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K-0 Systems of Difference

Page history last edited by roy williams 1 year, 8 months ago


back to page 1, here ...


Systems of difference are the basics, the engine, the core meme of knowledge (or: the capacity for effective action). They are networks of meaning, of distinction/s which, like signs ("tools with ironic potential" - see page 1), are also dynamic, adaptable, malleable, combinable, etc. But systems of difference are also micro-ecologies - conceptual frameworks which consist of a number of inter-related and inter-dependent elements.


For example, a 'dog' is a mammal, but not a marsupial; four-legged, but smaller than a horse; less 'domesticated' in some ways than 'cats' (which tend to be far more independent); and so on. What we're talking about here is actually an 'ecology' of signs, not a fixed categorisation of signs at all (there is no such thing) - which continually bump into one another, and can change each other - like the famous 'black swan' paradox: "all swans are white, this is a swan, therefore it is white ... until a black swan is discovered". 


As Derrida said, there is no Ultimate Signifier; or as the little boy's father told him when he asked "who holds up the earth?" and his father said: "a turtle", to which his son replied: "so who holds up the turtle?", to which his father said: "don't even ask - it's turtles all the way down". 

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