The Textshopping and Webhopping Self

Jacques Derrida thinks of writing in terms of death. It calls its decomposition.   Decomposition as a writing in terms of death nails the death of the author.  This leaves us with a small set of signifiers and an unlimited supply of signifieds.  We can interpret and therefore, decompose the author-meaning of the text. The proper name of the author thus becomes a common noun and we are left free to write again. Derrida says that decomposition is writing that is suiting to the epithymics of taste and smell (chemically oriented senses).  Decomposition does not deal with its opposite but transforms it into allosemes/alternants that are set in a scattering/ dissemination mode.  Thus, it is a kind of ghostwriting and is always haunted or deferred by the promise of arrival.  This writing is performative and inscribes a cryptogram.  It is writing that refuses to be caged in the words.  Thus, writing as Derrida practices becomes imaginative, creative, generative, and inventive.  This form of writing is inventing as its writes.  To come to this understanding of writing, we have to understand writing as epistemic. It is not subordinated to thinking and knowing. Writing that Derrida practices has its own form and is its own knowledge-making tool.  Thus, Derrida writes in such a way that writing no longer performs the function of representing speech. The practice of writing as taught by Derrida collapses the hierarchy of thought, speech, and writing.  This kind of writing becomes non-linear and opens itself to the invasion of pictographic images forgotten and suppressed by the age of literacy.   

Things are different today. The world no longer communicates purely on the basis of think, speak to write model.  Writing of the form we find in multimedia does the opposite.  It triggers our thought and speech.  Writing is mediatory. Today we write less with phonocentric alphabets and more with electronic images and videos.  This does  not mean that verbal writing is shunned aside.  On the contrary, it is enhanced by non-verbal forms of writing.   The intertextuality of the verbal/ phonic writings and pictographic image writings opens these writings to new horizons that enable writing to become inventive as they open to other narratives and other settings.  Ulmer says that the organizing principle of this inventive writing is hieroglyphics.  Derrida has done this through dephonetization of writing and realignment of the same with visual arts.  In the light of Derrida, we can think of psychoanalysis as a form of writing. It is a form of rebus writing which mixes alphabets with images. Psychoanalysis approaches language and mind in terms of hieroglyphs and hence, we may view the slips of the tongue as the slips of the pen of the writer.   This suggests that writing is a broad notion and embraces non-discursive and imagistic dimensions.  

If Plato marks a shift from a civilization based on orality to one based on alphabetic writing, we have to agree that Derrida takes us from print writing to filmic writing/ textshoping.  This means writing has introduced play which brings enjoyment and invention to it.  The internet has become the playground of this form of writings. The play has a different logic. It is not one based on the familiar either/ or structure of our habitual thinking.  In this form of writing the binaries of work/play and serious/ frivolous are inverted. It is this location of play in this form of writing that takes it beyond the either/ or thinking and renders it productive, generative and inventive.   This means just like the way we can manipulate the images in photoshop, the playful self of the internet textshops the texts of the internet.  He/she textshops in his/ her own way bypassing the specialists who design the texts of the internet.  The self of the internet textshops through means other than logos and ethos. He/ she follows his/ her pathos/ passion and desires to enjoy his/her writing/ textshoping  in the web.  The texts of the self of the internet are composed/ decomposed through textshoping that embraces imaginative, evocative, and even surreal experiences. 

The textshoppings of the self of the internet have put old linear, logical, and analytical models of writing into question and embraced the ancient magical, pleasurable and mystical mode of composing/ decomposing of the texts of the internet.  The internet has become a lab of a textshop.  The self of the internet enjoys the textshop where he/she composes/decomposes meaning and unmeaning.  This has destabilized the linear, mathematical, and logical ways of ordering life. Flexi-time, flexi-work has entered our society.  Textshoping does not have a beginning, middle, and end.  We can for instance watch the movie by splitting it into parts as we like on OTT platforms like Amazon.  This new textshop form of writing just begins where one finds himself/ herself.  It just follows what I call additive, conjunctive logic that seeks connections. The self of the internet follows what may be called dream-discovery style where emotions and memory evoked images create a pattern or multi-dimensional matrix which opens up new horizons for discovery and inventive responses.  This is why textshopping and webhopping as a new form of writing is taking us all by storm and we enjoy writing with the ink of images ( visual, musical, olfactory, taste, touch), words, and sounds.  The textshop approach is fast becoming a lifestyle on our smartphone.  We do need much training to textshop. We have almost taken to it just like babies take to speaking in their mother tongue. Today our eyes, ears, and finger are glued to the smartphone manifesting to us that we have come from the sense (intelligible) of the age of literacy to the sensible (sensorium) of the Post-literacy age that we are living. Therefore, we have the challenge to understand our new textshopping and webhopping self. Knowing oneself can influence the manner of our textshopping as well as webhopping.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao