The Method in the Anti-Methodology of Heuretics

Heuretics has been characterised as the other of hermeneutics which is a science of interpretation. We can derive its links with eureka, heuristics and even heresy. Hermeneutics asks, what can we make of a text? Heuretics asks, what can be made from the text? Hermeneutics gained popular currency while Heuretics is still in the waiting queue. Here we shall try to understand what is heuretics and try to unearth how it can enable us to understand and respond to the cyber world. Heuretics strives to use texts generatively. It is inventive in nature. Gregory Ulmer, an American thinker has elaborated it in his books, Teletheory and Heuretics. Textual production has become the goal of hermeneutics these days. In fact, hermeneutics has become a means to heuretics. Any text is germinative and productive. Heuretics depends on this potency of the text. Ulmer proposes that we need hereutics to understand and respond to the texts of the new communicative media that is based in the web.

Invention in the classical oral and print culture is an art of recalling and determining what it is that one would think or say regarding a given subject. Ulmer teaches that the grammatology of Derrida assists inventive writing. This belief enables him to move from linear discursive production of discourse to non-linear, hypertextual / multi-media production. The discovery or inventive writing is inventive in the process of writing. This means composition becomes discovery. It is serendipitous. It calls us to return to the rhetoric/ poetics. But this return is an anti-methodology. It is not concerned with critique or what could be the meaning of the existing text (hermeneutical concern). This means Ulmer does not critique ludic discourses for not being political but calls for them to invent a politics. Therefore, the principle of heuretics is not about saying what something is by saying what it is not. But by affirming heretofore unacceptable connections. This is why heuretic is heretical. Maybe we can call it her-ethical to demonstrate the unacceptable connections of the word heretical and thus manifest how we can write heuretically. Thus, heuretics takes a leap out of oneness, binaries to threes-as-excess and transcends the either/ or binary structure of our habitual thinking.

The either/ or thinking puts all our thinking to two tests to qualify to become knowledge. The first test checks whether thought is universal and the second test checks whether it is teachable. Right from the time of Socrates and Plato, all knowledge had to submit to this Phallus. Hence, often such a knowledge is thought to be masculine. Heuretics being heretic and being her-ethics does not Oediplalize to the phallus of either/ or thinking. It stays generative and productive by negating the principle of contradiction and thus it makes room for the return of the excluded third… fourth… fifth… This means hereutics as taught by Ulmer is unaccountable and as such is an anti-methodology. But in the very unaccountable position, we can find accountable. This is why we can trace a method in the anti-method of Ulmer’s heuretics. Hence, we find an acronym CATTt to stand for his anti-method:

C = Contrast (opposition, inversion, differentiation)

A = Analogy (figuration, displacement)

T = Theory (repetition, literalization)

T = Target (application, purpose)

t = Tale (secondary elaboration, representability)

Contrast counters the dominant discourses. This is the first step of the anti-method. It breaks the either/ or thinking and makes a way to move beyond one (monism), two (dual dialectics) to three (trilectics) and beyond. This is further achieved by reading the discourse not at the level of its arguments but at the level of its particulars, such as its examples, analogies etc. This exercise displaces the argument. Once the argument is displaced, we replace it with an opposite argument that is also made coherent (secondary elaboration). This brings us to the step of poetising. It is the moment to say yes to the text twice. It leads to the affirmation of other connections that makes room for novelty/ third option to irrupt. This shows that Ulmer invites us to concentrate on the tropes and not on the linear logical argumentation of the text. It is in the tropes of the text one can find ways of novel writing of the text that grammatology challenges us to do. It challenges us to say that which remains unsaid. It leads us to say the unsayable. This means it takes us away from the binaries to excess. This approach to writing is different from the protocols of normal academic writings that are linear and hierarchical.

Perhaps, heuretics and not hermeneutics will explain how we deal with the worlds generated by the internet. It is heuretics that goes beyond linearity and logicality and takes us into the non-linear trans-logical world might have the key to explain why we enjoy hopping from one site to the other on the internet. Conventional either/ or thinking cannot explain this illogical and somewhat non-cognitive behaviour. This space cannot be colonised like Euclidian topographic culture. We need a new logic that is non-linear, non-Euclidian. This new logic has to be anti-tree but rhizomatic. The old binary logic tied to either/ or thinking is simply replaced by associational networks. Therefore, it simply also replaces topos / space with Chora, the exclude one between being and becoming ( Platonic celestial and the terrestrial). This replacement enables us to view the worlds of the internet/ cyber space with the dynamic imagery of a choreography. This choreography brings us to the grammatology of the internet and heuretics enables us to have an insight into what we do with the cyber world. The internet is a world of abundance and we explore its inexhaustibility until we ourselves are exhausted. This is why to respond to the dilemma, trilemma, quatrilemma of the internet we need to adopt Hereutics and find the third, fourth and fifth option that remains hidden because of our habituated binary logic of the either/ or thinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.

That's Big Data Analytics.

- Fr Victor Ferrao