Aimless Wandering

1993, 7x8.5, 28 pgs.
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In this essay Hakim Bey examines the role of language in Taoist philosophy, specifically the "inner chapters" of Chuang Tzu. Several points of similarity are found between Chuang Tzu's teachings and those of present-day Chaos Theory; from this viewpoint, the argument is made for a linguistics based on the overabundant possibilities of language, a "chaos linguistics" that may in turn give rise to an "anarchist poetics."

Thus, beginning with total linguistic relativism, Chuang Tzu ends with a sort of metalinguistics. Spillover words do not ward and sector, they PLAY. They contain more than they contain - therefore, like the famous cleaver which never needs sharpening because the Taoist butcher can pass it between all tendons and joints, the Spillover word "finds its proper channel."The sage does not become trapped in semantics, does not mistake map for territory, but rather "opens things up to the light of Heaven" by flowing with the words, by playing with the words. Once attuned to this flow, the sage need make no special effort to "illumine", for language DOES IT by itself, spontaneously. Language spills over.

Now, recall that Saussure was studying the Latin anagrams, and that he found the key words of the poems spilling over into other words. Syllables of characters' names for example are echoed in words describing those characters. At first the founder of modern linguistics considered these anagrams as conscious literary devices.


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