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Re: [xmca] FW: ScienceDaily: Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities

Hi Steve and Emily
I watched a history of the Mormons on PBS "Frontline" yesterday.
This program always does excellent documentaries. One of their core beliefs points out the power of the idea [imaginal] of geneology as a construct which manifests material form.
Joseph Smith [who had the revelation] and the Mormons believe in celestial unions that last beyond the grave in all eternity. Now the ethical dilemma he faced was that his brother died before being  baptised in the Mormon church and God revealed to Joseph that the DEAD COULD BE BAPTISED and they would be "sealed" into celestial unions that reach beyond the grave.
>From this divine "idea" [imaginal] an institutional structure has been constructed that forms the core of the Mormon's deep devotion to geneology.  They have now identified over TWO BILLION individual names of the dead that are individually stored in vast underground vaults that are so massive they will withstand an atomic blast.  The Mormons to this date have already baptised over two million of the dead and they are now Mormons and have a celestial existence.
Now where this practice caused a great deal of anguish in the Jewish community was that the Mormons were locating the 6 million Jews who died in the holocaust and were systematically baptizing the deceased and "sealing" them to the faith. [This practice has now stopped]
I want to emphasize I want to be very respectful of the Mormon way of viewing reality which is built on ideality and materiality
Now a quick comment on PROJECTING geneology into the future. PBS had another documentary where DNA was used to trace ancestors.
Yo Yo Ma's ancestor in China was found and geneological documents recovered. His ancestor, in elaborate books had dictated the NAMES to be given to all the generations to come and the names were supplied for 30 GENERATIONS of children yet to be born.
I again am very respectful of this cultural way to construct meaning and just want to point out the power of ideas [and the imaginal] to structure our lifeworlds.
Both the Mormons and the TraditionalChinese notions of geneology had and continue to have profound implications for material culture.


----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com>
Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 10:32 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: ScienceDaily: Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

> Emily, that **is** an interesting, zinger phrase.  Here are 
> some  
> offhand thoughts.
> The statement "all communities are imagined communities" seems 
> like a  
> nice example of what Ilyenkov called the "secret twist of 
> idealism" in  
> his essay The Concept of the Ideal (1977).  I first 
> encountered this  
> essay in that xmca course we did back in 2003, when I first 
> came  
> around xmca.
> A key theme in Ilyenkov's understanding of ideality is that 
> idealism  
> in the Plato-Hegel philosophical lineage has a basically correct 
> idea  
> of ideality, as an objective phenomenon that confronts the individual.
> A quick non-technical definition of 'ideality' or 'the ideal' - 
> these  
> are technical terms not found in everyday English and 
> therefore  
> require explanation - might be 'the collection of socially 
> understood  
> meanings in given culture, which are manifested to the 
> individual in  
> the course of activity, especially productive activity'.
> The secret twist that idealists make, according to Ilyenkov, is 
> their  
> tendency to take the phenomenon of 'the ideal' as the 
> **entirety** of  
> reality - and forget, ignore, deny, downplay, etc. its material 
> basis,  
> that is, how the ideal is transformed out of the material.
> So in the "twisted" sense of ideality taken just by itself, 
> as  
> idealists are prone to do, community is indeed an "imagined" 
> thing.   
> Community, from this perspective, is just a collection of 
> socially  
> constructed meanings and imaginings.  But materialists like 
> Ilyenkov,  
> you, me, and many in CHAT, that begin with the idea that 
> communities  
> are material things, tend to find such phrases to be a jarring 
> way of  
> describing things.  What is jarring to me about the phrase 
> "imagined  
> communities" is it formulates the ideal in such a way as to 
> powerfully  
> **overshadow** the material.  In a single, admirable 
> phrase, it  
> performs the secret twist
> In fairness to the author, they did qualify their thought-
> provoking  
> statement by saying <**To a certain degree** all communities 
> are  
> imagined communities ...>
> If I were to try to use a provocative formulation like that, I'd 
> want  
> to quickly balance it with statements about the relationship of 
> the  
> ideal to the material.  I might say something along the 
> lines that  
> that the material forces and social relations in a society  
> **manifest** themselves to the individual in the form of 
> cultural  
> reflections and images, that is, in the form of the ideal, 
> or  
> ideality.  No individual actually experiences an entire 
> community - or  
> an entire anything - but learns to grasp such things as wholes 
> by  
> internalizing historically and culturally created ideal images 
> and  
> understandings of them.
> In that materialist sense - and in terms of **individual 
> experience**  
> - all communities are, indeed, to a certain degree, 
> "imagined"  
> entities - brought to us, as such, by that special human 
> capacity to  
> create ideality (sociocultural meanings) alongside our 
> material  
> activities.
> Thoughts?
> - Steve
> On Apr 6, 2010, at 10:12 AM, Duvall, Emily wrote:
> > Hi All,
> > This just came out and the summary on this site has a few 
> interesting> statements, particularly this last one:
> >
> >
> > "To a certain degree, all communities are 'imagined 
> communities' --  
> > that
> > is, our sense of being part of a community is always something 
> we must
> > create in ourselves, and it often occurs through media."
> >
> >
> > I thought this might be of interest to some xmca-ers.... I 
> know that
> > this last statement is quite a zinger for me. Not so much our 
> sense of
> > being a part of a community, but that communities are imagined.
> >
> >
> > ~em
> >
> >
> > Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities
> > http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405131730.htm
> >
> > Online interactions not only have positive outcomes for real-life,
> > place-based communities, but the intersection between online
> > communication and the offline world also forms two halves of a 
> support> mechanism for communities, according to a new study.
> >
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