Monday, March 28, 2005

A Brevity on the Fallibility of Language that Eventually Gets Tangled Up Inside Itself and Dies

So if you haven't read Mr. Scott David Herman's Dense-But-Maybe-Trues (part 1 and part 2), you are ignorant and blind and should remedy this appalling faux pas immediately.
So self-consciousness — which it seems was meant to prevent misunderstandings caused by one person saying too little and then the other person reading too much between the lines (i.e. we can all just come right out and say every little thing we really mean and let's put aside these petty games and social pretenses) — what it does is give everyone infinitely more lines to read between, or to imagine can be read between, and so infinitely more energy gets expended at trying, ad inf. ad naus.
Which, well, we're reading Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory: An Introduction (self-urticating, but maybe true) for Theory of Knowledge, and this is exactly his point w/r/t meaning and text in Chapter 2, i.e. the author attempts to explain his meaning(s) using language, and to clarify it (them) he uses more language, but the more language there is, the more open to interpretation the entire text becomes, or as SDH says, there are "infinitely more lines to read between."

So the more we say, the less that gets understood? It's like the universe (or God, or Buddha, or whoever) is purposely out to prevent us from ever comprehending ourselves, each other, and/or the nitty-gritties of life. If the only way we can communicate is through language, and language itself is such shaky ground, how are we ever supposed to get anywhere?

SDH seems to imply, at the end of part 2, that if everyone could return to naked earnestness then the problem of infinitely regressive articulatory self-consciousness could be solved. Universal nude sincerity would put everybody on the same page, at least w/r/t IRASC, thus eliminating the need to talk about the way we perceive or don't perceive ourselves. It's the assimilation/nativist argument. Immigrants are bad because they have different values- they're at a different location in the cultural spectrum. People can't communicate if they're on disparate pages. Therefore, we should either assimilate them (force them into our value system) or force them out and forget about them altogether. The ultimate goal is one universal value system.

But this itself raises so many problems, e.g. Which value system should be the value system? And can language accomplish this? that I feel quite out of my league and uncertain of from what angle to attack this or whether it even has attackable angles that I think I'll be quiet now.