Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Meanings and its multitudes

Are we acting too mean, by preventing any meaning to be given to a text? Or are we understandably magnanimous about sweeping all texts under a grand narrative (meta-narrative)?

Traditionally, it has been said that meaning is one and people make it out to be many. Some have stigmatised this traditional outlook to decry that because of this multiplicity of meanings, there is no meaning at all. But the reverse seems to be the case. The very assortment of meanings implies that they are a part of the whole and the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.

By denying meaning, we are restricting the richness of such manifold meanings a text can invoke.

Another complaint against reading for meaning is that every search for meaning excludes another way to do so. But the accusers have themselves zeroed in on one approach that says there’s nothing like a meaning at all. This choice itself excludes and thereby is contestable, as it avoids the “status quo.”

Before ascribing any meaning to meaning, if one subscribes and sticks with an ideology, it can become a fatal syndrome that can envelop and encage the mind. Rather than seeing how the approach fits them, these accusers are making themselves fit for the approach. This kind of reverse engineering their minds is a classic case of obsessive compulsive disorder.

It is better to encase the mind with a fluidity of meanings. And that too by fostering a hope that we can discover and experience a part(s) of the whole spectrum of meanings.

Structuralism vs. Poststructuralism

Poststructuralism departs from structuralism primarily in denying that social systems – including language and literature – have static, underlying structures that determine their meaning. Poststructuralism instead concentrates on the fragmented, contradictory nature of things.

Structuralism at least gave scope to the power of language to elicit an interpretation. But poststructuralism and its modern avatar, deconstruction have – by positing that there’s nothing outside language and so in turn, trumpeting that language lacks interpretive capabilities – destroyed any scope for at least attempting to find meaning.


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Anonymous said...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

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