The end of meaning : studies in catastrophe by Matthew Gumpert

By Matthew Gumpert

The threat of the apocalypse has continuously been a semiotic delusion: merely on the finish of all issues will their real that means be published. Our lengthy romance with disaster is inseparable from the Western hermeneutical culture: our look for an elusive fact, one who can purely be exposed throughout the interminable paintings of interpretation. disaster terrifies and tantalizes to the level it provides an finish to this activity. 11th of September is that this ebook s starting, yet no longer its finish. the following, it appeared, was once the apocalypse the US had lengthy been anticipating; until eventually it turned simply one other occasion. And, certainly, the true lesson of 11th of September might be that disaster is the purest type of the development

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Catastrophe is the shortcut to the end. ) It takes a new disaster to erase the old one, a new rupture with the present to repair the rift with the past. The new catastrophe is the redemption for the old; just as the principle of a presence to come; it does not depend upon the return of the Messiah; it is, rather, faith in the traces of the past and of the future in the present; a faith in non-presence; a faith that sounds uncannily like Derrida’s principle of differance before the fact. To the extent that Nancy’s reading of parousia challenges the notion of meaning as something singular and fully present, it supports this reading of catastrophe as eternal return.

Our ability to read the signs, after all, may stave off the next disaster. Or is it not rather the case that our very efforts to read the signs of the end of the world are a mechanism for hastening its arrival? Is suspicion a vaccine against disaster, or the very mechanism of its contagion? 41 significant about this number is not its accuracy but the appearance thereof; a rhetorical effect (akin to what Roland Barthes has referred to as the “reality effect” [“L’effet de réel”]) which lends credibility to its magnitude.

43 Any object in hermeneutic circle in the work of Schleiermacher and its impact on later philosophical writings, see Richard E. Palmer’s Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. 41 Even the apparently objective assertions of academic enquiry can serve to amplify or multiply the very object they purport to isolate and analyze. Consider the opening sentence of Peter Knight’s Conspiracy Culture: “At the turn of the millennium in America it seems that conspiracy theories are everywhere” (1), and which would appear to confirm the very pathology it seeks to identify.

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