Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hysterical Plastical Tragsicle

Roman Jakobson may say language has six functions- eat, breathe, sleep, mate, poop, die-- but who needs flowcharts? Anyway, I believe in diluted mutilations of Lacan, so I say any language chunk does these three things all at the same time.

1) It is technical. This is what you (your body) can make happen. Not just descriptive or referential, but connecting things "outside" language in a way that is meaningful "outside" language. Not to comment on the possibility of anything existing outside of us thinking about it (except of course it does), but "don't touch the hot stove," or "my horse likes raisins," or math... all of those generalities can be reliable or unreliable, partially or completely true or false, but to be useful they have to point at something. Usually we think that this is why we talk. Language as content./

2) It is nonsense. This is what happens to you (your body), including your drives and sensations and ineffable experiences. It's the plenitude of negativity holding arbitrary phonemes in circulation around an empty center, with every part given a place negatively, a gap representing a gap, as structuralists say. But now you've forgotten what the "it" is that I was even talking about. Case in point. This is that which is so submerged in chaos that only the teeniest nub(s) actually even expresses that chaos, This is "semiotic" space, the first thing that has to exist before one can operate "technical" -- or, if you like, Symbolic-- language. Nonsense gets mined for humor and cosmic enlightenment, but also all attempts at objectivity; that all happens in the next and last step before we get back to technique.

3) It is magical. This is the murky mirror that is also a warped prism, the confounded bridge between nonsense and technique which situates you in your body by forgetting your body. It subsists on the delusion that subjective experiences can be represented in the same way that physical phenomena can be repeated, but it can only fail as a mirror. Anything unquantifiable or nonexistent belongs here in this pure realm-- because it can only not exist once you've thought about it. It's the way in which we use language as a tool in and of itself, as an extension of our inner experience (which is all external, and all nonsense). Commands, declarations, names, metaphors, pure narrative. Language as form.

So, anything we could call an "idea" is a syllogism, a story, and a song at the same time. Because time is built into language, like everything else, so linking syllogisms together makes a story, putting songs together makes a syllogism, and whether or not it feeds the poor or induces mass suicide, it's too easy to say that anyone isn't using language right when they take a story for a syllogism or a song for a story. Because in a way it is.

But it also isn't. Stories are "presence," the bugbear of deconstruction, but they motivate every way in which we relate what we experience and what we do- if any thought is involved. Sneezing happens to your body, just like sunburn or poverty. If there is anything cohering those things together, it is a story. And the value of stories is not their transparency at revealing nonsense or technique, representing either our personal experiences or our proper behavior-- it's the way in which the story does what a story does-- appreciates a song or formulates a syllogism for use outside the story. A story is neither the reality we experience or that we act upon.  But the stories about this isolation from reality are also stories.   And they will not be televised.

The End

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