GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

April 29, 2007

What is originary?

Filed under: GA — Q @ 8:02 pm

I would like to try to clarify what is originary and what is not.

In one sense, all of culture is originary, in the sense that all of culture can be traced back to the originary scene. But that’s like the night in which all cows are black; the definition gives up what makes the word meaningful and useful. The originary is actually present at the originary scene, and includes the sacred, the sign, the aesthetic, and so on. Narrative is originary (at least implicitly), but literature, it seems to me, is not, since it evolved later. There have been many cultures without literature. (Myth, of course, is not literature.) By the same token, sacrifice is originary, but tragedy, as a form of literature, is not. The originary includes the fundamental anthropological categories, the cultural universals. What is not universal to all cultures everywhere cannot be originary.

1 Comment »

  1. well, for my debut here, and just before i get started on any of my higher (anything but deeper!) concerns, i would very much like to submit, for what i hope will be your delight, proof positive that it IS possible to convey an understanding of GA to a.. to a non-academic party! That it IS possible to convey the thing ex tempore at all! The following is the verbatim text of an email received by me last night from an english girl with whom i spent a whole heap of QT recently but is now in a different city:or at least i am..

    I ventured out last night on an anthropological errand, all in the name of
    good science you understand…but in the name of bad science I am typing
    this report at 6am with no sleep and hard house music still ringing in my
    The night was called Fevah and the mimetic tension was reaching that pitch
    just outside the doors, with the crowd surging to be let in and make contact
    with the resounding centre. The object, or more accurately sensation of
    desire was being closely guarded by dark suited bouncers. Even though we had
    our sign or ticket this did not guarantee a trouble free passage. Luckily
    the resentment did not overpower us, even when the boys in blue turned up to
    corral us behind a barrier to allow free passage for those unwitting non
    participants who chose to pass this aesthetic experience by.
    Once having gained entry, bursting through the door like a swarm of eager
    sperm, we followed the lights and sound cues to the dark interior of our
    womb. But this is where it got confusing. For the sensation of our desire
    was still elusive. It was not a sexual conquest as is seen commonly in the
    bars and dancefloors of Courtenay Place. this crowd was too spaced out and
    narcissistic for that to satisfy them. Even when dancing with a partner, as
    opposed to the singular shuffle perfected by the sociopathically self
    reliant such as myself, their eyes would be constantly trained up and to the
    right, as if searching for that something that would make their night really
    stand out from the blur. As we were irradiated with lasers and gently smoked
    in dry ice we yet felt undercooked.
    So was it a question of longevity? If we danced ALL night surely that would
    make it special. As you know the all nighter is now available in pill form,
    despite all my earlier declarations I paddled in a little sheep dip myself.
    Having realised within minutes of getting in the door that no way could I
    keep up this pace in my pure natural state and wanting to get my $30 worth
    after all? But no, doing it longer is just doing it longer, there is no
    great crescendo although there is a protracted diminuendo which I am just
    approaching now.
    Where was that moment of ecstasy? Had we had it all ready? Was that it, when
    we were younger and first hit the scene and felt that overwhelming surge of
    mimetic joy on discovering that there were others like us, that they wanted
    to have a good time too, and this is what a good time was.
    But the initiation was also the fall. Because that feeling was truly
    fleeting and we were doomed to
    seek it forever afterwards in the wilderness of our cynicism.
    I’m beginning to lose my thread here so maybe I should wrap this up before
    it begins to unravel.
    Let us just say that the taxi ride home was a fairy joy as all the street
    lights turned to dandelions, and the embracing lamps of jackson street were
    cute little glowing caterpillars.
    Give a girl an introduction to GA and see what she does with it? Messes
    while messy, no respect!

    Comment by lightweed — April 30, 2007 @ 3:08 am

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