Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Snatches from the Pink Snapper — 3
Having been stood up last night by someone whom I was to meet me for an important conference at the Pink Snapper, I was left to ponder the meaning of 'meaning' and other lugubrious thoughts occasioned not only by the failure of our mutual understanding of the meaning of 'meet' but also by certain essays I had read yesterday in pursuit of greater insight into Bentham's Panopticon.
But before I could fully sound out "panopticism," I found myself hip deep in the maelstrom of post-structuralist indeterminacy from which I hastily withdrew. Call it a phobia if you like, but I have always feared I might lose my balance and be swept away by a floating antinomy.
I really don't understand the deconstructionists, but it has always seemed to me that, feeling as they do about words, they use an inordinate quantity of them.
All I know about meaning is that if I say "potato" over and over again it will in short order decompose into a veritable salad of meanings. And if I continue to say it, it will lose all meaning other than the pure sound of it—at least from my perspective—which hardly helps since pure sound has no meaning, as you may quickly verify by chanting "OM." So in the end I am left without the 'potato' I began with and begin to wonder what I should eat.
You, on the other hand, are free to suppose whatever you like about what 'potato' means to me—and this becomes part of the meaning of 'potato' for you, colored perhaps by your memory of the last time you were left alone in a room with a man saying "potato."
What this denotes I cannot—or will not—say.