a few random items in a nonsensical list...
1.one of the most interesting revelations to me, at present (because theory is only interesting to me inasmuch as its application is immediate) is the following notion: the voice assumes a structural function closely akin to that of time. in terms of student writing, compositions that are deemed successful tend to score very highly in the assessment criterion: voice. a consistent, organized/controlled vocal quality gives a composition the feeling of structure, and can even unwittingly deceive or intentionally con the reader into missing or excusing the writer's lack of content knowledge, as they've been so carried along by the 'voice' of the work.
2. the very brief discussion of the defense of the dissertation was entertaining, comical, and fair. "the corpus of a candidate's knowledge has been written down in the dissertation, which--supposedly and optimistically--the members of the committee have all carefully read, but this is not enough, it has to be enacted through the voice and only thus made effective. the general experience of those tedious occasions shows that they are indeed simply a question of vocal display; the supposed testing and questioning of the candidate's knowledge has very little to do with that knowledge itself, and has an entirely ritual and vocal character (supplemented by narcissistic struggles and departmental politics under the banner of promoting pure science)." if you aren't laughing your ass off right now...then you aren't as swept away by english department horror-humor as i.
3. freud's thoughts on instinct and reason/intellectual life. this has been something i've been meaning to resolve/get to the bottom of since my first transgression. freud says, after countless rebuffs reason prevails. thank goodness. ["this is one of the few points on which one may be optimistic about the future of mankind."]
3b. formulating the prob of the neurotic in leibniz's terms: "how can i ever justify my existence? an impossible task in the universe of the sufficient reason. can unconscious desire serve as the name for the sufficient reason of all that lacks a sufficient reason?"
4. the phantasy of listening [belauschungsphantasien].
5. the tragedy and truth of this statement cracks me up, "but nothing is more permanent than makeshift arrangements and temporary measures, which, once established, show a steadfast perseverance and inertia."
6. really beautiful passage in a section about the relationship between language and the unconscious. here's the rough and dirty: there is a time loop--the moment we physically hear, the time in which we make sense of, and the ultimate reckoning with the sound. at any rate, when i read this, i thought of the moment you fall in love--recklessly, impulsively--followed by the fantasy, including the delusional aspects--followed by the harsh reality. "it is gone despite the interpretation which tries to provide it with a framework of sense, the horizon of understanding; or rather, it evaporates through the interpretation which consists of pinning it down to a particular sense, naming its meaning, reducing its nonsense, but loses it precisely by endowing it with a positive content--as if it existed properly only in that instant, if indeed this can be called existence at all." [cut to me weeping.]
7. phonology: "the lever which could endow human sciences with the very strictness which until then seemed to have been the privilege of the natural sciences." yes, in college, i was quite taken with the very idea that phonology was even a word i could throw around.
9. omg. silence is a tricky betch. "silence as the simple absence of speech can acquire the highest meaning, it can be taken as a sign of superior wisdom. silence can be a most telling answer which refers the speaker back to her question and its presuppositions, but it can also be a sign of ignorance, the highest easily mingling with the lowest." and also, "speech always delivers us to the powers of the other." and finally, abbe' dinouart "saw the art of silence in the first place as a weapon against the flood of speech inundating the enlightenment century."
10. the silence of the universe.
11. if the universe is no longer "the expression of the supreme sense, of harmony, of God's wise plan [oh crap] it is the universe which has stopped making sense, and this subtraction of sense coincides with the advent of modern science. this silence is neither the imaginary overwhelming nor the symbolic pulsation. the silence of the new universe does not mean anything, it does not make sense, and in this absence of sense it inspires pascal's anxiety." basically, this was my bitter daily bread during my 19th/20th year on the planet... and from time to time ever since... which i think is unavoidable, maybe. ("le silence eternel des espaces infinis me fait peur." pascal)
12. chapter seven. kafka's voices. final chapter. too many points to pick just one, but in the interest of space and time... "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk" needs to be required reading for all, especially those dreaming of becoming reality television stars or those aspiring artists, and writers, like moi. "despite her vanity and megalomania, people can easily do without her, she will be forgotten, no traces of her art will be left." oh shit!
qui: 'for what is science but the absence of prejudice backed by the presence of money?' henry james, the golden bowl"
qua: "[bernard] baas puts this very well: 'the voice is never my own voice, but the response is my own response.'"