Friday, August 11, 2017

Post-structural liberation - are we embracing newer prisons?

The  most dangerous philosophical idea in recent times has to be the post-structuralism. Kaleidoscope learned it with much care and attention at one point of his life because it suited his otherwise bohemian self. Post-structuralists demands you question everything in the name of deconstruction and allows you to do things in your way, your own way. It sounds creative, isn't it? It gives you the freedom to do whatever pleases you and gives you power to claim it as your own way of doing things and point your fingers towards anyone who is questioning you. Perhaps this is the beauty and most deadly force of the theory.

Why was it required?

Lets make it straight, we have had enough with uncles and aunties from the neighbourhood lecturing us what to do, how to do and when to do. Similarly, we have had enough with the professors with wrinkles demanding us to follow their template of positivism or whatever philosophy. Yes, Kaleidoscope too was bored and exhausted everywhere, listening to some stereotypes of doing certain things in some supposedly known pathway, seriously!

Yes, the disgust was not for people like Kaleidoscope only, even scholars of highest reputation (whom people refer to but never actually read) were equally frustrated and they challenged it. The most prominent among those Kaleidoscope can remember is that of logocentrism - the search for universal idea about certain things like beauty (Kaleodsocope knows the definition of sexy, like you do!), truth, right and so on. Well Derrida (1978) (dont worry hardly anyone reads him) wanted to dismantle logocentric attitude of our practices. Imagine a theatre - what is there? A set of actors representing a situation. The situation has some cue to the real life. Yes, you heard it right, Kaleidoscope is taking a materialist stand here and firmly believes that everything in idea or in mind has a real - material cue. So, the resulting theatre is a combination of real life experience and ideas of the director. Derrida wanted to have a theatre where actors are not guided by any director, any text of any author! Yes, a state of condition where logocentric forces are withdrawn. Although Derrida was less sure about the actual condition of such a stage where script will absent, Foucault (1980) searched for "rules that determine the conditions of possibility for all that can be said within the particular discourse at a given time" Hence, when Kaleidoscope thoroughly read him he could actually see the existence of governmentality within his very self as a set of conduct of all possible conducts.

Yes, whatever Kaleidoscope does is scripted, foretold and whatever he does not do is forestalled. Kaleidoscope like all others continue to live in a prison-house of words (for Derrida) of conducts (for Foucault).

Therefore when Kaleidoscope sees a young girl shouting out Jeans ka Haq... jine ka haq (right to jeans right to live) in Lipstick Under My Burkha he finds a liberation. The black is beautiful, the acid attack victim is beautiful in the ugly face of society in which Kaleidoscope strives to live, the fat is desirable, one's own body and self even if doesn't match logocentrically is beautiful - is meaningful - is worth a life to live happily. Happiness is happiness, love is love you term it straight, gay whatever - that's your logocentric problem!

Kaleidoscope wont let the aunties and uncles determine what he wants from his life and how does he want that. Kaleidoscope knew for sure what post-structuralism meant to him, but less sure about it what it means to his generation but could sense what it means to the coming generation, which even if has never read Derrida or Foucault would continue to practice "post-structural" way of life. Why is that so? simply, because its an era of mass and rapid diffusion and weathering away of old logocentrisms - does it bring and form new logocentrisms? Yes it does, and here lies the problem.

The post-structuralism of present time

Even the prominent post structuralists like Derrida or Foucault didn't know clearly how that stage without script was possible - surely Derrida didn't claim it to be anarchic - anarchy in itself has numerous logocentrisms. What they did was demanded and trained us to question the very foundation of knowledge as logocentric and attempted to discover the alternatives. Knowing fully well, the alternatives would also create newer logocentrisms and hence the prison cell can only be altered not that Kaleidoscope's species can ever make every prison to dust and enemies of logocentrism free!

Hence, the cycle would continue.

Meanwhile everything that is happening in the name of post-structuralism is not post-structural. It is rather a play of different logocentrisms originated from different societies. The whole idea of cultural diffusionism can be seen as origin and dispersion of logocentric traits from one place to another. Hence, what Kaleidoscope's time experiencing is an ever complicated and complex interplay of logos which were hitherto unknown. Therefore, instead of liberating, Kaleidoscope's species from logocentrism the present mode of existence is embracing newer logocentric traits and actually binding the species even with newer dimensions and micro identities. Earlier it was the primordial identities of country, religion, caste and the like. Now we have increasingly newer identities like Nationalist and antinationalist countrymen, Nationalist/Antinationalist Hindu/muslim country men and the like. There are JNU breeds, JU breeds, IIT breeds, IIM breeds among the aspiring academicians and an even more complex classifications among the left-out 'subalterns' from lesser known universities. There are beer lovers and whisky lovers. Beef lovers and beef haters - you want logocentrism you get it everywhere.

There actually is no post-structural world surrounding Kaleidoscope but the reflections of such world in the name of post-structuralism dangerous:

take these few examples:

"What is corruption? It is just a system of getting things done?"
"I will do it in my way, fuck your morality!"

the arguments continue.

Kaleidoscope knows he is inhabiting in a peculiar world of the games of ever increasing number of logocentrisms which are often legitimised in the name of post-structuralism!


  1. So basically more complications to follow and less liberation. Well connected theory and practice

  2. People do things and then call them post structural... you hit it hard

  3. That is a heavy dose... you will be excluded from many circles... taking risks has become your ... :p

  4. So righly pointed out and well bound with theories...

  5. I'm fascinated by this anti- postmodern and post-structuralist fear mongering, from the Jordan Peterson hype on YouTube to blog posts like this. It seems to me it doesn't have much to do with Derrida or Foucault (they never identified with such vague labels), but more with the kind of student that does a superficial reading and uses their authority to back up his/her own unreflected worldview and frustrations. Or maybe these expressions are just what they look like: blind attacks by some fearful and frustrated individuals to some vague postmodern relativist threat to truth and stability. I like this post because it contains all of it: it negates the value of Derrida's and Foucault's academic conctributions, it ridicules the student thinking through these issues, and attacks this post-structuralism straw-man.