The developmental psychologists Piaget and Vygotsky observed in young children, stages of early human evolution.
Piaget was the first person to really help us take notice of the importance of self-talk or Private Speech observed in children between 2 to 7 years old. Toddlers basically like to talk to themselves, the wall, their toys, their pillow and so on.
When babies make public utterances, Vygotsky observed that babies "think out loud." They have yet to interiorize a structured world built on a Time-Space continuum. Babies are unable to reference signs and placeholders that allow for concepts to build the construct for Memory.
Children speak out loud and moving in the ways that they do because this is how they think in early years. When their bodies gesture in sound and movement, they are beginning to internalize the world around them not so much through memorization but through conceptualization, in ways that embed patterns, categories and metaphors.
A baby does not think of something that is not in the room. A baby doesn’t have a timeline to draw from. In order to have a “past,” patterns and memory need conceptual containers. Vessels that can retain the world as a set of abstract thought patterns that is meaningful and inter-related.
The child is learning to network complex streams of information systematically, as an internet-like construct. The vessels of which I speak of are Words. Words contain memory. Words are a kind of box that hold the past, the same boxes we open during Dreamtime and innerdance to look at what we stored within and around them.
Where it was Piaget who took note of the importance of how children speak to themselves aloud, it was Lev Vygotsky who documented “Ego-centric Speech,” a half-way house between the time children speak out loud to themselves to the time they have successfully internalized their language.
The importance of Vygotsky’s initial work on the developing mind contributes to understanding innerdance in considerable weight. The innerdance is in many ways, a return to this half-way house.
Prior to Ego-Centric or Private Speech, small children speak socially. The mind is entirely environmental, babies especially drawing their mental status from an external locus. If a parent loves a child, this will directly co-relate with a child’s present bearings, mainly in satisfied laughter and the appropriate guttural utterances. If a child feels neglected, the appropriate mirroring is expressed through crying, vocal irritation.
During Ego-centric Private Speech, the child has now started to internalize a universe. They are beginning to shape a world of their own, through basic structures their central nervous system is able to grasp. As they hear and absorb more and more words, their language system arises in scaffolding and the future house’s main support beams. Pure energy flow is now captured in fragmented energy forms.
At the age of seven and beyond, speech shifts successfully into internalization. People have magnificently become secretive beings through the creation of thought process. Rather than thinking out loud and moving freely as young children do, information denses and stagnates, developing accents, food preferences, remembering as much of what it touches, hears, sees, smells and feels. Time has expanded and begun to displace. A universe is now an Embodied Name, ready to participate in the game of illusion called Everything is Separate.
In the innerdance, egocentric speech is precisely the developmental stage we go back to.
It is in the thought of Jacques Lacan that we begin to imagine this state of intervention. He calls it the Symbolic Order, what negotiations the Orders of the Real and the Imaginary.
To understand how mind journeys from time-pressured waking state into reversible dream spaces, Vygotsky's Social-Historical Model developed on Jean Piaget’s earlier work on the body’s role on structuring mind initially through movement-oriented pre-logic systems.
In a January 2008 article that came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jaime Licauco writes this after he underwent his first innerdance experience: “Something happened to me that I had not experienced before. I went into a trance and fell from my chair to the floor. Then I went into a journey back in time from my present adult life to childhood and then birth. I saw myself inside the womb of my mother. I crouched and assumed a fetal position for a few minutes, then I went forward in time again until I reached my present age. I went back in time and returned. It was an inner rebirth. It was a very powerful experience for me and I found myself teary-eyed. It was a cathartic experience I could not forget.”
One of the most shared retrograding memories in the innerdance experience is the return to the womb.
The less common experience are memories between infancy and toddler years, somewhere between 1 to 6 years old. These are the innerdance memory regressions that I find more fascinating. Consciousness speaks much about who we are from that vantage, than maybe any other stage in our timelines.
In my ten years of facilitating innerdance, I watched countless memories pulled back to the present hailing from infancy to toddler years, which to me reveals mind’s ability to enter spatial awareness as reversible time.
Sometimes, when they enter their child’s past awareness, they realize just how much they saw ahead, seeing where it is they are going (and have already gone) as they slowly begin to internalizes a world unto the body. A baby’s mind lives out its adult years in pre-logical states in a kind of Birth Visioning status, seeing potentials yet to be actualized, but nevertheless, seeing itself through precognition.
The Symbolic Order Lacan observes the moment the infant discovers the mirror. The young human is suddenly bombarded with a self-image, whereas prior to this, the self-experience is as a fragmentary entity driven by basic needs.
As the baby is called just one name, the image and the sound of one's name brings about an auditory and visual centrality to one's existence. From a state of being, as a transcendental signified, a person becomes a signifier - the symbol. The image in the mirror is the image of coherence. We are suddenly brought into a subjective closure, the basic conditions of possibility for the occurrence of ego and identity, both as illusion and as a truth.
Lacan writes: "Symbols in fact envelop the life of man in a network so total that they join together, before he comes into the world, those who are going to engender him. Man speaks therefore, but it is because the symbol has made him man."
It is in the Order of the Symbolic where Space and Time are mediated by Language as an organising system that allows story unfoldments held by a structure called Memory.
The triads, the Real, Symbolic and the Imaginary, as with Vygotsky's private, egocentric and public speech patterns other triangular dialectics that hold us all in place. In this section, we look at the triadicities of thought and how spiritual processes intercedes the polarities that come into balance.
Would you contribute to this discussion? How does the Symbolic Order translate to Vygotsky's egocentric speech model?