Showing posts with label Derrida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Derrida. Show all posts

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sing


We must also recall that the classical poetry of Homer, Dante, and Chaucer was meant to be spoken aloud, or even sung.

Tarpley



'The death of civilization of the book'
For Derrida, using a terminology that is borrowed from the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, language is at  first the realm of "sign" and "signified." 

"The difference between sign and signifier belongs in a profound and implicit way to the totality of the g at epoch covered by the history  of metaphysics, and in a more explicit and more systematically articulated way to the narrower epoch of Christian creationism and infinitism when these appropriate the resources of Greek conceptuality. This appurtenance is essential and irreducible; one cannot retain . . . the scientific truth . . . without also bringing with it all its metaphysico-theological roots" (Of Grammatology, p. 13). 

In other words, Platonic Christianity is the basis for modem science, and that is the enemy Derrida seeks to liquidate by destroying language. The scientific tradition "begins its era in the form of Platonism, it ends infinitist metaphysics . " (Here Derrida is probably targeting Georg Cantor and the transfinite numbers.) Derrida is fully conscious that the exhaustion of language will bring with it nothing less than the "death of speech" and the "death of the civilization of the book" (Of Grammatology, p. 8).

Again following his Nazi guru Heidegger, Derrida focus es his destructive attention on the "metaphysics of presence" as this relates to language. The "presence" amounts to a solid grounding for certain knowledge, for the certitude  that something exists. Derrida is at pains to point out that "presence" of this kind is required as a precondition for the conceptual apparatus of western  philosophy  from the time of  e Greeks on down: "It could be shown that all names  related to  fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated an invariable presence - eidos [action], arche [principle or  first cause], telos [purpose], energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject), aletheia, [truth] transcendentality, conciousness, God, man, and so forth" ("Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," pp. 279-280). In language, "the metaphysics of presence" is equated with a "transcendental signified" or "ultimate referent," which would  function as the ultimate guarantee of meaning. We see that for Derrida, all western  languages "metaphysical," since their key words and concepts are  permeated by Christian Platonism. They also metaphysical, he thinks, because the only way to   sure of the meaning of "Send over a pizza," presupposes the Christian Platonic foundations of the whole civilization. Derrida therefore sets out to destroy Platonism by destroying language, while hoping to destroy the civilization along with both.

Reason and speech
Derrida asserts that the western languages   "logocentric," that they are based on reason in this way. Logos can mean reason, but also law lness or ordering principle, but also word, discourse, argument, and speech. "With this logos," says Derrida, "the original and essential link to the phone [sound] has never been broken." In other words, hu man reason and human s ech   inextricably  und up together. The connection of speech and  reason is the organizing principle of Plato's dialogues and of all the literature based on them, through St. Augustine to the Italian Renais sance. The theatre of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Schiller represents a continuation of this tradition in a slightly different form. We must also recall that the classical poetry of Homer, Dante, and Chaucer was meant to be spoken or sung aloud. If "the scar on the paper," were to replace all this, colossal cultural damage would of course be the result.

 Western  language is therefore not only logocentric, but also phonocentric: that is to say, western  language recognizes the primacy of the spoken language over the written language. "The system of language associated with phonetic alphabetic writing is that within which logocentric metaphysics, determining the sense of being as presence, has been produced" (Of Grammatology, p. 43).

        Derrida obviously cannot deny that spoken language "came first." He also cannot escape the fact that while the spoken word  (arole) is a sign, the written word (mot) is the sign of a sign. He tries to go back to a mythical form of writing in general that might have existed before Socrates and Plato came on the scene, calling this arche-ecriture, (arch-writing) but this is plainly nothing but a crude deus ex machina hauled in to substantiate a thesis that has nothing going for it. 

In the Book of Genesis, Adam creates language under the direct tutelage of God by giving names to animals and other objects. 

But Derrida is hell-bent on reducing every thing to writing and texts as the only sense data the individual gets from the world.



   

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Thug Life

'Medusa herself is only a shadow'


...the remoteness of desire degenerates into dangerous enjoyment. 

This partly explains Tournier’s condemnation of image and photography in La Goutte d'Or (1985). He explicitly links their power to Medusa's petrifying fascination and contrasts them with the art of writing which is the art of education and the route to wisdom 'par excellence'.

It would seem that the fear experienced at the sight of Medusa's head is the terror of 
discovering the secret behind the representation of the image.
From Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes, and Archetypes. Ed. Pierre Brunel., 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Routledge



" Do you understand,  
I had to call my wife up, and  apologise  to her for raping her, 
because I didn't know  that when you're married to somebody, 
that didn't allow you permission to just take The Pussy... 

I didn't know that.

Nobody had taught me that. "

- Bro. Dick Gregory




" There are those who theorize that Hecate is as old as the early Egyptians.  She possibly evolved from the Egyptian midwife goddess know as Hequit, Heket or Hekat, a goddess with Nubian roots.  It is said that this goddess took her attributes from the "heq" ("heka") or tribal matriarch of pre-dynastic Egypt.  This wise woman was believed to command the "hekau" or "(M)other's Words of Power", giving power to the sacred word.
 
  
"....  - for the emanations of Hek Ka, the mighty 
energies of a million hearts, are contained within her...."

 





The goddess Hekat birthed the sun each morning and was called the "most lovely one" - a title of the moon.  Her totems was the frog, a symbol of the fetus
 


"....  Oldest of the Old, amphibian being that swims in the 
water, yet walks upon the dry land...."

This goddess, in turn, was connected to the goddess Nut.  She was the sky and the heaven and was invoked with many names.  The Great Deep,  The Starry One,  Cow Goddess,  Mother of the Gods,  Mother of the Sun,  Protector of the Dead,  Guardian of the Celestial Vault.  These titles all relate to Hecate in her association with the moon, the night sky and the underworld.




The worship of Hecate may also have passed through the fertile crescent of the Israelites and Sumerians.  Hecate may have been related to the Sumerian Goddess of Death and Magic.  


She may have influenced or been influenced by the legends of Lilith, the first wife of Adam who was demonized as "the accursed huntress" and the dark phase of the moon - also attributes of Hecate.



Hecate had elements in common with other female manifestatitions/elements of this region.  The feminine spirit of knowledge, Sophia, has been depicted with three heads as was Hecate who as the Crone is considered the Wise Woman.  Hecate has even been linked to the Virgin Mary through Mary's indirect link to Lilith (as the second Eve) and through the association of both with the holy day of August 15.  This is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin when Mary is petitioned to avert storms so that the fields can ripen.  A festival for Hecate was held on August 13.  She too was invoked for help in preventing storms so that the harvest could be gathered.


In Greek Myth
medusa1.jpg (59124 bytes)Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. She was the only one of the Gorgons who was subject to mortality. She is celebrated for her personal charms and the beauty of her locks. Neptune became enamoured of her, and obtained her favours in the temple of Minerva. This violation of the sanctity of the temple provoked Minerva, and she changed the beautiful locks of Medusa, which had inspired Neptune’s love to serpents. According to Apollodorus, Medusa and her sisters came into the world with snakes on their heads, instead of hair, with yellow wings and brazen hands. Their bodies were also covered with impenetrable scales, and their very looks had the power of killing or turning to stones. Perseus rendered his name immortal by his conquest of Medusa. He cut off her head, and the blood that dropped from the wound produced the innumerable serpents that infest Africa. The conqueror placed Medusa's head on the shield of Minerva, which he had used in his expedition. The head still retained the same petrifying power as before, as it was fatally known in the court of Cepheus. . . . Some suppose that the Gorgons were a nation of women, whom Perseus conquered. 
From Lempriére’s Classical Dictionary of Proper names mentioned in Ancient Authors Writ Large. Ed. J. Lempriére and F.A. Wright. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Camille Dumoulié

Medusa's head, an apparently simple motif linked to the myth of Perseus, was freed through being severed and cut loose from its 'moorings' by the hero in the remote depths of the world. There is something paradoxical about the story since the monster was all the more indestructible because it had been killed. Indeed, the figure of Medusa is characterized by paradox, both in terms of the actual mythical stare, which turned men to stone, and in the interpretations that have been given to it. The fascination that she exerts arises from a combination of beauty and horror. Her head was used, in Ancient times, as an apotropaic mask -- a sort of talisman which both killed and redeemed.

As well as being the very symbol of ambiguity, Medusa's head is also one of the most archaic mythical figures, perhaps an echo of the demon Humbaba who was decapitated by Gilgamesh. Everything implies that it is a 'representation' of the most meaningful aspect of the sacred. Insofar as it is the role of literature to assume responsibility for the sacred, each era, when confronted with the mystery of the 'origins', has re-examined Medusa's head with its mesmerizing stare as something which conceals the secret of the sacred.


THE OTHER AND THE MONSTER
If ambiguity is the hallmark of the sacred, the role of myths, as René Gerard purports in his La Violence et le Sacré (1972) is to generate differences and contrasts, to distinguish between the two faces of the sacred. Therefore, from the viewpoint of the oldest texts which are true to the spirit of the myth, Medusa is a representation of the Other by virtue of her absolute and terrifying difference. At first sight, her monstrous ugliness and her petrifying stare certainly bear this out.

In La Mort dans les Yeux (1985), Vernant demonstrates that, for the Greeks, Medusa represented the face of the warrior possessed by battle frenzy. In The Shield of Heracles (232-3), Hesiod describes the wide-open mouth, the fearsome hair and the Gorgons' shrill cries which conjure up her terrifying aspect. Thus Medusa's mask frequently appears within the context of amedusa2.jpg (56438 bytes) battle. It is present in the Iliad on the shields of Athena (V, 738) and Agamemnon (XI, 36), and also during the Renaissance, e.g. on Bellona's helmet described by Ronsard in the 'Ode á Michel de l'Hospital' (Premier Livre des Odes, 1560). The Gorgon also represents what cannot be represented, i.e. death, which it is impossible to see or to look at, like Hades itself. In Hesiod's Theogony (275 et seq.) and in the Odyssey (XI, 633-5), Medusa is the guardian of terrifying places, either the nocturnal borders of the world or the Underworld. She reappears in this role in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, IX, 55-7) and Milton's Paradise Lost (II, 611). Guarding the doorway to the world of the dead, she prevents the living from entering.

In Christian symbolism, Medusa represents the dreaded enemy and death, and thus becomes an embodiment of the Devil. She appears in this guise in a passage in the Book of Arthur which belongs to the cycle of the Holy Grail (Vulgate version of Arthurian romances, Vol. VII, Washington, 1913). In fact, this is a female monster, the 'Ugly Semblance', who lives at the bottom of a river. She does not exercise her powers by turning people to stone, but by causing the waters to swallow them up. 

Similarly, a play by Calderón, which tells of the adventures of Andromeda and Perseus (Fortunas de Andromeda y Perseo), has the hero, a new incarnation of the Saviour, defeating Medusa who is the personification of Death and Sin.

At first glance, therefore, Medusa's head is very much a representation of the terrifying Other, of absolute negativity. She continues to fulfil this function in the twentieth-century trilogy by the Greek writer Pandelis Prevelakis, The Ways of Creation, which comprises The Sun of Death (Athens, 1959; Paris, 1965), The Head of the Medusa (Athens, 1963) and The Bread of the Angels (Athens, 1966). In the trilogy, the Gorgon represents both 'Nietzschian nihilism' and the foreign ideologies which threaten Hellenism. The hero sets out to free Greece once again from the monster, but he fails and realizes that there is no longer a single piece of untaited land in his country. Everything points to the fact that the malady specific to modern Greece, and the country's inability to accommodate, change, have provoked this monstrous 'representation' of the Other. Medusa's head does indeed seem to be a mask which serves to justify her absolute and evil strangeness.

The fact that Medusa is a mask and that this mask hides a more human face, is borne out by the way in which her portrayal is developed from the pre-Classical era to the Hellenistic period. There is a dual transformation i.e. the disappearance of both facial quality and ugliness (see Images de la Gorgone, Bibliothéque Nationale, 1985). Beneath the mask lies what could be called Medusa's 'tragic beauty'.


THE MIRROR AND THE MASK
Many elements of the myth suggest, through its basic ambiguity, the tragic nature of Medusa. One of the most revealing of these is the gift from Athena to Asclepius of two drops of the Gorgon's blood, one of which has the power to cure and even resurrect, while the other is a deadly poison. Medusa's blood is therefore the epitome of the 'pharmakon', while she herself -- as is shown by the apotropaic function of her mask -- is a 'pharmakos'. As has been demonstrated by René Girard, the 'pharmakos' is the scapegoat whose sacrifice establishes the dual nature of the sacred and reinforces the separation of the monster and the god. However, it is for literature and the arts to reveal the close relationship between opposites and the 'innocence' of the victim. In this respect, the myth of Medusa is revealing. In his study The Mirror of Medusa (1983), Tobin Siebers has identified the importance of two elements, i.e. the rivalry between Athena and the Gorgon, and the mirror motif.

According to Ovid (Metamorphoses, IV. 779ff), the reason for the dispute lay in Poseidon's rape of Medusa inside the temple of the virgin goddess. The goddess is supposed to have punished Medusa by transforming her face, which therefore made Medusa an innocent victim for the second time. 

However, another tradition, used by Mallarmé in Les Dieux antiques (1880), stressed a more personal rivalry: Medusa had boasted that she was more beautiful than Athena. Everything points to the face that the goddess found it necessary to set herself apart from her negative double in order to assert her 'own' identity. Common features are numerous. For example, snakes are the attribute of Athena, as illustrated by the famous statue of Phidias and indicated by certain Orphic poems which refer to her as 'la Serpentine'. Moreover, the hypnotic stare is one of the features of the goddess 'with blue-green eyes', whose bird is the owl, depicted with an unblinking gaze. Finally, because she has affixed Medusa's head to her shield, in battle or in anger she assumes the terrifying appearance of the monster. Thus, in the Aeneid (11, 171), she expresses her wrath by making flames shoot forth from her eyes. These observations are intended to show that Athena and Medusa are the two indissociable aspects of the same sacred power.

A similar claim could be made in respect of Perseus, who retains traces of his association with his monstrous double, Medusa. Using her decapitated head to turn his enemies to stone, he spreads death around him. And when he flies over Africa with his trophy in a bag, through some sort of negligence, drops of blood fall to earth and are changed into poisonous snakes which reduce Medusa's lethal power (Ovid, op. cit., IV. 618). Two famous paintings illustrate this close connection between the hero and the monster. Cellini's Perseus resembles the head he is holding in his hand (as demonstrated by Siebers) and Paul Klee's L’esprit a combattu le mal (1904) portrays a complete reversal of roles -- Perseus is painted full face with a terrible countenance, while Medusa turns aside.

In this interplay of doubles, the theme of reflection is fundamental. It explains the process of victimization to which Medusa was subjected, and which falls within the province of the superstition of the 'evil eye'. The way to respond to the 'evil eye' is either to use a third eye -- the one that Perseus threw at the Graiae - or to deflect the evil spell by using a mirror. Ovid, in particular, stressed the significance of the shield in which Perseus was able to see the Gorgon without being turned to stone, and which was given to him by Athena. 

Everything indicates that the mirror was the real weapon. 

It was interpreted thus by Calderón and Prevelakis, and also by Roger Caillois in Méduse et Cie (1960).

Ovid was responsible for establishing the link with Narcissus, a myth that he made famous. It seems that the same process of victimization is at work here. The individual is considered to have been the victim of his own reflection, which absolves the victimizer (Perseus, the group) from all blame. This association of the two myths (and also the intention of apportioning blame) appears in a passage in Desportes' Amours d’Hyppolite (1573) where the poet tells his lady that she is in danger of seeing herself changed 'into some hard rock' by her 'Medusa's eye'. Even more revealing is Gautier's story Jettatura (1857) in which the hero, accused of having the 'evil eye', eventually believes it to be true and watches the monstrous transformation of his face in the mirror: 'Imagine Medusa looking at her horrible, hypnotic face in the lurid reflection of the bronze shield.'

Medusa's head is both a mirror and a mask. It is the mirror of collective violence which leaves the Devil's mark on the individual, as well as being the image of death for those who look at it. Both these themes -- violence rendered sacred and death by petrifaction -- are found in Das Corgonenhaupt (Berlin, 1972), a work by Walter Krüger about the nuclear threat.

However, when considered in terms of archetypal structures, Medusa's mask still retains its secret. What is the reason for the viperine hair, the wide-open mouth with the lolling tongue, and, in particular, why is Medusa female? What relationship is there between violence, holy terror and woman?


THE DISCONCERTING STRANGENESS OF THE FEMININE

Robert Graves (Greek Myths, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. In fact the function of the Gorgon's mask was to keep men at a safe distance from the sacred ceremonies and mysteries reserved for women, i.e. those which celebrated the Triple Goddess, the Moon. Graves reminds us that the Orphic poems referred to the full moon as the 'Gorgon's head'. 

The mask was also worn by young maidens to ward off male lust. The episode of Perseus' victory over Medusa represents the end of female ascendancy and the taking over of the temples by men, who had become the masters of the divine which Medusa's head had concealed from them.

Although it may have become less intense, the battle of the sexes was not resolved. The feminine continued to remain a source of fear for men, and the association of women with Medusa, evoked an aspect of the sex which was both fascinating and dangerous. Medusa often appeared in Renaissance poetry, e.g. Ronsard's Second Livre des Amours (S. 79, 1555), but the stare which turned men to stone was often only a conventional metaphor for the lover's 'coup de foudre'. The comparison took on a deeper meaning during the nineteenth century. Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) and 'decadent' literature such as Lorrain's M. de Phocas (1901), provide illustrations of the dangerous fascination exerted by woman, with her deadly stare and mysterious hair. But it was Goethe's Faust Part I (1808) which supplied the real significance of this connection. During the 'Walpurgis night,’ Faust thinks he sees Margarita but Mephistopheles warns him that it is Medusa and explains that 'magic deludes every man into believing that he has found his beloved in her'.

This terrible woman, the paragon of all women, whom every man simultaneously fears and seeks and for whom Medusa is the mask, is in fact the mother, i.e. the great Goddess Mother whose rites were concealed by the Gorgon's face. Countless texts illustrate Medusa's affinity with the depths of the sea and the terrible power of nature, e.g. Hugo's Les Travailleurs de la Mer (1864), Lautrémont's Chants de Maldoror (1869) and Pierre Louÿs' Aphrodite (1896), but the most explicit example is probably the text written by Freud in 1922: Das Medusenhaupt -- 'Medusa's Head'. He presents her as the supreme talisman who provides the image of castration -- associated in the child's mind with the discovery of maternal sexuality -- and its denial. The snakes are multiple phalluses and petrifaction represents the comforting erection.

From this point onwards, the myth of Perseus takes on a new psychological meaning. It tells of the exploit of the hero who, because he has conquered ‘castrating' woman and armed himself with the talisman of Medusa's head (seen here in its comforting, phallic role), is able to conquer Andromeda, the terrifying virgin, and kill the sea monster which represents the evil aspect of woman. This motif is also found in the Christian legend of St George (Jacques de Voragine, La Légende dorée, (1264) as well as in the anthropological legends concerning the fear of the 'dentate vagina'. A 'sacred' man must perform the first sexual act with a woman.

Two texts illustrate this aspect of the myth. One is, the Book of Arthur (op. cit). in the passage devoted to the 'Ugly Semblance'. The monster occupies the lands of a maiden who not only asks the king for the assistance of a knight but also for a husband whom she describes as though he had always been intended for her. The task that he performs seems to have been the necessary requirement for his union with the Virgin. The story stresses the association of the monster with the element of water and, in particular, with the sea into which it has to be driven back. The second text is a short story by Döblin, Der Ritter Blaubart -- the 'Knight with the Blue Beard' (1911). Because the hero has had mysterious and intimate relations with a primitive monster -- a giant medusa -- he is forced to either kill all the women he loves or allow them to be killed. However, one of them, because of her purity, confronts the monster in the secret chamber where it lurks. In this last example, the character seems to have been unable to free himself from the maternal influence and fear of the feminine.

Finally, this association of Medusa with castrating woman is very evident in a passage in Chêne et Chien (1952) by Queneau: 'Severed head, evil woman/ Medusa with her lolling tongue/So it was you who would have castrated me?' However, the myth reveals -- and this seems to be obscured by the Freudian interpretation -- that woman's 'castration' is a result of the violence imposed on her by the original hero. Woman only appears in the story divided by separative decapitation, casting off the feminine in the remote depths of the world. Cast down, the feminine remains unrecognized within its innermost recess and it is this 'abject' void which maintains the theatre of the world and the logic of the talisman. In this theatre, woman occupies the two opposite extremes of evil (castration, sorcery) and their cure (the phallus, the Virgin), i.e. of the abyss and the Ideal. That is why, despite her terrifying power, she is fascinating. 'Fascinum' means 'charm' and 'evil spell', but also 'virile member'. Between the 'emptiness' and the Idol represented by the division of woman, yawns the gulf of male Desire. This persistent ambiguity can be found in the classification of the creature called the medusa. It owes its name to its resemblance to Medusa's head (Apollinaire, Bestiaire, 1920), but is included in the Acephelan category. Medusa keeps her secret behind the ambiguous mask. Although she is 'representable', she is never 'presentable' and even Perseus only sees her reflected in his shield.

She is the hidden presence, absent from the world, which enables the scene to be played out. In his 'heroic comedy' Le Naufrage de Méduse (1986), Ristat shows Perseus searching for the Gorgons and meeting Hermes, the 'Guardian of Resemblances', who proves to the terrified hero that 'Medusa herself is only a shadow'.

However, the hero remains trapped in the interplay of images and the logic of the talisman, just as he remains fascinated by the Gorgon mask. Thus Medusa's head becomes, for the man who takes possession of it after severing it from the terrifying woman, and in accordance with the principle of the 'pharmakon', the complete opposite, i.e. the 'skeptron' -- the sun.


‘O MEDUSA, O SUN'
In the same way that there is a hidden similarity between Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, and Medusa, a similarity also exists between the sun, symbol of the Ideal and the Gorgon's mask. Although they are both objects of desire, Athena and the sun are unapproachable and terrifying for those who come too close. This danger is illustrated by the Platonic myth of Phaedrus (247-8e) in which the downfall of souls is brought about by an overpowering desire to see the sun. Certain structural elements from the myth of Medusa also reappear in the myth of the Cave (The Republic, 514-7a), i.e. fascination, averted eyes, violence inflicted on the philosopher, etc.

In his poem (op. cit.), Queneau maintains that the sun, like the Gorgon, is fearsome and castrating: 'The sun: O monster, O Gorgon, O Medusa/O sun'. In this way, Medusa herself can become an incarnation of the Ideal, i.e. of Virtue (Du Bellay, Epithalame, 1559), of Beauty (Baudelaire, op. cit., 'La Beauté') and of Truth (Kosmas Politis, Eroica, Athens, 1938). Surely the sun itself is the severed head that, like the head of St John the Baptist, only soars in the zenith: 'In triumphant flights/from that scythe' (Mallarmé, Hérodiade, 'Cantique de saint Jean', 1913). Whoever seeks Athena, finds Medusa's head. Whoever approaches too close to the sun discovers its castrating and castrated monstrousness (Bataille, L’Anus Solaire, 1931).

Although Nietzsche had embarked upon the destruction of all idols, he too, in this way, recognized the desire for death inherent in the desire for truth at any cost. The philosopher who wants to examine all things 'in depth', discovers the petrifying abyss. The destiny of the man whom Nietzsche refers to as 'the Don Juan of knowledge' will be paralyzed as if by Medusa, and will himself be 'changed into a guest of stone' (Morgenröte i.e. the Dawn of Day, 327, 1881). This is also the destiny of the 'lover of truth' who, in the Dionysos Dithyramben (1888) appears to be 'changed into a statue/into a sacred column'. Nietzsche, who was aware of the necessity 'for the philosopher' to live within the 'closed circuit of representation' (Derrida), to seek the truth even if he no longer believes in it, without ever being able to attain it, devised his own version of the 'truth', his Medusa's head, the Eternal Return: 'Great thought is like Medusa's head: all the world's features harden, a deadly, ice-cold battle' (Posthumous Fragments, Winter 1884-5).

All thinkers who reflect upon the nature of representation, as well as on thought which pursues the 'eidos' are in danger of confronting Medusa's head. Thus, Aristotle, in The Politics (VIII) differentiates between instructive and cathartic music which is associated with Bacchic trances, whose instrument is the flute and which should be avoided. To prove his point, he refers to the myth of Athena. When she played the flute, her face became so distorted that she abandoned the instrument. It was in fact she who had invented the flute to imitate an unknown sound, virtually unrepresentable, i.e. the hissing of the snakes on Medusa's head as she was decapitated (Pindar, The Pythian Odes, XII, 2-3). As she played, she noticed in a spring that her features were becoming distorted and assuming the appearance of the Gorgon's mask. This once more introduces the Narcissistic theme and the blurring of the difference between Athena and her rival, which here arises from tragic art. Therefore, in terms of philosophy, art should remain in the service of the 'eidos' by continuing to represent the image that arouses desire for the Object.

But it is also condemned if it presents the object in such an obvious manner that the remoteness of desire degenerates into dangerous enjoyment. This partly explains Tournier’s condemnation of image and photography in La Goutte d'Or (1985). He explicitly links their power to Medusa's petrifying fascination and contrasts them with the art of writing which is the art of education and the route to wisdom 'par excellence'.

It would seem that the fear experienced at the sight of Medusa's head is the terror of discovering the secret behind the representation of the image.
From Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes, and Archetypes. Ed. Pierre Brunel. Routledge, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Routledge

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Offensive Speech


"Discourse

- watch out wherever you run into this term "Discourse", because that's 

THEM.

" Another thing. This idea of "I'm offended". 

Well I've got news for you. I'm offended by a lot of things too. Where do I send my list? 

Life is offensive. You know what I mean? 

Just get in touch with your outer adult. 

And grow up. And move on. 

Reasonable people don't write letters because... 

A: They have lives and 
B, they understand it's just TV. 
C: If they see something they don't like, something they do like might be on later. 

I've seen many comics I've hated. 
I've seen many shows that have offended me. 
I've never written a letter. 

I just go about my life. " 

- The Dark Poet




-+- Postmodernism -+- 
Many people who observe the lunatic pageant of the modern campus may conclude that the professors and administrators are all crazy. So they are. But there is a definite method in the madness, a philosophical system or doctrine which dictates the specific policy demands of political correctness. 

One generic name for this is postmodernism, which claims that the raving irrationalists Voltaire, Rousseau, and the rest of the enlightenment were the Age of Reason, but that now the Age of Unreason is upon us.

[Deconstructionism] began its triumphal march through American universities in 1966, when Derrida appeared at Johns Hopkins University to tell American academics that the structuralism of Levi-Strauss was dead and that the future belonged to deconstruction. Derrida is now stronger in the U.S.A. and the Anglo-American sphere than in France, and dominant in much of Ibero-America, Francophone Africa and the Middle East, and eastern Europe. If you want tenure, an endowed chair, a foundation grant, government financing, you have to learn to talk the pedantic deconstructionist gibberish. 

Deconstructionists are like the cynics and skeptics of the ancient world in that they, like Diogenes and Pyrrho, refuse to profess or affirm a doctrine of their own, but only negate the ideas of others. 

Deconstruction is very eclectic. Derrida's world of ideas can be compared to a great sewer into which empty the various gutters and waste waters of the past two or three centuries. Each of these channels contributes to the great Cloaca Maxima of deconstruction. Note that we are here reviewing the disastrous state of human knowledge as we go towards the year 2000. 



-+- Hatred of Reason -+- 
Deconstructionism is an attack on Judaeo-Christian western European civilization powered above all by rage. Derrida hates and resents reason and creativity, which he identifies with the "epoch of Christian creationism and infinitism when these appropriate the resources of Greek conceptuality." (*Of Grammatology*, p. 13). 

Western European culture is guilty of logocentrism, says Derrida. The western cultural paradigm always aspired to be based on reason. 

This must be rejected. 

The western cultural paradigm also gives priority to speech, to the spoken word, with most literature made to be read aloud or even sung, from Plato's dialogues to Dante and Chaucer to Shakespeare and Schiller. This is the hated "phonocentrism" which Derrida also wants to get rid of. Derrida delves into Plato in an attempt to show that the overtones of the Logos are exclusively paternal and male dominated, giving rise to the further charge of phallologocentrism, which soon enough gives rise to the notion of "phallocentrism" assailed by the maenads of feminist literary theory. 

[Derrida concludes that] the real problem with the West is that our culture is entirely permeated by what he calls "metaphysics. "... For Derrida, metaphysics evidently means anything that cannot be boiled down to sense certainty. Derrida sees "metaphysics" as the principal enemy to be destroyed. Under the heading of metaphysics he lumps God, the self or soul or individual, causality, substance, essence, action, and most other concepts of any importance. They must go, for reasons that are never remotely explained. 

For Derrida, the author is dead, by definition. He never existed. The human self and ego have collapsed into an X marking the spot where they once were... 

All that Derrida will talk about is a text, a written text of black on white, with punctuation, type faces, paragraphs, margins, colphons, logos, copyrights and so forth... 

Everything is a written text in the sense that every thought, utterance or "discourse" is a story that we tell each other about something which exists in the most detached way in a written form. Therefore, says Derrida, there is nothing outside of the text. 

Everything is a text. 

There are no more works of art. 

All black writing on white paper is a text -- Shakespeare, the telephone book, Mickey Mouse, the racing form... all are texts, each one equivalent to the other. 

-+- Deconstructionism's Targets -+- 
Deconstructionists can target any of the written documents which are constituve of civilization itself. Take theology... Deconstructionist theology is quite a feat, since the ban on metaphysics means that this will be a theology without God. 

[Deconstructionist theologian Mark C. Taylor overcomes this difficulty as follows:] 

"One of the distinctive features of deconstruction is its willingness to confront the death of God squarely if not always directly...it would not be too much to suggest that deconstruction is the 'hermeneutic' of the death of God." Taylor calls for "the death of God, erasure of the self, and [an] end to history.

Since deconstruction sees all writing as the same, it can also be unleashed in the field of law, with devastating effect. Listen to Clare Dalton of the Critical Legal Studies group at Harvard Law School: "Law," she writes, "like every other cultural institution, is a place where we tell one another stories about our relationships with ourselves, one another, and authority."... 

Sanford Levinson, professor of constitutional law at the University of Texas at Austin, chimes in: "The death of 'constitutionalism' may be the central event of our time, just as the death of God was that of the past century...

The Clinton White House is redolent of deconstructionism and political correctness. The Clinton Cabinet is dysfunctional, but it certainly respects the distributive requirements of race/sex/class/sexual [orientation]... Donna Shalala of HHS helped to promulgate a code on offensive speech at the University of Wisconsin... 

Vice President Gore's favorite book is reportedly Thomas Kuhn's *Structure of Scientific Revolutions*, which has become a manual for New Age paradigm shifters. We appeal to all of those who share our regard for the potential of the human mind to join us in exposing and defeating the deconstructionists.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Bardic Tradition of Magick

"The police were taking witness arias."

** Jazz Hands **

" In all of magick there is an incredibly large linguistic component.  
The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician.  
A magician might curse you.  That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot.  
If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you.  If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family.  It would destroy you in your own eyes.  



And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. 

 Then,years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity.  



Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magick.  

In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river.  They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment.  

They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society.  
They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die.   
It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants.  If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience.  
They would be the artists.  
It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.  "
- Alan Moore





The Bardic Tradition of Magick

The Spear-Shaker, the Golem of Avon, he who shakes his spear of truth in the face of ignorance, is known universally as 
"The Bard."

Shakes-Spear is written as rhythmic verse, in Iambic Pentameter;

It is chanted, or entoned, like a mass or Gregorian prayers.

That which is chanted, must also be enchanted.

Like Logopolitan mathematics.




DOCTOR
As a matter of fact, they don't use computers, they use word of mouth. 

ADRIC
Is that another expression? 

DOCTOR
No. 

ADRIC
They speak it? 

DOCTOR
MutterEntone

ADRIC:
 Entone the computations? 

DOCTOR
Yes. 

ADRIC
Why? 

DOCTOR
[Pause
I've wondered that myself....
 I never quite had the nerve to ask them...


 "The connection of speech and reason is the organizing principle of Plato's dialogues and of all the literature based on them, through St. Augustine to the Italian Renaissance. The theater of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Schiller represents a continuation of this tradition in a slightly different form. 

We must also recall that the classical poetry of Homer, Dante, and Chaucer was meant to be spoken or sung aloud."

" In the Book of Genesis, Adam creates language under the direct tutelage of God by giving names to animals and other objects."

"The destruction of reason with deconstruction thus revealed as a slyly disguised form of destruction , the next question is to determine what is to be destroyed. Derrida wants the destruction of reason, the deconstruction of the logos, which he identifies as the central point of the Judeo-Christian philosophical tradition. That tradition is what the deconstructionists are attacking when they rail against "western metaphysics." Derrida is anti-western because he regards the line of development from Socrates and Plato through Gottfried Leibniz as "ethnocentric" and racist. When he attacks "metaphysics," he means human reason itself. 


Derrida writes: "The 'rationality' -but perhaps that word should be abandoned for reasons that will appear at the end of this sentence-which governs a writing is thus enlarged and radicalized , no longer issues from a logos. Further, it inaugurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-sedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations that have their source in that of the logos . Particularly the signification of truth. All the metaphysical determinations of truth, and even the one beyond metaphysical onto-theology that Heidegger reminds us of, are more or less immediately inseparable from the instance of the logos, or of a reason thought within the lineage of the logos, in whatever sense it is understood: in the pre-Socratic or the philosophical sense, in the sense of God ' s infinite understanding or in the anthropological sense, in the pre-Hegelian or the post-Hegelian sense"(OfGrammatology, pp . 1 0- 1 1 ) . 

And again: "This absolute logos was an infinite creative subjectivity in medieval theology: The intelligible face of the sign remains turned toward the word and the face of God" (OfGrammatology, p. 13). 

How then can reason and the logos be destroyed? 


Heidegger had already given the example of attempt this by mystifying the concepts having to do with language: ''Thinking collects language into simple speaking . Language is therefore the language of being , just as the clouds are the clouds of the heavens . In speaking , thinking plows simple furrows into language . These furrows are even simpler than those plowed with slow steps by the farmer. " 'The death of civilization of the book' For Derrida, using a terminology that is borrowed from the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure , language is at first the realm of "sign" and "signified . " "The difference between sign and signifier belongs in a profound and implicit way to the totality of the great epoch covered by the history of metaphysics, and in a more explicit and more systematically articulated way to the narrower epoch of Christian creationism and infinitism when these appropriate the resources of Greek conceptuality. This appurtenance is essential and irreducible; one cannot retain . . . the scientific truth . . . without also bringing with it all its metaphysico-theological roots" (Of Grammatology, p. 13). 

In other words, Platonic Christianity is the basis for modem science, and that is the enemy Derrida seeks to liquidate by destroying language. The scientific tradition "begins its era in the form of Platonism, it ends in infinitist metaphysics . " (Here Derrida is probably targeting Georg Cantor and the transfinite numbers.) Derrida is fully conscious that the exhaustion of language will bring with it nothing less than the "death of speech" and the "death of the civilization of the book" (Of Grammatology, p . 8). 




Again following his Nazi guru Heidegger, Derrida focuses his destructive attention on the "metaphysics of presence" as this relates to language . The "presence" amounts to a solid grounding for certain knowledge, for the certitude that something exists . Derrida is at pains to point out that "presence" of this kind is required as a pre-condition for the conceptual apparatus of western philosophy from the time of the Greeks on down: "It could be shown that all names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated an invariable presence-eidos [action], arche [principle or first cause], telos [purpose], energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject), aletheia, [truth] transcendentality, consciousness, God, man, and so forth" ("Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," pp. 279-280). In language, "the metaphysics of presence" is equated with a "transcendental signified" or "ultimate referent," which would function as the ultimate guarantee of meaning.

We see that for Derrida, all western languages are "metaphysical," since their key words and concepts are permeated by Christian Platonism. They are also metaphysical, he thinks, because the only way to be sure of the meaning of "Send over a pizza," presupposes the Christian Platonic foundations of the whole civilization. Derrida therefore sets out to destroy Platonism by destroying language, while hoping to destroy the civilization along with both. Reason and speech Derrida asserts that the western languages are "logocentric," that they are based on reason in this way. Logos can mean reason, but also lawfulness or ordering principle, but also word, discourse, argument, and speech. "With this logos," says Derrida, "the original and essential link to the phone [sound] has never been broken." In other words, human reason and human speech are inextricably bound up together. The connection of speech and reason is the organizing principle of Plato's dialogues and of all the literature based on them, through St. Augustine to the Italian Renaissance. The theater of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Schiller represents a continuation of this tradition in a slightly different form. We must also recall that the classical poetry of Homer, Dante, and Chaucer was meant to be spoken or sung aloud.

 If "the scar on the paper," were to replace all this, colossal cultural damage would of course be the result. Western language is therefore not only logocentric, but also phonocentric: that is to say, western language recognizes the primacy of the spoken language over the written language. 

"The system of language associated with phoneticalphabetic writing is that within which logocentric metaphysics, determining the sense of being as presence, has been produced" (OfGrammatology, p. 43). 

Derrida obviously cannot deny that spoken language "came first." He also cannot escape the fact that while the spoken word (parole) is a sign, the written word (mot) is the sign of a sign. He tries to go back to a mythical form of writing in general that might have existed before Socrates and Plato came on the scene, calling this arche-ecriture , (arch-writing) but this is plainly nothing but a crude deus ex machina hauled in to substantiate a thesis that has nothing going for it. 

In the Book of Genesis, Adam creates language under the direct tutelage of God by giving names to animals and other objects. But Derrida is hell-bent on reducing everything to writing and texts as the only sense data the individual gets from the world. Black marks on white paper In order to attack the logos and reason through the spoken word, Derrida sets against them his notion of writing: l' ecriture . Derrida explains that what he means by writing is "a text already! written, black on white" (Dissemination , p. 203). That means a text already written, black on white. Black marks on white paper, plus excruciating attention to spaces, numbers, margins, paragraphs, typefaces, colophons, copyright notices, plus patterns, groups, repetitions of all of the above and so on in endless fetishism. Since it is probably clear by now that Derrida, posing as the destroyer of western metaphysics, is only spinning out very bad metaphysics in the process, we can feel free to say that Derrida attempts to establish the ontological priority of writing over language and speech. Nothing in the way of proof is offered in favor of this absurd idea: The argument proceeds through a "we say" and ends by lamely hinting that the computer revolution will also help reduce all spoken words to black marks on the page: 

"The entire field covered by the cybernetic program will be the field of writing" (Of Grammatology, p. 9).