Teaching to Transgress: Facing the Death of the Book (II)

Pessimism and the aesthetics of silence have died in society with the advent of electracy. With the arrival of electracy, our culture is showing signs of shifting from a paradigm based on language (literacy) to one based on silent writing. We have already moved towards non-phonetic writings (other writings). The resurgence of the graphic element on the web has led to the decline of the domination of the spoken word (phonocentrism). Everything on the internet whether pictographic or ideographic inscription is silent writing. These developments are significantly far away from the order of the voice. This means literacy has received a death blow with the development of electracy. Maybe drawing on the analogy of music, we can say that everything is becoming a system of notations waiting to be deciphered or played into the cacophony of sounds. Better still maybe, we may say that everything has become an App that opens us to the dance of meaning and non-meaning and thus instigates us to act. The fact that we can find pacing and trace graphic elements, we are still not free from logocentrism. All the same, logocentrism is loosened, deconstructed and displaced by grammatology.

What is more important besides being a mode of signification (meaning and non-meaning), it is a source of instigation often leading to mindless action( think of mob lynching on the basis of Whatsapp), electracy raises the question of energetics as it has applied non-cognitive force and keeps us drown into the aesthetics of the spectacular. The spectacular is non-discursive and stays beyond reason attached to the world of senses. The reason is deconstructed/ castrated and displaced. Hence, we may name it transreason. It instigates us into action or inaction. This manifests that we are shifting to a new ontology that is outside the founding concepts-words of ontology. It is closer to the Heideggerian being of being. We may best describe it as the dance of being. This indicates that the Book is dead. The web has already done its funeral. What we have is simply the dance of trace. The dance of trace slips several ways in the web and generates unforeseen meaning that takes control over us. This is why we have the huge challenge to let our education system which is already inundated by the dance of trace enable us to resist or transgress the allurements of the dance of trace. Maybe we need to develop psychoanalysis graphology (trace-ology) taking inspiration from Melanie Klein‘s especially in her essay ‘The role of the School in the libidinal development of a child’. This rings in the challenge to empower us to discern how the other writing (silent writing) operates as knowledge without being theoretical.

We are already deschooled by the dance of trace (other writings). With the end of linear writings (Post-literacy), we have not reached a closure of all writings but have opened ourselves to all other forms of writing. The web has opened us to the forms of writing that largely appeal to our aesthetic sense. This means writing now has opened and not closed only to phonetic writing. writing has indefinitely no end. We are now into the dance of trace that controls or shapes our libidinal investments. This is why our school cannot merely be one that enhances our cognitive abilities but one that enables us to resist, circumvent and transgress rather than circum to the allurements and attunements of the dance of trace in the web. Our education system has to come to terms with our break with the investiture of the Book. This is urgent because the word that was the matrix of literacy is now displaced by the image which is ruled by associative logic (the logic of juxtaposition). If literacy mainly influenced our mind, electracy influences our body. Here what is at stake is not just the meaning of the image but the power of the image. Maybe we have some kind of unconcealment of the dynamism of the image in the dance of the trace. To get into the constellated dance of trace we have to view grammatology as a pedagogy. Grammatology as a pedagogy will manifest how we inscribe signification without saying or using words. It opens the word of other writings.

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