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Eleonor s Husband

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U.S. to collect DNA samples of arrested immigrants
« Reply #250 on: January 15, 2009, 03:41:26 PM »

DNA samples to be taken from everyone arrested by U.S. authorities

April 16, 2008

The Washington Post reports that DNA samples will be taken from all U.S. citizens arrested for federal crimes and from foreigners detained by U.S. authorities. Currently, genetic material is collected — through a cheek swab — only from people convicted of federal crimes. The rule change, which the Post says will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, aligns the federal government with 13 states that already take DNA samples and turn them over to the U.S. agencies. USA Today's Kevin Johnson wrote earlier this week that the states are expanding their collection of DNA and that 21 others are considering following suit.


9 January, 2009

The Justice Department defends the new policy as an important crime-fighting tool. Activists see it as a violation of privacy.

Beginning today, the U.S. government will collect DNA samples from immigrants arrested and detained, despite concerns that the move violates their privacy rights. The new Justice Department policy also will expand DNA collection to people arrested on suspicion of committing federal crimes. Previously, the government only obtained DNA from people convicted of certain crimes. The samples will be added to the national database and used to make identifications through comparisons to crime scene evidence, according to the Justice Department. "The collection of DNA samples is an important crime-fighting and crime-solving tool," said Evan Peterson, a spokesman for the department.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday it was considering filing a lawsuit and that it would closely monitor the collection of DNA samples. "We will be looking to see whether mistakes are made," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program. Steinhardt said he had "grave concerns" about the rapid expansion of the DNA database to include immigrant detainees and people accused of committing crimes. "People who are merely accused of a crime or a civil violation of law but haven't been convicted of anything are being subjected to the most invasive sort of testing," he said. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has said the change is designed to prevent violent crimes by deportees who return illegally. Kyl wrote a 2005 law that authorized the department to include pre-conviction DNA samples in its national database.

Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian said Thursday that DNA was becoming a standard law enforcement tool that was better than fingerprints for identification. "It's especially important with regard to immigration because people are changing their names and presenting easily forged foreign documents," he said. "It's important to know who is who and when someone is lying." More than 1.3 million samples from immigrants, detainees and federal arrestees are expected to be added to the database under the new policy, the FBI said. The bureau received more money to upgrade its DNA programs and software to accommodate the increased workload. But Steinhardt said he thought the program would be impractical, saying there was already a backlog. "The more you expand these databases, the greater the returns diminish," he said.

David Leopold, the national vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Assn., said the DNA collection was part of a trend by the U.S. government to treat immigrants as criminals, even though they were civil detainees. Many detained immigrants, for example, are housed in county jails alongside suspected and convicted criminals. Leopold said he also worried that some of those detained and forced to give DNA would turn out to be U.S. citizens. "This rule is just a terrifying expansion of power," he said.

http://jonjayray.110mb.com/immi.html

solis

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Dissemination and Contamination
« Reply #251 on: January 24, 2009, 01:16:32 PM »


http://www.avatarhosting.net/pics/8144/Dissemination.jpg

A poststructualist theorist to the core, Derrida bases much of the theory explicated in Dissemination on the process of infinite semiosis -- the endless reproduction of signs. The concept of difference is quite useful in drawing out this process, which explains how scission leads to both dissemination and trace. It is no coincidence that infinite semiosis resembles biological mitosis in cell organisms, particularly viruses (even by the name). This is precisely the metaphor that Derrida shoots for in Dissemination. The way by which a virus reproduces itself is eerily comparable to differance. In order to procreate, a virus must first invade a normal cell. After that, the cell replicates with the virus inside it, and every cell generated thereafter will continue to contain the infection. The important lines of correspondence in this scenario are drawn between,

1) the mitotic split and "scission," which results in the propagation of more distinct, autonomous signs
2) and the persistence of the virus, which is analogous to the enduring trace that unveils the filial relationships between signs.

Much like with the virus, both these functions, bound together in differance, are necessary circumstances for meaning to exist and proliferate.


At its most basic "[d]issemination generalizes the theory and practice of the graft without a body proper" thereby focussing on the concept of the graft which is a concept related to Derrida's notion of the trace and the mark. It is not originary in any sense; while it may have an origin the graft always,

Quote
produces (itself) and advances only in the plural. It is a singular plural, which no single origin will ever have preceded. Germination, dissemination. There is no first insemination. The semen is already swarming. The “primal” insemination is dissemination. A trace, a graft whose traces have been lost.

This is why the graft has no body proper, since it is part of a process which is inevitable in any text, according to Derrida. It is this process which is so significant for Derrida, not just here but in all of his dealings with text and meaning. One of the theses of dissemination is "the impossibility of reducing a text as such to its effects of meaning, content, thesis, or theme." For Derrida, it is always the marginal and the liminal which exerts a peculiar influence on the text; radically absent yet very real in its effects. Meaning, therefore, is not fixed for Derrida but rather something which is in a constant process, always writing and rewriting itself, always multiplying and rushing outwards.

Dissemination is the division of meaning; the tendency of textual meaning to move out in all directions and so resist closure. Or as Vincent B. Leitch puts it, "[t]he 'work,' now called text, explodes beyond stable meaning and truth toward the radical and ceaseless play of infinite meanings spread across textual surfaces - dissemination." Dissemination, then, becomes the endless play of meaning both as divided and doubled; because words have too many meanings there will be an indefinite number of meanings, meanings proliferate. In discussing dissemination Derrida plays on the double meanings of seed/term/germ and semantics, all of which constitute the effect of dissemination. Dissemination is therefore not a negative process which must be contained; but rather it is the necessary precondition for writing to exist at all: "The heterogeneity of different writings is writing itself, the graft. It is numerous from the first or it is not." Such an understanding of textuality is intertextuality in the way that Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes both use it. In Roland Barthes' words, the author becomes the scriptor and any understanding of a text which does not to some extent quote, cite, or reproduce another text is questioned. Instead, texts are understood as the always 'already-written.' Derrida agrees with this notion, when he argues that textual samples,

Quote
can only be read within the operation of their reinscription, within the graft. It is the sustained, discrete violence of an incision that is not apparent in the thickness of the text, a calculated insemination of the proliferating allogene through which the two texts are transformed, deform each other, contaminate each other’s content, tend at times to reject each other, or pass elliptically into the other and become regenerated in the repetition, along the edges of an overcast seam.

Let us for now turn instead to polysemy and its connection with dissemination. Derrida is insists that dissemination is different from polysemy; being multiple and indefinite. "In diverging from polysemy, comprising both more and less than the latter, dissemination interrupts the circulation that transforms into an origin what is actually an after-effect of meaning." Dissemination, in its affinity with the trace, points out that there is no originating moment, and this is its opposition to polysemy, since:

Quote
Polysemy always puts out its multiplicities and variations with the horizon, at least, of some integral reading which contains no absolute rift, no senseless derivation - the horizon of the final parousia of a meaning at last deciphered, revealed, made present in the rich collections of its determinations. [...] All the moments of polysemy are, as the world implies, moments of meaning. [...] The concept of polysemy thus belongs within the confines of explanation, within the explication or enumeration, in the present, of meaning. it belongs to the attending discourse. Its style is that of the representative surface. It forgets that its horizon is framed. The difference between discursive polysemy and textual dissemination is precisely difference itself, "an implacable difference." This difference is of course indispensable to the production of meaning (and that is why between polysemy and dissemination the difference is very slight).

The difference between polysemy and dissemination may thus be very slight, but it remains significant. While polysemy generates meaning from within the text, on premises accepted by the text, dissemination generates meaning from without; it imports meaning into the text and not always accepted meanings, if we briefly speak of the intentions of the text. Dissemination, as opposed to polysemy, turns the work into text, opening it for the larger movement of textuality and intertextuality. Even while it keeps the text it culls alive, this play of insemination - or grafting - destroys their hegemonic center, subverts their authority and their uniqueness. This echoes Barthes notion of the always 'already-written' and allows us to realize that texts are no longer as unique as once thought, but must instead continually defer their meanings to previous texts, as well as later texts which will in turn also transform them. The movement of texts and their meanings are not locked in a strictly forward-moving motion; later texts are anticipated by earlier ones and Derrida states that "[e]ach grafted text continues to radiate back toward the site of its removal, transforming that, too, as it affects the new territory." Arguing further for the intertextual origins of every text, Leitch writes:

Quote
The disorienting effect of the invading predecessors resembles the disruptive functions at work in the sign: a play of differences operates, bringing about, not fullness of meaning, but generic disturbances and discontinuities - random flights of signifiers. In place of pure signifiers, though, we have here contaminating pieces of various intertexts. The sign, as such, is constituted as originarily intertextual.

This is the deconstructive move of reversing and displacing the typical conceptual order: text and sign are no longer whole and original, they are instead always already composites of earlier texts and signs. The process of dissemination and grafting, that is, pointing out the inherently interdependent nature of the text amounts to an overturning of the typical conceptual order, or, as Jonathan Culler succinctly puts it: "The graft is the very figure of intervention." While the graft may be the site of the intersection between multiple texts, let us for now rather look at the further implications of dissemination. I mentioned earlier that dissemination is intertextuality. It is telling to compare their writings on intertextuality, since it provides us with a broader spectrum for Derrida's term. Earlier texts thus impose something on the present text, and it is this imposition which not only makes texts what they are but also why intertextuality as a concept destroys authority and uniqueness; no longer does meaning originate with the author but is imposed from the outside by earlier texts, themselves imposed on by even earlier texts. This chain is never-ending. The author becoming a scriptor, since author implies a unique individual creating original material. Rather, the author must be conceived off as piecing together already existing texts in new ways, hence the reference to the 'already-written.' This process is inevitable and not necessarily conscious.

solis

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #252 on: January 24, 2009, 01:34:08 PM »
For Derrida dissemination occurs even at the most basic level of the sign. For Derrida, it lies at the very core of language and so must be thought of to originate at the level of the sign. As Culler points out: "Linkings that stress the etymology or morphology of a word, bringing out the rift or gap at the heart of draft, outline, plan, are ways of applying torque to a concept and affecting its force." In other words, the sign itself carries within it already the seeds that will eventually deconstruct it. For Derrida, then, there is no difference between textuality and intertextuality it is the same process. Truth, or meaning, in a given text becomes naturally suspect in such an environment, as Leitch points out:

Quote
The lesson of textuality as intertextuality is that truth in (of) literature is an illusion: there is only always the deracinating play of myriad differences. Infinite meanings are broadcast across textual surfaces. In deconstructive theory, such dissemination takes the place of truth.

This may sound as the ultimate in textual nihilism where any hope of unity or stability is forever lost and the text is utterly shattered and in the worst case completely redundant and useless, since we can never decide irrevocably which meaning is the most appropriate. The text has lost all meaning since it has an infinite number of meanings; the text is hollow. It is evident that there is a degree of semantic indeterminacy in Derrida's proposition of dissemination and it is here that we may tie back into postmodernism. Indeterminacy is one of the most vital aspects of postmodern culture (though it existed prior to postmodernism, of course) and Ihab Hassan describes indeterminacy as the tendency to "delay closures, frustrate expectations, promote abstractions, sustain a playful plurality of perspectives, and generally shift the grounds of meaning on their audiences.” (Hassan 1987:73). Meaning is not something definite in postmodern culture, there is no single truth which may stabilise meaning, instead meaning becomes a object which may be playfully examined and reexamined constantly. Clearly Derrida's project is not to eradicate all meaning but instead to investigate how meaning is produced, and he insists that dissemination is thus always also insemination and that this insemination creates what he terms the graft. As Culler states "Meaning is produced by a process of grafting..." and as Derrida asserts:

Quote
To write means to graft. It’s the same word. The saying of the thing is restored to its being-grafted. The graft is not something that happens to the properness of the thing. There is no more any thing than there is any original text.

Leitch argues: "The Derridian operation of grafting is a postmodern tactic designed to cross traditional boundaries in order to promote fruitful intersections among isolated disciplines and textual traditions." As we can see from Leitch's quote grafting is not only part of the very process of writing, but can also be used as a specific strategy. Grafting is thus a way of making sense or meaning from a text, what is grafted onto the present text may differ but it will always alter the text. For Derrida, this is how meaning arises, whether we know of the imposing discourse. Michel Foucault makes the same point when he in "The Archeology of Knowledge" states that a text "is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network." Such a network, then, must be seen as what frames a text and makes meaning possible. Indeed, in "Signature Event Context" Derrida argues how context is one way of controlling aspects of a text, but also that in the end, "[e]ventually, one may recognize other such possibilities in it by inscribing or grafting it into other chains. No context can enclose it. Nor can any code..." It is not possible to restrict the text to only one meaning, just as it is not possible to claim that a text belongs to only one network or field of discourse; a text is composed of many different elements from many different networks. A text is thus always contaminated by other texts from disparate fields.

It is this realization which carries us into Derrida's concept of contamination. He discusses contamination primarily in relation to genre, though it does crop up briefly in Dissemination. Significantly, in relation to genre contamination works similar to dissemination in the way it overflow and breaks boundaries. In Derrida's conception, genre instates a line which must not be crossed, a certain norm whatever it may specifically be. This norm, as we have seen, is never natural but always constructed by certain standards. This is the law of genre. It is precisely this law which enables us to interpret texts, which indicates not just the necessary existence of genre but also the impossibility of genreless texts: "a text cannot belong to no genre, it cannot be without or less a genre. Every text participates in one or several genres, there is no genreless text; there is always genre and genres." The trait that marks membership comes to form what Derrida terms an internal pocket by the process of invagination and this pocket is larger than the whole. I will argue that invagination is the same process as grafting, since what we find is that another discourse imposes upon a text and inseminates it with meaning. The confluence of the sexual metaphors here are not to be mistaken for it is clear that meaning is given birth by this process of insemination and invagination.

Quote
Trace or graft, the movement is the same; just as the generic mark does not belong to the text because it is a trace, so too does the graft not truly belong in the text. The use of the word "contamination" makes the process sound negative since it implies impurity, which must be a conscious decision to fly in the face of a desire for purity of genre. We may instead choose the phrasing "participation without belonging” since this does not carry the same negative connotations, and Derrida also the terms interchangeably: “Here now, very quickly, is the law of abounding, of excess, the law of participation without membership, of contamination, etc."

As we can see, this is exactly what the very concept of dissemination indicates; the graft does not truly belong in the text, since it comes from the outside, yet it remains a necessary part of the text and is indeed constitutive of the text: “What interests me is that this re-mark - ever possible for every text, for every corpus of traces - is absolutely necessary for and constitutive of what we call art, poetry, or literature." We can see here again how texts are viewed as being forever framed by other texts and discourses outside itself. As Leitch puts it: "What are texts? Strings of differential traces. Sequences of floating signifiers. Sets of infiltrated signs dragging along ultimately indecipherable intertextual elements." Must these traces or grafts necessarily remain indecipherable? To be sure, such traces may be very difficult to follow and it will be by their very nature be impossible to locate any specific origin since that is by definition impossible, but that does not mean that the textual graft may not still be described and analyzed. Indeed, Derrida suggests as much when he writes that "one must elaborate a systematic treatise on the textual graft." Derrida himself mentions footnotes, epigraphs and titles, in essence much of what Gerard Genette describes in "Paratexts," but there seems to be no particular limit specifically what type of graft may be studied.

Jonathan Culler is very excited about a study of grafts, pointing out that one of deconstruction’s primary aims is to identify grafts; points of juncture and stress occur where texts have been spliced together. He states that "a treatise on textual grafting would attempt to classify various ways of inserting one discourse in another or intervening in the discourse one is interpreting" and would do so by treating "discourse as the product of various sorts of combinations or insertions" and exploring "its ability to function in new contexts with new force." It is just such as treatise that I wish to embark on, examining instances where metaphors from the sf genre has become dislodged from its traditional field and exploded outward into other, seemingly incompatible, fields. As such, this dissertation can be seen as the process of a ‘double reading’ of the science fiction genre ‘against’ literature, theory, culture; in essence textuality. The junctures where sf has been spliced with other texts would thus grant these metaphors new force in their ability to function in new contexts. Such a project remains valid because of Derrida's point that: “Each grafted text continues to radiate back toward the site of its removal, transforming that, too, as it affects the new territory."  and so we realise that the number of different texts which contain within them textual samples from the sf genre are affected by this generic participation or contamination, which is both dissemination (from the genre) and insemination (into the text in question). Because every sign, or genre for that matter, can be cited, it can also break from its ‘original’ context and so "engender infinitely new contexts in an absolutely nonsaturable fashion."

SpottingTrains

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #253 on: February 05, 2009, 06:58:45 PM »

[...] Because if ccDNA (which are bilateral ribbons) can be coiled in this way, we'd have an example of a naturally-occuring biological structure which can transform itself from a "one-sided" (i.e., "paradoxical") figure into a "two-sided" ("non-paradoxical") figure by splitting -- and, conversely -- from a "two-sided" figure into a "one-sided" figure, by coiling. Such a structure may thought of as isomorphic with consciousness - which has a similar capacity, by virtue of its liminocentric structure, to be both paradoxical (at its 'extremess) and linear (under ordinary conditions).

[...]



Spotting_Trains

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #254 on: February 05, 2009, 07:16:39 PM »



[...] Because if ccDNA (which are bilateral ribbons) can be coiled in this way, we'd have an example of a naturally-occuring biological structure which can transform itself from a "one-sided" (i.e., "paradoxical") figure into a "two-sided" ("non-paradoxical") figure by splitting -- and, conversely -- from a "two-sided" figure into a "one-sided" figure, by coiling. Such a structure may thought of as isomorphic with consciousness - which has a similar capacity, by virtue of its liminocentric structure, to be both paradoxical (at its 'extremess) and linear (under ordinary conditions).

[...]


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
-Albert Einstein


Although science recognizes natural cycles and rhythms — the solar seasons, fluctuations of predator and prey populations, replication cycles of DNA — these ex-pressions of cyclical time are conceived to exist only within the grander framework of linear time — for example, the relentless increase in entropy and linear chains of cause-and-effect. By conceiving time as a spiral, rather than as a circle or straight line, we could synthesize the cyclical or mythic with the linear, scientific notions, making us more aware than at present of the simultaneous spin of nature's seasons within time's trajectory, a necessity, if we are to survive.

caret

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Re: The Most Basic Choice Is Living
« Reply #255 on: February 09, 2009, 07:51:40 PM »

I tend to believe Sartre's philosophy is so pessimistic because it was written during the Nazi occupation of France where Sartre was living. The peace ended on September 3, 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany. Sartre was reinducted into the army. His division was sent to Eastern France, where he worked in the meteorological service sending up balloons, testing the direction of the wind. However, the war interfered little with his own productivity: he began a big novel "The Age of Reason" and read Soren Kierkegaard. He was taken prisoner on June 21, 1940. In the prisoner of war camp, he washed rarely, didn't shave, and developed a reputation for being dirty. In these conditions he began writing a major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness."

The atmosphere of the Nazi occupation of Paris where he was writing can be felt in these lines from "The Republic of Silence": "We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one pretext or another, as workers, Jews, or political prisoners, we were deported en masse. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that oppressors wanted us to accept. And, because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped even into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live, without pretense of false shame. The hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man... Exile, captivity, and especially death -- which we usually shrink from facing at all in happier times -- became for us the habitual objects of our concern. We learned that they were neither inevitable accidents, not even constant and exterior dangers, but that they must be considered as our lot itself, our destiny, the profound source of our reality as men."


If that's really what you believe, that Sartre's thought is "pessimistic" because it was formed during the Nazi occupation of Paris, then you haven't understood a thing what his philosophy is about.

ce_caprice_d enfant

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #256 on: February 09, 2009, 10:15:56 PM »



[...] Because if ccDNA (which are bilateral ribbons) can be coiled in this way, we'd have an example of a naturally-occuring biological structure which can transform itself from a "one-sided" (i.e., "paradoxical") figure into a "two-sided" ("non-paradoxical") figure by splitting -- and, conversely -- from a "two-sided" figure into a "one-sided" figure, by coiling. Such a structure may thought of as isomorphic with consciousness - which has a similar capacity, by virtue of its liminocentric structure, to be both paradoxical (at its 'extremess) and linear (under ordinary conditions).

[...]


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
-Albert Einstein


Although science recognizes natural cycles and rhythms — the solar seasons, fluctuations of predator and prey populations, replication cycles of DNA — these ex-pressions of cyclical time are conceived to exist only within the grander framework of linear time — for example, the relentless increase in entropy and linear chains of cause-and-effect. By conceiving time as a spiral, rather than as a circle or straight line, we could synthesize the cyclical or mythic with the linear, scientific notions, making us more aware than at present of the simultaneous spin of nature's seasons within time's trajectory, a necessity, if we are to survive.



Butterfly Landscape (The Great Masturbator in Surrealist Landscape with DNA)

Though this was the first, created only a few years after Watson and Crick's announcement of the double-helix, DNA would show up in many of Dali's future works. As the agent of creation, it is perhaps easy to see why butterflies spring from the iconic structure in this painting. But it also seems that Dali used DNA to symbolize not only creation, but the greater idea of God, and this may be why some of the molecular structure is visibly jutting from the clouds.

coban

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #257 on: February 12, 2009, 09:30:36 PM »

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
-Albert Einstein


Although science recognizes natural cycles and rhythms — the solar seasons, fluctuations of predator and prey populations, replication cycles of DNA — these ex-pressions of cyclical time are conceived to exist only within the grander framework of linear time — for example, the relentless increase in entropy and linear chains of cause-and-effect. By conceiving time as a spiral, rather than as a circle or straight line, we could synthesize the cyclical or mythic with the linear, scientific notions, making us more aware than at present of the simultaneous spin of nature's seasons within time's trajectory, a necessity, if we are to survive.



Butterfly Landscape (The Great Masturbator in Surrealist Landscape with DNA)

Though this was the first, created only a few years after Watson and Crick's announcement of the double-helix, DNA would show up in many of Dali's future works. As the agent of creation, it is perhaps easy to see why butterflies spring from the iconic structure in this painting. But it also seems that Dali used DNA to symbolize not only creation, but the greater idea of God, and this may be why some of the molecular structure is visibly jutting from the clouds.


When in Paris last time I walked up to the Picasso Museum. Dali was nuts and his work amply demonstrates his insanity but it is totally understandable. I can see precisely what he is saying with his work.

Picasso was nutty as a fruitcake too but in a very commercial way. Taking a tour of his work from the very early years it is clear to me that Picasso got taken in by those who thought they knew what he was attempting to say with his work and then crawled up his own arse and stayed there rubbing his little hands together with glee for the rest of his life. I'm almost certain that he was taking the piss with most of his work.

macthbeck

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Re: Dissemination and Contamination
« Reply #258 on: February 16, 2009, 03:27:21 PM »

At its most basic "[d]issemination generalizes the theory and practice of the graft without a body proper" thereby focussing on the concept of the graft which is a concept related to Derrida's notion of the trace and the mark. It is not originary in any sense; while it may have an origin the graft always,

Quote
produces (itself) and advances only in the plural. It is a singular plural, which no single origin will ever have preceded. Germination, dissemination. There is no first insemination. The semen is already swarming. The “primal” insemination is dissemination. A trace, a graft whose traces have been lost.

This is why the graft has no body proper, since it is part of a process which is inevitable in any text, according to Derrida. It is this process which is so significant for Derrida, not just here but in all of his dealings with text and meaning. One of the theses of dissemination is "the impossibility of reducing a text as such to its effects of meaning, content, thesis, or theme." For Derrida, it is always the marginal and the liminal which exerts a peculiar influence on the text; radically absent yet very real in its effects. Meaning, therefore, is not fixed for Derrida but rather something which is in a constant process, always writing and rewriting itself, always multiplying and rushing outwards.

Dissemination is the division of meaning; the tendency of textual meaning to move out in all directions and so resist closure. Or as Vincent B. Leitch puts it, "[t]he 'work,' now called text, explodes beyond stable meaning and truth toward the radical and ceaseless play of infinite meanings spread across textual surfaces - dissemination." Dissemination, then, becomes the endless play of meaning both as divided and doubled; because words have too many meanings there will be an indefinite number of meanings, meanings proliferate. In discussing dissemination Derrida plays on the double meanings of seed/term/germ and semantics, all of which constitute the effect of dissemination. Dissemination is therefore not a negative process which must be contained; but rather it is the necessary precondition for writing to exist at all: "The heterogeneity of different writings is writing itself, the graft. It is numerous from the first or it is not." Such an understanding of textuality is intertextuality in the way that Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes both use it. In Roland Barthes' words, the author becomes the scriptor and any understanding of a text which does not to some extent quote, cite, or reproduce another text is questioned. Instead, texts are understood as the always 'already-written.' Derrida agrees with this notion, when he argues that textual samples,

Quote
can only be read within the operation of their reinscription, within the graft. It is the sustained, discrete violence of an incision that is not apparent in the thickness of the text, a calculated insemination of the proliferating allogene through which the two texts are transformed, deform each other, contaminate each other’s content, tend at times to reject each other, or pass elliptically into the other and become regenerated in the repetition, along the edges of an overcast seam.

Let us for now turn instead to polysemy and its connection with dissemination. Derrida is insists that dissemination is different from polysemy; being multiple and indefinite. "In diverging from polysemy, comprising both more and less than the latter, dissemination interrupts the circulation that transforms into an origin what is actually an after-effect of meaning." Dissemination, in its affinity with the trace, points out that there is no originating moment, and this is its opposition to polysemy, since:

Quote
Polysemy always puts out its multiplicities and variations with the horizon, at least, of some integral reading which contains no absolute rift, no senseless derivation - the horizon of the final parousia of a meaning at last deciphered, revealed, made present in the rich collections of its determinations. [...] All the moments of polysemy are, as the world implies, moments of meaning. [...] The concept of polysemy thus belongs within the confines of explanation, within the explication or enumeration, in the present, of meaning. it belongs to the attending discourse. Its style is that of the representative surface. It forgets that its horizon is framed. The difference between discursive polysemy and textual dissemination is precisely difference itself, "an implacable difference." This difference is of course indispensable to the production of meaning (and that is why between polysemy and dissemination the difference is very slight).

The difference between polysemy and dissemination may thus be very slight, but it remains significant. While polysemy generates meaning from within the text, on premises accepted by the text, dissemination generates meaning from without; it imports meaning into the text and not always accepted meanings, if we briefly speak of the intentions of the text. Dissemination, as opposed to polysemy, turns the work into text, opening it for the larger movement of textuality and intertextuality. Even while it keeps the text it culls alive, this play of insemination - or grafting - destroys their hegemonic center, subverts their authority and their uniqueness. This echoes Barthes notion of the always 'already-written' and allows us to realize that texts are no longer as unique as once thought, but must instead continually defer their meanings to previous texts, as well as later texts which will in turn also transform them. The movement of texts and their meanings are not locked in a strictly forward-moving motion; later texts are anticipated by earlier ones and Derrida states that "[e]ach grafted text continues to radiate back toward the site of its removal, transforming that, too, as it affects the new territory." Arguing further for the intertextual origins of every text, Leitch writes:

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The disorienting effect of the invading predecessors resembles the disruptive functions at work in the sign: a play of differences operates, bringing about, not fullness of meaning, but generic disturbances and discontinuities - random flights of signifiers. In place of pure signifiers, though, we have here contaminating pieces of various intertexts. The sign, as such, is constituted as originarily intertextual.



The title of "Dissemination" sounds as though it might be related to both "semen" and to the Latin "seme" (meaning). Thus the title itself is an ejaculation of meanings -- a dissemination. And if "Dissemination" is an ejaculation, then its preface must be a kind of foreplay! Indeed, the title of the first essay is "Hors Livre: OUTWORK, HORS D'OEVRE, ESTRATEXT, FOREPLAY, BOOKEND, FACING * PREFACING." The words, "Hors Livre," of course, play upon Derrida's great dictum that 'Il n'y a pas hors-texte." - "There is nothing outside the text." Or as "There is no Outside text." This means that there is no pure presence outside of the sign. Everything, even the world we perceive, is also a text. Now, isn't this horse liver, or preface, or whatever you call it before the rest of the book? Yes, that's part of its irony. Derrida is poking fun of Hegel's aspiration to achieve total knowledge in his philosophy. Because Hegel also loves to write prefaces. But if his philosophy WERE total -- then why would it need a preface?

The "Double Session," the second essay in the book, is a reading of Mallarme's Mimique. The "Double Session" hinges on the play if another undecidable, fence-straddler term -- hymen -- signifying both marriage and virginity. But Derrida makes an important point here. Dissemination is NEITHER just polyseme, semantic richness, nor multiple meanings. It is not just ambiguity. Dissemination is about an indefinite number of meanings that the author does NOT intend.

"Dissemination," in Derrida's own words, is a "tissue of quotations." Yet, the main "source" of these quotations is Phillippe Soller's book "Numbers," which itself is largely a collection of quotations from Mao Tse Tung, Marx, Bourbaki, Pascal, Nicholas of Cusa, Wittgenstein and Dante; as well as a collection of erotic passages, Chinese ideograms and obscure diagrams. Thus, when "dissemination" quotes "Numbers" there is no original quotation. You could say that "dissemination" mimes the mime who mimes no-thing. Though "dissemination" is supposedly a book review of "Numbers," there is no original text present to be reviewed. There is only a presentation of quotes from other sources -- and Derrida's text mimes Soller's text. In this way "dissemination" scrambles beyond recognition the binary opposition of "original" text/review of "original" text. The two texts, "original" and "review" mirror each other like broken mirrors mirroring no-thing.

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #259 on: February 18, 2009, 10:21:40 PM »

The "Double Session," the second essay in the book, is a reading of Mallarme's Mimique. The "Double Session" hinges on the play if another undecidable, fence-straddler term -- hymen -- signifying both marriage and virginity. But Derrida makes an important point here. Dissemination is NEITHER just polyseme, semantic richness, nor multiple meanings. It is not just ambiguity. Dissemination is about an indefinite number of meanings that the author does NOT intend.


Jacques Derrida's writings have often alluded to, invoked, and at times directly addressed James Joyce's experimental treatment of the novel as literature (or "Literature," which for Derrida reflects back on literature in a philosophically evocative manner). At the start of his project, Roughley candidly confesses that his readers must find his return to Derrida in the late 1990s strange, when so many believe that the academic world has dispensed with deconstruction. He suggests that Joyce criticism has "moved on" only at the expense of ignoring, in large part, the "conceptual ruptures and textual spaces opened up in the writings of both Joyce and Derrida." Indeed, his book, structured as a series of short chapters working through Derrida's various encounters with Joyce, makes a significant contribution to the field of modernism and to reflections on Derrida's work. Rarely has anyone summarized such complex theory so clearly and so well. And rarely, too, has anyone delved so insistently into Derrida's own inflections of the Joycean project. Roughley's analysis repeatedly turns back (along with Derrida's) to the question of what "the book" is and how we are alternatively to understand it if not in the linear, structurally "whole" manner that Joyce's writing challenges. Beyond speaking to those interested in philosophical questions about the novel, this book will also be of use to scholars and students who wish to trace the long history of Derrida's side references (and occasional direct address) to Joyce's writing. Also of consequence are Roughley's discussions of Judaism, as a trope Derrida pursues in Joyce, and his investigation of feminist questions, which he wisely approaches through the tensions between Joyce's representations of phallocentrism and his implicit (and deconstruction's pronounced) critique.

Most significant to Roughley's project is the problem of how to describe influence. Given that Joyce himself resisted strict models of appropriation, the nature of influence in Joyce has remained mysterious. Moreover, deconstruction itself, most explicitly in Derrida's work, resists, subverts, and mocks the more traditional approach to influence study. And so, as Roughley carefully explains, his primary aim is neither to apply Derrida to Joyce, nor merely to read one figure against the other. Rather, he works to trace the subtle weave of influence and "counter-signings," gradually extracting the metaphoric terms and mapping the conceptual terrain through which one can read the relations between these two figures. Roughley treats a string of varying modes that emerge: the father-son (master-student) relation so familiar to more conventional work on modernism and its influences, Derridean notions of grafting Joyce into Derrida's project, the complex nature of the exemplar for Derrida, and the "counter-signing" that Derrida appends to Joyce's work.

One of the main challenges of Roughley's project is to deliver a Derridean interpretation of influence that avoids the popularized Bloomean model. Derrida has taken on Bloom's notion of revisionary influence (made famous in "The Anxiety of Influence"), challenging the definition of "clinamen" - the distortive gesture that the younger author uses in the process of appropriating his master's teachings. This master, for Bloom, must be denied and rejected, looming as a somewhat Oedipal figure in any "great" writer's consciousness. While Roughley is never so reductive, his project necessarily focuses on the one-to-one relation that Derrida often invokes, when mentioning Joyce, and Roughley even at one point invokes Bloom's theory of influence. Yet a strictly individuated model is arguably denied in Derrida's work on allusion and citationality. In "The Double Session," for example, Derrida traces a regress of citation and influence that never finds its origin in any one author. And in the essay, "My Chances/Mes Chances: A Rendezvous with Some Epicurean Stereophonies," he develops a less willful notion of control, redefining the clinamen through a reading of Lucretius, where he argues that the term links freedom and pleasure in textual effects.

Roughley treats influence first and foremost as a haunting, drawing both on Derrida's own comments as well as the motif of the father who haunts his son in Hamlet, a scene of influence that is cross-examined by Stephen Dedalus in the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode of Ulysses. In Specters of Marx, Derrida comments on the inability of scholarship to deal with the metaphorical concept of the ghost. "A traditional scholar does not believe in ghosts," Derrida writes, "nor in all that could be called the virtual space of spectrality." What we see behind the visible, in a sense, are the hauntings of history, with its greater reach and more troubling web of potential influences.