“It is dangerous to establish a theoretical distinction between…the intellectual and the emotional use of language.” (p 268) This warning by Hjelmslev in 1928 is confirmed, Eco asserts, by studies in the Soviet Union on levels of poetry (Toporov, 1965; Kolmogorov, 1962; cited in Eco p 268)
[OS “(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”
from: somehwhere i have never travelled, ee cummings]
[SS Feelings. Nothing more than feelings… Trying to forget my feelings of looooove]
[OS Don’t be so smug and smart.]
The emotional effects of aesthetic texts and extra-grammatical elements are evident but not yet isolated and coded.
[SS Do you, does Eco, does anyone think it possible to isolate and decode that piece of the ee cummings poem you quoted?]
[OS I think Eco thinks that eventually we can, or at least we should keep trying and that with time, an ee cummings poem eventhough initially a radical invention will become conventional.]
[SS Yeah right. I doubt that!]
Eco believes that the study of aesthetic texts calls for ‘a semiotic civil rights’ so that the segmented continuum is neither segregated into a linguistic or other semiotic approach. Hjelmslev, who is known for the segmentation of the expression continuum, believed that segmentation required another approach other than the linguistic one. It seems to me that Eco is advocating a theoretical inclusivity where there is room for philosophical, linguistic, anthropological, logical and other semiotic activity on the same continuum. He presents a new version of Hjelmslev’s continuum diagram in Table 46 on p 269. (Note Eco cites ‘2.2.3’ of his text as the point where he records Hjelmslev’s original diagram. But the author could only find a heading reference for 2.2 and 2.3, the latter appears on pages 54 to 57 of Eco’s text. Under this heading Eco discusses Hjelmslev’s connotative semiotics).
Table 46 shows an infinite sequence of possible segmentation on the expression plane because “As long as semiotics continues to develop, the continuum will be further segmented and therefore better understood...” (p 269) It is the self-focusing demands of the aesthetic texts that force us into more and more detailed segmentation. The semiotic process has consequences for aesthetics and art criticism, Eco claims, in that it “…removes many phenomena from the realm of the individual ‘creativity’ and ‘inspiration’ and restores them to that of social convention.” (p 269) But the flip side of this assertion is that the more we develop and understand and code all that can be, and is, the more innovation there will be.
[SS Paradoxes again. So the more we know something the more we can break the rules, but the more we break the rules, the more we need to understand, and as soon as we understand something there’s more to know! Giant round-abouts. Like an electrical circuit. Aargh.]
[OS Yes. Paradoxes seem infuriating. But they are not meant to be. I used to get exasperated when smiley-tooth-fairy-like/type people would drone on to ‘let it go’. What does that even mean? How can you let something go? Then I realised that in order to let ‘something’ like the Buddhist notion of ‘the ego’ go, requires fully knowing ‘it’. Then once known, we really can let it go. I think Eco is saying something similar. To create an innovate plate of food requires a full understanding of the chemistry, physics, mechanics, architecture and art of cooking.]
[SS Ok. But there’s something fishy about Eco saying that an individual’s creativity and inspiration is ‘restored’ to social convention. Sounds like the collective ‘owns’ the work of the individual. That ee cummings guy ain’t owned by nobody. I can sense more of Eco’s philosophical leanings.]
[OS Eco isn’t suggesting such a radical propoal, I don’t think. I think he is trying to show the relationship between Structure and Agency (although he wouldn’t say it in those terms). ee cummings struck out and broke many grammatical and syntactical rules in language. And what an effect his writing has. But he is ‘part of something’. That something is culture. He did not create in a vacuum. His creations are in part because of the ‘structures’ around him. Just like our little friend Polo, we may appear to act alone, we may appear, and sometimes feel, we are alone, but we are part of a whole.]
[SS I feel another never-ending-circle coming on. STOP]
Ends 3: 02 [with one tea, two calls, and four poem readings in between]