Thursday, April 1, 2010

Prudence as Joker

The primary instruction derived from Virno is based on his proposal to adopt logical fallacies (exploiting the structure of joke-work:  condensation, displacement, secondary elaboration) as sources of innovative inference practice in conditions of ethical/political crisis.  "Jokes and innovative action displace the 'rotational axis' of a form of life by means of an openly 'fallacious' conjecture, one that nonetheless reveals in a flash a different way of applying the rules of the game:  contrary to the way it seemed before, it is entirely possible to embark on a side path or to escape from Pharaoh's Egypt" (163).  The pragmatics of laughter and the forms that elicit it are guides to the exact site of interface, the moebius twist, crossing body and language.  The two slopes of language are hinged here, enabling discourse and jouissance to coexist in one practice.  Here is the point of departure for electrate ontology.  Literacy ontologized the semantic register of writing; electracy ontologizes the musical (choral) register.  It is the site of Lacan's letter/l'etre.
The logic of crisis is most evident in the articulation between instinctual apparatus and propositional structure, between drives and grammar.  Each attempt at delineating a different normative "substratum," though it unravels within wholly contingent sociopolitical circumstances, retraces and compounds, on a reduced scale, the passage from life in general to linguistic life.  Anomalous inferences are the precision instrument by virtue of which verbal thought, delineating a different normative "substratum," recalls, each time anew, the anthopogenetic passage.  Their anomaly lies in the manner in which language preserves within itself, though transfigured to the point of being barely recognizable, the original nonlinguistic drive (160).
it is worth a further citation, to make the Target instruction emphatic:  introduce a fallacy into the argumentation of your public policy debate.
The multiple use of the same material and the displacement of psychic accent are the two fundamental ways of reacting to the intensifying of chronic problems presented by the application of a rule to a particular case.  Furthermore:  these are the two ways in which,  in the process of their application, we return to the primary system of reference that is the "common behavior of mankind." Multiple use and displacement are the two main genres of fallacy and the primary genres of jokes.  However, as we have just seen, in jokes (as well as in the unusual application of a rule) fallacies have the value of counterfactual hypotheses, and therefore they take shape as heuristic procedures.  The two types of jokes (as well as productive fallacy) correspond to two types of creative action on a vast scale:  Entrepreneurial innovation; Exodus (146).

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