Wednesday, November 07, 2007

'fevers and disquiet'

Look what Equivocal has gone and done. He's pointed people to Barthes over here:

The Uncertainty of Signs

(Whether he seeks to prove his love, or to discover if the other loves him, the amorous subject has no system of sure signs at his disposal).

I look for signs, but of what? what is the object of my reading? Is it: am I loved (am I loved no longer, am I still loved)? Is it my future that I am trying to read, deciphering in what is inscribed the announcement of what will happen to me, according to a method which combines paleography and manticism?

Freud to his fiancee: "The only thing that makes me suffer is being in a situation where it is impossible for me to prove my love to you."

Signs are not proofs, since anyone can produce false or ambiguous signs. Hence one falls back, paradoxically, on the omnipotence of language: since nothing assures language, I will regard it as the sole and final assurance: I shall no longer believe in interpretation. I shall receive every word from my other as a sign of truth; and he, too, receives what I say as the truth. Whence the importance of declarations; I want to keep wresting from the other the formula of his feeling, and I keep telling him, on my side, that I love him: nothing is left to suggestion, to divination: for a thing to be known, it must be spoken; but also, once it is spoken, even very provisionally, it is true.

Equivocal said, on Hash's blog, that Barthes' book will "painfully and accurately elaborate on all the things you know but are not willing to accept."

But see, I have a system of sure signs. I have auguries -palms, cards, pacts I have made with stars, birds, trains, (mail vans); and they all usually say the same thing. They all agree that the universe is conspiring to tell me what I already know to be true.

Version One: What can I do if the other insists on wearing dark glasses?

Version Two: Who needs to say anything with all that chatter of signs going on?



Falstaff said...

"I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand"

- T.S. Eliot.

Of course, the economist in me feels the need to point out that it doesn't matter whether anyone can produce false or ambiguous signs - as long as producing the sign involves cost / requires effort, the fact that they will go to the trouble of producing that sign is information in itself. And is there really a difference between someone who loves you and someone who spends their / your entire life making you believe that they love you even though they 'really' don't?

Space Bar said...

Ah, but that's assuming that you're not misreading the signs because someone is producing them and because they've gone to all that bother, it must mean something, preferably positive.

What if you see signs were none were made or intended? What if everything appears to be signalling what you want to believe?

Apropos of someone who loves you and someone who spends their / your entire life making you believe that they love you even though they 'really' don't?
, Pamuk has something similar to say about New York/the US in general in his latest book. Absent flavours, he calls it. ( I owe Pamuk that word...)