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8 vygotsky

8 vygotsky

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11/24/2012

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8
Thesocialistalteration
of
man
L
ev
Vygotsky
Scientificpsychologyhasestablishedasitsbasicthesisthefactthatthemodernpsychologicalhumantypeisaproductoftwoevolutionarylines.Ontheonehand,thismoderntypeofhumanbeingdevelopedinalengthyprocessofbiologicalevolutionfromwhichthebiologicalspecies
homo
sapiens
hasarisen,withallitsinherentcharacteristicsfromthepointofviewofbodystructure,thefunctionsof
various
organsandcertaintypesofreflexesandinstinctiveactivity,whichhave
become
hereditarilyfixedandwhicharepassedonfromgenerationtogeneration.Buttogetherwiththebeginningofsocialandhistoricalhumanlifeandthefundamentalchangesintheconditionstowhichhehadtoadapthimself,theverycharacterofthesubsequentcourseofhumanevolutionalsochangedveryradically.
As
far
asoneisabletojudgeonthebasisoftheavailablefactualmaterial,whichhasbeenobtainedmainlybycomparingbiologicaltypesofprimitivepeoplesatthemostprimitivestagesoftheirculturaldevelopmentwithrepreenrativesofthemostculturallyadvancedraces,as
far
asthisquestioncanberesolvedbycontemporarypsychologicaltheory,therearestrongreasonstosupposethatthebiologicalhumantypehchangedremarkablylittleduringthecourseofthehistoricaldevelopmentof
man.
It
isnot,ofcourse,thatbiologicalevolutionhascometoastopandthatthe
species
'man'isastable,unchangeable,constantquantity,
but
ratherthatthebasic
laws
andtheessentialfactorshichdirecttheprocessofbiologicalevolutionhave
receded
tothebckgroundandhaveeithercompletelyfallenawayorhavebecomea
reduced
orsub-dominantpartofnewandmorecomplexlawsgoverninghumansocialdevelopment.Indeed,thestruggleforexistenceandnaturalselection,thetwodriving
forces
ofbiologicalevolutionwithintheanimalworld,losetheirdecisiveimportanceassoonaswepassontothehistoricaldevelopmentofman.ewlaws,whichregulatethe
Course
ofhumanhistoryandwhichcovertheentireprocessofthematerialandmental
deVelopment
ofhumansociety,nowtaketheirplace.
As
anindividualonlyexistsasasocialbeing,asamemberofsomesocialgroupwithinwhosecontexthefollowstheroadofhishitoricaldevelopment,thecompositionofhispersonalityandthestructureofhisbehaviourturnouttobeaquantity
 
176
LEV
VYGOTSKY
whichisdependentonsocialevolutionandwhosemainaspectsaredeterminedbythelatter.Alreadyinprimitivesocieties,whichareonlyjusttakingtheirfirststepsalong theroadoftheirhistoricaldevelopment,theentirepsychologicalmakeup
of
individualscanbeseentodependdirectlyonthedevelopment
of
technology,thedegreeofdevelopment
of
theproductionforcesandonthestructure
of
that
socialgrouptowhichtheindividualbelongs.Researchinthefield
of
ethnicpsychologyhasprovided incontroverribleproof
that
both
of
thesefactors,whoseintrinsicinterdependencehas beenestablishedbythetheoryofhistoricalmaterialism,arethedecisivefactorsofthe wholepsychology
of
primitiveman.Nowhereelse,accordingtoPlekhanov,'does
that
dependenceofconsciousnessonthewayoflifemanifestitselfinamoreobviousanddirectmannerasitdoesinthe life
of
primitiveman.Thisisduetothefact
that
thefactorswhichmediatebetween technologicalandpsychologicalprogressareverymeagreand
prim
itiveandthisisthe reasonwhythisdependencecanbeobservedalmostintheraw.
But
amuchmore complicatedrelationshipbetweenthesetwOfactorscanbeobservedinahighlydevelopedsocietywhichhasacquiredacomplexclassstructure.Here
the
influenceofthebasison
the
psychologicalsuperstructure
of
manturns
out
tobenotdirect,butmediatedbyalargenumber
of
verycomplexmaterialandspiritualfactors.But
even
here,thebasiclaw
of
historicalhumandevelopment,whichproclaims
that
humanbeingsarecreatedbythesocietyinwhichtheyliveand
that
itrepresentsthedeterminingfactorintheformation
of
theirpersonalities,remainsinforce. Inthesamewayasthelife
of
asocietydoesnotrepresentasingleanduniformwhole,andsocietyissubdivided
into
differentclasses,so,
during
anygivenhistoricalperiod,
the
composition
of
humanpersonalitiescannotbesaidtorepresentsomethinghomogeneousanduniform,andpsychology
must
take
into
accountthebasicfactthat
the
generalthesiswhichhasbeenformulatedjustnow,canhaveonlyonedirectconclusion,toconfirmtheclasscharacter,classnatureandclassdistinctionswhichareresponsiblefortheformation
of
humantypes.
The
variousinternalcontradictionswhicharetobefoundindifferentsocialsystemsfindtheirexpressionbothinthe
type
of
personalityandinthestructure
of
humanpsychologyin
that
historicalperiod.Inhisclassicdescriptions
of
theearlyperiod
of
capitalism,Marxfrequentlydwellson
the
subject
of
thecorruption
of
thehumanpersonalitywhichis
brought
about
by
the
growth
of
capitalistindustrialsociety.Ononeextremeend
of
society,thedivisionbetweenintellectualandphysicallabour,theseparationbetweentownandcountry,theruthlessexploitation
of
childandfemalelabour,povertyandtheimpossibilityofafreeandfulldevelopment
of
fullhumanpotential,andontheotherextreme,idlenessandluxury;notonlydoesallthisresultin
the
singlehumantypebecomingdifferentiatedandfragmentedintoseveralseparatesocialclasstypeswhichstandinsharpcontrasttooneanother,
but
alsointhecorruptionanddistortion
of
thehumanpersonalityanditssubjectiontounsuitable,one-sideddevelopment
withinallth
es
e
differentvariants
ofthe
human
type.
 
THE
SOCIALISTALTERATIONOF
MAN
177'Alongwiththedivisionoflabour',saysEngels,'manhimselfbecamesubdi vided.'2AccordingtoRyazanov,'everyformofmaterialproductionspecifiessome
social
divisionoflabour,andthisisresponsibleforthespiritualdivisionoflabour.Beginningalreadywiththecorruptionofprimitivesociery,wecanobserveselectionofanumberofspiritualandorganizationalfunctionsintospecialspeciesandsub specieswithintheschemeofthesocialdivisionoflabour'.'Engelsfurthersays:
Alreadytheveryfirstmajordivisionoflabour,thedivisionoftownfromcountry, sentencedtheruralpopultiontomillenniaofmentaltorpor,andthecitydwellerstoenslavement,eachbyhisparticularwork.
It
destroyedthebasisforspiritualdevelopmentfortheformer,orphysicaldevelopmentforthelatter.
If
apeasantismasterofhislandandthecraftsmanofhiscraft,theninnolesserdegreethelandrulesoverthepeasantandthecraftoverthecraftsman.
The
divisionoflabourhascausedmanhimselftobecomesubdivided.Allremainingphysicalandspiritualfacultiesaresacrificedforthesakeofdevelopingjustonetypeofactivity.Thisdegenerationofmanincreasesatthesamerateasthedivisionoflabour,which reachesitshighestlevelinmanufacrure.Manufacrurebreaksupcraftsmanshipintofractionaloperationsandignseachofthemtoaseparateworkerashislifevocationandchainshimdowntoaspecificfractionaloperation,toaspecifictooloflabourforthe restofhislife.
..
Anditisnotonlyworkers,
but
alsotheclasseswhoexploitthemdirectlyorindirectly,whobecomeenslavedbytheinstrumentsoftheiractivities,asaresultofthe divisionoflabour:thepettybourgeois,byhiscapitalanddesireforprofit;thelawyerby hiossifiedjuridicalideaswhichruleoverhimlikeanindependentforce;'theeducated classes'ingeneral,bytheirparticularlocallimitationsandone-sidedness,theirphysical shortcomingsandspiritualmyopi.Theyarecrippledbytheireducationwhichtrains themforacertainspecialty,bytheirlifelongenslaverytothisspecialry,evenifthis specialtyisdoingnothingat
all."
ThisiswhatEngelswrotein'Anti-Duhring'.Wehavetoproceedfromthebasicassumptionthatintellectualproductionisdeterminedbytheformofmaterialproduction.
So,
forexample,adifferentformofspiritualproductionthanthe
type
which
was
prevalent
during
theMiddleAgesfitsinwithcapiralism.Eachhistoricallydefinedformofmaterialproduction
has
itscorrespondingformofspiritualproduction,andthis,initsturn,signifies
that
humanpsychology,whichisthedirectinstrumentofthisintellectualproduction,assumesitsspecificformatacertainstageofdevelopment.'
Thiscrippling
of
humanbeings,thisone-sidedanddistorteddevelopmentofhis
various
capabilitieswhichEngelsdescribes,andwhichappearedtogetherwiththe
diVision
oftownandcountry,isgrowingatanenormousrateduetotheinfluenceof
the
technologicaldivisionoflabour.Engelswrites:

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