Culture, Language, Multiplicity

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culture / language / multiplicity / silence / society


The space of a remark is not merely a site for events, but always a sort of home: it plays host to flocks of fragmentary feelings, to parasitic swarms of minimal ‘incorporeal’ entities. Language is sense only in immense assemblages. Books are mass conflagrations of innumerable pieces of inchoate noise. This is why the novel is always — unresolved. Feelings and intensities are irreconciliable because they are irreversible and contain their contradictions: words are their own gesticulations, names self-fulfilling marks inscribed upon bodies. Enunciation is always a self-explanatory inscription, a marking by which the object is made equal, entitled, nominated. Language is that violent purging of the blank positivity of Being, in exchange for the darkness of multiplicity, for the silence of absolute prayer, and ultimately for the obscurity of interminable exegesis. Where does the unfolding stop and the refolding begin? The intertial point is not the same as the signifier or the signified, nor even the signal which orders their coordination. For conversation is linear but transversal, a translation between two orders, tracings between various families of signifiers.

So if culture can become cruel, dominating, malicious, until ultimately judgment is the only actual signified — this is because culture is abstract, virtual at its core. It reveals itself in the movement of spirits upon bodies. The incorporeal signal can be hijacked, infected with a counter-signal, the space reorganized: the master-signifier can be overthrown. Engagement in this struggle against established spaces uncovers new spaces for desire, reveals secret escapeways and hidden patterns. The struggle is the battle to understand the other: it seems to require a war machine, the establishment of separate but interfacing positions, pathways and spaces. Language modestly hides its own intervention, allows the dyad to imagine that no relation whatsoever attains between them; and whether as a noisy hospitality or a noise which disrupts hospitality, conversation is the material core of sociality. We trade food for words, thought for bread; the ‘person of words’ is parasitic in more than one way. (For this cultural type, conversation becomes the — ambiguous — cure for living in society.)

An angel passes: there is a pause within the vocalic flow. Intensities are signaling their distribution an intercourse of marked bodies in unmarked spaces: the word is the injunction of a spirit which countermands this movement of bodies, and inspires a trans-figuration. Language is civilization, and music its spirit. Culture is cadence: a song enraptures the laconic barbarian. For before we can speak we must already be taught to love the others’ word, to obey it unconsciously, to attune ourselves to its gaps and continuities: all this in order to speak, to think together, to coordinate vitalities. Where music is dancing joyously together between the fire of noise and the void of silence, language seeks to map these discretized realms onto one another. The problem of society is first the Babelian paradox: a multiplicity of languages and a single task, so that the social relation inherently strives towards inter-resonance, counter-balance, and transversal self-organization. Baptised in this material communion, we finally free one another from the unwavering jealousy of origin-myth.

The Author

mostly noise and glare

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