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Re: [xmca] Fwd: Perezhivanie citations

Further reflections on perezhivanie

Beth wrote
“(P)erezhivat” means, if you look at it closely, that you have passed
as if above something that had made you feel pain ... There, inside of
a recollection that we call an “again living” –lives your pain. It is
the pain that doesn’t let you forget what has happened. And you keep
on coming back to it in your memory, keep living through it over and
over again, until you discover that you have passed through it, and
have survived. (2007a, no page number)

Like Volker I'm stepping out on a limb and offering "personal conjectures"
that have helped me when I have been adrift and disoriented.  They are my
personal style for navigating "impossibility" and are an extension of my
description of "witnessing" as a particular type of "intersubjective

The question I asked myself when experiencing a profound loss [that up to
that moment grounded me] was "How do I continue the next "chapter" of my
life when I've lost the sense of the overall structure of the "narrative"
{I was reading Jerome Bruner at the time and was reflecting on life as
I was also experiencing moments of being "crazy" "paranoid" and "isolated".

In the midst of this crisis I knew that others had also been down the road I
was travelling and lived to write about it at a later time in their life.
Therefore I decided to NOT try to "rise above" the pain, or to "overcome"
 the pain, but rather to become "intimate" with the pain. To turn towards
the loss and  develop a relation to the pain.  In other words to become a
witness to my own disorientation without trying to change it or maser it, or
overcome it. My approach was to develop an intimate relation to this aspect
of myself.

What 'm suggesting is that it may be possible to see ourselves [our
"selves"] as multiple and not coherent.  This may be only a heuristic but I
was able to create a space where I found the "compassion" to be a witness to
my "fragmented" self.  I let go of the need for consistency of self
presentation and accepted my "self" as fragmented  Self "mastery" as
coherence or being "centered" was no longer pursued.
This "psychological" approach to crisis was very painful and very
disorienting, but  I was able to find  "compassion" for my predicament.
After an extended period of time being disoriented I decided to go back to
University to pursue a counselling degree. I deliberately thought if I'm
going through this "psychological" crisis I could explore counselling and
get a degree while trying to find my bearings. This was my way of returning
to dwelling in the world.

I share my story to point out that my response to "impossibility" was to see
myself as "multiple" and in dialogue with "impossibility". I could NOT at
that point see my life as "storied" or a narrative. I had lost my
narrative.  However I was aware that others had travelled these paths and
"learned" or "developed" from their  shattering experiences.  My approach
was not to search for "understanding" or "interpretations" or "insight" but
rather to develop a relation to the confusion through witnessing.
Is this approach "reflection" or "looking back" or"remembering"? Or is this
a form of "showing" and "seeing" and being "met"?  Was I developing a
"skill" not in "managing" my crisis but in embracing this aspect of my
"self" and "accepting" my suffering with compassion. This is NOT
"resignation" but deeply active and agentic and going out to meet what is
vulnerable in our selves. It is WITNESSING and being "met" and in the
meeting is the possibility of trans*formation.
Mike, if witnessing is a valid way through "impossibility" is it possible to
be considered a "skill" that is intersubjective "all the way down". That
includes all the way down to "inscapes". This skill is developed as a
normative ethical stance to suffering others and the self is included in the
suffering others. The skill if valid can in*form our relation to our "self"

This may be only a very personal way of orienting to "impossibility" and not
be a reproducable skill. However, turning towards "impossibility" as
witnessing may be a transformative agentic act or skill whether turning
towards the other in landscapes or turning towards the "other" in inscapes.


On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 5:42 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> I want to ask: is there any real reason to suppose that Vygotsky meant
> something different by perezhivanie than he meant by "social situation of
> development"? If so, then do we have to take these as units of analysis of
> quite different theories of development?
> Andy
> mike cole wrote:
>> Further reflections on perezhivanie that pick up current themes including
>> thoughts posted a few hours ago by Volker.
>> mike
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: robert lecusay <rlecusay@ucsd.edu>
>> Beth Ferholt on Vasilyuk:
>> Fyodor Vasilyuk (1988) adapts Vygotsky’s use of the term perezhivanie
>> to describe a form of inter-subjectivity in which we insert ourselves
>> into the stories of others in order to gain the foresight that allows
>> us to proceed. He describes perezhivanie as an internal and subjective
>> labor of “entering into” which is not done by the mind alone, but
>> rather involves the whole of life or a state of consciousness. And
>> although, for Vasilyuk, perezhivanie is the direct sensation or
>> experience of mental states and processes, another person is needed
>> for this experience. It is this inclusion of another that allows a
>> person to overcome and conquer despair through perezhivanie.
>> Vasilyuk (1988), who is working from within the framework of cultural
>> historical activity theory, gives us at once a broader and more
>> specific definition of perezhivanie than does Vygotsky. But he has not
>> actually moved further from the non-technical definition of the word
>> “perezhivanie.” As Robbins explains:
>> “(P)erezhivat” means, if you look at it closely, that you have passed
>> as if above something that had made you feel pain ... There, inside of
>> a recollection that we call an “again living” –lives your pain. It is
>> the pain that doesn’t let you forget what has happened. And you keep
>> on coming back to it in your memory, keep living through it over and
>> over again, until you discover that you have passed through it, and
>> have survived. (2007a, no page number)
>> On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 3:09 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> It would be good to have beth on Vasilyuk.
>>> mike
>>> Below I paste portions of text concerning perezhivanie from the piece
>>> we wrote with Sonja and fron Beth's diss. Beth also writes about
>>> Vasilyuk adoption/adaptation of the term. Let me know if you want that
>>> as well.
>>> from our article with Sonja:
>>> "Hakkarainen (2004) uses the concept of “lived-through” experience to
>>> discuss the develop- mental impact of the playworld practice.
>>> “Lived-through” experience, a descriptive translation of the Russian
>>> term perezhivanie introduced by Vygotsky (1999) and Stanslavski
>>> (1981), refers to the direct experience of another person’s mental
>>> state. According to Hakkarainen (2004), it is the lived-through
>>> experience with the characters of the story that enables children to
>>> better compre- hend the story. Stanslavski (1981) developed a method
>>> of acting in which he required actors to live through the role by
>>> utilizing their autobiographical emotional memory. In order to
>>> naturally portray the character, the actor is required to think of a
>>> moment in her own life when she felt a par- ticular emotion and then
>>> relive the emotion while in character. Lived-through experience can be
>>> enhanced by multiple sensory and kinesthetic experiences. Therefore,
>>> acting or pretending (rather than just watching and listening) can
>>> yield possibilities for intense lived-through experiences."
>>> From Beth's diss:
>>> "The concept of perezhivanie has the potential to be a powerful tool
>>> in the project of reintegrating the subjects of emotion and cognition
>>> in psychological and educational studies of development and learning.
>>> Unlike any terms with roots in the English language, the term
>>> perezhivanie encompasses the dynamic relations of imagination and
>>> creativity, emotion and cognition. Translation of “perezhivanie” is
>>> difficult because the English language itself separates emotion and
>>> cognitionii, but I hope both to strengthen the concept by discussing
>>> it in English, and also to minimize its dilution by turning to
>>> technical uses of “perezhivanie” within the disciplines of theater
>>> (Stanislavski, 1949) and psychology (Bozhovich, 1977; Vasilyuk, 1988;
>>> Vygotsky, 1994).
>>> Perezhivanie was first used as more than an everyday word in the
>>> dramatic system of Constantin Stanislavski (1949). For Stanislavski
>>> (1949) perezhivanie is a tool that enables actors to create characters
>>> from their own re-lived, past lived- through experiences. Actors
>>> create a character by revitalizing their autobiographical emotional
>>> memories and, as emotions are aroused by physical action, it is by
>>> imitating another’s, or a past self’s, physical actions, that these
>>> emotional memories are re-lived.
>>> Vygotsky himself described perezhivanie thus:
>>> The emotional experience [perezhivanie] arising from any situation or
>>> from any aspect of his environment, determines what kind of influence
>>> this situation or this environment will have on the child. Therefore,
>>> it is not any of the factors themselves (if taken without the
>>> reference of the child) which determines how they will influence the
>>> future course of his development, but the same factors refracted
>>> through the prism of the child’s emotional experience [perezhivanie].
>>> (1994, pp. 338-339)
>>> In this way Vygotsky (1994) explains, generally, how cognition and
>>> emotion are dynamically related. And he follows this statement with
>>> two mandates that describe the import of this observation. The first
>>> makes more explicit the fact that, for Vygotsky, perezhivanie is the
>>> relationship between individual and environment, and therefore that
>>> this phenomenon is central to his theory of development:
>>> “It (Psychology) ought to be able to find the relationship which
>>> exists between the child and its environment, the child’s emotional
>>> experience [perezhivanie]” (p. 341). The second states that
>>> perezhivanie avoids the loss of those properties that are
>>> characteristic of the whole, that perezhivanie retains the properties
>>> inherent in the whole, thus allowing analysis through units rather
>>> than elements: In an emotional experience [perezhivanie] we are always
>>> dealing with an indivisible unity of personal characteristics and
>>> situational characteristics, which are represented in the emotional
>>> experience [perezhivanie]. That is why from the methodological point
>>> of view it seems convenient to carry out an analysis when we study the
>>> role the environment plays in the development of a child, an analysis
>>> from the point of view of the child’s emotional experiences
>>> [perezhivanie]. (p. 342)
>>> Van der Veer adds that the concept of perezhivanie “also captures the
>>> idea of development by insisting on the ever-changing character of
>>> interpretations or emotional experiences (which are also dependent on
>>> changing word meaning, another of Vygotsky’s units of analysis)”
>>> (Chaiklin, 2001, p. 103 as cited in Robbins, 2007a, no page number).
>>> And L. I. Bozhovich (a follower of Vygotsky’s who focused on the
>>> relation of his theories of higher mental functions to the affective
>>> sphere of personality (Robbins, 2004)), argued that “for a short
>>> period of time Vygotsky considered perezhivanie as the “unity” of
>>> psychological development in the study of the social situation of
>>> development” (Gonzalez-Rey 2002, p. 136 as cited in Robbins, 2004).
>>> On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 2:48 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Not your most important mission and it does not get in the ecological
>>>> settings
>>>> idea. I would stick with what you have until you have more time.
>>>> Can we do this at lab together? for fun?
>>>> Separately, is it possible to clip some defintions of perezhivanie from
>>>> your
>>>> and beths writings and send? I am about send to xmca and will bcc you to
>>>> see
>>>> context.
>>>> mike
>>>> On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 2:44 PM, robert lecusay <rlecusay@ucsd.edu>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> removed creepy image of person sitting and replaced with spiral. Not
>>>>> prefect . . .
>>>>> http://communication.ucsd.edu/**rlecusay/<http://communication.ucsd.edu/rlecusay/>
>>>>> thoughts
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> --
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1>
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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