Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Multiplicity of Difference: Discourses of Power as a Function of Essentialisms - A Brief Meta-Linguistic Analsysis of African Speech

"James purchased a coat from the tailor."
Consider the syntax and pragmatic meaning of this propositional construction, for a moment.

Without reference to a network of other propositions belonging to a more general construction to which it belongs as a semantic element, certain information potentially valuable for the statement is not directly expressed in its morphology or syntax ordering. We know that the subject, James, is predicated in the action of a purchase, which has a coat for its objects, and the tailor as the subject of the coat purchased.

Of course, the inverse - "The tailor sold a coat to James" does not transform the information communicated, so much as the mode of encoding it. This encoding strategy, however, is what the decoding of the information conveyed depends on for identifying the object being treated in the sentence. In the second formulation, the subject of the action is the tailor, the coat is the object, and James the object of the sale. In both cases, the event described is no different in one or the other, but the temporality, aspect, modality and intention are changed. The action of the first statement is described in a mirroring process that reverses its direction (James--->coat vs. tailor-->coat--->James)

This principle of paradigmatic contrast introduces the concept of 'allosentences', the changing of propositional content in the manner of structuring information.
As we see, the different structural composition of the propositions is determined by the ordering of the terms in the proposition. Euro-centric, and English-speaking, readers and writers might extend this feature of the pragmatic rules of their language to the entire structure of thought, logic, and reasoning. But scalar dimensions (active/inferable/inactive) have corresponding focal values, which may be conflated and confounded without reference to other paramaters like contrasting and saliency or set-contrasting. In English, these parameters are set by the ordering of the syntax and intonation.
But what of those ethno-linguistic groups who do not circumscribe the world of sensual experience into discrete and independent semantic units? For many cultures, the experience is an organic unity of inseparable, interdependent elements. This naturalism and phenomenology emphasizes the immediacy of experience in and through the connections made between objects, or the object of a subject, whose object has the subject for its own object. This immediacy of experience, the abandonment of the binary separation of the subject-predicate structure of propositions, encodes and structures information using operations which keep the ordering of morphemes in a statement the same.
The language groups in Niger-Congo, Xhosa and Mombo (Dogon), there are prosodic methods for marking morphological qualities and manipulating the internal syntax of declarations, questions, and imperative/modal statements. The many linguistic encoding devices. The range of encoding parameters can express state-of-affairs, or verb, focus (which element in a proposition that the verb directs attention to). Intonation in prosodic phrasing (using penultimate vowel length); instrument focus; morphological reduplication; bounded verb morphemes, and in other African languages and dialects: predicate particles, isolate (attachment of floating subject clitics to verbs); object focus, verb doubling, and tonal markers encoded in symbolic, formal language indicators.
In all cases, the ordering of the terms does not change, and the focalized object in a proposition may appear as a different encoding function within the information structuring of the whole series of syllogistic relations of which it is a component, which is shown in examples of backgrounding of other elements by prefocal encoding rules, where the focus is brought out by virtue of all other focal values on various scalar dimensions are marked as a background to the verb focus.
What does this mean for global revolutionary projects of transnational solidarity? First, that simple tolerance is a necessary but insufficient value for these transnational alliances to use practically. It is also a question of developing a counter-discourse, or a plurality of counter-discourses, that expresses the progressive will of a polyvocal subject by changing how we speak, act, gesticulate and dress. The social cognition of the 'healthy' individual is that belonging to a discourse which circulates its subjects and practices through agreement, recognition, and reciprocal recognition-response protocols.
For those whose social intelligence is estimated as low, deviations from language norms beyond certain limits are necessarily pathologized, and psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation therapy accept these deviations, but hold the patient responsible for recovery within an accepted period. This recovery entails the adaption of the sbject to the set of cues, cursive logics, enunciations, utterances, and intonations of verbal and non-verbal discourse.
A revolutionary attack on the global market is an attack on hegemony by a counter-hegemonic, counter-power. Revolutions in the identities, subjectivities, traditional gender binaries and racial social constructs must necessarily produce a new way of thinking and speaking that appears utterly stupid and inept to the dominant discourses of power, and to which the dominant discourse is incomprehensible.
The revolutionary comprehends a different world, is unable to comprehend the present state of affairs as stable and lasting. In the encoding of revolutionary practice, the revolutionary is dedicated to changing the verb focus, the intonation, and focal values of the global forms of social connection and reproduction. This revolution bears an open and inclusive relation to the identities outside of its extension, and extends itself further, in self-valorization, to absorb all identity under the immanent category of difference, subsuming all essence into multiplicity.

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