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Monday, July 09, 2018    

Through others, we become ourselves.
  --Lev Vygotsky, psychologist (1896-1934)

(25:8.4) Mortals come from races that are very social. The Creators well know that it is "not good for man to be alone," and provision is accordingly made for companionship, even on Paradise.

(160:2.6) Many noble human impulses die because there is no one to hear their expression. Truly, it is not good for man to be alone.

(193:3.2) Have you not read in the Scripture where it is written: 'It is not good for man to be alone. No man lives to himself'? And also where it says: 'He who would have friends must show himself friendly'? And did I not even send you out to teach, two and two, that you might not become lonely and fall into the mischief and miseries of isolation? You also well know that, when I was in the flesh, I did not permit myself to be alone for long periods. From the very beginning of our associations I always had two or three of you constantly by my side or else very near at hand even when I communed with the Father. Trust, therefore, and confide in one another.

     Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of an unfinished theory of human cultural and bio-social development commonly referred to as cultural-historical psychology, a prominent advocate for a new theory of consciousness, the "psychology of superman", and leader of the Vygotsky Circle (also referred to as "Vygotsky-Luria Circle").
     Vygotsky's main work was in developmental psychology, and he proposed a theory of the development of "higher psychological functions" that saw human psychological development as emerging through interpersonal connections and actions with the social environment. During the earlier "instrumental psychology" period of his career (1920s), he argued that human psychological development was mediated by signs that he viewed as the psychological equivalent of instrument use in human labor and industry. Later, in the "holistic" period of his career (first half of 1930s), Vygotsky was increasingly influenced by the systemic thinking of the scholars associated with German-American Gestalt psychology movement. It was during this period that he—under the influence of Kurt Lewin's "Topological (and vector) psychology"—introduced the vague notion of the "zone of proximal development" and identified play of young children as their "leading activity", that he understood as the main source of the preschoolers' development in terms of emotional, volitional and cognitive development. Vygotsky was also influenced by Dr. Maria Montessori.
     During his lifetime, Vygotsky's ideas were controversial within the Soviet Union. As early as in mid-1920s, Vygotsky was introduced in the West where he remained virtually unknown until the early 1980s when the popularity of the developmental psychology of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) among educators started to decline and, in contrast, Vygotsky's notion of the "zone of proximal development" became a central component of the development of new paradigms in developmental and educational psychology. A Review of General Psychology study, published in 2002, ranked Vygotsky as the 83rd top psychologist of the 20th century and the third (and the last) Russian on the top-100 list after Ivan Pavlov and Vygotsky's longtime collaborator Alexander Luria.
     The early 21st century has seen scholarly reevaluations of the popular version of Vygotsky's legacy (sometimes termed "Vygotsky cult", "the cult of Vygotsky" or even "the cult of personality around Vygotsky"), which is referred to as the "revisionist revolution in Vygotsky Studies".


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