Thursday, March 08, 2007

布希亞啊布希亞--兼回應回應的回應

Jean Baudrillard 死了,其實德里達去後,我已直覺覺得他不久將步後塵(他久已患病),誰知一語成讖,法式才子偶像便只剩下李維史陀,九十九歲,仍在!!!

匿者者在回應我回應江瓊珠和鄭政恆關於理論之必要的文章時說,福柯和德勒茲等人用所謂理論的言語把通常理性所能掌握的東西包裝成知識份子遊戲產品,所謂為人民發聲,其實是奪去他們的發聲權,令他們聽不明白代言人所謂他們的聲音,在這意義下,香港人不懂福柯和德勒茲,並不是恥辱,反而可以因為「反智」,不重視理論知識,令國家機器的意識形態控制,無所入手。

那麼,布希亞又如何?Noam Chomsky又如何?

民可使由之,不可使知之。以道家角度看,崇尚知識和尚賢不是好東西--不止是意識形態控制,而是有知識便更有種種合理化的造作,有諍,有鬥,有種種逐名之舉。但不以知/智臨之便該以道臨之,所由者道也。香港人反智,不重視知識,是否便有道呢?常說平凡是道,甘於平凡,但平凡能見道,不表示平凡等如道。平庸跟得道而以平凡之相展示,隱於平凡是有層次上的很大的不同,替香港人平庸説項,為反智尋一個說法,而把福柯和德勒茲都說歪了,又何益?

知識份子的遊戲,你說無聊可以很無聊,但法式才子的書寫特性便是,他們可以起碼給你快感(而這以羅蘭巴特和福柯最擅長),讀他們真的賞心悅目(據說以法文讀德里達也不錯),但這些快感是要讀者先努力一番,進入他們的符號系統才能享受的,而不是一般的感官刺激,不是一般的討好式娛樂。他們不討好,最多只是自戀,自說自話,但如果你聽明白了,便禁不住說一句:咁都得!好野!

布希亞,以至福柯和德勒茲說的當然和通常理性的不一樣,即使真的是平凡道理,用他們術語再說一遍平凡道理便已跟原本的平凡道理不一樣,因為根器已不同。如果你只放眼看重所謂道理內容,而不注重容器,那麼,我們根本便不算曉得甚麼是知識,不曉得究竟其麼是知識的成份。

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10 Comments:

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your rejoinder on the front page.

Is it "anti-intellectual" (反智)to ignore "theories" if they have little or no intellectual content underneath the polysyllable words?

Noam Chomsky is perhaps a poor example. He himself would be the first person to deny that there is any profound "theory" in his political work. In his words, anyone who is intelligent enough to follow a ball game should be able to understand international politics.

Whether you agree with him or not, he is the last person I would lump in with the French intellectual stars ("法式才子") who specialize in writing incomprehensible psychobables.

IMO the French intellectual scene has been quite decadent for some times. It is rotten to the core beneath the veneer of sophistication. This French disease of hyperabstraction and obscurantism, originated in philosphy and the social sciences, has even infected remote areas such as mathematics. Here is a rant by the great Russian mathematican V. I. Arnold about the state of mathematics education in France. http://pauli.uni-muenster.de/~munsteg/arnold.html

It is a bit condescending to say catagorically that Hong Kong people don't have respect for "knowledge". It all depends on what you mean by "knowledge".

For example, I cannot see why programming computers is an intellectually lesser activity than comprehending or composing Derrida styled gibberish.

If you think about it, it is truly fascinating that so much can be accomplished by mechanically manipulating just two symbols: 1 and 0. All the pictures, colours and words you see on the computer screen are but the chreographed dance of 1's and 0's. Whether there are tasks which cannot be accomplished through mechanically manipulating a finite set of tokens(say 0 and 1) is a deep question. Nature performs computations too. Are there natural processes that cannot be captured by the paradigm of computation? How about brain processes that underly human thought and behaviour?

Perhaps the ordinary people will be forever doomed to ignorance and vulgarity. It is simply because "culture" and "knowledge" are defined always by small, incestrous cliques of elite intellectuals who appointed themselves the gate keepers of High Culture. They create these definitions often not based on any intrinsic criterion, but only as projections of their own egos.

The distinctions between art and craft, knowledge and skill are by and large artifical. In my opinion(not a theory) these distinctions probably only reflect the biases of the intelligensia.

Shakespeare was a merchant of superficial titilations ("一般的感官刺激"),-- sort of 16th centry equivalence to Hollywood flicks,--before the ivory tower intellectuals turned him into a fetish. Mozart wasn't exactly high culture in his time either.

I think I may learn more about "traditional Chinese culture" as it was lived by watching a traditional puppet show than going to a lecture by some learned scholar of neo Confucianism. Needless to say the puppet show is also a lot more entertaining. I am a shallow person.

It is fitting to end this post with a quote honouring the late Jean Baudrillard from Richard Dawkins, a very rude man known for
his tendency to laugh at naked Emperors

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/dawkins.html

The article is quite entertaining, I highly recommend it.

The last paragraph in the quotation addresses your point that "布希亞,以至福柯和德勒茲說的當然和通常理性的不一樣,即使真的是平凡道理,用他們術語再說一遍平凡道理便已跟原本的平凡道理不一樣"

"The renowned Jean Baudrillard is only one of many to find chaos theory a useful tool for bamboozling readers. Once again, Sokal and Bricmont help us by analysing the tricks being played. The following sentence, "though constructed from scientific terminology, is meaningless from a scientific point of view":

Perhaps history itself has to be regarded as a chaotic formation, in which acceleration puts an end to linearity and the turbulence created by acceleration deflects history definitively from its end, just as such turbulence distances effects from their causes.

I won't quote any more, for, as Sokal and Bricmont say, Baudrillard's text "continues in a gradual crescendo of nonsense". They again call attention to "the high density of scientific and pseudo-scientific terminology -- inserted in sentences that are, as far as we can make out, devoid of meaning". Their summing up of Baudrillard could stand for any of the authors criticized here and lionized throughout America:

In summary, one finds in Baudrillard's works a profusion of scientific terms, used with total disregard for their meaning and, above all, in a context where they are manifestly irrelevant. Whether or not one interprets them as metaphors, it is hard to see what role they could play, except to give an appearance of profundity to trite observations about sociology or history. Moreover, the scientific terminology is mixed up with a non-scientific vocabulary that is employed with equal sloppiness. When all is said and done, one wonders what would be left of Baudrillard's thought if the verbal veneer covering it were stripped away."

 
At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to add something to my previous post.

Stalker wrote:

"即使真的是平凡道理,用他們術語再說一遍平凡道理便已跟原本的平凡道理不一樣,因為根器已不同。如果你只放眼看重所謂道理內容,而不注重容器,那麼,我們根本便不算曉得甚麼是知識,不曉得究竟其麼是知識的成份"

There is some truth to what you say about presentation. There are writers so gifted with words that the reading experience itself can be esctatic. But I don't find that this is the case with the French "maestros". To my admittedly untrained eyes their prose is dry, tedious and artless, they abuse jargons to conceal rather than to illuminate. Their works are verbal masturbation that never climax.

Even though I don't share your admiration for long winded, pretentious, tortured prose (to me, of course) but I'll allow that for aficionados of the genre it can be a gratifying experience to take apart and reassemble an elaborately constructed collage of words, or just to stare at it in awe.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. It is pseudo literary masturbation to me, but to others it may be brilliant poetry. It is all very subjective.

But then your point is essentially about aesthetics

Appealing to taste does not furnish an argument for the *necessity* of such "theories" in the social sciences, which is the title of your blog entry.

Presumably it is necessary for students in the social sciences to gain some insights and knowledge in diverse subjects that are in some ways related to different aspects of society and its institutions, past and present. I would respectfully suggest that appreciation of intricate verbal collage is not a very high priority for this purpose. IMO the hyper abstract, purposefully opaque "theories" created by the so called grand masters have little to offer in terms of content, for the reasons I have explained.


respectfully yours

 
At 7:32 PM, Anonymous 潛行者 said...

你引述Sokal和Bricmont,當然立即把討論的方向扯到著名(對我來說是惡名昭著)的「索卡爾事件」,而這一個蓄意攻擊後現代主義和文化研究(尤其是其中的science study)而布的陷阱,在差的意義上是簡化出一種對立情況--所謂科學和(壞)哲學的大戰;一方是相信理性和實在,一方是不相信。

但正如Rorty指出,事實存在第三集團,覺得最好不再用「客觀實在」這個字,但也不想採納社會建構或文化研究其他觀點,(他認為霍金便屬於這一集團。且不去討論這。)

德里達對索卡爾兩人的回應是:「他們不嚴肅!」德里達年前訪問中國時,有人向他提起此事,他的情緒反應很大,這我非常了解。

即使是平凡道理,但經過他們的術語說一遍,便不再一樣,這其實是詮釋學的共識,佛陀說法也對不同根器講不同的說話,佛理是一,詮釋不一,而這不一便構成了聖凡之別,有創意或沒創意諸如此類的區分。正如新貼的關於巴迪歐討論「哲學之死」的文章中提到,巴迪歐認為哲學是創意的重複,並同意阿爾杜塞爾認為哲學沒有歷史,但哲學之精采,正好在有人可以把道理說得如此動聽、曲折、發人深省。動聽與否的確是主觀的,但曲折卻不然,曲折是論述的本義(discursive),如你問:為甚麼不直接講,不平平直直的講,回答便是:是要這樣說的,因為這樣才能避開直接面對真實,人不能直接承受真實,不能直接掌握道。這正好是人存在的「秘密」。
表面簡單直接的說法只不過是另一層面紗。事實上科學方程式一點也不直接,一些科學普及觀念或所謂客觀和實在的說法,在譬喻和曲折的路途上和法式才子的術語沒太大分別。
我們肯承認解剖學的拉丁名稱系統,為何不肯學習布希亞和福柯的術語系統呢?
nonsense?符號本身的特徵正好便是可以成為nonsense。

 
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At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

但正如Rorty指出,事實存在第三集團,覺得最好不再用「客觀實在」這個字,但也不想採納社會建構或文化研究其他觀點,(他認為霍金便屬於這一集團。且不去討論這。)

 

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