Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rebus (Letter)

Life (EPS)

By about 2,800 BC some of the Sumerian glyphs were being used to represent sounds using the rebus principle. For example, the symbol for arrow, pronounced 'ti', was used to represent the word for life (til). There were also many glyphs which were pronounced the same but represented different words. Later a system of determinatives, which gave you a hint at the category a word belonged to, and of phonetic components, which indiciated how to pronounce a word, developed, and helped disambiguate the meanings of glyphs.

The Rebus device is fundamental to writing as such, across all media and modes.  Lacan extends it into ontology with his letter (l'├ętre) linking cultural Signifiers with libidinal Sinthomes (Symptoms) in the extimacy of the split subject ($ = daio).  A parable of Existential Positioning begins with the ambiguity of the switch-word "here."  A traveler, exhausted from a difficult journey, consults a map in the terminal.  The momentary confusion of location and existence in here renews her determination to continue.

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