Thursday, December 13

going and gone

I have chiseled the last week of the semester away into a hundred pages of sifted word-processor-dust (like sawdust, only more metaphysical, you know?). the grading is finished (mostly) and all my papers are turned in, and.... it doesn't feel like an ending. it just feels like now.

and now is everything, really. that is the extent of the time I have power over. and now, just for fun and randomness, here are a few re-mushed, re-skewed, re-uncapitalized excerpts from some of my rhetorical theory musings in 5361:
of course things and space and even time do have boundaries, even if Foucault wishes “there would be no beginning” and discourse could be “like a calm, deep transparence, infinitely open” (in Bizzell and Herzberg again, page 1460). to deal in useful terms with anything, we have to describe it and put boxes around it, but I think what these postmodernists want us to recognize is that the boundaries are man-made. we control them. maybe in recognizing that we can control them better.

or remove them, if we find that useful. the flexibility of all this potential boundary-less-ness is insanely attractive to me, for some reason.

since communication is a process, not an event, relationships between signs, signifiers, truths, meanings, can potentially be mapped with triangles...why? And it's important to realize that the same words don’t always map to the same meanings. everything can shift--change the substance, the medium, the place, the perspective, or the time--even a little bit--and you have a new, totally different utterance, even if the meaning or the intent or the content is the same for both.
it's cool to think about the interplay between all these possibilities, like a shifting scaffolding of intersections and connections and barely-touching points. We can redraw the lines and distinctions again and again, according to our shifting purposes. maybe this threatens to make meaning completely subjective, hopelessly malleable, and utterly doubtable...

but we can move beyond this useless island of subjectivity to the archipelago of intersubjectivity, if we want. here is a place where all the points of view must work together. as Wayne C. Booth writes, goodness and value “can only be determined in social or potentially social converse with reasonable men, not in private, isolated, “logical” consultation of my atomic self and its wisdom” (1519). one opinion is not enough to make anything happen. for any effective communicative process, we need intersubjectivity, which is yet another of these complicated, never-settled processes. according to Booth, if we see “the world as a collection of self-fulfilling (and hence valuable) processes or ‘procedures of organization,’ [we] can import values back into the domain of knowledge” (1497). processes everywhere. it seems as if there can be no long-term stability. we are all in the middle of some 'era' or 'paradigm' or something. and shouldn't we try to remember that despite the dead, static nature of all that ancient Greek, even Aristotle was in the middle of something, once upon a time?

every perspective is limited, every utterance is mediated. we can't really change that, but we can decide a few things about how our thoughts get mediated--from which window we want to lean, from which camera angle we want to look. it isn't much. or is it? maybe even just that tiny bit of control might make a difference.
{ photos by me, added as part of the re-mushing/re-skewing process. }


Chris said...

Hey, Wayne C. Booth. The Company We Keep, I read and referred to, for my Gibson dissertation.

amelia chesley said...

he is (was, I guess) from Utah, which is interesting.