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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Nothing is true

Nothing is true, everything is impossible. Or at least that is how it feels. Whole strings of thoughts as text flash through / across consciousness too swiftly to capture and record. And I can't spell. It is Joel BIROCO. Lots of spelling mistakes, but then its punk, init?

I Can't Do Anything / Poly styrene/ X ray spex/ 1977
I can't write And I can't sing I can't do anything I can't read And I can't spell I can't even get to hell I can't luv And I can't hateI can't even hesitate I can't dance And I can't walk I can't even try to talk
Freddy tried to strangle me With my plastic popper beads But I hit him back With my pet rat Yeah I hit him back With my pet rat
I can't spitAnd I can't kick I can't even be thick I can't read And I can't spell I can't even get to hell I can't luv And I can't hate I can't even hesitate I can't dance And I can't walk I can't even try to talk

You can't get there from here. the 'there' would be one amongst many flashes of inspiration which this 'here' has triggered. Another sopcial anthropology lecture, a bit of psychology, a bit of nuerology, a bit of fuckology...no fun, my babe. no fun.

Nuerology. Not neurology. Origins of post-modern in the Rationality Debate. It started with a cow back in the mid sixties. I can't find a summary via Google so must rely on memory. It was a philosophy debate about limits of 'translation'. Can we fully translate across cultural and linguistic boundaries?

Examples used were 'cows' and 'ghosts'. Cow was taken to be straightforward , but ghost as more complicated, not so tangible, more socially and culturally ambiguous. To reduce to tabloid simplicity - image is of English philsopher in Africa trying to learn langauge. Philosopher points to a cow and says 'cow', African replies with her/his word for 'cow'. Thus there is translation from langauge a to language b and back again. But for ghost- how does one point to a ghost? The allegedly 'rational' philospher should not even believe in ghosts and so would be doubly stuck... thus the process of translation would break down and never be complete. Thus there cannot be full understanding/ transaltion across language/ cultural boundaries. Thus philosophy must remain incomplete - a partial rather than fully decription/ comprehension of reality.

Or something like that. A ha, said some social anthropologists, the problem is even more difficult. A basic, year one social anthropology set text (at least at SOAS where I was taught all this) was The Nuer by Evans Pritchard. 'the' Nuer being a pastroral people who live(d) in Sudan and have/ had a society with cattle at its heart. They have many words for 'cow', for example words describing different colours and patterns on each cows hide. Ditto in any farming community. My grandmother was a primary school teacher in rural Yorkshire circa 1920. She once showed the kids a picture of a sheep and asked 'What is this?' The long silence worried her. At last one child hesitantly said " A Suffolk weder?"

The anthropology/ philosophy (not the Yorkshire one) debate soon moved on to the problem of rationality itself. Is there one over-arching, all-embracing , all- singing, all- dancing Rationality. Or are there many rationalities? many ways of understanding reality? Even many realities? And is there any way to 'translate' between them? Which, although not often (ever?) connected up with post-modernism, I reckon is a linked question.

It also comes back to phallogocentrism. And... issues of power and control, of Foucault's 'governmentality', colonialism, magick, paganism, sexualities.... but enough for now. To give a back link to Submission/ phallogocentrism blog, here is some more x ray spexs to finish with.

Let's Submerge
It's dark and eerie And it's really late
Come on kid's don't hesitate
We're going down to the underground
We're going down we're going down
To the underground
The hades ladies are dressed to kill
Dagger glares from Richard hell Tension heightening heating frightening T
hunder rolls as fast as lightning
If you've got the urge
Come on let's submerge
The subterranean is a bottomless pit
The vinyl vultures are after it Molten lava sulphur vapours
Smoulder on to obliterate us
If you've got the urge
Come on let's submerge


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