Saturday, August 29, 2009



Barbaras on language:

Against the intellectualist conception which posits the material sign and the signification side by side as positive entities, linguistics discovers that sign and signification become positive beings and are then ordered to each other only by a process of active differentiation carried out first on the signifiers themselves. It is truly by this process that the signifiers become signifiers in the strict sense, that is, carriers of significations. The signification is not attached in a univocal manner to a sign but is situated between the signs as the invisible place where the signifying acts intersect. The sense intended in speech is a "qualified nothingness" whose unity is designed by means of the incessant differentiation of spoken words. Consequently, the sign is never truly isolable and the sense never strictly present in any spoken word; it is sketched in them as their secret web and remains therefore allusive, by principle disappointing every attempt to possess it in person. The sense is reached only in a lateral fashion, beside itself, across the figures in which it is incarnated.

(Being, p. 179)

Chaosmic Metaphoricity

In my usage "spatiality" hardly ever refers to bare geometric space but rather to space as it is lived; similarly "meaning" refers not to a purely intellectual realm of displaced and displacable abstractions but to an embodied gesture towards the world, an expression of mien. The orders of extensa and cogitans are not originary. From such a viewpoint metaphor takes on an ontological and chaosmological significance. "Far from the metaphor bearing on objects already circumscribed," Barbaras explains, "things proceed from a general 'metaphoricity,' from a universal participation that they concentrate or crystallize in order to be constituted into things" (p. 195, Barbaras' emphasis, my bold). This view of a general metaphoricity apparently describes an inhabited world, a universe of life and of leeway. Can there a cosmos in which leeway as such exists without the possibility of response to leeway?

Anarchic (}∅{) Individuation

Barbaras says that "individuation does not designate an incomprehensible phase preceding the individual whose clarification then necessitates recourse to a principle" (p. 183, Barbaras' emphasis) and likewise, "individuality makes sense only insofar as it does not proceed from a principle, and . . . the individual has individuality only insofar as individuality cannot be assigned. The individuality of the thing can be maintained only by remaining unfulfilled, just short of the point where it could fixed as a principle" (p. 184). Does this argument about things also hold for persons, unique, living beings? I think it's rather meant to: "individuality is characterized by its ability to foil every search for a principle of individuation; to be attentive to the individual is to understand that the search for such a principle is meaningless. One must instead say that the individual produces its own 'principles' as asymptotic poles of its pre-individual life" (p. 186). Does }∅{ designate the total absence of principles, or the autopoetic generation of its own proper extempore "principles?" Can these be separated? Is general metaphoricity not a principle?

An errant thought: "sense at its maximum degree of errancy, nowhere gathered together, pure allusion, horizon" (p. 181). I allege that allusion is like enough to a gathering, a playing along, or a play towards. I note a tension between errancy and allusion; at the same time }∅{ means the absence of an apriori gathered; the allusive gathers up in itself even prior there being an in in itself. The allusiveness of this very concatenation of thought has not escaped my notice. Not even direct quotation erases the allusiveness of sense.

Barbaras says that the "ultimate ground of the real consists of . . . 'rays of the world' which do not lead to the rank of principles" (p. 190). To speak of the ultimate betrays a desire for principles. "Ultimate ground," "ultimate moment": }∅{ issues no ultimata. "Ultimate" must be understood figuratively. The desire for the arche is born autopoetically, in the leap. Rays of the world never arrive at the arche, but they approach the arche asymptotically. The penultimate is truer than the ultimate to chaosmic metaphoricity. It belongs with the spasmoreal, though it is "almost" ultimate. It alludes to another order.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:56 AM.


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