Friday, April 1, 2011

Figuring Exception

Part 2 is devoted to developing the insight from Part 1:  the Accident is a sign.  Further instructions indicated that the sign is a trope, and the terms of the figure are set by the event itself.  Bok's 'Pataphysics makes the instruction more precise.  The lesson is found in the breakout of Surrationalist 'Pataphysics into three "declensions":  Anomalos (principle of variance); Syzygy (principle of alliance); Clinamen (principle of deviance).  A difficulty of heuretics is its heuristic nature:  how should we respond to this appearance of three figures in our Analogy source?  We could simply accept Bok's terms, and apply one of them as the figure with which to design the Prezi exhibit.  But then we consider the invented nature of Bok's figures.  Syzygy is borrowed from astronomy, for example, naming one or the other of two points in the orbit of a celestial body either in opposition to or conjunction with the sun.  The term is generalized to refer to any unity achieved through coordination of alignment.  Bok's creative move guides our option:  identify in the technical discourse of your event a process that may be generalized into a trope or figure of thought. 

Bok refers to Harold Bloom's Anxiety of Influence at one point, suggesting its relevance to 'Pataphysics.  This insight reinforces the above instruction, since Bloom constructed a set of six tropes to name the process belated poets perform to create a place for themselves in literary tradition, in competition with their predecessors.  Bloom clarified the practical value of the fact that Freud's vocabulary describing ego defense mechanisms is a direct appropriation of tropology from the history of rhetoric.  Bloom's first trope (move or compositional strategy) is "Clinamen" also.  Second is "Tessera" (term taken not from mosaics but ancient mystery cults, where it meant a token of recognition); third is "Kenosis" (from St. Paul, the humbling or emptying out of Jesus), and so forth.  The relay suggests the productivity of troping the terms of some knowledge discourse for use as a rhetorical figure more generally.  A worthy experiment for some future CATTt could be to compose a different tropology, to replace Bloom's Agon version of poets in competition, with an Ilynx version, of poets dancing (or some related form of spin).

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