Friday, April 12, 2013

Foucault VS Lewis (a fragment of a discussion on meaning)

Foucault: It is all very well for you. Claiming the origin at the back of all discourse. What benefits you receive! What power! But I am full of doubts, and you are full of ignorance. Perhaps your Origin does exist, but it makes no difference whether He does or not. I don't think you've got the idea of the rind: the thick outer skin of derivatives and endless dispersions which we call (in each turn) "truth". Picture reality as an infinite globe with this very thick crust on the outside. Its thickness is a thickness of words. Words endlessly refracted and repulsed by each other, splintering forth into a thousand possibilities, potentialities infinite and vast! We are born under the surface. Under the text. Piling more and more over our heads. If your Origin exists, He's not in the globe. He's outside, like a moon

Lewis: Even if that were true, my friend, He did not stay there. He was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Foucault: So you say, and claim it to be the central happening of all that happens. But can you not see that it is merely another displacement? Another dispersion? The Origin cannot survive the derivatives, for they are parricidal to the core.

Lewis: Indeed they are, and were.

Foucault: I see what you're thinking, but it is all folly. There is no central happening of all happenings. There is no center, no tyrannical focal point for the discursive field, but millions and millions of discourses with their own centers, leading either nowhere or (what is better) to more and more "centers" for ever. I defy your God! I defy him with all the power of words and empty spaces and repetitions and dispersions and make Him bow down before bigness. How can you claim that there is a center for all the universe? You were born years ago and it is from old, and most of it is dead space were you cannot live or think or speak your private truth-to-power. Look at it all unblinkingly and you will see that there is no center. No Origin living or dead or resurrected. No plan or meaning or summation of the discursive play. As soon as you think you see one, it melts away into nothing, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea; or else it mutates into some other plan that you never dreamed of, and what was the center becomes the rim. Thus I doubt if any shape or plan or pattern was anything more than a trick of your own eyes, cheated with a hope informed by a panoptic force outside of and shaping your fragmented self. I ask you: to what is all this spiraling nothingness driving? What is the morning you speak of? What is this Incarnation of the Origin to be the beginning of?

Lewis: The beginning of the Great Dance, though we do not talk of it "beginning". It does not wait to be perfect until all is gathered into it. We do not speak of when it will "begin". It has begun from before always. There was no time when all things did not rejoice before His face as now. The dance that we dance is at the center, and for the dance all things were made.

You would add words to words in lumpish aggregation, or discourses to discourses and dispersions to dispersions, but you shall never come near His greatness. Times without number He has circled the world while we were not alive, and those times were not desert. His own voice was in them, speaking His infinite Word, which dwells (all of Him dwells) within the word of the smallest discourse and is not cramped; the entire discursive field of play is inside the Word who is inside all words and it does not distend Him. They are also at the center. We are not the voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where we cannot come. Where there is, there is the Word of the Origin, speaking life into every hollow void, filling all ontos like blood fills a wound.

Each word is at the center, with all terms and categories. The discourses are at the center, with every dispersion they create. The field of play is at the center. The fragments of every soul are at the center. Where the Word of Origin is, there is the center. He is in every place. Not some of Him in one place and some in another, but in each place the whole God, even in the smallness beyond thought. Each thing was made for Him and by Him and lives and moves and has its being in Him, and He is the center. You say there is no way out of the text? I say there is no way out of the center, save into the Bent Will which casts itself into the Nowhere.

All this seems planless to your darkened mind, because there are more plans than you looked for. But in the plan of the Great Dance, plans and discourses and dispersions without number interlock, and each movement becomes in its season the breaking into flower of the whole design to which all else is directed. All that is or was or is spoken or will be spoken is but a spark shed from the fire that is the endless utterances of the Word of the Origin, and no mouth can gainsay it. There seems no plan because it is all plan. There seems no center because it is all center, and within that still point the field plays on.

-Jon Vowell, et. al. (c) 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment