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Re: [xmca] Teresa in Ecstasy
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Teresa in Ecstasy
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 08:16:34 -0700
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>From the many ideas here, one stands out for me, David. You write:
It seems to me that what we need to study is not simply "context" but the
relationship between context and emergent text.
As hard as it is to keep in mind, I think in principle that text and
con-text have to be seen as co-constituitive. We run in to (at least)
notions of context that are there, waiting for a text/behavior/event to
occur, and the emergent system that enables us
to make a distinction between text and context.
Very inconvenient to us linear thinkers. Beautifully illustrated in
McDermott article in
Chaiklin Lave book on activity theory in practice from a prior decade or
On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 10:48 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com>wrote:
> Dear Mike and Natalia:
> First of all, belated thanks for your generous help with the Russian. BOTH
> of you made important corrections to my understanding of the text. (As
> Yongho says, it's really time for us to get more serious about our study of
> the Russian language here in Korea.)
> Mike's translation actually goes somewhat further than my understanding of
> it. Vygotsky doesn't say Dumas is "scarcely the first" to grasp the clear
> connection between James-Lange and Descartes or even that he is "almost the
> first", but that it is hard to believe that he is the very first.
> I think Natalia's translation also goes further in the direction that I
> want to go with Vygotsky's text. She says "even if" the
> "bottom-up" naturalistic theories could recognize a spiritual love
> unconnected to sensuous sources (as the "top-down" spiritualistic theories
> do), they would also see that there is no way to get there from here (as the
> "top-down" spirtualistic theories also do). I had interpreted this as "even
> when", and a reference to James, but I think Natalia's right, and Vygotsky
> is talking much more generally.
> It's interesting that Lacan and many others have smirked and sniggered
> about Bernini's sculpture and Teresa's diary, thinking that either Bernini
> (who was apparently a Jesuit) or maybe Teresa herself simply didn't
> understand that she was talking about female orgasm and not about holy
> But there is another possibility: there is an older, truer view of things
> that really doesn't divide our bodily selves against our emotional ones, and
> is absolutely willing to accept that a female orgasm is not different in
> kind, or at least in the way that it feels, the fundamental essence of the
> perizhvanie, from a moment of spiritual grace.
> Spinoza had this view, and so of course did Einstein, though Einstein's
> monad was not "politico-affective" the way that Spinoza's was (it was really
> about the unity of energy and matter on the one hand, and time and space on
> the other). Maybe it's a Jewish thing.
> But maybe not exclusively so (after all, Teresa was a Carmelite,
> and Bernini was some kind of Jesuit). The term "politico-affective" is not
> really Spinoza's. It's actually from Professor Moro and his colleague Shuta
> Kagawa. (Professor Moro's uni and his experimental high school are within a
> hundred miles of the nuclear plant at Fukushima, and I find myself
> involuntarily reminded of his work with almost every news broadcast).
> The "politico-affective" monad of word meaning is what Mike and Jim are
> really getting at when they BOTH reject the idea that language acquisition
> can be divided into units that are too small to include the acts of thinking
> and doing that give language meaning.
> Even if we reject the innatist idea that the meaning of "water" is innate,
> along with the empiricist idea that it is somehow transparent, acquirable
> through pure perception, the idea that "gaa-gaa" can, isolated and cut
> off by itself, somehow turn into the MEANING of water makes, literally, no
> sense without a little "politico-affective" context.
> It's a little like the idea that Vygotsky's always lampooning in "Teaching
> on the Emotions". When Socrates' disciples are discussing why the master
> accepts with emotional equanimity and resignation the unjust sentence of
> death passed upon him and does not try to escape, the James-Lange theory
> responds that he is sitting in prison because of the relaxation of the
> skeletal muscles in his legs and his sense of equanimity and resignation is
> simply the cortical response to this sensation of relaxation.
> But (particularly in the context of the article currently under discussion,
> which seems replete with bad examples of this) I guess I worry about TOP
> DOWN reductionism more than I do about the other kind. It seems to me that
> what we need to study is not simply "context" but the relationship between
> context and emergent text.
> So it seems to me that to really understand the "gaa-gaa" data, we have to
> accept that not all parts of language are equally receptive to
> politico-affective nuance. In particular, I think that VOWELS are more
> emotionally pregnant than consonants (just as consonants are more useful in
> ideational discrimination).
> Later on, with the conceptual learning that Jim is interested in, I
> imagine that the politico-affectively sensitive parts of uttterances are
> the grammatical parts of sentences that Halliday calls MOOD (e.g.
> grammatical subjects, modal verbs, finite verbs more generally as opposed to
> the residue (non-finite verbs, their complements, and so on). This is where
> a Korean sentence gets most of its intonational music, and it always appears
> at the END of a sentence--rather as it does when we use "tails" in English
> (e.g. "Oh, you do, do you?")
> I would guess that the "gaa-gaa" data can be understood as a transition
> from the "mathetic" focus by the child on the vowel to a more "pragmatic"
> focus on the consonant, and by a shift from purely expressive language to
> social-communicative language. But I'm guessing, because of course one can
> hardly expect to understand the relationship between text and context when
> the context has been completely excised.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Sun, 3/13/11, Natalia Gajdamaschko <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: Natalia Gajdamaschko <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Teresa in Ecstasy
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> Date: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 6:31 PM
> Hi Mike,
> Russian is easy (shutka!).
> David, I think he is saying that even if naturalistic theories could simply
> see the holy or
> spiritual love, they would also (simultaneously) able to see that it can
> not be understood from any of the facts that belong to vital love, not could
> it (spiritual love, NG) be derived from those fact.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "mike cole" <email@example.com>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2011 5:46:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Teresa in Ecstasy
> The Russian is really hard, David. I think there may be an error with "ni"
> in this triple negative phrase: что их никак нельзя *ни* понять.
> Anton, Bella, Natalia? Karaul!!
> On Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 10:38 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com
> > On page 214 of Volume 6 of the Collected Works, we've got this:
> > "If the naturalistic theory were simply to see the phenomena of holy or
> > spiritual love, it would at the same time see from any facts pertaining
> > the sphere of vital love, that it could not in any way fail to understand
> > them nor could it escape them."
> > Which makes no sense at all in English. Here's the Russian:
> > Если бы натуралистическая теория просто видела феномены святой или
> > любви, она бы вместе с тем видела, что их никак нельзя ни понять из любых
> > фактов, относящихся к сфере витальной любви, ни вывести из них.
> > Vygotsky is talking about the naturalistic theories of emotion (he has in
> > mind reflexology, James-Lange, the theories which attempt to explain
> > emotions as responses to physical sensations from eithe outside the body
> > inside it).
> > I think what he is saying is that these theories either do NOT recognize
> > the existence of spiritual love at all, or if they do (which of course
> > does in his lectures on the varieties of religious experience) they see
> > way of deriving spiritual love from the various manifestations of
> > love.
> > Well, Bernini did!
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecstasy_of_Saint_Theresa
> > Vygotsky does say that the real purpose of descriptive psychology is to
> > provide a scientific road down the same paths blazed by poets, painters,
> > playwrights and novelists. But he should have added at least one
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
> > __________________________________________
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