Saturday, August 07, 2010

Symbolic Order

It creeps right in, like a thief taking advantage of an open window, it steals in with ease precisely because they are so unlike it, alive and open while it is dead and closed. It is a virus. Not alive strictly speaking, adapting to the physiology of its host, borrowing the life of this other to further its own structure. Without this host body it is nothing of consequence. It is NOT. Only by inserting itself in something that IS does it achieve its end. Only by forcing itself upon supple young minds does it achieve anything resembling life.
This abstract entity, this order of symbols, is Rome to barbarians. It is upper Egypt to lower Egypt. It settles in its host and multiplies, slowly eating the other from the inside. Soon there will be nothing real left. Only a string of empty signifiers whose signified was left behind long ago.
We will rise and pledge allegiance every morning. We have no experience of what it is to pledge and we start saying that we are pledging without understanding what we are saying, We have never felt anything like allegiance. We know the words. We chant them together rhythmically.
We will be told to show respect, and the signifier “respect” will be associated for us with the signified of “subservience” or “obedience”. It will be impossible for us to respect our elders because they have never respected anything. The real attitude of respect has become extinct, but its corpse is still dragged around, spilling from our lips carelessly, endlessly, meaninglessly.
Language thrusts its barbed tendrils deep into us and now our reality grows tinier, more constricted. The sounds that flow out of our mouth such as and like is so very and all such like as must be some such like as such and much and truthiness, exercising our God given right to liberty and such and fighting for freedom against terror and drugs and such we must prevail against such like adversity administering justice and such with respect to indigenous insurgence and victory and such…
We will stare at each other and listen to the babble, respond when possible like an actor who has just been waiting for his cue in a Shakespearean play whose pentameter and use of forgotten words confounds the modern semi illiterate player. Recital is all that remains.
We never had a chance to choose whether or not this structure could come and live inside of us. It lived inside of those that came before us and they passed it on to us. This thing inside dwelling, steals the sight from our eyes and makes the without in its image.
What is really there? Who knows?
Nothing perhaps, an abyss, a void, chaos as counterpoint to structure. This particular structure, this fortress is not the only such entity. It is one such entity and the world it creates is unique to it. There may be other worlds spawned from another similar strange confluence of order and attention, worlds you would inhabit if you were born French rather than American, or Alpha Centaurian rather than human.
There is no more contact with the real. We have become the virus, biological extensions of the symbolic order that latched onto us and began to suck the life from us before we were three years old. We will pass it on to our children and they to theirs. Zombies, spilling colloquial zombie seed into the precious new life that has ignited in our midst. We’ll subvert that spark and make it as undead as we ourselves are, effortlessly, unintentionally.
It will creep right in, seeping from one infected organism to the next. Like a thief taking advantage of an open window, it steals in with ease precisely because the host is so unlike itself; alive and open while it is dead and closed.

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