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RE: [xmca] Living metaphor and conventionalized language
Imagine that I am an immigrant in a foreign country, say, Korea, or Columbia, or some even more savage place like the USA (this will be easy for Martin and myself to imagine, but perhaps not too difficult for others on the list too')
I am "inside" the foreign country. When I go home to visit my family, I am outside the foreign country. This is true in an objective sense, although I would be hard put to call it a material sense, because the borders I cross are not natural ones.
Now, is the same thing true of the IDEALIZED forms of that foreign country, that is, its culture and its language? Not at all. When I go home to visit my family, I take those idealized forms with me, because by living in this country I have interiorized them (that is, mastered their ideal forms and incorporated them into my consciousness):
I continue to know the Korean language, and think of Korean words to describe kinship relations, and to invidiously compare my now strange breakfast of Kellogg's corn flakes with a proper Korean breakfast of rice and kim. So there is, as Martin says, some inside in the outside.
But that doesn't prevent the terms "inside Korea" and "outside Korea" from having an objective sense. They are quite objective, because while I am inside Korea I am surrounded by material artefacts of Korean culture, but when I am outside Korea I can take only a few of these with me and I must take my Korean culture in a mainly ideal form (the language and culture).
My learned Korean consciousness is in no way a barrier to reality (on the contrary, while I am inside the country, it is my immediate contact with reality, and it continues to function that way when I am outside the country). But it is no less internal for all that.
I think that a lot of Vygotskyan metaphors (e.g. "interiorization", and also "development") make no sense at all when we apply them, as we are wont to do, to human bodies, or even brains (if we take brains to be the sort of thing we buy in the butcher shop).
But they make absolutely perfect sense when we apply them to social entities and talk about the "inside" and "outside" of a "developing" country, city, or community (and even some individual fragment thereof, so long as we do not thing of this fragment as made of meat).
The farmer who leaves the countryside for the city is acutely conscious of now being "inside" something more developed, having once been "outside" it. The same is true of the child leaving home, and of me living here in Korea (which is in very many obvious ways a more cultured and developed society than the one I was born into).
Of course, it is a very different sense of "inside" and "outside" then the sense of putting Kellogg's corn flakes or kim and rice in one's belly. But it is no less objective and also no less interiorized for all that.
--- On Fri, 8/12/11, David H Kirshner <email@example.com> wrote:
From: David H Kirshner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: [xmca] Living metaphor and conventionalized language
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, August 12, 2011, 12:54 PM
Are these different material processes, or different perspectives on the
same process, or is it pointless to ask?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Martin Packer
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 1:08 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Living metaphor and conventionalized language
I don't like the word "internalization" because I can't see that
anything internal is involved! As LSV put it:
"Consciousness does not occur as a specific category, as a specific mode
of being. It proves to be a very complex structure of behaviour"
David Bakhurst describes well the 'radical realism' those guys were
"Thought is conceived not as a barrier or interface between the self and
the world beyond the mind, but as the means by which the individual
enters into immediate cognitive contact with the material world.
Thought, the mode of activity of the socially defined subject, reaches
right out to reality itself" (1991, p. 261)
If the "inner" is out there in the "outer," we've got the metaphors
On Aug 11, 2011, at 12:27 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
> Of course, BOTH "internalization" and "appropriation" are metaphors. I
don't flee from the "internalization" metaphor the way that Martin does,
partly because I think of it as referring not to a body but as to a
nation, a country, a city, a community, a family...or some particle
thereof. In this sense (a sense which I suppose is better captured by
"interiorization" than by "internalization", just as "reflection" is
better captured by "refraction") there is no duality; when you move from
one nation to another you do not change worlds, nor do you change
nations when you move from one city to another.
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