“It seems surprising that the science of psychology has avoided the idea that many mental processes are social and historical in origin, or that important manifestations of human consciousness have been directly shaped by the basic practices of human activity and the actual forms of culture.”
—Vygotsky’s colleague Alexander Luria 1
Prevailing ideas hold that human psychology originates in the isolated individual. Whether determined by genes, stimulus-response conditioning, or computer-like data processing modules, the dominant schools of psychology assume a historically static, lone individual as the starting point for investigation. From the hardwired “caveman brain” of evolutionary psychology, to the manipulative “reward and punish” tactics of pop behaviorism, these psychological doctrines are generally pessimistic about the possibility of progressive human change and transformation.
Fortunately, there is a scientific alternative that progressives can advance. The past few decades have seen a renewed interest in the life and work of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934). Aspects of his work, most notably the “zone of proximal development” (ZPD), are now frequently taught within psychology, education, and special education programs (although applied only sporadically within today’s test-driven public schools). Although Vygotskian theory was conspicuously absent from my school psychology training program, when Vygotsky is taught, it is typically in piecemeal fashion, completely divorced from its revolutionary political roots. It would seem the Left has much to gain from examining and reestablishing this connection.
Perezhivanie as a word in the English language
The Russian language does not use definite or indefinite articles, so in appropriating a Russian word into the English language, and thereby giving perezhivanie an English meaning, the writer has to make a decision as to whether ‘perezhivanie’ is a countable noun or a mass noun. As a mass noun, it can be used in sentences like “Perezhivanie is the source of all personal development.” As a countable noun, it can be used in phrases like “A perezhivanie I had as a child changed my life,” or “The perezhivanie of being left on my own at such an age was traumatic,” or “Some perezhivanija have a profound effect on development.” We do not need John Dewey’s article “Having An Experience” to tell us that ‘an experience’ has a different meaning from ‘experience’. Every native English speaker knows this, except that very few English speakers indeed are consciously aware of the distinction between countable nouns and mass nouns; this is generally known only to experts in English grammar. Ordinary native English-speakers will become aware of the difference when the shop assistant, who is a Sikh, says “We have many equipments in this store”; even though the native English speaker will always use ‘equipment’ correctly, we do it without conscious awareness of the grammatical rule implicit in the usage. ‘Tool’ is a unit of equipment, ‘equipment’ is not a unit of anything. Given that the countable/mass distinction is absent from the Russian language and native English speakers are generally unaware of the distinction, it is not surprising that native Russian speakers will say things like “perezhivanie is unit of consciousness.” However, when a native English-speaker emulates this broken English they reveal that they do not understand the meaning of the word ‘unit’, which can only refer to a countable noun. It makes no difference if the neolog ‘experiencing’ is used instead of appropriating perezhivanie. As a neolog, ‘experiencing’ can be countable or mass according to its usage, and being simply a translation of perezhivanie, those who use it always use it as a mass noun thereby depriving the word ‘unit’ of its meaning – both the scientific sense in which Vygotsky used it, and the everyday sense. ‘Perezhivanie’ is a countable noun and its plural is ‘perezhivanija’. Perezhivanija are units of consciousness in Vygotsky’s theory. Leer más…
“Lenin renewed authentic Marxism not least by a recourse to the “core” of the Hegelian dialectic (“Contradiction is the root of all movement and life”) and to the selfsame Hegelian Logic…Thus it was precisely orthodox Marxism, restored by Lenin, which presupposed a knowledge of Hegel; as against a vulgar, traditionless, and schematic Marxism which, in isolating Marx — as if his thought emerged like a shot out of a pistol — isolated itself from Marx.”
Ernst Bloch (1962 , 382-83)
“He did not read or study Hegel seriously until 1914-15. Also, if one considers it objectively, one notices a great difference in tone and content between the Notebooks on the Dialectic and Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Lenin’s thought becomes supple, alive …in a word, dialectical. Lenin did not fully understand the dialectic until 1914, after the collapse of the International… Here we see the significance of the profound reticence of the Stalinists toward the Notebooks, who for a long time put them aside in favor of Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.”
Henri Lefebvre (1959, 85)
“The emphasis that Lenin put on “dialectic proper, as a philosophic science” separated him from all other post-Marx Marxists, not only up to the Russian Revolution but also after the conquest of power… What was most manifest of what he had gained from the 1914-15 Hegel studies was that the Hegelian dialectic needs to be studied “in and for itself”…That Lenin kept his direct encounter with the Hegelian dialectic — his Abstract of Hegel’s Science of Logic — to himself, however, shows the depth of the economist mire into which the whole Second International, and not just the German Social-Democracy, had sunk; revolutionaries stood on the same ground!”
Raya Dunayevskaya (1991 , 116)
El ideal (del gr. idea, prototipo) es una imagen que determina el modo de pensamiento y la actividad del hombre o de una clase social. La formación de los objetos naturales de conformidad con un ideal constituye la forma humana específica de actividad, pues supone la creación especial de una imagen del fin de esta actividad antes de su realización práctica.
El problema del ideal fue elaborado en la filosofía clásica alemana. Kant lo planteó, ante todo, en relación con el problema del “fin interior”.
En opinión de Kant, los fenómenos que carecen de un fin que pueda ser representado en la forma de una imagen, tampoco pueden tener un ideal. El único ser que actúa según un “fin interior” es el hombre. En el animal, la finalidad interior se realiza de un modo inconsciente y, por ello, no adquiere la forma de un ideal, de una imagen particular del fin.