Simultaneous Enantiomorphic Looking and Morphological Reading

January 15, 2009

This is my response to Smithson’s essay, “Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read”

It might help to put these on when you read Smithson’s essay:

Language operates between literal and metaphorical signification, not meaning. I take this to mean the operability of language, its functioning location (meaning its scale) is somewhere between the literal signs (meaning the symbols are referring to something literal, like “Rock!”) and the metaphorical signs (meaning the symbols, “dead letters” or, “dead sound-waves”, are a first-layer metaphor of something physical, like an egyptian hieroglyph, or a cave painting.) The power of a word is contingent upon context, in the broad sense, meaning the sentence, paragraph, essay, book, room, etc.. The “partially resolved tension of disparates”, meaning, I think, that the power of a word – it’s degree of communicability – is contingent upon the seperated, incompatibility of the context (as defined above), where the word is either muted by this dissolution or insatiated with power. It is the disparates of language, the inseperability and incompatiblity of of words (“concepts”) that creates depth in the language. A literal word, or a metaphor will “pop out” of the otherwise mute background words, because of the incompatibility of the words, or “concepts”. I would ask, how does language have any power at all if the similarities are already resolved?  There would be no need to speak.  It is, as I described above, an unresolved disimilarity, making the perception (the illusion) of resolved similarities, into an paradox, where at one and the same time, the language is both dissimilar, and illussorily similar. The illusory part is how we understand language. The former, unresolved dissimilarity, is the enantiomorphic talking – the aesthetic perception talking. Congruity, an aesthetic perception of language, not an illusory reading of language, is forced into an incongruent spatial power-play of words. Smithson is both percieving language enantiomorphically as a heap of physical “dead letters” and an illusory reading of language as a morphologically meaningful sieries of “alive letters”. This is why you’re confused about it. Maybe if you read the essay with this paradox of language being both enantiomorphically percieved, and morphologically read at the same time, you may gain some insight on it.


I think it’s interesting how we can map in three dimensions using the xyz coordinate plain, with two-dimensional analytical thought. I attribute this to the scale at which the mind works when calibrated to language. By “scale” here, I mean a “zoom scope” like on a camera that focuses in on a set of problems – this is the scope we “three-dimensionalize” two-dimensional things in. By this, I mean that the scope is focused on two dimensions (i.e. subject / verb agreement … y must = x etc.). This two-dimensional mind follows rules very well. “Do this not this, and then do that, and not that. Upon completion of that, do those, then those, then you will have a three-dimensional cube”. The resulting “three-dimensions” are a product of two-dimensional thought that operates on a different scale. The three-dimensional cube on a page, is then seen as a two-dimensional map with an illusory “three-dimensional” object on it. how one percieves this illusion, is with the eye and ear – that scale – not the analytical, rule following mind. Both make us human, but the former scale is more human, while the latter “lower” scale is more machine… hence the cyborg. We are all cyborgs. 

When looking at the cube, it shifts from front to back in three dimensions off of the page.  It is the power of the unresolved incongruencies that shove a side either to the front or the back.  The tension between the disparate angular lines, and the perpendicular lines causes the cube to move from front to back.  Some lines gain more power than others in a constant struggle for power amongst the unresolved disparates.  If it were resolved, it would be a set of two-dimensional “dead lines”.


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