Wednesday 30 October 2013

Binary opposition is shite and deconstructing binary shite doubly so

Binary opposition in a structural analysis has tremendous pedagogic force. Not just the teacher, the writer (or talkative Cafe flaneur) too is learning that he himself already knows all sorts of things- and marveling greatly at his own perspicacity- as he or she plows along this facile furrow.
We may compare teaching, thinking aloud, reasoning things out for oneself, as well as writing theory or analyzing stuff, as all, in a sense, being comparable to 'catch up' growth for the less developed country.
In theory, binary opposition should yield a rapidly burgeoning pragmatics quickly able to compete with whatever it is that currently yields advances in the subject.
It is for this reason that Sassure (pronounced Soo-soo) dwelt upon it. This method allows linguists- who already possessed sophisticated grammatical and philological tools- to rapidly acquire expert status and make critical judgments across a range of languages. However, they also then got to talk a lot of stupid ultracrepidarian shite which, of course, is why people become linguists in the first place.
Rather like Development.
Politicians are pro development coz it exponentially increases their opportunities to talk shite and fuck things up by bringing the future too under their sceptre.
Yet for a time, this was tolerated. Why?
This follows on the analogy of the l.d.c being able to 'leap frog' over the obstacles the developed countries had to struggle with by adopting the latest technology and tapping more efficient financial markets for capital and so on.
But, ceteris paribus, this would mean the country to develop last would automatically become first because it would have the newest capital, technology, management theory, capital cost etc.
Similarly, structural analysis of a binary sort should be able to leap frog all the piecemeal hueristics that went before and simply appropriate the state of the art generalization and reverse engineer things so that it, itself, should appears its ideal vehicle.
In this Polyanna story- both l.d.c politicians and Structuralist dogmatics will actually have something to contribute to human achievement rather than remain the poor in ideas we will always have with us.
But there's a problem. Structuralist analysis fails, binary opposition is useless because systems aint binary in construction but evolve heuristically on a stochastic fitness landscape. Systems develop by hiding away the basis of their emergence, the machine code upon which they run, so as to remain robust to exogenous shocks or the tampering of a self-appointed Administrator.
Thus 'unbalanced growth' (Hirshchman) succeeds under the rubric of 'National Will' while Nehruvian structuralist planning ends in the toilet.
Similarly, neither Structuralism nor fucking deconstruction are capable of actually making literature, let alone appreciating it. However, it is suitable for teaching people stupid enough to take Arts degrees. As the late great Edward Said pointed out, way back in the Sixties, the days were long gone when a Prof. of Comp Lit actually knew a lot of languages or, indeed, anything qualitiatively worthwhile about his own mother tongue. Students, too, were (already!) thick beyond belief. Said explains that Jonathan Swift was not actually advocating that people start eating shit in the fourth book of Gulliver's travels. So please do not stir turds into your coco pops. Or if you do, don't tell Mummy and Daddy it was coz. your Prof. told you to. Or if he didn't then it was like in this book he forced us to read.
This is very important coz otherwise the parents will sue the University and the Prof. might get sacked.
Now pedagogy and politics is about saying stuff like 'Don't be nasty to poor people. Stop calling women 'ladies'- the cunts don't like it. When you see a bunch of niggers or kikes or limeys do not immediately start rounding them up to work on your plantation, or feed them to your gas chamber, or make fun of their National Health System . Instead, why not take a cold shower or something> Go for a walk. Play touch football."

Nothing wrong, however, with structuralism in Maths or formal logic or Computing and so on- i.e stuff that was deliberately and consciously built up on a binary basis.
Or is there?
Surely a heuristic or a lemma or other instrument, is just a special case of some deeper mathematical structure and that a unification on the basis of greater generality- what Grothendieck calls a 'Yoga'- is called for?
Don't know. No one does.
What is certain is Maths only respects actual breakthroughs. Actually proving theorems. Not proposals for what it ought to look like.
Still, it looks to me, that this question can spur creative minds whereas Structuralism (or worse, Deconstruction, the vulture that picks at its bones) in any other field is the worst sort of pedagogic shite. A costly signal acquiring which demonstrates so prodromally rabid a mind as to necessitate isolation from the general population in some fucking College Dept.


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