When these cracks occur, what do you see?
To really get in to that you have to look at the whole formation of the egg from the beginning. What Piaget spoke of is structures of knowledge. The child isn’t born into a world they look out and see the world, they must build up a structure of knowledge of that world point by point, object by object, and make the orientations and the special discriminations and so on, associative thinking. But it’s a built up process and that takes place of course very early in life. For instance, if I get too far afield you’ll have to stop me, but we look at the work of Blurton Jones, he was one of the Ethologists in Britain under the great Nobel Lariat, and Blurton Jones talked about the pointing syndrome, that the little infant strapped up in its highchair babbling away, practicing full names, practicing the language as speech, will begin to point, but the whole fist, will begin to wave his fist as he talks at a certain period. You find it in all cultures about the same appearance of the pointing syndrome. And then after a few, let’s say a week or so, of these gestures like this, this finger pops up and he found that was true in all cultures. That’s the pointing syndrome. Then the minute he’s on his feet running out in to the world, every new object he sees his first impulse is to point toward it, if he’s out in the open, if he’s in the nest that is an extension of the mother, that pointing syndrome is much different. But if he’s out in the wild it’s very pronounced and he points toward the new object that he has no structure of knowledge of and immediately looks back to check that out with mama or the caretaker. Why does he do that, to see if the caretaker cognizes that object. That means does that object fit in with the world that I’m designed by nature to fit in to? So you can get the signal, as a whole bunch of people point out the mother doesn’t have to say a word, if she herself inwardly cognizes the object, the infant picks it up through signals we’re not aware of and charges over to taste it, touch it, feel it, smell it and so forth and do what Piaget said, build a full conceptual structure of knowledge of what that object is and then through associative thinking he can apply it to all sorts of other objects. The second thing is the demand on the parent for a name for the object. What is that mama? What is that Daddy? The reason for that being that naming it gives it absolute permanence and a secure place within the whole structure of knowledge he’s building. Without the name it will be what Piaget called a shallow dimensional structure of knowledge which soon just dissipates and disappears. It’s not permanent. What makes it permanent is the name for it because naming is an act of language and speech and language is distributed throughout the whole body. And the act of naming it, as Luria, this is the Great Alexander Luria, another of our child developmental people, said that naming and attaching a word to that object coordinates the entire body’s system into that learning. It becomes a total bodily process, not just some shallow dimensional image that’s going to disappear. So the name is as critically important as anything else. The name then of course becomes a generic name which can encompass many, many variations with it through associative thinking.
Is this is enculturation moment to moment taking place?
I wouldn’t call this enculturation, this is perfectly natural spontaneous process that both infant, world and parent are involved in. There’s no discrimination here other than if the parent is not cognizing that, the infant doesn’t want to cognize it because there are, at the same time, a million other things they can spot visually, point toward and interact with it and they pick out by nature, and you find it in all mammals, they center on those objects shared with the parent. Now what about the ones that are not shared with the parent? They’re transient. That reminds me of Blurton Jones’ comment he found this in all cultures without exception at that same stage of development. And the other phenomena was the peculiar notion of the child of pointing at the things that weren’t there, demanding a name for them, and we don’t see them. They weren’t part of our parent’s world view and acceptable part of that world so the parent can’t take part in that. The infant isn’t getting a full response between concept, percept and the structures and knowledge in the brain and so then of course the same thing is passed on to their infant, that particular kind of event which is not going to be recorded and paid attention to. He did a lot of study about the quasi hallucinatory phenomena of the early child and he estimates that 50% of all the pointing and demand for a name that go on are for objects that to an adult are not there at all. As a father of five and having gone through this five times with my children I know the child’s frustration can get very, I’ve had them grab me by the hand, “That Daddy! That Daddy” “What’s that Daddy?” And you can’t make a response because you are not cognizing that. You have conceptual perceptual structures of knowledge in your brain to register that. And it’s not moral failure on our part or blindness or anything else, it’s just the way the genetic system organizes a world view. Then when we get into the cultural part of it, the cultural part of it is far more pervasive. It builds on that.