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The Language of Neoism

If the efficacy of scientific approach in 'human sciences' has always been challenged, it is all the more striking that such a challenge should for the first time be issued on the very level of the structure being studied - structures supposedly other than scientific. What is put at the center of our research is the intersection of 'language,' in a broad semiotic sense, with space, the volume within which signification, through joining of differences, articulates itself. When the horizontal axis (subject-addressee) and the vertical axis (text-context) coincide, they bring to light an important fact: Every sign is an intersection of signs where at least one other sign can be read. Any text is a mosaic of appropriations, simultaneously the absorption and transformation of an other. Hence plagiarism and censorship are inherent in language itself. They lead us to conclude that language is a double: the unit "one" (definition, truth) does not exist in its field, and a concept of sign presupposing a vertical division between signifier and signified cannot be applied to it.*

Scientific procedures are based upon a logical approach, itself founded on the Indo-European sentence. Such a sentence begins as subject-predicate and grows by identification, determination and causality. Modern logic from Frege to Boole evolves out of a 0-1 sequence, but all of these are ineff ective within the realm of a language where one is not a limit. It is therefore impossible to formalize language according to existing logical procedures without distorting it.

Our investigations must be developed on the basis of a para-logic where the concept of the power of the continuum would embody the 0-2 interval, a continuity where 0 denotes and 1 is implicitly transgressed. One of the epistemologies having tried to escape the prohibition of 1 is the epistemology of Neoism. The double structure of Neoist rhetoric is practical transcendentalism doing battle against rationalist metaphysics. In fact, this 'transgression' of linguistic, logical and social codes within Neoism only exists and succeeds, of course, because it accepts an other law. Neoism does not imply a 'freedom to say everything,' it is a 'banter,' an other imperative than that of 0. We should particularly emphasize this specificity of Neoism as transgression recognizing itself a law so as categorically to distinguish it from the pseudo-transgression evident in certain "radical," "sub- cultural" and "avant-garde" movements. The latter, seeing themselves as 'revolutionary,' operate according to a principle of law anticipating its own transgression. They thus compensate for univocal structures, do not displace the 0-1 interval nor have anything to do with Neoist rhetoric, which implies a relationship of non-exclusive opposites. The para-logic of Neoism is a logic of the 'transfinite,' which, on the basis of language's power of the continuum (0-2), introduces a second principle of formation: Neoist text is next-larger, not causally deduced, to all preceding sequences of the Aristotelian chain (scientific, monological, or narrative).

In the ambiguous rhetoric of Neoism, language is both representation of space and a space that produces its own space. The tyranny it is subjected to is that of text, or rather its own structure, constructing and understanding itself through itself. It constructs itself as a hieroglyph, all the while remaining a spectacle. The conjunctive principle of the different aspects of Neoism is certainly similitude and contiguity (analogy, juxtaposition and therefore 'rhetoric'). Neoist ambivalence consists of communication between two spaces: that of the scene and that of the hieroglyph, that of representation by language, and that of experience in language, metaphor and metonymy.

Neoism is the residue of a cosmogony that ignored substance, causality or identity outside its link to the whole, which exists only in or through relationship. Its rhetoric, based on repetition, 'inconsequent' statements and non-exclusive opposition, is a space in which language escapes linearity. This cosmogony has persisted in the form of an anti-theological, but not anti-mystical movement. As composed of distances, relationships, analogies and non-exclusive oppositions, it is essentially double-structured. It is both game and daily undertaking, signifier and signified. A Neoist is reader and writer, actor and spectator at the same time. Having lost the belief in totality and identity, the Neoist, no longer coinciding with her-/himself, passes through a zero point of activity and splits into a subject of the spectacle and an object of the game. By exteriorizing productivity, the Neoist brings to light and finally transgresses its underlying unconscious - birth, sex, and *death*.

On the omnified stage of Neoism, language parodies and relativizes itself, repudiating its rôle in representation; in so doing, it provokes a smile but remains incapable of detaching itself from representation. Faulty, by which we mean ambivalent, both representative and anti-representative, Neoism is anti-Paulinist and anti-rationalist. Its smile is not simply parodic; being neither comic, nor tragic, it is actually serious. This is the only way to avoid becoming either the scene of the law or the scene of its parody; Neoism is both law and its other, and neither of them at the same time.


*We acknowledge that the notion of sign itself is a product of scientific abstraction (identity-substance-cause-goal as structure of the Indo-European sentence), however we have no language, no syntax and no lexicon which is foreign to the history of rationalist metaphysics. We cannot do without the concept of the sign, for we cannot give up this cultural complicity without also giving up the critique we are directing against this complicity. So our choice consists in conserving old concepts like this within the domain of our sporadic critique while here and there denouncing their limits.