Two Liminal Phenomena:
The Non-Discursive Reflectivity And Its Absence

by Georgiy Bogin*

The metaphor used in the title of this paper is very meaningful, especially in the era of idolizing knowledge. Knowledge is a road to some practical or theoretical success while understanding is necessary for mastering any situation either in a real or a virtual world. At the same time understanding is only one of the hypostases of reflectivity, that is why not understanding is to be taught but reflectivity. In this connection another metaphor could have been used: anti-reflectivity, defence of impulsivity against reflectivity is the road to the wrong. And as soon as that second road enters our consideration, the term `reflectivity' and the corresponding notion begin approaching the topics of Law and Morality. It is only reflectivity that brings man to an experience of living with dignity, the idea of meeting death with dignity, an experience of loving concrete human beings along with loving one's own life and the whole human race. Life, Death, Love make the experiential nucleus of our individual existence (Ustin, 1997), and this nucleus being present, the other few central meanings of existence will be manifested: Truth, Freedom, Beauty, the Good as the opposition of the Evil, maybe Fate as one's inevitable Future. To come to mastering all these existential meanings it is not enough to live one's natural life hoping for all this coming to the subjectivity of a "myself" as an individual. Just the opposite: one is to exercise hard, but exercise hard not in a ready-made knowledge, not even in a ready-made understanding but in reflectivity as the link connecting the lived experience with the gnoseological image under mastery (Kornienko, 1991). In reflectivity the image is tinted by man's individual experience, and as for experience, it does not immediately change while something more important is happening to it: it is our attitude towards it that is getting changed. In this way we are changed ourselves, and this change is one to the better if the process of reflectivity serves socially and morally adequate aims. Reflectivity is the only instrument for an individual and a collective to become wiser, kinder and purer. This principally is the position of the Russian methodologist and semioiticist G.P.Shchedrovitsky In spite of the manifestly totalitarian regime in the USSR, still beginning from the 1950's some new movements were in birth in the sphere of humanitarian knowledge, religion, ethics, theatrical activities and, last but not least, methodology of systemic mental activities. The latter sphere was mastered mainly by the Moscow Methodological Circle headed by Georgiy Petrovich (G.P.) Shchedrovitsky (February 23, 1929, Moscow - February 4, 1994, Moscow). The author of these lines was connected with G.P. and his Circle in 1973 - 1994, and the influence of these methodologists was very intensive. The problem of reflexion and reflectivity was one of those central in the Circle, and hundreds of definitions of reflectivity were in use. Sometimes the uninitiated had even some difficulty in seeing that one and the same thing was spoken about if defined, say, as (1) "the link between experience and the gnoseological image [=what is to be mastered in the situation presented], which results in the image getting tinted by the experience while the experience undergoes changes of our relation and attitude to it. At this moment the changed attitude towards experience changes the bearer of that attitude, namely his ontological construction at large" and (2) "an ability to see the world with the eyes of all other people". However both are definitions of reflectivity.

Among the trageocomical phenomena connected with the Soviet affairs of the Stagnation period is the fact that in the West only a few Russian names from the sphere of Humanities are known. The Iron Curtain really is a harmful thing: in the West the names of the Russian Formalists (Roman Jakobson etc.), the names of M.M.Bakhtin and Yu.M.Lotman are widely known, but dozens of other talented Humanitarians are practically unknown as, for example, some sufficiently drastic measures were taken against spreading any information about the Moscow Methodological Circle. Generally the powers manifested a certain duplicity in this respect. On the one hand the name of G.P. Shchedrovitsky for decades did not appear in quotations and bibliography in the scientific writings of those who otherwise would have quoted the texts of this greatest methodologistand semioticist. On the other hand the heritage of G.P.'s published writings exceeds three hundred units (brochures, articles, abstracts). Difficult as it was to publish all this, still this was published somehow. And the well-edited typed proceedings of the Circle's sittings make no less than a few hundred thousand pages. For many a year beginning from the 1950's both G.P. and the whole Circle went to a kind of political demi-underground and a demi-illegal and rather harmful organization. It was always under observation of the "competent organs", but nobody was ever executed and very few were arrested. So the Circle along with General Methodology most successfully elaborated Optimal Methods of perfecting hundreds of branches of industry, culture, education and agricultural activities. Partly it was done in traditional academic forms, partly in the forms of Methodological Games having nothing in common with the traditional business games as reflectivity was the main object of formation, direction and change in accordance with the task of improving the situation in the corresponding branch or at the corresponding institution.

Unfortunately Reflectivity as an object of discussion is a rare guest in writings devoted to Law, Interpreting Law, Legality etc. Of course Reflectivity is not a synonym of Legality, but Antireflectivity is a synonym of Lawlessness. The present article is an attempt to begin a discussion about the role and function of Reflectivity in studying, applying, exercising and obeying Law. But all these actions imply that for the sake of achieving the loftiest ideals of Wisdom and Justice the subjects of these actions are to be, to be being, to have been and to have been being taught Reflectivity. It is so as Understanding (as a hypostasis of Reflectivity) in legal activities is more often than not of a greater importance than knowledge, but the source of Understanding is in Reflectivity. And Reflectivity is a projection of REFLEXION as treated by John Locke in 1690 (Locke, 1894) upon a human individual. So as to drag all subjects of legal actions into the ability to enter the reflective position of and in activity it is necessary that all of them should be enlightened concerning reflectivity. Utopian as it may sound it is quite attainable in the reality of the 21st century.

But where is the land of good reflectivity wherefrom we may borrow good examples of reflectively adequate systemic mental and moral activities? This land is called Art and begins from classical works of literature. Art if taken in the hands of artists is presented to us in the form of Artisticity, and Artisticity is the optimum of the stimulation of Reflectivity. That is why any reflective education implies attraction of Art in many situations of teaching and thinking, at least in the situations requiring interpretation. Art was created not for the sake of "mirroring objective reality" as Sensualism and, later, Positivism assert, but, figuratively speaking, for the sake of fighting against the wrong, the latter being incarnated in greed, ignorance, pride, ambitiousness, racialism, stupidity, envy, haughtiness, recklessness, laziness, misanthropy etc. Each of the vices forms a negative existential meaning, and each of the vices contributes to the stability of all the rest. Here we shall concentrate upon only one negative meaning with which Art is at war - impulsivity as the opposite of reflectivity. Impulsively do nations begin terrible wars, in the same way do individuals offend, insult and torture other people, and because of their impulsiveness are human beings unable to see themselves with the eyes of all the other people. Reflectivity, just the opposite, secures all the normatives, constructs and meanings necessary for coexistence under Lawfulness, Morality and Democracy.

Attainability of a fundamental alteration of the widespread human attitude towards Reflectivity can be proved. Let us assume that in nation A not much is achieved in this direction and in nation B the success is somewhat more noticeable, and in nation C it is really great. But B and C once were as undeveloped as A now is. Thus the difference is caused by differences in development (arogenesis), so nation N may prove to be close to a complete reflectiveness, and for this reason all other nations are to catch up with this very nation N or even to overtake and surpass it in this respect. The absolute ideal of reflectivity is unattainable, but sooner or later all nations will be close to it. In Russia Antireflectivity has been in full bloom for centuries, and it was so even when in other European countries Antireflectivity began weakening. The latest Russian tsars used to enounce and even fix in written form such "legal resolutions" about the fate of the supposedly criminal subjects: SENTENCE TO DEATH IMPOSSIBLE APPEAL FOR MERCY (in Russian: KAZNIT' N'EL'Z'A POMILOVAT' - without any punctuation marks; a comma in any of the two probable positions would have made the resolution non-ambiguous).

The more the intellectuals of any country think about inculcating to the human race the notions and habits of living with reflectivity, the greater is the chance of overcoming the universal impulsivity.

All these principles taken in consideration, this article is planned like this. First the role of Reflectivity and Antireflectivity is examined in general and natiogeographical aspects. In the second place the foundations of teaching reflectivity at all kinds of schools and of autodidactically mastering reflectivity are described. Reflectivity exists because human language exists, that is why the foundations of teaching and mastering reflectivity (for the sake of the ability of a better understanding) have a strong "linguistic smell", but the atmosphere of enhanced reflectivity has no alternative for its installation: every representative of intellectual activities must pass through the school of interpretation. In the third place the consequences of this installation/non-installation into Law and legality are demonstrated.

It is clear that interpretation of legal texts is a prerogative of lawyers as their professional sphere of turning reflectivity upon the world. It concerns not only texts of all kinds of legislation and legal documentation, but also the discourses of pleadings and legal proceedings, the discourses of preliminary investigation, the style of communication in the investigation bodies, the style of those holding inquest and of those under examination, the style of communication in prison, the discourse of and with those taken into custody, and with those committed to prison, and the language of legal education, of legal prophylaxis, of legal writing, of legal rhetoric, of legal aid, the style and language of oral methods of teaching jurisprudence, the optimal organization of communicating within the common or special jury etc. Generally speaking to administer justice one has to understand lots of things, concepts, texts and discourses, and as understanding is born from reflectivity, it is necessary to teach and learn reflectivity in this sphere of life as well. In Philology reflectivity is taught on the material of artistic texts, for the artistic texts, the language of classical fiction is the schoolmistress of all other styles and sublanguages, as the famous linguist and historian of the Russian language (1896 - 1947) Grigory Osipovich Vinokur used to say (Vinokur, 1959). One who has an experience of reflectivity-formation on the material of interpreting artistic texts is able to interpret any text ,legal texts included.

Generally, there are three types of understanding; SEMANTIZING, COGNITIVE AND THE ONE RESTORING THE SITUATION OF THE AUTHOR'S MENTAL ACTIVITIES (ENTGEGENSTAENDLICHENDES VERSTEHEN - see Bogin, 1993). The aesthetically prepared reader's reflective ability tends to changing into the latter type of understanding, the source of metameanings and metametameanings (=aesthetic ideas). But this changing of reflectivity implies its fixation, without which reflectivity can't stop being itself and become understanding (in some other situations it may become an evaluation, an opinion, a piece of knowledge, problematization, a properly human feeling, attitude etc.). This rationalism in the treatment of Understanding is opposed by Hermeneutic Skepticism with its well-expressed impulsivity. At the same time we are obliged to confess that the roots of this phenomenon are historically far from belonging to the Evil. It is Love for Freedom that forms the main source of Hermeneutic Skepticism. This skepticism is well represented to consciousness and is based upon a number of postulates:

1. Everyone understands a text in his own way.

2. If it is not so, it manifests a restriction of freedom.

3. If interpreting is reflectivity enounced, then there may be as many interpretations of one of the same text: indeed, everybody has the experience (reflective reality) that he and only he has lived through.

All this is true, but great though love for freedom may be, it exists along with culture - the power begotten from the ability of reflectivity to be shared by millions of people and also begetting this very ability. One says: "Me and my boy-friend Bobby understand Evgeny Onegin by Pushkin as a text of instructive character, it teaches girls how to find a husband". But millions of people, and serious specialists among them, understand the novel quite differently and have serious arguments for that. The balance of Freedom and Culture is reincarnated and reexpressed in reflective techniques of understanding. These techniques establish bridges between individual and collective reflectivity.

By the way these lines are written in the situation of electric lighting suddenly becoming here in Tver a commodity of short supply. The thing is our city power grids have suddenly and without warning opened (disconnected) the electric system in our microdistrict of apartment houses, so all the apartments are deprived of electricity. It is done to punish the near-by waggon factory for withholding payment for electrical energy. We, the inhabitants of the apartment houses, have no arrears, but both the houses and the factory are served by one and the same feeder. The countries with a well-devised and a well-elaborated system of Law usually give their inhabitants no chance to come across such absolutely lawless situations, but the average Russian understanding of reflection, reflexion, reflectivity, reflexivity is a bit different from the average European understanding. Russia is in the state of slowly returning into the European history, the out-of-history period being characterized by an antireligious and antimoral enthusiasm under which reflexion was not advisable as this state of the soul was supposed to testify to the mental activities of the "rotten intelligentsia" and not of the working class. Lack of reflectivity is now the main national problem in the sphere of mental health. The specific Russian situation in the sphere of mental health looks sometimes trageocomical: the teacher says, "Valera, so as not to make me interrupt this my lesson of physics, will you kindly go to the chemistry classroom, there in the corner a pailful of quicksilver stands, fetch it here, do please," - and that one sets off at a gallop to the chemistry classroom though a day before he imbibed everything about the specific weight of elements and about the poisonous properties of quicksilver... However impulsivity proved to be stronger than reflectivity, that is the habit of never looking at oneself as a master or a bearer of something in one's soul proved to be stronger than the habit of looking simultaneously in two directions, that is looking forward and looking back into oneself. Valera's defects are defects of not only Valera. That is why there have always been people in Russia who struggled against this idiotifying situation.

Such people were regularly trying to persuade more liberal Soviet administrators to pay attention to some inveterate drawbacks in the organization of material production. Under the influence of such persuading talks some industrial bosses in industrial ministries dared to invite G.P. though he was a persona non grata, and a small brigade of the Circle people headed by Shchedrovitsky came so as to help draw the process of production from the traditional stagnation. It does not mean that anybody in the brigade was a specialist in the production process of the factory, state farm or power station they came to: they were "only" methodologists, their occupation concerned "only" the human beings as -- each of them! -- bearers of a personal projection of the systemic mental activity which as a whole belongs to the human race in its historical development. This circumstance gives the methodologist a possibility to return every stray sheep to the cradle of the creativity talent dissolved in the human race. The methodologist may know very little about the "what" of the concrete activity, but he knows how an individual is mistakenly choosing the way of bad work. The quality of the work of the individual and of the many individuals forming the collective has many causes but the main one is somehow connected with defects of reflectivity. G.P. had a filigree system of regulating the reflective processes in the personnel. Thousands of devices were elaborated for this aim, and their description occupies so many thousand typed pages in the Proceedings of the Circle. Objectively the value of these Proceedings was immeasurable, partly they contained the writtenly fixed reflective analysis of the methodological games that had been held not long before the analytical sittings, and these chapters contain the ripest forms of reflectivity, which might have served a paragon in preparation of industrial, medical, commercial, government, scientific, agricultural and pedagogical workers. But very little was borrowed from there for the development of all these branches of social and economic life, for all that life belonged only to the State, and the latter was not so much interested in the universal triumph of reason and wisdom. Thank God, immediately after G.P.'s death publication of his writings together with the materials of the Circle began (Shchedrovitsky, 1995 and the following books of the row edited with participation of G.P.' adherents M.Khromchenko, Peter Shchedrovitsky, G.Davydova etc.)

The devices used in the methodological games for regulating reflective processes cannot be described in this article because the description might require many volumes. Maybe one example will be enough. The picture looks like this. G.P. and some 6+2 members of the circle are actually invited to come in person to a certain actual atomic electric power station where the governing body, "Party" leaders included, has noticed some troubling factors in the organization, productivity and safety of the station. Of course the brigade of methodologists has come with all credentials issued to the ones on an official mission, so the personnel of the station is obliged to favor the brigade during the methodological game lasting some 7 to 10 days. At the same time it was supposed that it couldn't be put up with accustoming all kinds of the "anti-Party elements" to big earnings from the state institutions governed by the "Party". The result was that comical though it may sound, the travelling allowance for each member of the brigade was 2 roubles and 60 kopecks a day, the Ministerial maximum for the whole trip and mission being 208 roubles, or according to the commercial (illegal of course) rate of exchange in those happy days totalled $69 and 33 cents, which was supposed by the liberal Ministry to be enough for such work. Of course the value of the Chernobyl atomic power station destroyed by the lack of methodology and reflectivity was a few million times greater, but the Ministry of Energetics had not invited the methodological brigade to that atomic station before the explosion happened. ("Economics must be economical", Leonid Brezhnev, the head of the "Party", used to say).

When actually invited the six methodologists worked 16 hours a day, involving in their numerous reflective acts and activities hundreds of the personnel people. One of the devices: the manager was for a few hours a day replaced by, say, a rank-and-file engineer of the same organization. The engineer immediately began acting in the only style of governing known to him as what the manager had been doing when governing the station. So the real manager started seeing himself with somebody else's eyes (which also is one of the definitions of reflectivity) and saw that all his management had been good for nothing. As a good and militant member of the "Party" the manager usually was a great patriot with a propensity to self-criticism. Here the two additional young people of the brigade joined in the process for doing their duty, namely keeping fast the manager's legs at the moment of his attempt to jump out of a window at the fifteenth floor of the administrative building: seeing himself with the eyes of other people (which means falling into reflectivity) the man once appointed (by the "Party") manager came to understanding what his real social and professional worth was. From such situations a whole cavalcade of funny jokes was born. One example: after the game G.P. always held a conference devoted to the collective reflexion on the game already done. In the course of one of the games something had happened to someone of the governing body of the plant where the game passed, and G.P. kicked up a terrible row at the conference accusing the volunteers of the circle guard of carelessness etc. He surmised that the guards instead of saving the governing gentleman had used their time for love affairs with local beauties. It is easy to imagine how funny the situation was, the more so as the younger generation was predominant at that session devoted to reflexion and reflectivity. By the way within the period of 1959 - 1993 (about 35 years) G.P.Shchedrovitsky organized hundreds of games and lots of sessions for discussing and reflecting, and some of the latter lasted for many hours, and for all this he got no wages, salaries, not a single copeck. This is very funny as well. The exception was the travelling allowance of 2 roubles and 60 kopecks a day per caput.

Allowance or no allowance, the games did take place. That is why the atomic power station in the Urals actually visited by the brigade of methodologists did not blow up, and the station that did (Chernobyl) was the one neither actually nor imaginatively attended by the brigade of the Circle members: the manager believing himself "an honest Communist" could not invite such "enemies of the people" as Shchedrovitsky and his colleagues. Besides $69.33 was a certain sum of money to economize, control and account being Lenin's great behest (Lenin, volume 45, 5th edition, p. 349-355, 383-406). In general the Russian humour is as good as the English humour, but there are some specific features in it conditioned by history: those having some reflectivity are reflecting upon and laughing at the ones having no reflectivity. This position in entertaining activities is somewhat congenial with normal legality where those with reflectivity are in a stronger position than those without it.

So within this direction of the methodological thought the greatest interest lies not so much in reflectivity and its hundreds of definitions and facets as in the absence of reflectivity which phenomenon also has hundreds of definitions and an abyss of manifestations. The manager of the waggon factory in the district I live in is torturing innocent people by stoppages in supplying electricity not because he is an ignoramus or a non-professional but because he lives in a world where it is unusual to see either the situation or himself with the eyes of all other people. Before 1991 the Soviet Union had laws oriented in the direction of wage-levelling: the manager of a plant must give an incentive to a worker producing more than the monthly work quota, but the growth of that worker's wages cannot be more than by 15% as compared to the quota-doing workers even in case the talented worker does three quotas.To write such a law one is to be a man who never asks himself: "I have written, but what have I written? Imagine somebody evaluates me and imagine I have hit upon an idea how to produce ten quotas monthly?" This way of thinking was treated as a bourgeois way. And even now the manager of the waggon factory would prefer to sit at home without electricity in case his near-by head of the plush teddy-bear factory stops payments to the electric station. He would prefer sitting like that because he is unable to see the idiocy of the situation with the eyes of any enemy of this all-round depersonification. Of course he does not like his kitchen refrigerator to thaw out but he does not see that the shortest way to stop all these disgraceful things is, first, not to do them by himself and, second, to insist upon there appearing a law individualizing the sin of non-payment. And yet there were no such laws in the Soviet Union where all debts of factories were written off in the end of the financial year. Law has thousands of definitions, but one of them is: Law stands in opposition to Antireflectivity. Antireflectivity means lawlessness and collective irresponsibility bringing about the equalizing principle of Everyone Torturing Everyone.

It is as easy as it is unjust to say, "It is a temporary Russian Problem". Things do happen even under good General Law. A Catholic in North Ireland says, "Pa and Ma have brought me up in the spirit of the only really Christian teaching. That is why I do know what I shall do to these damned Protestants!" Had he tried to see the world with the eyes of all (or at least some) other people, he would have guessed that at the same moment of his utterance a Protestant has the same "foundations" to say: "Pa and Ma have brought me up in the spirit of the only really Christian teaching. That is why I do know what I shall do to these damned Catholics!" The Catholic enthusiastic impulsivity and the Protestant enthusiastic impulsivity are as much alike as two rotten eggs. Of course reflectivity is the main subject and object to be taught to the people and the interpretive methods of teaching at school form the shortest way to reflectivity, but one may ask: What has it got to do with laws and legislation? The answer to it is that interpretive methods of mental and moral education must be established in the form of if not laws then in the form of official requirements and regulations. In the USA it was done in the form of the National Defense Education Act (1957), there were paragraphs devoted to the interpretive didactics, and the American school was gradually humanitarized, rhetoricized and hermeneuticized by 60 - 70 % of the total sum of school-hours. The children taught according to the new programs gave in 1970 - 1980 a growth of productivity of labor equal to 80%. The programs were copied by the schooling systems of Radjhastan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and some other. Even the graduates from those countries who chose Science and not Humanities (we have lots of such Asiatic students here in Tver) show better results in hermeneutic tests than the home-produced graduates of Valera type (predominant type here, this is the tragedy). It is quite possible that the Nepali king has some legislative acts concerning all this. These acts are fresher than the corresponding American document, so the strongest effect was in the boys from Nepal. For the test I took "Forsyte's Menage" from "The Man of Property". By a comical coincidence soon an American girl, a postgraduate in Philology, attended our faculty, and I applied the test to her too. She asked me who that man Galsworthy could be and "corrected his mistakes": oh, how could he write "The happy pair were seated"!.. Wise laws are necessary, but they are to be renewed, revived and refreshed if it concerns reflectivity as a hypostasis of human understanding. Had the population been brought up in the lawful and moral spirit of reflectivity, the Pseudochristians would not have murdered so many Moslems in Bosnia and Chechnia. Reflectivity is the strongest power enabling a cutting down of lawlessness and thirst for it.

Reflectivity is the link between the gnoseological image and the lived experience. This link contributes to the image colouredness with the lived-through experience as well as to the change of attitude towards the experience; thus every reflective act changes the man, his soul and the substance of his understanding included. Understanding is a hypostasis of reflectivity, its relation to reflectivity is that of the specific to the generic.

Reflectivity is the second source of experience, sensorics being the first, and for example artistic effects are more reflective than sensory, artisticity of a text being the optimal measure of reflectivity awakened. Reflectivity may be discursively represented to consciousness, but in the everyday practice of text understanding a non-discursive ("commonplace") reflectivity is most widely spread. While the reflective process remains unnoticeable to the subject, the trace of the process comes to the fore at the moment of the reflectivity fixation (objectivation in a hypostasis which is no more reflectivity itself but some specific spiritual phenomenon - decision, properly human feeling, evaluation, problematizing, thought, meaning, understanding, knowledge etc.).

Man applies to this commonplace sort of reflectivity at every moment of being awake, which brings about quite a number of types of understanding, as well as quite a number of types of reflective techniques of understanding..

It is both immoral and prospectless to teach the younger generation such a thing as "ready-made understanding": freedom is the main principle of education. But freedom of understanding is to form a balance with culture of understanding, which presupposes the great problem of teaching reflectivity. This problem is insoluble without teaching techniques of understanding as they are the practical incarnation of Reflectivity as the main difference of man from all the other live creatures.

Techniques For Understanding Texts: A System

Techniques of understanding texts of culture form a systemic complex of devices in the systemic mental activities. These devices change non-understanding into understanding, the latter being the turn of reflectivity upon the world of lived-through experience correlative with the new gnoseological image now and here presented for understanding. The mastery of techniques of understanding is the greatest skill of mind similar sometimes to real artisticity. This mastery is to be taught and to be learnt, but the direct object of teaching and learning is not understanding itself but readiness for it. This readiness is hidden in human reflective ability, thus teaching means here teaching reflectivity, and as for understanding, the human subject is to find in every new situation of life activities an understanding of his own, which is opposite to teaching ready-made understanding. Techniques are all based upon reflectivity: when reflectivity is fixed it stops being itself and changes into understanding (according to the subject's intention it may also turn into meaning, evaluation, properly human feeling, experience [Erlebnis] and many other hypostases). The social adequacy of understanding depends on the methods of forming the mosaic of fixations in different belts of the system of mental activities.

Every technique implies a subjective effort, "doing something with one's own soul", the latter being the "place" of lived experience sedimentation. The effort organizes the effects of reflectivity fixation and the effects of meaning development or modification also due to human reflective ability. Today the Hermeneutic Group of Tver knows 105 techniques, but for sure the list is not complete, though a rough variant of systemizing does already exist. These techniques may be treated as socially relevant as they are our guides to the existential meanings of human life.

The techniques are classified like this:

A. Techniques of seeing and building meanings
1. Intending ("displaying") the existential loci of man's ontological construction; stretching the meanings and turning them into metameanings and ideas (artistic ideas e.a.); an ancient technique well described by St. Anselm of Canterbury.
2. Stretching the meanings and turning them into metameanings and ideas (artistic ideas e.a.);their categorization, transition from meanings to metameanings and metametametameanings, artistic ideas included.
3. Understanding according to the schemata of acting: fixing the stretching threads of meanings synchronically. A vertical section of all simultaneously stretching meaningful threads gives the subject a scheme of the further protraction and categorization of the threads. This technique was discovered by Immanuel Kant.
4. Reference jointing (in comprehension and cognitive understanding): it is working not with meanings but with references and contents. Also categorizing predications.
5. Individuation (planning, on the basis of the text features, the further process of reception and attitude-formation). Genre-definition as well.
6. Regulated expectations of the meanings in the individuated acting with the text.
7. The hermeneutic circle (fixations of reflectivity simultaneously in the three principal belts of the systemic mental activities according to the scheme by G.P.Shchedrovitsky); Understanding exists here as a hypostasis of reflectivity fixed (objectivated).Primarily the hermeneutic circle was described by Friedrich Schleiermacher in 1819.
8. Reflectivity fixations completing (in case the belts for these fixations are not obvious)
Factually this type of completing was discussed in the clinical work of Sigmund Freud.
9. Actualization of knowledge (searching for it in the reflective reality as the sedimentation-tub of experience for connecting the knowledge with what is being understood).
10. Breaking the hermeneutic circle in cases when it is necessary to replace the commonplace reflectivity fixed along with the development of the circle by some individually realized discursive knowledge. This technique is well demonstrated in the commentaries to classics of literature by Yuri Lotman.
11. Problematization : the subject discovers the fact of his own non-understanding.
12. Decoding: a typical semiotic procedure for understanding at the level either of simple semantization or a pure transition of cognitive understanding into some positive knowledge.
13. Entgegenstaendlichung: restoring the situation of the systemic mental activities of the producent of the text on the basis of seeing meanings through the prism of the text-forming means.
14. Re-Vergegenstaendlichung: Finding the meaning which is "parallel" to the one under search. First described by Olga Vassilyeva in Tver.
15. Phenomenological reduction: "Escape to the alternative world" of the text. The technique belongs to the fundamental discoveries by Edmund Husserl.
16. Meaningful experiencing of the ideal reality of the text. The spiritual significance of the technique is described by Wilhelm Dilthey. The meaningfulness implies two opportunities for the subject: He or she knows the verbal correspondent of what is being experienced and also is able to tell oneself: This is happening to me".
17. Interiorizing the context of what is under understanding: The contextual guess-work. The technique is fundamentally investigated in psychology by Pyotr Yakovlevich Galperin (1902 - 1988) as a phenomenon of language consciousness.
18. Substitution of processuality for epiphenomenality (an element of the Marxist hermeneutics).
19. Reactivation of the lived-through experience up to the degree of factual reminiscences of the subject's experience. The technique is universally provoked by the narrative prose, but theoretically described mostly by Lev Tolstoy in his treatise Chto takoye iskusstvo.

B. Using the "reflective bridge" due to there being in the text some means stimulating reflectivity upon the ontological pictures which are not immediately connected with the gnoseological image to be mastered. As the "gangway plank" humans use:
20. Metaphorizations on the basis of all tropes and figures. Stimulating reflectivity by these means is described by Natalia Kryukova (Tver). Most important also is the semiotic law (discovered by Yuri Maximovich Skrebnev - 1922 - 1993) of the universal substitutivity in the text. Due to this phenomenon any metaphorical substitute may awaken any corresponding zone of the reflective reality as the sedimentation-tub of the lived-through experience).
21. Actualizations (phonetical, intonational, grammatical, lexical, phrasal, any). First examined by Ian Mukarovsky (1891 - 1975).
22. Explicativeness and implicativeness. The binary opposition giving life to a technique of understanding was introduced into semiotics by Yu.M.Skrebnev.
23. Means of a direct referring to a remote ontological picture: allusion, citation, parodizing, intertextuality at large (J.Derrida, J,Kristeva). Also experiencing the "musical score" organization of the speech chain (Vladimir Grigoryevich Admoni).
24. Irony: the means of stimulating reflectivity upon what is opposite (or absolutely unsimilar) to the immediately presented . Also humor.
25. Symmetry (repetition, rhyme, metrical organization) as strimulators of reflectivity upon the methods of meaning-formation at large. It is being examined by Helena Imayeva (the Bashkort Republic; also connected with the Hermeneutic Group of Tver).

C. Techniques of unpasting the constructs otherwise mixed up
Unpasted should be:
26. The reference and the meaning (from "Sinn und Bedeutung" by Gottlob Frege).
27. The reference and the notion (Georg Wilhelm Hegel; in the pedagogical semiotics Vasily Vasilyevich Davydov).
28. The notion and the general idea (the same authors of the discovery).
29. The content and the meaning.
30. The emotion and the properly human feeling (Opposition by Karl Marx).
31. The association and the reflexion.
32. Different positions in activity (or in acting) in the process of understanding : practical, reflective, researching, directing, pedagogical. The dependence of understanding upon the position chosen was examined by G.P.
33. The meaning acquired from noemata and the meaning already present in the subject's ontological construction (in the loci of the spirit).
34. Understanding semantizing, cognitive, entgegenstaendlichende.
35. The action and the procedure (The opposition was studied by G.P.)
36. Understanding substantially, processually, epiphenomenally.
37. Understanding on the basis of the reflectivity ontological, gnoseological, methodological. The differences were found by Eric Grigoryevich Yudin.

D. Techniques of the interpretive type.
38. Restoring the meaning by the referent (in the situation of choosing the substituents)..
39. The same in a different situation (in connection with acting with a polysemantic unit, with ambiguity etc.)
40. The same in the process of the recipient's observations on the text (on etymology and the like).
41. Self-identification in the world of the mastered meanings. Entering the reflective position in the systemic mental activities. Standing in front of the question: I have understood, but what have I understood?
42. Seeing and defining the alternative world of meanings as treated by R.Carnap.
43. Self-identification in a concrete alternative world.
45. Evaluation of one's own understanding on the basis of the self-identification in the inventory of the types of understanding (semantizing, cognitive, entgegenstaendlichende).
46. Evaluation of one's own understanding on the basis of the identification of the belt of the systemic mental activities:
Belt 3: The world of ideas given to our sensuality;
Belt 2: The world of speech products (texts) once experienced productively or receptively;
Belt 1: The world of non-verbal (pure) thinking given us in schemes, maps, paradigms
and the like.
47. Evaluation of one's own understanding on the basis of the identification of the typological place of the reflective act which has secured the meaning-formation (differentiating the historical types of reflectivity - ontological, gnoseological, methodological).
48. Evaluation of one's own understanding on the basis of the identification of text-forming devices as the factor securing the process of understanding. It is the interpretive work proper according to M.Riffaterre and many others.
49. Defining the facet of understanding and self-identifying among the facets of the understood. These activities were examined by G.P. as the technique of configuring facets.
50.The conscious or the unconscious choice of the facet upon the configurator by G.P.
51. The subject's realizing the reasons of his freedom or non-freedom in the process of the configurator choice. His own decision concerning the freedom or lack of it in connection with the choice of the configurational facet. Reflexion on one's own attitude towards the balance of freedom and culture (normativity) at the moment of choosing the facet of what is being understood.
52. Self-identification of the chooser's of the facet: "Am I acting? Or am I in the procedure independent of myself?" The opposition of the two constructs was studied by G.P.
53. Evaluation of the ontological pictures involved in the hermeneutic act : The "owner" of the picture confronts the question: "I have understood it, but why have I understood it just like that ? The technique was described by G.P.

E. Techniques of transition and substitution. (The recipient single-handedly does it; the symbol > shows that what is to the left changes into what is to the right).
54. Meaning>reference (e.g. in the socially adequate work of the lexicographer).
55. Reference>meaning.
56. Reference> notion.
57. Notion> reference (e.g. in the process of editing an encyclopaedia).
58. General idea > notion (Usually in the scientific work).
59. Notion > general idea (Usually in the work of the people of arts).
60. Content>meaning.
61. Meaning> content.
62. Procedure> action (Supplanting procedures by actions).
63. Action> procedure (Balanced substitution of the procedure for the action in the situation implying an automation of the forthcoming acts).
64. Understanding of the semantizing type > cognitive type (Transition from "just listening" or "just reading" to reading for some scientific work).
65. Understanding of the cognitive type>semantizing type (etymologizing).
66. Understanding of the entgegenstaendlichende type> semantizing type (When mastering a language).
67. Understanding of the semantizing type >entgegenstaendlichende type (Transition to an understanding for the sake of mastering the culture of a certain community).
68. Understanding of the cognitive type >entgegenstaendlichende type (The same aim).
69. Understanding of the entgegenstaendlichende type> cognitive type (Transition from the artistic mastery of the world to the scientific mastery).
70. Associating> reflecting (For escaping subjectivism in understanding).
71. Reflecting>associating (In the situations where reflectivity is present in the state of Aufhebung and the process of mastering the world is automated).
72. Reflectivity of the ontological type (controlling only the progressive movement of knowledge)> of the gnoseological type (controlling the subject-object relations).
73. Reflectivity of the ontological type (controlling only the progressive movement of knowledge)> of the methodological type (controlling the changing of all ideal realities involved in the mastery of the world into instruments of the further processes of mastering the world).
74. Reflectivity of the gnoseological type > of the methodological type.
75. Commonplace reflectivity> discursive reflectivity.
Also: Discursive reflectivity > commonplace reflectivity (Transition from the interpretive situation to an "intuition" in the process of the immediate current work of understanding texts, situations, humans etc.)
76. Understanding>knowledge.
77. Emotion>properly human feeling.
78. Properly human feeling >emotion (for transition from reflecting to immediate acting).
79. Understanding an expected meaning> understanding a suddenly appearing meaning.

F The subject's voluntary exit from the situation of reflectivity fixed into a spiritual state of reflectivity objectivated, this spiritual state functioning as a hypostasis of reflectivity. The main states of the kind are:
80. Coming to understanding as conscious contemplation or formation of the meaning (esoteric as well), the metameaning, , the artistic idea.
81. Coming to noticing beauty and to an orientation in the measure of artisticity as the optimum of the awakening of reflectivity.
82. Coming to noticing and/or experiencing harmony.
83. Coming to categorial judgments as to the past, the present, the future, the world at large.
84. Coming to taking something as the truth, to faith, belief, confidence.
85. Coming to a method of identifying truthfulness and to sorting out such methods. The truthfulness may be objective, but not necessarily: e.g. one may look for a truthfulness of a reflective novel as the correlation of the constructs invented by the writer.
86.Ñoming to a formulation of the idea (scientific, philosophical, religious, artistic). Building the corresponding metatext.
87.Coming to an enrichment of the subject's conceptual system, an addition to the world outlook.
88. Coming to a properly human feeling.
89. Coming to an enrichment of the system of properly human feelings, an addition to the attitude towards the world. The birth of empathy..
90. Knowledge, its change and growth, coming to systemic ideas in the format of knowledge.
91. Coming to a decision. Change of decision.
92. Coming to an opinion. Change of opinion.
93. Coming to evaluating what has been understood..
94. Coming to evaluating the past, reflecting on the past in the format of evaluation. The process of reflecting evaluatively.
95. Perceiving and experiencing the introtextual author (and/or narrator). Experiencing statics and dynamics in the movement of the introtextual author.
96. Coming to an attitude, attitudinal change.
97. Penetrating into the real state of the personage's state of the soul. Building moods and modalities as a unity of emotions and properly human feelings.
98. Coming to a clear aim, formulation of the aim. Comparing one's own aim with that of the author of the text.
99. Seeing or trying to see the modality of the whole situation.
100. Experiencing the modality of the whole situation.
101. Coming to seeing and experiencing necessity, to realizing one's own desires.
102. Coming to a remembrance, a reminiscence, an association.
103. Experiencing a non-discursive associating, establishing connections among the mental images.
104. Coming to an innovation, invention, to lighting upon an idea.
105. Estrangement (Verfremdung in opposition to Entfremdung): seeing well-known things as if they are absolutely new and never seen before. The technique was primarily examined by Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky (1893 - 1984). Much used by Bertolt Brecht.

A few examples of reflective techniques of understanding are discussed below.

Intending As One Of The Techniques Of Understanding Texts

Discussing the problem of Cognition in Language Use one is to know something about the texts in which an important component participating in cognition is present. Besides, texts are to be treated with considering their social and historical adequacy. Along with this we must take in consideration the fact of there being quite a number of textlike formations in painting, staging, music, architecture.

It is not only the massiveness of the reflective bridge that is enlarged in hermeneutic situations: the number of techniques for "reading the picture" also increases. There are dozens of techniques of understanding, but the most relevant one for considering such things is the TECHNIQUE OF INTENDING.

Intending is pointing out an existential meaning, not "wishing" or desiring"(Merleau-Ponty, 1948,p. 56); the word is used in methodology in the sense in which it was used by St.Anselm of Canterbury, Franz Brentano (1874) and Edmund Husserl (1950). The very term of "intending and intentionality" is somewhat misrepresented and distorted by modern Positivism. The terms INTENTIONALISM and ANTI-INTENTIONALISM treat the reader's comprehending or non-comprehending the premeditation of the writer. Factually this premeditation is ONLY ONE OF the hundreds of facets of the ideal meaningful configurator revolving in the process of understanding (Shchedrovitsky, 1984); the "intentional fallacy" does not represent the main opposition in the process of understanding, though within the last 50 years thousands of platitudes have been devoted to the "revolutionary" support of anti-intentionalism (="anti-aristotelism") as the "main incarnation of the reader's freedom"(Wimsatt & Bradley, 1954; Fish, 1970 - 1971; among their opponents Armstrong, 1983 may be mentioned) . The really main opposition is that of ANY understanding versus the DEADLANE non-understanding.

However, we must not write off the very term and notion of intention and intentionality. Retaining the notion is socially and culturally adequate if it is NOT associated with premeditation and if we restore our reflectivity on the word use of the times when the term appeared. St. Anselm of Canterbury, in contrast to modern "methodologists", knew Latin and produced the term from the idea of ´intendere'= ´point out with tension'. Treating ´intendere', ´intentio' (and even ´intensio') etymologically contributes to watching the forward motion of reflectivity as the source and hypostasis of understanding. The outward-directed ray of reflectivity first envelops the gnoseological image to be mastered, then moves through the man's reflective reality (the soul - the sedimentation-tub of ontological pictures). Having emitted a great number of noemata (the minimal fractions of meaning - Husserliana, 1977, Band 6, p. 99; Husserl, 1965, p. 106), the ray of reflectivity becomes inward-directed and intends (=points out) the LOCI of the spirit (Smith & McIntyre, 1982, p XV - XVI) where the system of existential meanings is concentrated, that of life, death, love, truth, God/fate, freedom, beauty, bliss - all absolutely inconceivable out of the phenomenologically treated intentionality (=ultimate directedness of reflectivity).

Intending may be treated as one of the techniques of understanding. The technique of intending gives the recipient an opportunity to understand not only the content (rows of predications within propositional structures) and not only concrete textual meanings, but also meanings categorized to the degree of artistic, methodological and theoretical ideas. That is where the technique of intending brings us! Techniques of understanding texts of culture form a systemic complex of devices in the systemic mental activities. These devices change non-understanding into understanding as the turn of reflectivity upon the world of lived-through experience correlative with the new gnoseological image [what is planned for mastering] now and here presented for understanding.

The essence of a new way of treating meanings is of what lies in the reflective reality (debris of meanings included in the memory of the "soul") in the form of its reexpression for the sake of appearing in spiritual space. Coming out of the reflective reality the ray of reflectivity loses the quality of outside-directedness and acquires the quality of inside-directedness. From that moment on the moving ray is saddled by myriads of noemata (the minimal units of meaning --Sinn, not Bedeutung! These meanings are meanings of all kinds of artistic means at large) and is crossing the orthogonally set planes of a number of techniques of understanding. On the border of the ontological construction of the subject (his or her "spirit") the noemata are getting arranged so as to optimally intend (=point out) the corresponding loci of the ontological construction ,[=spirit"] of the individual recipient. The technique of intending gives the recipient an opportunity to understand not only the content (rows of predications within propositional structures) and not only concrete textual meanings, but also meanings categorized to the degree of artistic, methodological and theoretical ideas. See:


This technique may be useful in the process of understanding a text from Mikhail Bulgakov:

Great it was, and terrible it was, the year from the birth of our Lord Jesus nineteen hundred and eighteenth, from the beginning of the Revolution, the second. Then abundant in summer was sunshine, and in winter, snow, and high above in the heaven two stars kept standing - the star of the shepherds named Venus, and the red and trembling Mars. But the days in the years of peace and quietude, and the days in the years of bloodshed are flying like an arrow, and the young Turbins did not notice how in the strong frost December appeared, all white and fluffy like a Christmas keepsake, the toy kitten. Where are you now, Santa Claus, the master of the festive fir-tree, all shining with snow and with joy? Mummy dear, the Queen of Light, where art thou? (The translation is aimed not at the exact system of bilingual compensations, but at the retaining the mosaic of fixations (objectivations) of reflectivity: the two mosaics consisting of the points of fixations of reflectivity in the three belts of the systemic mental acting coincide in the Russian original and its English translation, though the difference in the meanings of a few words in the original and in the translation is not always exactly compensated; that is the hermeneutic idea of translation: not semantic lacunae are filled in but breaks in understanding, the latter being a hypostasis of reflectivity).

The style of a Russian homily initiating the text, a stylistic allusion to the Russian Annals and many other stylistic devices which are used for Vergegenstaendlichung of the artistic idea of the text fraction clearly intend (=point out) the artistic idea of the equivalence and even the isometry of the sufferings of Christ and the sufferings of the Russian people in the course of the fratricidal revolutions and wars. The young Turbins come back from the World war so as to take part in the Civil War, and this fate is opposed to the happy life (the memory of it) with the Christmas fir-tree, the toy kittens and Teddy-bears symbolizing love, childhood, peace and human confidence. Much more may be said about the artistic ideas of this text as well as about the artistic ideas of every text in a work of genius.

Techniques of understanding texts of culture form a systemic complex of devices in the systemic mental activities. These devices change non-understanding into understanding as the turn of reflectivity upon the world of lived-through experience correlative with the new gnoseological image now and here presented for understanding. Techniques are all based upon reflectivity: when reflectivity is fixed it stops being itself and changes into understanding (according to the subject's intention it may also turn into meaning, evaluation,

properly human feeling, experience [Erlebnis] and many other hypostases). The social adequacy of understanding depends on the methods of forming the mosaic of fixations in different belts of the system of mental activities.

Every technique implies a subjective effort, "doing something with one's own soul", the latter being the "place" of lived experience sedimentation. The effort organizes the effects of reflectivity fixation and the effects of meaning development or modification also due to human reflective ability. Another example of techniques is the

The TECHNIQUE OF THE HERMENEUTIC CIRCLE caused by M.Bulgakov's text, if schematically represented, looks like this: see: SCHEME 2:

The three belts shown in the scheme cover "what a humanitarian man has mastered in this world"in the form of the reflective reality, that is the reality of what has been experienced during the lived-through life:

Belt 3: The world of ideas given to our sensuality;

Belt 2: The world of speech products (texts) once experienced productively or receptively;

Belt 1: The world of non-verbal (pure) thinking given us in schemes, maps, paradigms and the like.

If the fixation happens ONLY in belt 3, the understanding is lame (Shchedrovitsky, 1987) and brings about an emptiness of non-spiritual impressivity and impulsivity ("Oh, I see the image : a dead horse lying in the middle of the square near the church, and close to it The Red Guards are trying to get warm near the fire" - and further on on the basis of reminiscences from a number of films about the Russian revolution. Stupid teachers praise such talks in the classroom: "Oh, how bright! Your thinking is based upon an emotive perception of images!")

If the fixation happens ONLY in belt 2, the understanding is lame, it brings about only empty talks about the text form without any connection with the meaning of the situation: "I see the style of Orthodox homiletics from the very first syntagm, then I see the introtextual author able to remember the names of planets" and further on on the basis of some manual devoted to theory of literature. - Stupid teachers praise such talks in the classroom: "Oh, how bright! Your thinking is based upon a deep penetration into the correlation of the form and the content!"

If the fixation happens ONLY in belt 1, the understanding is lame, it brings about only empty talks about categories of pure thinking without any connection with what is categorized: "Oh, all these sufferings of the people show the inevitability of the historically conditioned victory of the Red Guard (an equal variant of empty talks: of the White Guard), of the new (variant: old) social order as the incarnation of the people's craved justice" and so on in the form of quoting from newspaper publications on the problems of Philosophy of history. - Stupid teachers praise such talks in the classroom: "Oh, how bright! Your thinking is based upon a deep penetration into the correlation of Progressism and Conservatism!"

Only in case the fixation of reflectivity happens simultaneously in all the three belts of systemic mental activity (Shchedrovitsky, 1987), does the principle of universal reexpressiveness work bringing about a socially adequate understanding of the artistic (or some other) idea (here this idea is that of "Russia Crucified"). The technique is described as the hermeneutic circle (Schleiermachere, 1974;1982) moving across the borders of the three belts. In case all this goes on successfully, the identifications of the texts of culture stop being queer and start being wise and socially adequate.

Technique For Differentiating The Three Types Of Understanding: Semantizing, Cognitive, Entgegenstaendlichende

The difference mentioned has its basis in the difference between, on the one hand, semantizing understanding (mentally establishing the referents) and cognitive understanding (establishing connections and relations within the syntagmatic system of referents) and, on the other hand, understanding restoring or trying to restore the mental situation of the producent . In English there is no term for this kind of understanding, but the German words entgegenstaendlichendes Verstehen exactly correspond to this method of mental acting (the rhetorical correlate is called Vergegenstaendlichung). The differentiation of the types of understanding forms one of many techniques of understanding. The differentiating type of techniques consists of two dozens units, but here it would be most appropriate to mention the technique of differentiating the content and the meaning. The former is a chain of predications within a propositional structure; the latter is the configuration of multitudes of connections and relations of all kinds within two types of matched situations - those of mental acting and those of communicating. The configuration is restored or created in the reflective process one of whose hypostases is understanding taken as meaning-formation. Thus mentioned are only two types of differentiation whose absence is enough to bring about a flat semiotics, but the better the text the greater the danger of lapsing into flatitude (and platitude). Galsworthy writes: The happy pair were seated, not opposite each other but rectangularly, at the handsome rosewood table. They dined without a cloth - a distinguishing elegance - and so far had not spoken a word. The poor reader (=flat practical semiotician) "interprets": "There was a happy family. They had the habit of expressing their love through sitting at the right angle to each other. They were rich and fashionable. O-o-oh! I have read the the word happy - it is irony". Meanwhile the three typographic lines are written according to meaning at large, which is to be retrieved through reflectivity and not through the technique of decoding adapted to comprehending what is constructed according to the content. Within the quoted passage there are more than two hundred meanings different from the tenfold lesser number of denotations as content units. One cannot reach the meanings without Entgegenstaendlichung - just as Galsworthy in his artistic rhetoric would not have been able to create this spiritual wealth without Vergegenstaendlichung. The typology of meanings (as well as metameanings and metametameanings, i.e. artistic ideas) represents a striking variety: meanings-reminiscences, meanings-experiences, meanings-problematizations, meanings-evaluations, meanings-reincarnations of the introtextual author etc. The bad reader - a fruit of bad pedagogical reexpression of flat semiotics - is regularly deprived of the spiritual wealth of all arts, especially if the school is insufficiently tending to reflectivity as the main didactic principle. Even in case the miserable reader or the disoriented interpreter do notice something like the plural in the grammatical government of the noun pair (with the meaning of ´alienation'), still he cannot systemize the meanings with a socially relevant adequacy: this demands a number of techniques of understanding, of which it is possible to mention the already discussed technique of the hermeneutic circle.

The Technique Of Qualifying The "Voices"

Within the quoted syntactical chain about "the happy pair" the organization of the text correspondss to the principle of the dynamics of the introtextual author (Uspenski, 1970) - "the one we hear the text from". The dynamics is based upon the constant changes of the artistic form along the syntactic change. It brings about new hermeneutic opportunities for the reader: he sees quite a number of the "never shown personages" who are given as "voices". At the beginning of the passage we hear the voice of one interested in the treatment of life without love as "happiness"; the "voice" is false as along with the praise of the family happiness the reflective reader sees the combination "the pair were" signifying (though not denoting) alienation. The voice of school life with the school constraint is heard in the word combination in Passive: they "were seated". Due to the Frenchified context and the choice of comparatively rare substituents of the more commonly used Germanic words we hear the voice of those womanly and pretentious in the parenthesis "a distinguishing elegance!" etc. But the very final words in the paragraph stand in an absolute opposition to all the other formally characterized voices: here we do not see a single word of Romanic origin, not a single word is experienced as something rare or estranged; the words "And so far had not spoken a word" sound as a quotation from a homily where a reproach is given to those declaring the Good at large and never being good to anybody. The fatal difference of the voice heard here from all the other voices in the paragraph is stressed by the fact of the anapaest rhythm and metre in it: the paragraph in general is very obviously non- rhythmic. All this contributes to the text being perceived as an absolute opposition of the Usual and the Unusual, of the worldly and the Divine. All this gives the impression of hearing the Voice from Above. The Voice has the reason for saying what it says: You all here have been pretentiously fussing, falsely praising and giving yourselves airs, but none of you has even tried to say the truth about the fate of the Unhappy Family...

The Technique Of Seeing the Similarity Of All Human Alterities

It is a variant of the technique if Entering the Reflective Position, and this concrete variant is a practical reexpression of what Christianity treats as Brotherhood of Human Beings and Brotherhood of Nations. And again discussing such problems implies speaking about Texts of Culture.

Penetration into a non-native culture may be difficult, but it cannot be impossible, in spite of the prejudice according to which this penetration always implies special studies for acquiring special KNOWLEDGE. Correspondingly, all success in such penetration is believed due to the growth of factual information: a Russian to answer in the negative moves his head to the right and to the left, while a Bulgarian expresses negation by means of nodding, which in Russian would have meant agreeing with the interlocutor.

Knowing all such differences may be useful, but they are so numerous that in most cases it is preferable to find support not in positive factual knowledge but in reflective techniques of UNDERSTANDING. Here it is possible to give an example of one of the simplest techniques - that of Entering the Reflective Position (in practical mental activity the technique usually is combined with many other techniques, which mainly are of reflective type as well). Here is a passage by a writer belonging to an Oriental culture; to make it handy I give it in an adequate English translation:

It was a second day of Card-Sharping Illi Vshaguj in the dens of Coshrott. Money again had been coming in excess. Money could do all. Now he could afford a little non-business evening walk along the silent lanes of the cozy town. Money could do all. Why should one refuse enjoyments to oneself if one had so much money? His parents had had no joy, but they had no money. And no freedom. And he...

A young maid-servant was standing at the porch of a strangely big hut. Looking like a decent one, and obedient. A bit too young, but why not to... "A nice evening it is. My name is Illi, money is no problem. Let us sleep together". - A loud cry of hers was heard even when she disappeared in the hut, and at once two big man-servants, damned thugs, sprang from the porch and never uttering a word started buffeting Illi. They did not even think of the buffeting ever coming to an end, and Illi shouted, "Oh, feed, oh do feed your father's flesh to the unicorns!" Now and again his plaintive shrieks were heard, "Oh, these frightful unicorns! Oh, do feed them with your father! Oh, let them be fed on your father's blood and flesh! Feed, feed them!"

Natiocultural specificity is obvious: unicorns, fathers fed to them, one calling himself a father of his torturers though he never had been one etc. It is so easy to say: oh, how specific these natives are, to understand them it is necessary to read half the Library of the Congress, I have never come across such mentality etc. A bit more difficult but at the same time more useful is to enter the reflective position of mental acting. For example, it is enough to reexpress the "exotic" situation in the forms of one's own Lebenswelt of experience. These worlds of experience, so different individually, are sufficient from the point of view of the social adequacy of the technique. I have not seen unicorns on the Tvertsa River, but I have seen and heard such a talk: "Oh, you don't love me because I belong to the ethnic group of X, and you cannot overcome your prejudice against the X! So go and love somebody who belongs to the ethnic group of Y. Oh, go, go there faster!" Acting like that one makes the trick of Illi in a different, but similar form - protests as to what is unpleasant to him by means of referring to what is socially evaluated as something holy. For most Europeans internationalism belongs to holiness, and for the culture wherein Illi lives an extreme respect for parents is supposed to be holy. It is not necessary to learn beforehand all the details concerning respect and ways of its fostering, in my case it is enough to reflectively reexpress that respect for old age in the respect for political internationalism. Neither sort of that respect is essential for understanding, but the methods of attempting to exploit both sorts of respect characterize some special meaning of slyness - the intellect of stupidity, which is inherent to those sly both in the West and in the East. Someone has a different kind of sedimented factual experience, but everyone has some reexpressible experience useful in the hermeneutic situation described.

Universal reexpression of everything perceptible in everything perceived is only one definition of reflectivity: every technique of understanding is a manifestation of some other definition of reflectivity - the main human mental quality. We cannot and must not teach anybody a ready-made understanding, but reflectivity must be taught for many reasons. One of them is the formation of readinesses for international and intercultural understanding of texts of culture. The theological relevance of the latter is obvious.

The Technique Of Individuation

There are many reverberations of the European Middle Ages even in the new buildings of our town. E.g. the central universal shop "Tver" awakens reflectivity upon the castle of Villandry in France (finished 1532) . As for the Russian Middle Ages, there are a few absolutely delapidated medieval friaries and a church (White Trinity, 1565, erected in honour of the Russian victory of Kazan). Many medieval buildings of great historical value were pulled down in the 1930's in the process of the "struggle against religious dope". Thus life in such a town awakens reflectivity on the Middle Ages not as a generator or things but as a generator of ideas, methodological, aesthetic, scientific. Among thousands of methodological ideas of the kind the concept of Individuation may be mentioned. According to the Medieval Scholastics, Individuation is the dividedness of the Universal into the Individual (the special). Principium individuationis is the basis of the existence of any species and of anything special. According to St. Thomas Aquinas principium individuationis could be given from the very beginning of the world, along with time and space. Generally this notion was an object of many medieval philosophical discussions continued even in the New Age (Locke, Schopenhauer, Schelling, Leibniz e.a. - review see Petrov,1977)

Later on it became clear that individuation may be treated as establishing what is being perceived at a given moment, what is "given to our eyes' and "what is heard" by our ears. Usually this is a speech product, that is why the concept of Individuation was philologically oriented, especially as it may help define the genre of the text as a speech product. Most important this applicability has proved to be in connection with texts of Modernism and Postmodernism where genre is defined for the sake of organizing the recipient's mental activities, for the sake of prognosticating HOW TO ACT FURTHER from the point of view of knowing, feeling, experiencing, applying the techniques of understanding in the forthcoming encounters with the textual situations of the text sequel. All this makes understanding a kind of restoring the mental situation of the author, a reexpression of another technique, that of Entgegenstaendlichung, also known to St. Thomas, who was the first to scientifically and optimally combine Realism and Nominalism. The techniques of individuation and Entgegenstaendlichung are most important for works of Modernism: here the ideal realities (meanings) represented in the text are optimally reincarnated in the secondarily-material realities of text-forming components. Here again the sociocultural situation of St. Thomas is represented.

All this is practically important. E.g. Anton Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard" comes to be unintelligible if the recipient at an early stage of reading and seeing did not notice that the play is a kaleidoscope of unmasked and exposed manifestations of triteness - triteness gentlemanly, commercial, sexual, progressive, regressive, any.

Underestimation of the Medieval techniques of understanding in Humanities brings about senseless identifications and interpretations of the texts of culture, but not only of them.

* * *

These and many other techniques of understanding forms a gift which the methodology of interpreting can hand to other sciences and occupations, if not on a platter, let it be with a prospect of modifications. The Philologists brought up on the ideas of the Cercle Linguistique de Prague and of Russian Formalism know how to interpret a text by dint of looking upon the formal and seeing the meaningful (the ideal), which just corresponds to the reflective technique of Entgegenstaendlichung. But this manifestation of readiness for reflective acts is necessary in all intellectual occupations.It is clear that young students of Law should be taught reflectivity, and their would-be teachers are not only Philologists. We know lawyers who came to an ability to enter the reflective position without having been specially and regularly taught this ability and still have it. Such people are not numerous, they are masters of many abilities, that if legal judgment and that of a philological interpretative approach among them, bit the reflective ability above all. Achieving this level of abilities integration is within the reach of those who have been much trying to be more sensible and more intelligent. By the way this implies following some special rules of self-education and self-formation (of rooting oneself into reflectivity. One of the important principles in such affairs is adhering to the highest type of reflectivity

There are three historical types of reflectivity:

a) Ontological reflectivity. It controls the progressive enhancement of knowledge.

b) Gnoseological reflectivity. It controls the subject-object relations in he progress of human mastering the world.

c) Methodological reflectivity. It controls the transition and the translation of everything connected with the reflective act into INSTRUMENTS of the future and further mental activities (Yudin, 1978). Methodological reflectivity is the highest historical type of reflectivity. One who has mastered it applies this mastery as an instrument for mastering newer and newer, further and further situations. Most of these situations may be approached as texts or quasitexts, discourses, ontological pictures, the latter being somehow similar to paintings and engravings. As we see, here again this methodological, instrumental type of reflectivity is advanced and prevalent, and Literature and other Arts really form serve as the main Supporter and Teacher of Human reflectivity and understanding generating humaneness and human creative activities. The one who has mastered only the ontological type of reflectivity may say lots of truths, for example, "Russia in 1812 defeated Napoleon who hoped to conquer the Russians, in 1945 she defeated the German fascists, she always conquered those who tried to enslave the Russian people etc." These analogies are taken from the sedimentation tub of the common Russian and the Russian common memory, they are reflective but... A much stronger reflectivity with the same sort of analogies proved its right to play role in many intellectual processes, legal process included.

This came to be obvious when Anatoli Koni was called to the bar. Much testifies to his talent in applying methodological reflectivity to the legal process, but one example will do. Once an old and beggarly peasant woman was under trial: she had stolen a tin-plate tea-kettle from a railway station where it had been standing for being used by those wanting hot water. The prosecutor was haranguing for two hours. Though the thing's price, he said, was a few copecks only, the woman was to be sentenced most severely. The price of the old and shabby tin utensil is of no importance. The main point is that the tea-kettle is a piece of social property. If weakness was going to be manifested in the cause of the defence of social property, the society may perish as a whole. The beggarly life of the old woman is not the main point either as the real main point is equality of legal responsibility, every citizen has an equal amenability for his of her encroachment upon social property. The latter belonging to the whole society, the old woman has attempted upon the life of the whole society, upon the life of every member of the society, the life of members of the Jury included. Thus members of the Jury must understand what consequences such an attempt may have etc. Etc. That was the essence of the Prosecutor's speech. The barrister spoke much less, less than a minute: "Many a time did Russia run the dangers of aggressors, She ran the dangers of the Mongolian hordes and stood out against them, she withstood Napoleon;s intrusion and many other devastations and ravages. But this misappropriation of a ten-copeck's worth public tea-kettle will prove to be a holocaust in which Russia will perish".

The jury acquitted the beggarly old peasant woman.

Every lawyer knows about many acquittals and many convictions, and ontological reflectivity gives this knowledge an onward march. So up to the middle of 1950's there existed a strange law in Russia with the popular name of the Rye-Earlings Law. The amenability for taking a few ears of rye of what was left upon a reaped-out collective-farm field was ten years' imprisonment of the strict regime. Though all Soviet legislators had read Anatoly Koni's captivating writings (Koni, 1966 - 1969), the Rye-Earlings Law shows that the legislator had only ontological reflectivity. The Russian type of humour is, as we may see, directed not only against those deprived of reflectivity, but also against those who have mastered only ontological reflectivity. In this example the function of the "humorist" belongs to the barrister, but generally the struggle against Ontologism in Reflectivity is a duty of both Philologists and Lawyers. A student in literature reads in Galsworthy's "Man of Property": " The happy pair were seated not opposite each other, but rectangularly..." and supposes that the pair was a happy one. A Philologist can easily prove that the author wished to show that the pair was unhappy: it is enought to turn the technique of Entgegenstaendlichung upon the formal grammatical, lexical, statistical means. The Plural of the auxiliary verb in the collocation were used to characterize the main personages has some smell of the meaning `alienation', the choice of the verb in the same collocation were seated reminds the reader of the atmospere of schools with their lack of freedom. In Galsworthy the number of meaningful devices exceeds the number not only of words of the text, but also the number of letters in the printed text. Applying to all the systems of textual formalism one can understand the majority of factually esoteric meanings. But almost the same is being done when one normally reads literature on the Science of Law (Krivonosova, 1997). And the opposition of the ontological and methodological reflectivity plays the same role as in the case of philological interpretation. For example, a student of Law reads Canonical Statutes of an Oecumenical Council and sees there the prohibition to give the assignment of clergyman to one under thirty years of age. But what must the bishop do in a diocese where all clergymen had been partly murdered, partly dispersed, partly trained for new professions? In this situation if treated as a text the ontological reflectivity implies an interpretation absolutely opposite to a methodological interpretation as the act of announcing the methodological type of reflectivity. The ontological reflectivity prompts legal inaction, the methodological reflectivity is keen to change the law, to produce some additional parts of the law, to do something for improving the situation. This concerns any legal thinking , any legal decision, any legal activity at large.


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* Bogin Georgiy Isayevich works at the State University of Tver, Professor (1987 - ). 1985: Maintenance of doctor's thesis (General Linguistics). Editor of 13 collections of articles on style, understanding and reflectivity. 1997- : editor-in-chief of the international quarterly "Hermeneutics in Russia", more than 20 quires in every issue ( 1990 - 2000: Organizer of 7 international Hermeneutic conferences "Understanding and Reflectivity in Communication, Culture and Education". In 1999 G.Bogin was awarded the title of the "Honoured Scholar of the Russian Federation". The number of scientific publications is 315: Philological and Pedagogical Hermeneutics, Style and Artisticism, Methods of Teaching Languages, Methods of Teaching Reflectivity.

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