Sunday, February 29, 2004

Picking up from Dooflow's comments on my open letter.
Concerning the demand of the other and a little thing called recognition:

See the fourth and fifth comments from Dooflow in response to my "open letter to an umbrist" for appropriate context. His questions sparked this discussion--

The demand of an other is but one aspect of a communicating other. In other words, such a demand is always there. However, for an individual, say a poet, to focus merely on the demand, say from a critic, and ignore the rest of the communicating other--the tradition, the style, the fashion, the "glam" as you put it--not only denies the other embodiment and independence but more importantly is a form of meconnaissance : both a misunderstanding and a misrecognition.

Recall, all of this started as a result of or directly after (not coincidental at all) a discussion at Aaron McCollough's site about Persona, Masks, etc. Aaron, Allyssa, myself, et al, were involved with a fun reflection of personae. And bingo-bango, the conversation halts and these umbrists appear leaving comments and accussations. Now, finally, we are chatting and learning about each other. So, to continue:

Meconnaissance is a good concept for what I see in some of the umbrism talk. The concept addresses a claim for the structure of ordinary neurotic self-knowledge. Meconnaissance is a good term to introduce into our conversation, because I have been insisting, will continue to insist, the umbrists are formally recognizing something worthwhile and are not ignorant. Their conversation, at first, struck me as seriously affected. But, now, I am very engaged. And I appreciate that engagement.

Meconnaisance is not ignorance, rather it is an ideological misrepresentation of knowledge; it implies a recognition.

Maybe we can continue dredging the psychoanalytic swamp for a bit longer. The terms apply:

A dramatis personae:

The Beautiful Soul --a person becoming, a movement through self-consciousness. Found in writing from Hegel to Lacan, schone seele to belle ame. The beautiful souls projects its own disorder onto the world and attempts to cure it by enforcing a "law of the heart" on everybody else. The beautiful soul makes many passionate mistakes. I insist, however, the passion exemplified by the subject we call the beautiful soul is not the same passion associated with ignorance. I insist the difference because such a desire to impress a law of the heart is a sign of a specific recognition. The problem with a beautiful soul is that the subject refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for problems occurring around it. The kind of brilliant and engaged mind who also is aloof...

The Demand --from the French not the English. Demand in English is rough and imperative. Demande, the French concept, is a request. Demand asks for something. The demand, for Lacan, is a sign of the mother's love. When a baby cries, it demands; it cries out, "I cannot act without you mommy." Understanding the difference between what we have come to consider demand and what the demand of the other is is paramount: the demand of the other is a cry for help, an admitted dependence, a form of giving up and a sign of love.

Metonymy --a trope. when a term is used to denote an object which it does not literally refer to but with which the object is closely linked. Thee Headcoats: She's In Disguise...what is she? who is she linked to? Sticking with Lacan, metonymy relies only on the formal definition above for its use of contiguity. Lacan famously uses the following sentence: I am happy. The metnonymic relationship is between "I" and "AM". That we can substitute "sad" for "happy" is a metaphoric relationship. Metonymy is all horizontal relationships; metaphor all vertical. Hence, my initial confusion with G's "School of Sleep": "Can a toe stand for a man?" is a metaphoric not a metonymic relationship. Moreover, a toe in relationship to a man is a vertical relationship.

little other --a projection of the ego and, therefore, not really other at all. The little other is completely inscribed in an "imaginary order". Part of my discussion has been concerned with this fellow. One problem with GroupA distinguishing itself from Order1 is that the members in GroupA are not doing much to de-inscribe an imagined order they claim to resist and reject. In fact, their fevered egos depend on that Order1.

Big Other --points out, or to, radical alterity; this is the significant Other making specific demands. The Big Other cannot, because it will not, be assimilated through identification. Can't point him out. Big Other is involved with Language and Law. This guy is not only a subject--he is unique because he resists assimilation--he is the symbolic order itself which mediates our relationship with that other subject.


Ordinary Neurotic Knowledge of the Self.

Whereas the other always demands, the other is busy with many complicated processes. The demand, should we choose to single that characteristic out, is an utterance that is often mistaken as an intent to take by force. The demand of the other is a request for participation, an invitation to a particular relationship to imagined order.

Ethical Question: How will you act with the knowledge that you participate in the symbolic ordering of the world as you see it in relationship to subjects around you? What ought you do when you learn you cannot separate yourself from doing--that quite possibly the only thing poetry is capable of is distinguishing the verse from the subject of the verse?

My answer: Play. Play. Play.

We really haven't come too far from the Aristotelian answer: a life of contemplation.

No comments: