That is an astute observation about the notion of "happy".
Maxine Greene owes much of her view of aesthetics to Dewey's "Art as
yet her main critique of Dewey was that "he had no sense of the tragic".
Unlike Vygotsky whose personal perezhivanie was marked by the tragic and
as Kozulin speculates, was one reason he was fascinated with Hamlet.
On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 9:25 AM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com
In this same essay, Dewey is insistent that an experience is not
composed of components which are respectively practical, emotional
and intellectual, but these adjectives (he says) only arise in
subsequent discourse about experience, when we interpret
experience. An experience is essentially an irreducibly all of
these things, and in his view any attempt to seaprate out an
emotional component will destory the unity of the experience.
And I liked it when Vygotsky said, in Educational Psychology:
"People with great passions, people who accomplish great deeds,
people who possess strong feelings, even people with great minds
and a strong personality, rarely come out of good little boys and
I think the same goes for "happy little boys and girls."
Rod Parker-Rees wrote:
I certainly didn't want to suggest that children are (or even
should be) care-free, only to note that not ALL of their
experiences (or ours) are best described as suffering. Your
post clearly helps to explain why we tend to focus more on
distressing experiences, since it is these, more than more
positive ones, which call others into sympathetic action so
they are more note-worthy. An unusually happy child is not
likely to have a teaching assistant allocated to provide
special support, nor to be seen by an educational psychologist
but this does not mean that we should understand experience as
There is another can of worms around the relationships between
emotions and the development of individualised identity but
that may be for another thread!
All the best,
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: 05 November 2011 12:46
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Notions of suffering, enduring, undergoing
Hi Rod and Andy
Thank you for the article on Dewey. I thougt that article
should remain the focus of that thread, but the question of
the centrality of suffering to experience is also worth exploring.
Rod, you wrote
I am intrigued by the focus here, as in many of the postings
on perezhivanie, on experience as 'suffering'. The etymology
of 'suffer' (from 'sub' - under and 'ferre' - to bear) makes
it a close cousin of 'undergo'
and it is, I think, interesting that both terms have been used
in ways which have moved their meaning towards the dark side.
Rod, you caution us not to impose our care-worn adult
sufferings onto the experience of children who are more "care
In my work in schools I am called to respond to children who
are experiencing what I will call "foul frustration" as an
experience of what is not working. This experience is often
expressed as anger that is a passionate response to what is
not working. Infants also seem to express e-motions that may
be understood as frustration for what is not working.
A developmental psychologist in Vancouver [Gordon Neufeld]
sees development as biological and innate. Though his origin
narrative I don't agree with, he does have an interesting
perspective on how to respond to a childs foul frustration for
what is not working.
He believes that a person must come to a place of "rest"
before going in a new direction. What is sometimes needed to
move frustration from anger to experiencing saddness are for
what is not working are "tears of futility".
He suggests that these tears of futility are expressed within
particular types of relational configurations that are safe,
secure, and "attached".
When the tears of futility are met and "held" by the other
this releases the frustration for what is not working and the
child can lean into the other person and come to rest. Often
the child at this point is exhausted. However, after coming
to rest the child is now moved to exploration of the world and
is care free and open to new experiences.
This idea of expressing "tears of futility" for what is not
working [foul frustration] within intersubjective forms of
caring and "holding" gives me a way to respond to expressions
of "anger". Suffering or enduring or undergoing can sometimes
be an experienceof stuckness in patterns that are not working.
The ideal is for children to be care free but frustration is
an inevitable aspect of becoming and e*motion. If not met and
"held" by others this frustration can lead to a stuckness that
must be endured, and undergone.
It is others who are central in channeling the path of
frustration for what is not working. Now I want to emphasize
it is not "merely" intersubjective as the artifactual "worlds"
mediating experience are the conditions which lead to
frustration or being care free. Focusing on changing the
conditions that lead to the frustration is also a central
project but frustration is inevitable and unavoidable. When
undergoing foul frustration how one is met within this
experience is vital for how the child goes on.
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*Robert Lake Ed.D.
Social Foundations of Education
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/Democracy must be born anew in every generation, and education is its