Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Cavarero writes:

In the theater of consciousness, the natural relationality of the vocal–the acoustic relationality that speech itself, insofar as it is sonorous, confirms–is preemptively neutralized in favor of a silent and internal voice that produces a self-referential type of relation, an ego-logical relation between the self and itself. The price for the elimination of the physicality of the voice is thus, first of all, the elimination of the other, or, better, of others. Already announced in platonic metaphysics, the silent dialogue of the soul with itself is not only a monologue; it is a soliloquy that–while it metaphorizes itself on the voice–neutralizes the relational status of the voice and thus of speech in general. The soul, as Plato ends up suggesting, can do without the bodily phone and contents itself with a metaphorical voice. And from this point on, the soul speaks with a voice that does not reverberate. When its interior discourse comes out of the mouth and is vocalized, it thus finds itself confronted with a verbal interlocution that spoils the mute and disembodied perfection of the solipsistic colloquium. It must register the fact that, beneath the silent firmament of the ideas, there are human beings in flesh and bone who are particular, contigent, and finite. It must renounce the metaphysical dream that stands ready to sacrifice the vocality of speech in order not to have to worry about the existence of others.

(For More than One Voice, p. 46)

I had lightly questioned whether, given the dialogic nature of inner speech, it were possible to conduct a monologue. (By the way, the previous sentence was rehearsed in inner speech before I typed it, as was this very sentence, including this very inclusion.) Well, sure it's possible. The question is how is it possible, and also, what does it mean? Is soliloquy only possible as a fiction, or, better, a device? What does it show by pointing to inner speech? Is it really possible to cover over the relationality of the voice with silence in inner speech, to obliterate other voices, or is it rather more like a suspension of relationality. If inner speech functions as a rehearsal for articulations, does this not imply as a condition of possibility the existence of others, even a worry about the existence of others? Why believe that inner speech points to silence instead of the possibility of conversations yet to be realized?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:06 PM.


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