The Politics of Perception
Published in Everyone's a fucking poet! 1995
i will try to put it plainly. the first subject "subject a" sees the object "o" and records the experience as "oa" which describes the perception of object o by subject a.ii.
(mustn't fall into the trap of blindly placing faith in the transcendental being of the object qua percipi. whatever the "truth of being" of a given object/perception, it must not, because it is precisely that "truth" which is in question, play a supporting role in this analysis : the phenomenological bracketing) revision : the first subject "subject a" has the experience "oa" which is typically described as the perception of object o by subject a. a second subject "subject b" experiences "ob" which is in turn described as the perception of object o by subject b. our inquiry, then, concerns the reality of object o, its ontology (as sartre would say), or its mode of existence (in the words of foucault).iii.
the dogmatic myth of platonism : presupposing the material and factual existence of object o prior to any given perception (oa, ob, etc.), the determination of truth is based upon accuracy with respect to the transcendental object. example : subject a has the experience "ao," where "o" in this case is taken to represent the origin of language. The experience "ao" then describes the specific attitude (perception) taken by subject a towards the origin of language, which, in this example, is that language evolved as an instrument of man's expression and that the series thought-speech-writing describes the accuracy of representation in language with respect to ideas, in declining order of strength. notice that this expression places implicit value on the notion of proximity. subject b, meanwhile, has the experience "ob," with "o" again depicting the origin of language. "ob" then describes the perception of the origin of language by subject b or, more particularly, the notion that language erupted spontaneously (following lévi-strauss) and that valuing speech over language depends upon a metaphysics of presence which is itself an historical but unjustified presuppostion. in modern times it has been proclaimed definitively and factually that subject b has "correctly" described the object "o" and is therefore entitled to bash subject a over the head with a fistful of diplomas.iv.
the dada myth : subject a grows hyacinths or crystal mesmerized, the flame glub glubv.
the ultra-nietzschean myth of free play : to begin with or to find along the way the object-corpse & bold proclamations of death! death! death! until the truth-value of object o becomes nothing more than nostalgia, the naïve ignorance of infinite deferral from metaphor to metaphor, a film without end and so no middle either, i.e., all references to the transcendental object are dismissed as fallacious; the game of truth has no winners. example : on the one hand, subject a undergoes the perception "oa," where "o" is mistakenly believed to be, for the purposes of this example, the intentional attempt at meaning made by the author of a given work. the perception "oa" is thus believed to be a reasonable reading of object o by subject a. subject b, on the other hand, having thouroughly examined the texts of nietzsche, derrida, and paul de man, experiences "ob" and shrewdly acknowledges the absence of any definable object o and therefore describes said perception with words devoid of any intentional content "ob" is thus one link in an infinite chain of signification without center or point of reference. we have been blessed with a number of such poignant revelations which unfortunately (due to the breakdown of communication theory) we are unable to understand. subject b runs circles of obscurity around subject a.vi.
the myth of in between : based upon a subtle awareness of both the autonomous & problematic power of language as well as the finer points of semiotic theory, this is the myth of commonsense par excellence, whereupon the experience "ox" describes only a perceptual experience on the part of subject x with regards to an object o whose reality is not an a priori transcendental but an a posteriori dynamical object defined by the intersubjective meaning granted it by the community. example : subject a experiences "oa" where "o" refers to subject b and subject a describes "oa" as the perception I have of subject b as object o which by no means entirely defines subject b but which must be considered as a constituent part of the community which determines the reality of subject b. (subject b is anti-social and feels uncomfortable outside a university setting. lost in a linguistic crisis, subject b is incapable of determining whether or not such a thing as perception exists, much less subject a.) adherence to the notion of social consensus in the construction of referents, or to historical systems of internally consistent logic and a belief in the possibility of dialogue being -- as they are -- terribly outdated, the estranged and yet somehow reactionary philosophic tropes of subject b are evidently more applicable to the anguish of twentieth-century humanity.vii.
the problem gets bigger when you realize all subjects are objects even reflexively. the greatest myth of all : know thyselfviii.
we love a challenge.
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