Desire/Taste and the Worlds of the Internet

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If thinking is a form of writing as Jacques Derrida would like us to believe then we have been thinking with our eyes. All thinking has been visual-centric. We have already seen how Derrida tried to shift the centre of gravity of our thinking to our sense of smell and taste away from eyes and ear. This is why he also tried to replace stable episteme with volatile epithymia (desire). Therefore, we can see that epistemology is displaced by epithymics in his work. Epistemology takes us from the sensible to the intelligible. Epithymics takes us from the intelligible to the sensible. We have already moved to the sensible through the intelligible content in the worlds of the internet. This is why we need to keep our natural habit for epistemology under erasure and examine our tendency of epithymia (desire). To do this, we have to understand the dynamics of taste. The locus of taste is the tongue that performs the functions of speaking and eating. To overcome the privileging of the speech, Derrida finds the site of tongue/ mouth as important as it is also the site of food. He teaches that it is the sounds that one makes while chewing and eating one’s food that develops the sounds of the speech of our language. But taste is also governed by the sense of smell. Hence, Derrida finds taste as the basic unit of epithymics, the study of desire. Taste does help him to bridge the forced separation of the intelligible and the sensible. 

Taste includes a range of distastes and disgusts. Tastes thus embraces desire in its diverse forms. Desire is studied attentively in psychoanalysis. This is why Derrida tilts to the psychoanalytic work of Nicholas Abraham. Psychoanalysis does teach us how we epithymize in our quest to satisfy our tastes and distastes. This drawing ourselves into the dynamics of epithymics can open us to the way we produce ourselves. We become ourselves through mimesis. But we do not just desire to imitate the other. Our desire is mimetic. It tries to imitate the enjoyment of the other. This is why the mimetic desire can be studied by examining economimesis. Economimesis manifests that we do not desire to imitate the product but we desire to imitate the process of generating and enjoying the product. Therefore, how we epithymize is conditioned by the models of enjoyment that we desire to imitate. We become what we are by carrying the trace of what we are not. This is why perhaps Jacques Lacan teaches us that unconsciousness is the discourse of the other. Hence, we may have to agree that it is important to study how mimetic desire compels us to become subjects of networks in the worlds of the internet. 

The intensities of desire can only be studied by epithymics and not by epistemology. The science of epithymics founded by Derrida is an important tool to understand us and our entanglements on the internet. We are decomposing and recomposing the writings/ texts of the internet. We seem to be enjoying a collage of networks. The collage is dynamic and is not logocentric since none of its constituting elements/ items are simultaneously present. But like the signature which constitutes itself as a trace and lingers beyond the author , the dynamic trace of each of the constituents of a collage lingers on as the self of the network goes on a hunt to satisfy its desire in the worlds generated by the internet. The internet can only disseminate. It can only scatter its writings. It is for the self of the network to assemble it into a collage. This is why I call the internet a semiotic semiology. The self of the network assembles a kind of self-serving semiology. We need to take into account this self-serving dimension of the assemblage affected by the self of the network because it can enable us to understand how groups of individuals can epithemize/ pursue their tastes and get locked into an echo-chambers. Such internet bubbles flourish and often come crashing down. 

The digital world is non-dialectical. It generates signification by dissemination. There is no unity of content. Everything stays dissolved in a non-logocentric absence until the subject of the internet googles or uses other search engines. Big data analytics attempts to study these tastes of the individual and groups and try to engineer and manipulate the minds of the subjects of the network to hop towards their products. It is only when the subject of the network googles that the non-logocentric internet world is generated. But this world is dependent on the interest of the subject of the network which is visible in the pursuits of his/ her tastes. This is why the non-logocentric world of the internet that is dissolving and threatening to break apart has its life through the epithymics of its users. Hence, we have to understand how tastes are being generated and maintained to keep the subjects hooked to the world of the internet. The internet being non-dialectical can only allow production of the allosemes / the other content side by side. This condition of the internet perhaps does not allow synthesis and numbs our memory which becomes the reason why we may keep monkeying from one site to the on the internet. So far our study has mainly been diagnostic. I found the work of Derrida, particularly his grammar, as having great potency to study the dynamic world of the internet and what it does to us. The key is in the addressing of our desire. It is in the manner we will have mastery over the epithymics that we will be either enslaved or work our freedom in the worlds of our internet.


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