Social Objects

Mead, George H. 1910. What Social Objects Must Psychology Presuppose? The Journal of Philosophy, Psyochology and Scientific Methods 7(7): 174-180.

There is a persistent tendency among present-day psychologists to use consciousness as the older rationalistic psychology used the soul. It is spoken as something that appears at a certain point, it is something into which the object of knowledge in some sense enter from without. It is conceived ta have certain functions - in the place of faculties. It is as completely separated from the physical body by doctrine of parallelism as the metaphysical body was separated from the metaphysical soul by their opposite qualities. (Mead 1910: 174)
I can dig it. Consciousness is used rather loosely even a century after these words were published. There seems to be a lack of concise definitions when it comes to consciousness. At any case at least Peirce can be trusted to have a somewhat well developed concept of consciousness that is not separated from the body (emotional and energetic interpretants involve the body).
Most of us admit the reality of the objects of direct physical experience until we are too deeply entangled in our psychological analyses of cognition. Unless we subject ourselves to the third degree of criticism, the parallelism of which we speak lies between the processes of brain tissues which can be seen and smelt and handled and the states of consciousness which are conditioned by them. While this admission guarantees the physical bodies of our fellows as equally real, the self is relegated to the restricted field of introspected consciousness and enjoys not the reality of a so-called external object, but only that of a combination of states of consciousness. Into the existence of those states of consciousness in another, we are solemnly told we can only inferentially enter by a process of analogy from the relations of our own introspected states and the movements of our bodies to the movements of other bodies and the hypothetical conscious states that should accompany them.. If we approach the self from within, our analysis recognizes, to be sure, its close relationship to, of not its identity with, the organization of consciousness, especially as seen in conation, in apperception, in valuntary attention, in conduct, but what can be isolated as self-consciousness as such reduces to a peculiar feeling of intimacy in certain conscious states, and the self gathers, for some unexplained reason, about a core of certain vague and seemingly unimportant organic sensations - a feeling of contraction in the brow, or in the throat, or goes out to the muscular innervations all over the body which are not involved directly in what we are doing or perceiving. And yet when we proceed introspectively tho whole field of consciousness is ascribed to this self, for it is only in so far as we are self-conscious that we can introspect at all. (Mead 1910: 175)
"A particular feeling of intimacy" involved in these feedback processes are intimate because they cannot possibly be available to anyone else. When someone notices my eyebrow raising, s/he can only infer that I am conscious or aware of this (I may as well not be at the time) but only I can feel what it is like to raise my own eyebrow. Mead seems to suggest that this is only one type of consciousness which is intimately tied to the self. But surely there are other types of consciousness which are social?
The contribution that I wish to suggest toward the recognition of the given character of other selves is from psychology itsolf, and arises out of the psychological theory of the origin of language and its relation to meaning.
This theory, as you know, has been considerably advanced by Wundt's formulation of the relation of language to gesture. From this point of view language in its earliest form comes under that group of movements which, since Darwin, have been called expressions of the emotions. They fall into classes which have been regarded as without essential connection. Either they are elements - mainly preparatory - beginnings of acts - social octs, i. e., actions and reactions which arise under the stimulation of other individuals, such as clenching the fists, grinding the teeth, assuming an attitude of defense - or else they are regarded as ouflows of nervous energy which sluice off the nervous excitement or reinforce and prepare indirectly for action. Such gestures, if we may use the term in this generalized sense, act as stimuli to other forms which are already under social stimulation. (Mead 1910: 177)
Thus, Mead relied not only on Wundt but on Darwin, and his general term "gesture" stems from early nonverbal communication discourse.
Gestures then are already significant in the sense that they are stimuli to performed reactions, before they come to have significance of conscious meaning. Allow me to emphasize further the value of attitudes and the indications of organized preparation for conduct, especially in the change of the muscles of the countenance, the altered breathing, the quivering of tense muscles, the evidence of circulatory changes, in such minutely adapted social groups, because among these socially significant innervations will be found all these queer organic sensations about which the consciousness of the self is supposed to gather as a core. (Mead 1910: 178)
Alas, Mead explicitly relates bodily changes to the concept of self.
Human conduct is distinguished primarily from animal conduct by that increase in inhibition which is essential phase of voluntary attention, and increased inhibition means an increase in gesture in the signs of activities which are not carried out; in the assumptions of attitudes whose values in conduct fail to get complete expression. If we recognize language as a differentiation of gesture, the conduct of no other form can compare with that of man in the abundance of gesture. (Mead 1910: 178)
It seems that self-control was for Mead the primary differentiation between the conduct of man and animals. Man inhibits itself more and produces more significant gestures.
The fundamental importance of gesture lies in the development of the consciousness of meaning - in reflective consciousness. As long as one individual responds simply to the festure of another by the appropriate response, there is no necesseary consciousness of meaning. The situation is still on a level of that of two growling dogs walking around each other, with tense limbs, bristly hair, and uncovered teeth. It is not until an image arises of the response, which the gesture of one form will bring out in another, that a consciousness of meaning [a title] can attach to his own gesture. The meaning can appear only in imaging the consequence of the gesture. To cry out in fear is an immediate instinctive act, but no scream with an image of another individual turning an attentive ear, taking on a sympathetic expression and an attitude of coming to help, is at least a favorable condition for the development of a consciousness of meaning. (Mead 1910: 178)
I wonder if "a consciousness of meaning" could by a synonym for semiosis...

Cresswell, James and Ulrich Teucher 2011. The body and language: M.M. Bakhtin on ontogenetic development. New Ideas in Psychology 29: 106-118.

Wertsch argues that there are no aspects of higher mental functions (e.g. volitional solf-control, logical memory, and thinking; 1985, pp. 61-65, 188 2007, pp. 178-181) that emerge solely from the biology of self-contained autonomous agents. This is because language and culture were taken to mediate all action in Wertsch's view (1985, pp. 26-26). (Cresswell & Teucher 2011: 106)
At first sight this seems like a simple crypto-constructionist viewpoint. But the general statement about mediaton raises some questions. Are there really no actions that are not mediated by language and culture? What does "mediate" signify in this context?
In Wertsch's view, mediation is central, giving language a central role (Wertsch, 2007). Mediation meant that whatever biological influences exist on human development, they were treated as shaped through meaning systems - especially langugae - as soon as an infant began to acquire these meaning systems. As such, higher mentas functions were treated as linguistically mediated. (Cresswell & Teucher 2011: 106)
Ah, so it is similar to the philosophical metaphor that man lives in a house of language. That is, when he wants to go to the back-yard to smell the roses, he has to first go through the mediation of the house of language, given that the back-yard and rose-garden are built with a special consideration towards the house. In Ekman and Friesen's account of facial expressions, human affect is indeed shaped by cultural "display rules" which are sometimes taught by way of example/demonstration but sometimes taught or reinforced by language (explanations, suggestions).
While we agree with Wertsch that language plays a central role in human development and that a broader sociocultural view of development is necessary, we will show that a different sociocultural view of development is possible. In particular, we will suggest that Wertsch tends to neglect the role of the body, that is, lived experience. One author refers to this lived experience as "...the kind of active, engaged experience we have of the world throughout the course of our everyday life: hearing the toll of a campus bell, seeing the smile of a friendly face, grasping a coffee mug by the handle and bringing it to one's mouth to sip." (Kelly, 2003, p. 114, emphasis added). Müller and Newman (2008) also explain how this strain of phenomenology describes how lived experience "helps to constitute this world-as -experienced. We cannot understand the meaning and form of objects without reference to the bodily powers through which we engage them - our senses, motility, and desires." (p. 320). When we refer to experience, the body, or embodiment in this paper, we mean to use them in this sense of the phenomenological immediacy of lived experience. We will suggest that this body-as-lived-experinece is neglected in Wertsch's work due to the way that mediation is addressed. (Cresswell & Teucher 2011: 107)
In the previous article, Mead argued for the place of the nonverbal in talk of consciousness and the self. Here the authors seem to be arguing for the place of the nonverbal in human development. I think this aspect may be missing from Wertsch who relies on Bahtin because Bahtin himself neglected it vicariously. I've read two chapters from his book on Dostoevsky and he has yet to mention the fact that Dostoevsky's characters have bodies. It is as if he correctly identified the planes of ideology, psychology and phraseology, but did not conceive the plane of the body (what I term concursivity).
We realize that it is possible to treat language as a super-organic entity that "uses" people. A full treatment of this topic lies beyond the scope of the paper but the topic does need a brief comment. We do not think that this option ois possible because language only exists in its enacted use and has no ontological presence apart from its actual use. Thereby, it cannot stand beyond people as a super-organic entity that uses them as puppets. (Cresswell & Teucher 2011: 111; footnote 3)
I'm approaching this very same problem in relation with culture (as a super-organic entity sensu Lotman). The thought that "culture 'uses' people" had not crossed my mind, though an analogy could be drawn with the genetic/memetic theory, i.e. Dawkins's classic book which I have yet to read, and Kull's comparison of memes and texts.
The child receives all initial determinations of himself and of his body from his mother's lips and from the lips of those close to him. ... they are the words that for the first time determine his personality from outside, the words that come to meet his indistinct inner sensation of himself, giving it form and a name in which, for the first time, he finds himself and becomes aware of himself as a something. (Bahtin 1990/c.1920, pp. 39-40, original emphasis).
From Art and answerability: Early philosophical essays. This could be a title, perhaps even the first one, in A Nonverbalist's Sketchbook (of obscure and abstruse theories / of bodily behaviour and culture). "The NONVERBALIST is a name in which, for the first time, I find myself and become aware of myself as a something."
Scheler claimed that the socialization of personal experience comes through what he called the "vital consciousness". Vital consciousness referred to the way that we have an embodied style of being that we naturally enact without a second thought. Vital consciousness was socially constituted because it belonged to the plane of embodied participation in life with others. Scheler argued that it is in movement/expressions of the socially constituted vital consciousness in which perception, whether self-perception or otherwise, is enacted. For example, ho noted how we perceive shame in the blushing that we have learned through participating in a community where blushing is enacted at normatively appropriate instances (Scheler, 1970, p. 10). Scheler was arguing that children initially perceive themselves from within the flow of experience of life with others; as opposed to perceiving ourselves through mediational tools when vocabulary begins to be acquired.
We suggest that Scheler's (1970/1913) notion of vital consciousness was re-expressed in Bakhtin's equivalent notion of the "action-performing consciousness" (1990/c.1920) "participative consciousness" (1993/c.1920). We make this claim based on parallels between these notions and Scheler's wital consciousness. About action-performing consciousness, Bakhtin writes
all that which is given, present on hand, already realized and available - recedes, as such, into the background of the action-performing consciousness. This consciousness is directed towards a goal, and the given course followed in performing the action as well as the means of achieving the goal are both experienced from within (1990/c.1920, p. 43, emphasis added)
This quote is a phenomenological description of how we often act by way of a deeply embodied emotional-volitional disposition that is not in focal awareness. (Cresswell & Teucher 2011: 113)
It almost seems like this "vital consciousness" (from The nature of sympathy) in a proto-nonverbalist attempt to capture the consciousness of "body language" - e.g. the blush, the twitch, the gesture, the facial expression, etc. [LV: tegevusteadvus] On the other hand, Bakhtin's action-performing consciousness vaguely reminds me of Peirce's phaneroscopy. I am currently unable to discriminate the reason.

Mead, George H. 1912. The Mechanism of Social Consciousness. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 9(15): 401-406.

A physical object or percept is a construct in which the sensuous stimulation is merged with imagery which comes from past experience. This imagery on the cognitive side is that which the immediate sensuous quality stands for, and in so far satisfies the mind. The reason for this satisfaction is found in the fact that this imagery arises from past experience of the result of an act which this stimulus has set going. Thus the wall as a visual stimulus tends to set free the impulse to move toward it and push against it. The perception of the wall as distant and hard and rough is related to the visual experience as response to stimulation. A peculiar stimulus value stands for a certain response value. A percept is a collapsed act in which the result of the act to which the stimulus incites is represented by imagery of the experience of past acts of a like nature. (Mead 1912: 401)
A very rough transition to American behaviorist lingo. Despite the rootedness in behaviorism this calls forth semiological contentions: that a signifier/stimulus-value stands for a signified/response-value. There is also a peculiar form of habit formation in the mix. Thus, in a crude Peircean reading, a percept is "a collapsed act" in the sense of semiosis (or sign-activity), the result of which is another sign - here a response (say, an emotional, energetic or logical interpretant), which is linked to past signs (imagery) of the same type. E.g. instead of forks and knives I am given a pair of chopsticks and due to previous experience with these contrivances, I know what they are for and how to handle them. That is to say, the perception of chopsticks calls forth imagery of using chopsticks for eating something (because we are here dealing with instruments). This same logic could be applied to nonverbal communication: I perceive a certain facial expression and this incites cognitive imagery of past occurrences of similar facial expressions and, hopefully, some insight into what the facial expression may imply in terms of future actions. This is a functionalist idea, but (at least lengthier, "mood" type) facial expressions reaches both to past and the future: it indicates to a series of unknown events in the past that brought on the expression and predict the emotionas-energetic course of a conversation or activity. At least this would be the case in relationships wherein each has "the experience of past acts of a like nature" of the other(s).
It is of course true that a man is a physical object to the perception of another man, and as really as is a tree or a stone. But a man is more than a physical object, and it is this more which constitutes him a social object or self, and it is this self which is related to that peculiar conduct which may be termed social conduct. (Mead 1912: 402)
Very generally, what distinguisdes a physical object from a person is a self. Taken in isolation, Mead's conception here is so general that if robots/machines/whatever had "social conduct," they would also have selves.
Most social stimulation is fould in the beginnings or early stages of social acts which serve as stimuli to other forms whom these acts would affect. This is the field of gestures, which reveal the motor attitude of a form in its relation to others; an attitude which psychologists have conceived of as predominantly emotional, though it is emotional only in so far as an ongoing act is inhibited. That certain of these early indications of an incipient acts have persisted, while the rest of the act has been largely suppressed or has lost its original value, e. g., the baring of the teeth or the lifting of the nostrils, is true, and the explanation can most readily be found in the social value which such indications have acquired. It is an error, however, to overlook the relation which these truncated acts have assumed toward other forms of reactions which complete them as really as the original acts, or to forget that they occupy but a small part of the whole field of gesture by means of which we are apprised of the reactions of others toward ourselves. The expressions of the face and the attitudes of the body have the same functional value for us that the beginnings of hostility have for two dogs, who are maneuvering for an opening to attack. (Mead 1912: 402)
Mead sure is fond of the fighting dog example. I am currentyl extremely interested in the notion of attitude as Mead uses this word. I detest "attitude psychology" sensu Mehrabian (1972), Fishbein & Ajzen (1975), etc. but "motor attitude" in Meads sense seems to constitute an impression of behaviour, rather than the formers definition of attitude as a "predisposition to behave" (1975: 11-12). Motor attitudes seem rather like a manner of walking or posing when interpreted as an insignificant gesture.
"The social value which such indications have acquired" may very well be the object of concursive study, as fictional literature is riddled with casual explanations and applications of the "social value" of gestures. And the apprisal "of the reactions of others toward ourselves" seems to fall in line with the Goffmanian trad - it is the alter sense: how I behave in a conversation reflects the way I feel about my conversation partner(s). Now that I think about it, Goffman's triad may also be compatible with Peirce's triad (note: I was in doubt how to spell "compatible" and turned to JJA with Ctrl+F, to find the only token of this word in Goffman's Presentation; a curiosity for the freudian associationist). That is, in a goffmanian-peircean dramaturgical phenomenology (haha): Firstness would involve the information about how the actor's social attributes and his conception of himself; Secondness would involve -.- of others present; and Thirdness -.- of the setting/situation/interaction (generally).
The field of gesture does not simply relate the individual to other individuals as physical objects, but puts him en rapport with their actions, which are as yet only indicated, and arouses instinctive reactions appropriate to these social activities. The social response of one individual, furthermore, introduces a further complication. The attitude assumed in response to the attitude of another becomes a stimulus to him to change his attitude, thus leading to that conversation of attitudes which is so vividly illustrated in the early stages of a dog fight. We seet he same process in courting and mating, and in the fondling of young forms by the mother, and finally in much of the play of young animals. (Mead 1912: 402)
Indeed if one does not read Mead himself then it might pass unnoticed that besides the conversation of gestures Mead also noted the conversation of attitudes, which for me seem to precipitate Charles Morris's distinction between communication and communization. That is, the conversation of attitudes could most likely be thought of as "emotional attunement."
It has been recognized for some time that speech belongs in its beginning, at least, to this same field of gesture, so-called vocal gesture. Originally indicating the preparation for violent action, which arises from a sudden change of breathing and circulation rhythms, the articulate sounds have come to elaborate and immensely complicate this conversation of attitudes by which social forms so adjust themselves to each other's anticipated action that they may act appropriately with reference to each other. (Mead 1912: 402-403)
This is by far the weirdest theory of the origin of language I have read. What is ever weirder is that is seems to make sense, although the fact that this is the first time I'm reading about it may mean that this theory has long been forsaken. In any case, even metaphorically, it may prove useful for theorizing "the violence of communication," e.g. how "the language band" is compulsive and coercive.
Articulate sounds have still another most imortant result. While one feels but imperfectly the value of his own facial expression or bodily attitude for another, his ear revears to him his own vocal gesture in the same form that is assumes to his neighbor. One shakes his fist primarily only at another, while he talks to himself as really as he talks to his vis-a-vis. (Mead 1912: 403)
This is not of course completely true, at least not "the same form" aspect, as speech appears to oneself differently (more fully) than to other listeners (e.g. bone conduction and channel noise). But this difference between the verbal and nonverbal is important for quite another meadian notion:
It is highly probable that lower animals never reach any such objective reference of what we term subjective experiences to selves, and the question presents itself - what is there in human social conduct that gives rise to a "me," a self which is an object! Why does the human animal transfer the form of a social object from his environment to an inner experience?
The answer to the question indicated in the statement of vocal gesture. Certainly the fact that the human animal can stimulate himself as he stimulates others and can respond to his stimulations as he responds to the stimulations of others, places in his conduct the form of a social object out of which may arise a "me" to which can be referred so-called subjective experience. (Mead 1912: 405)
That is, it is quite easy to become "a social object" to oneself vocally - one need only open one's mouth and speak - and the self is there to listen! But humans have become "bodily social objects" to themselves only lately: although there are natural mirrors (such as a calm water) and mad-made mirrors presumably have a long history, it is only with the advent of photography and videography that humans have had the chance to view themselves as externalized as they do others. This may be the rationalization behind the 20th and 21th century interest in "body language" - we have finally achieved the means to see ourselves from another perspective with practically instant feedback. That is to say, our bodies have become social objects for ourselves. Mead puts it eloquently:
Any gesture by which the individual can himself be affected as others are affected, and which therefore tends to call out in him a response as it would call it out in another, will serve as a mechanism for the construction of a self. That, hawever, a consciousness of a self as an object would ever have arisen in man if he had not had the mechanism of talking to himself, I think there is every reason to doubt. (Mead 1912: 405)
And I think that myspace/rate.ee/facebook pictures, webcams and other suchlike mechanisms have added not only bodily appearance but bodily behaviour to the long list of mechanisms "for the construction of a self," mechanisms which make us (self-)conscious of aspects that otherwise would remain hidden or only available by linguistic or artistic mediation.
Through the organization of this object, the self, this material is itself organized ond brought under the control of the individual in the form of so-called self-consciousness. (Mead 1912: 405)
After the "body turn" (when "body language" became public knowledge in the 1970s), people have become ever more self-conscious of their expressive bodily behaviour. / Sellest seisukohast oleks huvitav uurida nö "peeglinäo" effekti ehk seda kuidas inimeste näod nähtavalt muutuvad kui nad teadlikult vaatavad peeglisse. Seda saaks isegi väga lihtsalt järgi kontrollida empiiriliselt - sooritada katse milles tüdrukud nt meigivad ennast peegli ees ja kaamera jäädvustab seda kuidas nt kulmud tõusevad iga kord kui tüdruk peeglisse vaatab ja "head nägu" teeb. Selles mõttes on vahetu kogemus kulmude tõusmisest minu ehk isiklik (I) ja see mis on peeglist endale ja niisama teistele näha on mina (me). [LV: ühisasi (social object)].

Cresswell, James and Allison Hawn 2012. Drawing on Bakhtin and Goffman: Toward an Epistemology that Makes Lived Experience Visible. Forum: Qualitative Social Research 13(1), Art. 20.

When he [Bakhtin] wrote about "worldwide wholeness," we propose that this later work was drawn on the part-whole dialectic that marks hermeneutics (BAKHTIN 1986b [1979], p. 145). What he likely meant by such "wholeness" can be seen in later writings where he wrote comments such as:
"Each tekt presupposes a generally understood (that is, conventional within a collective) system of signs, a language (if only the language of art). If there is no language behind the text, it is not a text, but a natural (not signifying) phenomenon, for example, a complex of natural cries and moans devoid of any linguistic (signifying repeatability). ... And so behind each text stands a language system. Everything in the text that is repeated and reproduced, everything repeatable and reproducible, everything that can be given outside a given tekt (the given) conforms to this language system. But at the same time each text (as an utterance) is individual, unique, and unrepeatable ..." (1986c [1979], p. 105; emphasis added). [12]
Each utterance is bound to wider language systems. To express an utterance is to invoke the whole background of communal practices insofar as an utterance carries with it the repertoire of expressions used in a community. For example, to speakn in the jargon of a professional community, using an acronym that they use, involves background experience and technical jargon in which the acronym is situated. It is situated in this background language system in the way that the acronym involves other unexpressed terms and web of discourse in which it is situated. It is our intention to eventually illuminate how this language system involves a broad notion of language that includes socio-linguistically constituted embodied experiences that constitute lived realities. (Cresswell & Hawn 2012: 5)
It is quite possible that "worldwide wholeness" was an inspiration for Lotman's semiosphere; the underlying hermeneutic principle seems similar. The quoted definition of the text is useful - in my first article I struggled to reproduce something to this effect. / On a critical note, this article seems to embody everything I hate about modern scientific writing: the PDF lacks page numbers so I can't quote something directly (the number 5 in this case signifies the arbitrary page in the PDF, which could just as well change with the font size); the text is riddled with lengthy quotes which are used again and again by the same author in different articles; and the "original" parts of the texts are not very continuous with the quotes but veer off into some arbitrary quip, much like in this here blog (but what is proper for a blog should not be proper for an article). I appreciate the fact that online journals are catching on and we may yet witness a warldwide wholeness of science, but (I believe that) the quality of qualitative science has seriously deteriorated with the advent of word processing (I hypothesize that old texts are partly so good because they were drafted, often handwritten and re-written with a typing machine, producing a superior quality text).
It ostensibly looks like BAKHTIN was making a transition at the end of his life: a transition from interpreting art to human action. It is not the case that such a transition marks a shift from one domain of inquiry to another. BAKHTIN scholars have noted that he addressed human action in the same terms as art (e.g. MORSON & EMERSON, 1990, p. 187) and that the discussion of art was a common mode of doing social science among Russian intelligentsia (e.g. EMERSON, 1997). (Cresswell & Hawn 2012: 7)
I do detest the lingo of logic ("it is not the case that...") but I concur with the observation that Soviet academics had to study human behaviour by mediation (either through linguistics, poetics, aesthetics or philology), because to study it directly would be to enter the ideologically compromised field where Marxism/Leninism dominated. Even Estonian psychiatrists (e.g. Jüri Saarma) had to speak of manual labour and relationships of production to approach human behaviour in a roundabout way. / Sellest, kuidas biosfääri, tehnosfääri, psühhosfääri ühendada semiosfääri ja käitumissfääriga, tuleks kirjutada. Meelespea: kontrolli kärgi, kas J. Saarma avaldas midagi inglise keeles! / Cresswell seems to be a prolific writer, but only insofar as he follows a very simplistic formula - he just compares Bakhtin's ideas very vaguely to the ideas of different popular authors (Wertsch and Scheler in the previous article, Goffman here, and within the first third of this article he has already threatened to do the same with Merleau-Ponty and then Husserl). Not thah there's anything wrong with bakhtinianism, but it is beginning to look more like a cult of personality that scientific work.
There are portions where tehy do not resonate with and they are foreign. As we move with aesthetic expression like moving through a poem, we mave in and out of the familiarity of tacit livedness. At the points where we do not resonate with a poem, we are "outside" of it in the sense that we are not participating in the expression of language systems at the moment. (Cresswell & Hawn 2012: 10)
This characterizes my "nonverbalist reading" of (at this point every kind of) literature: with texts that are "purified" of references to bodies or behaviour, or don't at all mention anything remotely related to nonverbal communication, I lose attention and begin skimming the text. It is a bad habit but I cannot help it - I have my own agenda and I am sure that one learns most effectively when one is interested in the topic under discussion. Reading articles on nonverbal communication I hang on every word, but this is also the reason why I don't read those articles very much - it is tiring to have an avalanche of ideas with every sentence. Also, the "in and out" nature of thought reminds me of a Peircean contention that "one's mental life is a continuous process of sign generation and interpretation, and the continuous interpretation of earlier thought­signs gives one's thinking the structure of a dialogue wherein a person at an earlier time engages in cognition that she herself understands at a later time" (Lane 2009: 3).
As a sidenote: I'm listening to a band named Phonetic Composition and these lyrics resonated with me: "I read books but I don't remember the info." The function of this here blog is to remember the info from the books I read without attempting to achieve the impossible and memorize all of this on my own. [Pea ei ole prügikast.].

Mead, George H. 1913. The Social Self. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 10(14): 374-380.

RECOGNIZING that the self can not appear in consciousness as an "I," that it is always an object, i. e., a "me," I wish to suggest an answer to the question, What is involved in the self being an object? The first answer may be that an object involves a subject. Stated in other words, that a "me" is inconceivable without an "I." And to this reply must be made that such an "I" is a presupposition, but never a presentation of conscious experience, for the moment it is presented it has passed into the objective case, presuming, if you like, an "I" that observes - but an "I" that can disclose himself only by ceasing to be the subject for whom the object "me" exists. (Mead 1913: 374)
This is reminiscent of Peirce's repulsion towards introspection, contending that strictly speaking there is no such phenomena, as thoughts cannot be caught mid-flight, only their results can be investigated. In terms of bodily behaviour the matter seems similar: I may notice my own behaviour but it is "me" that behaved, not "I." In self-observation, the self is simultaneously a subject and an object, however murky these notions may be. Mead reaches this Peircean contention in the end of the paragraph: "we can be conscious of our acts only through the sensory process set up after the act has begun" (ibid.).
On the other hand, the stuff that goes to make up the "me" whom the "I" addresses and whom he observes, is the experience which is induced by this action oy the "I." If the "I" speaks, the "me" hears. If the "I" strikes, the "me" feels the blow. Here again the "me" consciousness is of the same character as that which arises from the action of the other upon him. That is, it is only as the individual finds himself acting with reference to himself as he acts towards others, that he becomes a subject to himself rather than an object, and only as he is affected by his own social conduct in the manner in which he is affected by that of others, that he becomes an object to his own social conduct. (Mead 1913: 375)
In every further article Mead seems to develop his conceptions towards more refined ones. It is indeed the case that he redefines his ideas again and again, although a certain consistency prevails. Now I'm wondering if "A subject to oneself" could be a title for discussion of self-communication or self-observation.
It is needless, in view of the analysis of Baldwin, of Royce and of Cooley and many others, to do more than indicate that these reactions arise earlier in our social conduct with others than in introspective self-consciousness, i. e., that the infant consciously calls the attention of others before he calls his own attention by affecting himself and that he is consciously affected by others before he is conscious of being affected by himself. (Mead 1913: 375)
He talked about something similar in the previous article - that alter-awareness precedes self-awareness. It also makes sense as an aspect of auto-ethnography that if one wishes to become aware of one's own behaviour it is useful to be aware of the others' behaviour; simply because others respond to one's behaviour more readily than one can react to one's own behaviour (i.e. you see me better than I see myself). A variation of this was put forth or quoted by the Sebeks in discussing the clever Hans effect: that chimpanzees read human behaviour better than humans do, thus it is a good idea to look at the animal's behaviour to learn something about oneself.
It is this "awareness" which has led many to assume that it is the nature of the self to be conscious both of subject and of object - to be subject of action toward an object world and at the same time to be directly conscious of this subject as subject, - "Thinking its non-existence along with whatever else it thinks." Now, as Professor James pointed out, this consciousness is more logically conceived of as sciousness - the thinker being an implication rather than a content, while the "me" is but a bit of object content within the stream of sciousness. However, this logical statement does not do justice to the findings of consciousness. (Mead 1913: 376)
Whoa, my jargon sense is tingling. [žargoonibõuner?] Too bad I have little sense at his moment of what "sciousness" could signify, much less of how to translate it. But I shall try nevertheless. [LV: teavus]
The self acts with reference to others and is immediately conscious of the objects about it. In memory it also redintegrates [sic] the self acting as well as the others acted upon. But besides these contents, the action with reference to the others calls out responses in the individual himself - there is then another "me" criticizing, approving, and suggesting, and consciously planning, i. e., the reflective self. (Mead 1913: 376)
This passage seems to be the pinnacle of Mead's theory of the self, although surely this is only one version of possibly endless series of attempts to define the "self" performed by Mead, inspired by Mead and inspired by those who have been inspired by Mead and so on.
It is also to be noted that this response to the social conduct of the self may be in the role of another - we present his arguments in imagination and do it with his intonations and gestures and even perhaps with his facial expression. In this way we play the roles of all our group; indeed, it is only in so far as we do this that they become part of our social environment - to be aware of another self as a self implies that we have playe his role or that of another with whose type we identify him for purposes of intercourse. The inner response to our reaction to others is therefore as varied as is our social environment. Not that we assume the roles of others toward ourselves because we are subject to a mere imitative instinct [a title], but because in responding to ourselves we are in nature of the case taking the attitude of another than the self that is directly acting, and into this reaction there naturally flows the memory images of the responses of those about us, the memory images of those responses of others which were in answer to like actions. (Mead 1913: 377)
And finally Mead remarks upon mimesis, mirroring, synchrony, isopraxism, etc. terming it with a title - a mere imitative instinct; presumably "mere" because our "lower" primate relatives are best known for their "aping" and naturally we humans have an inborn propensity to imitate as well. / Eno ütles hästi, kuigi ma ei mäleta täpseid sõnu, et samu väljendeid kasutatakse selleks, et üksteisele meelehead teha. See on nagu: "vaata me oleme sarnased ja/või mõtleme sarnaselt!"
As a mere organization of habit the self is not self-conscious. It is the self which we refer to as character. When, however, an essential problem appears, there is some disintegration in this organization, and different tendencies appear in reflective thought as different voices in conflict with each other. In a sense the old self has disintegrated, and out of the moral process a new self arises. (Mead 1913: 378)
Reminiscent of Berger and Luckmann's "problematic situation" wherein the habitual reality is thrown asunder until some balance or harmony or routine can again be established (here, for Mead, instead of a new routine there appears a new self).

Bethea, David M. 1997. Bakhtinian Prosaics versus Lotmanian "Poetic Thinking": The Code and Its Relation to Literary Biography. The Slavic and East European Journal 41(1): 1-15.

The purpose of the present contribution to a discussion of "prosaics" is modest. In the first part of the essay I will try to show how Lotman learned from Bakhtin in the 1980, adapting the latter's "dialogism" (in its various incarnations) to open up the more mechanical structural-semiotic "modelling systems" made famous in the works of the Moscow-Tartu School of the 1960s and 1970e. This shift in Lotman has been duly noted by several commentators. What has not been noted, however, is the potentially positive or "energy-releasing" aspects of the one concept Bakhtin found most "closed" and "deadening" abut structural analysis - the so-called code, which stood to a given text or cultural moment as the Saussurean langue stood to the parole of individual utterance. My main interest in this first part is simply to demonstrate that, while Lotman learned from Bakhtin and thus under the power of the latter's arguments was able, as it were, organicize and "soften up" the harder edges of the structuralist-semiotic worldview, he still remained very much his own thinker, and he did so precisely in this area of the creative potential in what might be termed "code wrestling." In this, as I will suggest, Lotman remained true to the genres and the literary period he began with and was our greatest pioneer in (re)discovering - Russian poetry and poetic consciousness of the Karamzis-Pushkin era. Lotman emerges then as the antipode to Bakhtin, our greatest theorist of the novel and of the novelistic consciousness associated with Dostoevskii and (by Bakhtin's distinguished students) Tolstoi. And the divide, crudely put, between these two thinkers rises up over their orientations, positive and negative respectively, toward the catogories of "code," "model," "structure." (Bethea 1997: 1-2)
Finally a modest article with a great introduction. I tend to fall in line with Bakhti with respect to the notion of "code" - I see it in the sense of Martin Joos as an "ahistorical language," but I feel the theoretical potential of this notion to be too explosive and slippery when it comes to nonverbal communication. At best I can agree with the notion of "body code" to designate (critically, for that matter) the "popular semiotics of gesture" (i.e. pseudo-scientific body language discourse sensu Pease & Pease (2007) or Julius Fast). I get that code, model and structure (perhaps the latter not so much) came to Lotman from cybernetics, which is generally quite pleasant (I enjoy the familiar feel it has for me because of my background in IT), but a bit outdated to apply today without seeming to do mere historical overview.
By discussing these matters in a language that itself was simpler, more direct, and at the same time more metaphorical, expressive, and multiply coded than the metalanguage of the semiotician, Lotman was taking a risk, but one he could not apparetly in good conscience avoid. He was, courageously, testing the limits of his own codes and sense of generic propriety (the scholar/scientist who has the right only to reconstruct faithfully, but not to invent). (Bethea 1997: 3)
Makes me wonder whether my own projects - nonverbalism, semiophrenia and concursivity - are reconstructions or inventions. Frankly I am not sure. They were not borne out of the blue, but came to me while reading various authors and getting the impression that there is a whole lot of interesting something out there that does not yet have a name. Nonverbalism is not my own invention; concursivity is merely a label for something that has been practiced explicitly for decades and implicitly for at least half a century; and semiophrenia is as of yet without a clear definition, the term itself seems to capture something that otherwise eludes me, perhaps it is the professional disease of the semiotician, perhaps it is merely pansemiotics in disguise, in which case it reaches back at least a century until Peirce? In any case I feel as if I am, to quote a pragmatist, using new words to talk about something old.
My point here is simply that, to use the same metaphor, Lotman could "loosen up," "organicize" his original Saussurean stance, which he did in the late 1970s and especially in the 1980s, whereas Bakhtin, who saw semiotics as only interested in the "transmission of a ready-made message with the help of a ready-made code" ("Iz zapisei" 352; my emphasis - DMB), could not see a reason for "tightening up" his. Bakhtin could not move - paradoxically, the "maximalism" of his dialogism would not permit it - from the position that "In living speech the message, strictly speaking, is created in the process of communication, and so, in essence, there is no code" ("Iz zapisei" 352; my emphasis - DMB). But Lotman could move, and the reason why is a tantalizing imponderable. It is to this move that we now turn in the second part of the essay. (Bethea 1997: 5)
"A tantalizing imponderable" fits perfectly as a title for discussing the mystery of Lotman. It is funny how sometimes these titles come with ready-made content/subject/topic and one needs only pick it up, look at it from several angles and voila, a point of discussion is born. The author elaborates what he means by "a tantalizing imponderable":
Perhaps because he never doubted the fundamental ("scientific") truth of the Saussurean oppositions? Perhaps because these first truths belonged to Saussure and to science "in general," and so their refinement oven time was natural and expected (Lotman was apparently not threatened with the loss of intellectial "copyrights," whereas Bakhtin, who was not possessive with redagards to his own "authorship," could not imagine his own thought developing outside its origital dialogic framework)? In fairness to Bakhtin, however, it needs to be stressed that his critical comments about semiotics and Lotman come in random notes he wrote near the end of his life and may never have intended to publish. (Bethea 1997: 12; note 7)
One could argue that to note is already to publish. At least today there seems to be very little difference between a facebook comment, a blog post and a scientific publication; or is it just my imagination?
Then he [Lotman] proceeds - in a way that is never made so explicit in the Russian edition - to explain the challenge he set himself in writing such a biography: he was trying to show the human, personal (as in lichnoe, lichnost') element in the science of semiotics.
I have come to hear more than once that semiotic research, by occupying itself with the analysis of texts, loses sight of the complexity of the living human personality [zhivaia chelovecheskaia lichnost']. History, say the opponents of semiotics, is the history of people, and not of texts and codes. And it is precisely this - the human - aspect of history that remains, in their opinion, outside the possibilities of semiotic research. ("Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin" 85)
This is the bias that Lotman is trying to overturn by telling Pushkin's story: "social man" or the "man mixing with others" (obshchaiushchiisia chelovek) is also, whether we like the scientific pretensions of the language or not, "semiotic man" (semioticheskii chelovek). But the humanizing element in this scientific approach comes through the presence of dialogue, and here Lotman must have known for certain that his words has a definite Bakhtinian ring to them: "The life of man is a continuous dialogue with those around him and with himself, and it can be examined according to the laws of the dialogic text" ("Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin" 86). (Bethea 1997: 6)
It may be my naivete speaking, by all I see here is semiophrenia, very much in accord with Peirce's man≈sign equation...
"The difference [between 'routine behavior' and 'signifying activity' - DMB] is essential: individuals do not select routine behavior but rather acquire it from their society, from the historical period in which they live or from their psychological or physiological makeup; there is no alternative to it. Signifying behavior, on the contrary, is always the result of choice. It always involves individuals' free activity, their choice of the language they will use in their relations with society" (Lotman, "The Decemberist" 129; Izbrannye stat't I:321). (Bethea 1997: 13; note 12)
This viewpoint differs markedly from Peirce's notions of habit (routine behavior) and semiosis (signifying activity), but the two may be reconciliated with some effort. I am - at the moment at least - too ignorant to attempt this.

Leidner, Bernard, Hammad Sheikh and Jeremy Ginges 2012. Affective Dimensions of Intergroup Humiliation. PLoS ONE 7(9): e46375.

Which emotional state would you most dislike to experience yourself or to invoke in another person: anger, sadness, shame, or humiliation? We imagine that the feeling of a humiliation would top the list for most readers. Humiliation, derived from the Latin humiliatus (made to lose self-respect) appears to have a strong aversive quality and to be significant across cultures; words that literally translate into the English "humiliation" and have the same connotation of lowering of status are found in languages as distinct as Hebrew, Polish, German, Hindi, Chinese and Urdu. Humiliation has been assumed to explain a variety of negative interpersonal and intergroup behaviors such as school related difficulties [1], psychological disorders [2-4], maritas discord [5], domestic violence [6], poverty [7}, as well as intergroup conflict and violence [8-18]. Despite its apparent real world importance across cultures, there is a paucity of empirical research into the experience of humiliation [19-20]. (Leidner et al. 2012: 1)
For me it is relevant that the authors correctly use the notion of "emotional state" instead of "emotional expression." This is relevant because "state" seems to belong to psychology proper and "expression" to semiotics or even nonverbalism. Alandus pärineb etümoloogiliselt ladinakeelsest sõnast humiliatus (enese-austust kaotama) ja kannab paljudes keeltes staatuse langetamise konnotatsiooni. Ka eesti keeles on "alandamisel" staatuse "alandamise" ja võib-olla isegi "alla-andmise" (enese-austuse täieliku kaotamise) konnotatsioon [LV: kaastähendus; vs denotatsioon kui otsetähendus). Alandamine on seotud (mulle hetkel kõige olulisemalt) (kooli-) raskustega, vaimsete häirete, (kodu-) vägivalla, vaesuse ja konfliktiga. Alandus on oluline negatiivne psühholoogiline nähtus.
A substantial body of research exists investigating phenomena that are related to and can overlap with humiliation, such as hurt feelings as a consequence of social rejection (e.g., [23-24]), or emotional reactions to perceived insults of one's honor (e.g., [25-27]). (Leidner et al. 2012: 1)
Palju uurimustööd on sooritatud alanduse seosele ja kattumisele tunnete riivamisega ühiskondlike tõrjutuse tagajärjena või emotsionaalsete reaktsioonidega tajutud solvangutele oma aule. Tähendab, alandus on seotud nii tõrjutuse kui ka solvangutega.
Combs, Campbell, Jackson, and Smith [30] asked participants to take the perspective of characters who had committed a moral transgression in vignettes where the authors manipulated level oy publicity and reprimant following the moral transgression. They found that levels of reported humiliation, anger, unfairness and vengefulness increased with levels of publicity and reprimand. Unlike the present study, however, they did not measure or manipulate individual experiences of humiliation. The present contribution adds to this emerging research on humiliation by manipulating experiences of humiliation, anger and shame in an intergroup context, investigating the extent to which these different emotional states were associated with feelings of outrage, powerlessness and guilt. (Leidner et al. 2012: 1)
"Publicity" is a good term for my own purposes as well. Alandus on seotud ka selliste nähtustega nagu viha, ülekohus ja kättemaksuiha - mis kasvavad alanduse avalikkusega. Nimekirja võib lisada ka väljavihastatuse, võimutuse/võimetuse ja süütunde (emotsioonisilte on raske tõlkida).
Shame is an inward facing emotion involving internal attributions of responsibility, leading to hiding, social withdrawal [34] and apologies and repair behavior [35]. In contrast, anger is an outward facing emotion, where another is deemed responsible for injustice [34], leading to a tendency towards aggression [36], to taking revenge and hurting the offender [35]. (Leidner et al. 2012: 2)
Häbi ja viha erinevus: häbi on suunatud sissepoole ja seotud vastutuse omistamisega mis viib peitumise, ühiskondliku eemaldumiseni, vabanduste ja käitumise parandamiseni; viha seevastu on väljapoole suunatud ja ülekohtus süüdistatakse teist, mis viib kalduvuseni vägivallale, et maksta kätte ja vigastada ründajat.
Our general expectation was that the experience of humiliation would differ systematically from the experience of shame and anger, respectively. That is, while the experience of humiliation was expected to overlap with anger and shame in some respect (e.g. same level of powerlessness as present in shame, or same level of outrage as present in anger), we expected that its overall profile on all three aspects could be empirically distinguished from the overall profiles of both anger and shame. This could then help us understand why in some situations humiliation leads to hostility [30], but in other situations it leads to a state of intertia where people neither support violence nor peace deals [29]. (Leidner et al. 2012: 2)
Autorite üldine ootis oli, et alandus erineb süstemaatiliselt nii häbist kui vihast. Mõnes aspektis kattub alandus osaliselt mõlemaga: sama tase võimetust kui häbis ja sama tase väljavihastamist kui vihas. Autorite eesmärk on neid kolme emotsiooni empiiriliselt eristada, et paremini mõista miks alandus viib mõnikord vaenuni ja mõnikord tegevusetuni milles inimesed et toeta ei vägivalda ega rahutegemist.
Theoretical definitions of humiliation typically describe it as entailing the following: feelings of unjust degradation or devaluation in a social context [23, 37-38], with the individual perceiving his- or herself to be unable to respond to the degradation [18-19,32,39,40]. As such, humiliation should be similar to shame in that both are social emotions that involve a sense of being less than one should be. Klein [1] has asserted that the distinction between the two emotions lies in the fact that ashamed people believe that they deserve their shame, whereas humiliated people feel that they do not deserve their humiliation (see olse [40]). (Leidner et al. 2012: 2)
Teoreetilised definitsioonid kirjeldavad alandust tavaliselt järgimeslt: tuntakse ebaõiglast alavääristamist või alaväärtustamist ühiskondlikus kontekstis, milles isik taju, et on võimetu sellele kuidagi vastama. Seega peaks alandamine olema sarnane häbiga, sest mõlemad on ühiskondlikud emotsioonid milles mängib rolli tunne, et ollakse midagi vähemat kui peaks olema. Kleini järgi eristab neid kahte emotsiooni tõsiasi, et häbistatud inimesed usuvad, et nad on oma häbi ära teeninud, samas kui alandatud inimesed tunnevad, et nad ei vääri alandamist.
Another difference between humiliation and shame lies in the situational aspects: Whereas shame can occur in private or in public, humiliation, it has been argued, is confined to public situations with an audience and a power asymmetry between 'humiliator' and humiliatee.' Humiliation should thus lead to intense feelings of powerlessness (cf., [40]), at least as intense as the feelings of powerlessness typically involved in shame. If humiliation is related to feelings of degradation and powerlessness, but unlike shame also to feelings of non-deservingness, humiliatied people might be more prone than shamed people to attribute blame for their negative experience to others rather than themselves (cf., [27,42-43]). In this respect, and with respect to the aforementioned perception that one's humiliation is undeserved, humiliated people should be more similar to angry than to shamed people.(Leidner et al. 2012: 2)
Veel üks erinevus seinseb situatsioonilises aspektis: kui häbi võib juhtuda nii privaatselt kui ka avalikult, siis alandus toimub väidetavalt ainult avalikes olukordades kus on pealtvaatajad ja võimuassümmeetria alandaja ja alandatu vahel. Alandus peaks seega viima tugeva võimetustindeni mis on vähemalt sama suur kui häbis. Kui alandus on seotud alavääristamise ja võimetusega, kuid erinevalt häbist ka mitte-ärateenituse tundega, siis on alavääristatud inimesed suurema tõenäosusega kui häbistatud inimesed valmis omistama süüd oma negatiivse kogemuse eest teistele kui iseendale. Selles suhtes ja eelmainitud mitte-ärateenituse tunde suhtes peaksid alandatud inimesed olema rohkem sarnased vihastele kui häbistatud inimestele.
In the sense that humiliation involves feelings of rage in response to the unjust actions of others [20,44], it appears similar to anger. Unlike anger, however, the experience of humiliation involves a loss of feelings of power and authority, which might be the reason why humiliation in intergroup contexts has been shown to lead to inertia rather than confrontation [29], despite humiliation leading to a desire/motivation for violence [30]. If you feel outrage toward the humiliator but at the same time you feel powerless, it is less likely that you will act on your outrage and engage in aggression and violence (cf., [1,45]). (Leidner et al. 2012: 2)
Kuna alandusega on seotud raevutunne vastusena teiste ebaõiglastele tegevustele peaks see olema sarnane vihale. Aga erinevalt wihast sisaldab alanduse kogemus võimu kaotamise tunnet ja gruppidevahelistes kontekstides viib pigem tegevusetuseni kui vastuhakuni, hoolimata sellest, et alandusega kaasneb soov või motivatsioon vägivallaks. Kui sa oled alandaja vastu vihane kuid samal ajal tunned ennast võimetuna siis on väiksem tõenäosus, et sa kasutad vägivalda.
As a mix of outrage and powerlessness, the experience of humiliation may be associated with confused action tendencies. (Leidner et al. 2012: 4)


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