"Note to Self:" A Genealogy of the internal dialogue from Aurelius to Vygotsky

mac1Referencing Foucault’s notion of “technologies of the self,” this paper/chapter traces the notion of the self-reflective, self-directed dialogue from the practices of the late Ancients (e.g. Aurelius) through Vygotsky to today’s digital tools of self-management and self examination.

Here’s a link to the full text:
Note to Self

Here’s the abstract:

This paper provides an overview of the history of the “internal dialog” as a pedagogical technique whose variations can be traced through material media forms over a number of centuries. Two important precursors for this specific “technology of the self,” as Foucault suggests, go back to the Middle Ages and antiquity, particularly with the emergence of writing and the Christian confessional as means of self-reflection and -examination. Similar technologies of the self are enacted and studied today under rubrics such as “self-regulation” and “self-explanation,” which are seen as being supported and tracked through online media or technology. However, between ancient and modern practices, many variations intervene: They occur through reading rather than writing, or in the form of group recitation rather than individual extemporization. The chapter plots the oscillation of this “technology” between a fully ritualized external performance and fully internalized examination, from the catechism of Luther to the internal speech of Vygotsky and today’s cognitive science –concluding with a brief discussion of new possibilities offered by many-to-many Internet communication.

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