me. The new mediational means emerge under
> > environmental presses. Ever functionalist ego need a goal(!). (The
> problem
> > with functionalism) In David's words,
> >
> >
> >
> > Perhaps the place we should look for "exaptations" that can save both our
> > personalities and our environment is not in our evolved needs, but in yet
> > to be designed quasi-needs. Artificial organs, after all, always suggest
> > new and ever more artificial functions, like chess and language.
> >
> >
> >
> > This point seems worth keeping in mind as we look at where this group of
> > critical scholars who work within the Learning Sciences disciplinary
> > framework would like to lead us.
> >
> >
> >
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> >