Wednesday, March 31, 2010

12.----Language In Voices Out

“What is your aim in Philosophy?” “To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle” (Philosophical Investigations) – Wittgenstein 
"Wittgenstein thought that the pursuit of philosophy in its traditional sense is pointless. Philosophers who scoured far and wide for a structured logical form applicable to everything were deluded and wasting their time, much like a fly who constantly tries to escape a transparent bottle by banging against the side. Wittgenstein saw it as his job to show these tenacious philosophers out of the top of the fly-bottle and to see philosophy for what it really is – a futile attempt to find an all-encompassing logical form of thought behind the mess that is ordinary language…"

Thought is the simultaneity of memory, reality, fantasy, being.
The simplest said of the two voices In and Out is that as language cannot simultaneously express wave and particle motion, the wave being both, so is being. Poets want to hallow thought  to "a new language," asserted of Beissel's mysticism (by Bach) as much as of Boehme, as much as anyone. Poets want to speak revelations like prophets on their own terms.

Steve McCaffery and Karen Mac Cormack (end of the interview, Université de Orléans, France “An Interview with Karen Mac Cormack and Steve McCaffery” (by Antoine Cazé), 28–47) want their voices to be an "idea, already implicit in Aristotle’s description of the two voices (articulate and inarticulate," [Out and In]  that "obtains almost a pataphysical excellence!" There of course is no pataphysical excellence. Pataphysical means a joke,  an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem. On the same page Mac Cormack gets pataphysical when she says "Voice is a tangled mythogeme," that "poetry’s primal scene as that of inspiration involves at its base a fundamental “other” voice, a voice speaking through one. This image of the poet as a passive, possessed mouthpiece of an alien voice runs from Plato’s Ion through to Jack Spicer’s poetics of dictation."

There is no language of thought.

Speaking through is not novel to those who do. Calling it alien is more theater than belief. It's not alien if endemic and indigenous from within the speaker's life. Indigenous means of community or ethos, Hopi, Pennsylvania Dutch. Whatever Walt Whitman says comes from his own peculiar mind even if spoken with the reference to  the Upanishads. Secondly, a new language does not imply new ideas, facts. Some writers, Barthes, Agamben see the alien voice as the voice of death, "the originary place of negativity" that "...language is a negativity, the unsayable and the ungraspable" (Agamben) and cannot but be negativity unless it never existed. Here they equivocate language for thought, which is unsayable. The argument goes, then, "only if language no longer refers to any it possible for man to experience a language that is not marked by negativity and death" (Dillon, Politics of Security, 115). But the voiceless verb, the silence of unknowing that passes as world class originality, is not language. There is no language of thought.

There is no language of protons. If the universe is thought, it is not language. The last paragraph of the interview "distinguishes an animal voice (a voice of sonic continuum) from a human voice (a voice of sonic articulation).... The animal voice, Hegel claims, is pure sound, empty and grounded in negativity... every animal finds its voice in its violent death; it expresses itself as a removed self.” Obviously Hegel never left his house if he said that. Every animal finds its voice, not in death, but in praise of life. Sometimes a man speaks with animal voice, body voice, as with moans, cries, but the man is the one removed from the event. Assuming to be proved that he is removed, "intercepting this animal voice of death and subjecting it to articulation, human language, he says, emerges with two decisive characteristics: (1) it retains within it the voice of death; (2) it becomes the voice of consciousness thereby converting negativity into being to me signals a fundamentally poetic quality in Hegel’s thinking, establishing as it does its mythogeme of “voice” on the codification of vowel and consonant as respectively animal and human." (46).

Too many vowels, drugs, diseases, disaffections.

Voice as action is breath.

The death of the author (Barthes) in all this is simple speech. In voice as action these philosophers could write a bestiary of themselves. A bestiary of vowels. To speak as a bear, fly like a bird, leap like a cat, if voice is action,  is voice without language or sound.  It comes down neither to voice or language but to breath. Everything that has breath. Comic cosmic bestiaries pronounce judgment on linguists and philosophers for slandering the animal to justify their human malaise. However the poet is passively speaking, not in speaking the voice of death, is transfiguring life.

But negativity so converted reverses life. The notion that human language is the voice of death, because derived from the animal symbolizes how far species' extinction translates from the commercial into the philosophical, as if Hegel never walked in the woods. Beyond carnivores, it is not the voice of death in the song bird or elk, it is the voice of the joy of life. Somewhere it says that everything that has breath praises. This is being posted on the phone poles of Nashville and in Chicago. Praise is the song of animal speech, the tongue of life, not death.

The little white spot you can barely see, this IsReads pic dwarfed by the city of Chicago is a picture of praises, written  in the bone so large, as it is now under the bone, a parallel dimension, bigger than Chicago.(now defunct except in this pic below.

The Medium of Thought

What are the languages of in and out? There is no language of In. To call thought "language" is a metaphor used only because there is no language of thought. There is no language of anything except language. Thought is cast into language by speech, translated by voice when speech occurs. They used to call this analysis by synthesis. This translation is magnanimous. It assumes the end of the beginning. I speak therefore I think, but thought is not languaged. Its exploration must occur between people after it is translated to language when the presumption occurs that it is language. It is a glaring assumption that I speak what I think. The medium of thought is the image not the words, the loaf of bread, the picture of the loaf of bread, but not the word, bread.


Poets fail in their public and private thoughts. We say life is a work. What good is the work if the life cannot live?  We say public achievement, action imitated and celebrated, may burn. We say the nature of a poet's death is important as his birth. Then we know what we control. Death is not desired, nor suicide nor any of the diseases, strokes, sicknesses. What is left at the end of a year depends on what theme we follow. All themes merge in each other in memory and thought. Who died young, who of sickness, who of addiction, who was alienated, lost love, found ignominy, prison? The mishaps of necessity gain sympathy. Suffering makes the soul, binding the book, mistake and limitation, art. Suffering is sympathetic when it appears. Put under stress, see what comes out. Art comes out when the farmer's skin cracks. Surgeons do not suffer such defects. But all suffer choices. That one is a doctor another a farmer is luck, maybe destined. Margaret Thatcher however said that after beliefs, thoughts, words, deeds form character, that then character forms destiny. Desperations escape, things turn on their head. Enough food in some places causes obesity. Too little is too much, the atmosphere, autism is up. If only the throat of the world were unloosed as it  is of poets from whom this illumination comes. To find a context for our lives we judge theirs.

Words Themselves

"The imagination of kinship." Kinship lasts beyond death. Imagine words themselves, spoken the last moment before waking as a cue, but to figure out what? Navajo matriarchy?  The phrase occurs in Karl Magnuson's, The World from Within, in an article "The Utopian Imagination of Aboriginalism," in "Virtual Kinship, Real Estate, and Diaspora Formation," and most importantly in the Poetics of the Feminine and that's it. You know your parents after their deaths and if parents then entire genomes. They exist then in a way not known before, as is said of consciousness. Revisting guest-host codes, reverence of ancestors in patriarchy? Too much dogma. Inquiry into less aware notions of mythogeme, notions of Bataille's death of myth is really  anti-myth myth. Some interesting writers attach here, Steve McCaffery's, Prior to meaning: the protosemantic and poetics, who applies Prigogine's physics to poetry, just what Prigogine wanted to do.

Words are an image of every thought,
sound, sense, taste and color felt,
that swim in an ocean that resembles itself,
drawn up in air to eye and ear
which evaporate and fall from sky.
Seen as drops that were no drops at all,
gathered in buckets, these drops make words.

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