Thursday, May 15, 2008

The error of the deconstructionists

Or at least one error. In offering meta commentary on texts and on modes of talking and 'discourse', narratives, they assume that the texts have common features that can easily be criticized. In other words, that it's possible to construct a concrete subject-object relationship between texts and commentary. If the object that you're criticizing isn't even self consistent on the face of it, never mind in the subtext that it contains, any commentary trying to expose it as being insufficiently concrete will become hopelessly muddled and chaotic. A text may have subtexts, but if the text itself isn't unified you have the different parts of the text interacting with itself in different ways, each giving rise to its own series of subtexts, raising the combinations and permutations to a higher power, text squared by itself then multiplied by potential subtexts.

This is why deconstructive schemes that end in ambiguity and indeterminancy are doomed to failure, because you never know whether or not the text really is as indeterminate as you make it out to be and the idea that everything is at its base indeterminate cannot be concretely and totally determined.

Cutting up the text itself and reassembling it, the method of Burroughs and Gysin, is a much more honest way of trying to get to the heart of meaning than the deconstructive method, because it pulls no punches. If you can't allow the possibility that meaningless chaos might be the product of deconstruction then you can't well support the idea that everything is ultimately non-chaotically indeterminate and self referential.

The primal chaos of meaning underlies the attempts by deconstructionists to get to the bottom of things.

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