The Permanent Transition 9783964563620

The goal of this concise book is to trace the modalities of discursive changes in the framework of the postmodern condit

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Table of contents :
Chapter 1. Death and facts
Chapter 2. Change of paradigms
Chapter 3. Change, risk and new paradigms
Chapter 4. Theory and contexts
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Patrick Imbert The Permanent Transition


Vol. 14


Alfonso de Toro Centro de Investigación Iberoamericana Universidad de Leipzig Fernando de Toro The University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Canada

CONSEJO ASESOR: W. C. Booth (Chicago); E. Cros (Montpellier); L. Dällenbach (Ginebra); M. De Marinis (Macerata); U. Eco (Boloña); E. FischerLichte (Maguncia); G. Genette (París); D. Janik (Maguncia); D. Kadir (Norman/Oklahoma); W. Krysinski (Montreal); K. Meyer-Minnemann (Hamburgo); P. Pavis (París); R. Posner (Berlín); R. Prada Oropeza (México); M. Riffaterre (Nueva York); Feo. Ruiz Ramón (Nashville); Th. A. Sebeok (Bloomington); C. Segre (Pavía); Tz. Todorov (París); J. Trabant (Berlín); M. Valdés (Toronto). CONSEJO EDITORIAL: J. Alazraki (Nueva York); F. Andacht (Montevideo); S. Anspach (Säo Paulo); G. Bellini (Milán); A. Echavarría (Puerto Rico); E. Forastieri-Braschi (Puerto Rico); E. Guerrero (Santiago); R. Ivelic (Santiago); A. Letelier (Venecia); W. D. Mignolo (Ann Arbor); D. Oelker (Concepción); E. D. Pittarello (Venecia); R. M. Ravera (Buenos Aires); N. Richard (Santiago); J. Romera Castillo (Madrid); N. Rosa (Rosario); J. Ruffinelli (Stanford); C. Ruta (Palermo); J. Villegas (Irvine).

Patrick Imbert

The Permanent Transition

Vervuert • Iberoamericana • 1998

Die Deutsche Bibliothek - CIP-Einheitsaufnahme Imbert, Patrick: The permanent transition / Patrick Imbert. - Frankfurt am Main : Vervuert; Madrid : Iberoamericana, 1998 (Teoría y crítica de la cultura y literatura ; Vol. 14) ISBN 3-89354-214-0 (Vervuert) ISBN 84-95107-10-4 ( I b e r o a m e r i c a n a )

© Vervuert Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998 © Iberoamericana, Madrid 1998 Reservados todos los derechos Este libro está impreso íntegramente en papel ecológico blanqueado sin cloro. Impreso en Alemania

Several extracts which deal with the issues of postmodernism and post-theory in this book are also published in an article entitled "The Permanent Transition" which is included in the Proceedings of the "Post-Theory" International Conference (edited by Alfonso de Toro and Fernando de Toro) held at Carleton University in October 1996.


Preface Introduction Chapter 1. Death and facts 1. The appropriation mimesis 2. Within/without 3. The discourse of the media; objectivity and death 4. Systems of realities: the within/without paradigm revisited 5. Modern and postmodern dead bodies 6. Disinformation Chapter 2. Change of paradigms 7. Public language/specialized languages 8. Public language/specialized languages, time and logic 9. Specialized languages and the appropriation mimesis 10. The stable third element of modernity: land; the dynamic third element of postmodernity: production of significations 11. Divergence between communication and information 12. Identities and the attribution process 13. Public and specialized languages at the international level Chapter 3. Change, risk and new paradigms 14. Relativism, risk and success 15. Crossing limits: the local and the global 16. Mimesis and the new dynamic of interpretance 17. Change of paradigms in postmodern democracy 18. Secrets and ethics 19. Pointing out lies: a postmodern ethic Chapter 4. Theory and contexts 20. Theory and pragmatism 21. Theory and reflexivity 22. Post-theory and contingency 23. Post-theory, narrativity and globalization 24. Narrativity and avatars

8 25. Post-theory and America 26. Post-theory and postcolonialism 27. Textual practices in the postmodern/postcolonial context

92 93 96

Conclusion 28. Violence and hatred 29. Identities and the future

105 105 107






PREFACE Like Communists seeing a 'bourgeois' 'counter-revolution' behind every demand for freedom, Modernists -in all their 'Late' and 'Neo' phases- find a 'Disneyland' behind every attempt at contextual building. (C. Jencks, What is Postmodernism?, p. 60). In fact, we may consider the reduction of signification to dyadic relations an emblem of modernist nominalism: an emblem of the belief that our concepts are records of merely chance or brute encounters. (Peter Ochs in David Ray Griffin et al., Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy, p. 65).

Jencks (1989: 8) states that "the concept of Post-modernism was apparently first used by the Spanish writer Federico De Onis in his Antología de la poesía española e hispanoamericana, 1934, to describe a reaction from within Modernism, and then by Arnold Toynbee in his Study of History written in 1938, but published after the war in 1947". However, one can trace the use of the term to a much earlier time. One has to recall the intuitions developed by R. Bourne in 1916 in "Trans-National America". In this article, he analyzed the situation of the American melting-pot and stated that "the inflections of other voices have been drowned. They must be heard" (97). In the same article, he used the word postmodernism when referring to Japan and its capacity to go beyond slow evolution as a means of bringing about long awaited changes. Like Bourne, the goal of the author, of this research is to trace different modalities of paradigmatic and discursive changes as they occur in the framework of the postmodern condition. Since 1916, postmodernism has been linked with dynamism and change. One can also add to these terms: flux, double coding, and play on contexts. Postmodernism redefines the a prioris to which we have been accustomed for centuries and which emphasize stability, essence, and relation to basic structures, to an origin and to a referent. These entities were included in a discourse whose a prioris have been vulgarized and disseminated in public language. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, new concepts have sprung from research in the sciences and humanities and have been disseminated among specialists who had, at that time, established their capacity to create new paradigms. This new dynamism is the basis of the energy of Western civilization in its thrust towards globalization, interconnection and penetration of other societies. This is the reason why postmodernism can be seen by critics such as F. Jameson (1991) as a plot controlled by the "center" to make everyone identical. However, the author of this research does not share his view since the new epistemology can also

10 be seen as decentering and fostering multiculturalism and dynamism as well as creating genuine opportunities. This point of view is held by Jencks (1989) and Etzioni (1968) and is one whose validity can be acknowledged when one considers that it is linked, in part, to the transformation of continental American nationalisms facing the radicalism of confrontational ideologies such as socialism and Marxism. This is especially true for South America where Marxist-inspired movements tried, in the sixties and seventies, to break oligarchical powers that were disseminating a closed nationalism. This also true of the United States where confrontation with Vietnam led the younger generation, seeing no real legitimation to intervene, to reject McCarthism and to open itself to the world. The presence of the world at large in the media led to the reactivation of Pan-Americanism founded on the basic principles of liberalism disseminated by satellites and new technologies connecting the planet. Therefore, the presence of European radical ideas have been controlled by an exposure to global cultural diversity and by the exportation of a dynamic liberalism which is an important feature of postmodernism. Simultaneously, the cultural diversity within, due to the fact that colonialism is no longer a threat, is considered as a wealth which can be inscribed in the internal dynamic of the development of the country in its liberal renewal. Postmodernism and postcolonialism work hand in hand in the endeavour to reject radicalism and to disseminate a social conception based on dynamism, flux, and context-dependent meanings. In this framework, postmodernism and postcolonialism do not completely prevent conflicts, but allow different points of view to contextualize in many directions and by so doing, they contribute to the process of taming war-like conflicts and transforming them into commercial competition. The struggle for power, which, in the 20th century, caused the death of hundreds of millions of human beings, does not cease; its manifestation changes. It is now based on the conflict between two main epistemologies: one based on stable values such as those within Modernism and the other open to dynamism such as in the case of postmodernism. The latter emphasizes flux and dynamism and strategically uses the former and its stable meanings or narratives when necessary. The goal is to implement social dynamics better adapted to efficiently linking liberal economism with technology and to develop networks in which information is exchanged in a labile context escaping truth and objectivity. This leads to the temporary pooling of groups of people, living in a multicultural society, and whose cultural background is totally different and facilitate the creation of new knowledge and new wealth from their differences instead of being rejected or thrown into deadly conflicts. This also allows different minority groups to integrate the many disseminated new power centers, firstly without being assimilated because the dynamics of movement couples well with alterity for the establishment of new networks of knowledge, and, secondly, without retaining past roots linked to the craving for fixed limits leading to ghettos. Postmodernism allows people to recognize their many context-dependent identities in a present embracing the future. This future is inticing more people to integrate a constant transformation of themselves and

Il the world as one of the main features of a postmodernism whose liberal approach is linked to the capacity to disseminate epistemological paradigms originating in specialized languages within public language. Flux is what gives access, through new sophisticated knowledge, to a new interconnected world with manifold margins demanding for their share of the economic and symbolic wealth. Postmodernism and postcolonialism are interdependent. Therefore, the goal of this intentionally concise book is to trace some modalities of paradigmatic and discursive changes disseminating from specialized languages to public language (Bernstein: 1971) among the populations of the Western and westernized world in the framework of the postmodern condition contextualized with postcolonialism. From the dualistic paradigm "within/without" allowing the creation of a belief in an object, a referent which organizes a base for a religious (the Word of God) or a positivistic discourse (objectivity and the dead body), one starts by using René Girard's main concepts dealing with appropriation mimesis (whose goal is to control the Platonic mimesis, that is, the capacity to say what is real) and the victimization process in order to explore three types of discourses. The first discourse is built around a dualistic conflict between two antagonists who strive to control a third element, the object. Up until modernity, antagonists were considered as having an identity clearly defined by the attribution process. The object, which established discourses in objectivity, was considered static and was defined by the mediatic capacity to "present" death and dead bodies. The second discourse is typical of modernity. In this case, the antagonists lose sight of the object and the conflict is transformed into a dangerous struggle for prestige. This dualistic conflict leads to victimization processes which are generalized, and which, as a corollary, lose sight of the victims whose deaths are forgotten (the case of many genocides) or officially denied (Ochs in Griffin: 1993). A dualism, losing the third element, the object, always transforms into a monism eliminating difference. Therefore, in a dualist epistemology basing its stability on the object, on the referent (on the without of discourse), the exacerbation of conflicts leads to a monologism permitting the fabrication of official histories eliminating difference. In this case, the dead body representing an undeniable referent is lost and the within/without paradigm is complemented by an orthodox arbitrariness using disinformative practices to maintain the social consensus. This represents the sinister side of the modern era. The third discourse is particular to the postmodern condition displacing limits. Emphasis is put on the third element in the conflict of the appropriation mimesis. The object (either economic or symbolic) is now perceived as a dynamic and demultiplied element. It is considered in its capacity to transform conflicts based on multiple identities into mere competition. This change of epistemology is particular to the liberal economic postmodern/postcolonial context which is linked to dynamic paradigms originating in specialized languages and disseminating into public language. In this case, the ability to open discourses to a process through a third eie-

12 ment allows us to expose the lies (in a world where it is not possible to believe that one can say the truth, the ultimate lie is represented by official histories) and to create a new discourse which displaces the static referent linked to modernity. Therefore, this process of production of significations, similar to a Peircian process of interpretance breaking dualistic paradigms, displaces the referent of modernity (the dead bodies of the victims) through a dynamism linked to the legitimization of a discourse pertaining to the victims and to their descendants. This new dynamic referent is no longer based on a static third element outside the discursive realm. The capacity to start a process of production of significations gives marginalized groups or individuals a legitimate place, allowing a rereading of the past and to the building of a society in which differences are welcomed and turned towards the future instead, if not totally denied, of merely being remembered episodically, as is the case in narratives connected with modernity. This concentration on a third element, the object becoming a process of production of significations in a discourse which, by its sheer presence transforms other discourses, is particular to the new liberal democracies. These democracies are redefining limits, allowing dynamism, and starting a global economic and symbolic competition in order to avoid dualistic conflicts leading to wars, in-keeping with modernity and the age of nations. It is through this new dynamism that some of the victims (marginalized groups and individuals) can penetrate the manifold disseminated centers of the postmodern/postcolonial era.


INTRODUCTION People do not wish to know that the whole of human culture is based on the mythic process of conjuring away man's violence by endlessly projecting it upon new victims. (René Girard, Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, p. 164).

"There is nothing permanent except change" is the slogan quoted from Heraclitus by the multinational Conoco (Business Week, 23 oct. 1978). Borges was right in "Pierre Ménard autor del Quijote" (1974) in which he suggests that, due to a new context, plagiarism is not based on the repetition of significations. Plagiarism produces new meanings because there is no essence of meaning, only exchanges in changing contexts redefining power relationships. This new conception has been systematized by all the Posts related to postmodernism. And it is easy to understand. For Post is rewriting; it is the conscience that there is a constant slippage of meaning opening interstices in any systematic effort to control production. Post is the capacity to go beyond the naivety of an epistemology trying to refer to stable entities, be they essences or a Cartesian conception of the subject. Postmodernism, in a way, is the capacity to rewrite, so as to strategically invent the present in its temporary contemporaneity. In this temporariness and in these interstices, a freedom positioned far from master ideals but pragmatically oriented by an agreement on the rules of the game to the satisfaction of the many selves enacted by each individual, is reaffirmed. Postmodernism is a transitory instant set between the ideals of master narratives whose repetitive structure has been studied by Propp (1968) and Greimas (1966), and the probable upcoming craze for "memetic" engineering, an element of analogy of genetic engineering. "Memes", these content units supposedly capable of replicating themselves while evolving and imposing a deep structure to language, thinking, and behavior, (Dennett: 1991) evoke complex patterns (clichés like "poor but clean" (Imbert: 1987)) which, if carefully studied in their conditions of replications, could lead to the predictability of their emergence and therefore, by the sheer retroaction that this predictability would entail, could be deviated from their original context. This deviation, assuming the programming of simulation was correct and able to control the variants (this difficulty is the main point emphasized by postmodernism) would itself entail a deviation from the deviation and allow specialists to alter the patterns. Post is not after or against anything; it is retroaction, dislocation, dynamism. Its task is not, as for modernity, to find a historical past (including the lies of official histories) or a logical basis on which to build the present; it is to transform the past (give a voice to those who were forgotten: people who helped develop the economy of a country or people who were re-

14 jected by bureaucratic, military or ethnic orthodoxies), and invent the present from a rereading (Jencks: 1989) which is a permanent production of a present-past-future whose goals are left undefined outside of a comfortable functionality. In this case, power struggles are not built around the preservation of an orthodoxy. Instead, they operate around the capacity to keep a form of leadership in a changing context. In our approach to modernity and to postmodernism, we will refer to two main elements of Girard's theory (1987), appropriation mimesis and the victimization process, in the framework of discourse analysis which we consider as a crossdisciplinary method of inquiry allowing us to study texts in their sociocultural dimension. This means that there are many theories related to discourse analysis and they often depend on the many definitions given to text and to social discourse. Social discourse can mean, for instance, "all that is said or written in a given state of society... (and particularly) the generic systems, the repertories of topics, the enunciative rules which, in a given society, organize the sayable-the narratable-and the arguable- and insure the division of discursive labour." (Marc Angenot: 1989: 13). For us, as for Angenot, discourse represents a socio-semiotic process mediating power relationships. Discourse cannot be reduced to statement; it is a strategic act oriented towards a goal. When a mother says of her three-year-old child playing at her side: "He is going to sleep well", she is saying that later she is going to have time for things she has been waiting to do. Her sentence is an anticipation of the pleasure she will derive from having a few hours to herself. However, for us, more than for Angenot, discourse is set within a semantic environment caught up between two poles: first, a promise associated with a stable epistemology particular to public language, itself based on the belief in a possible access to truth (God) or to objectivity (either economic or scientific), and second, the transformation of such a promise into a disillusion at the origin of another promise. The latter is an illocutionary act produced by professionals and their specialized languages. The whole situation is linked to the rivalry of doubles as incarnated by the mimesis of appropriation and its "double bind" structure (Bateson: 1972) pushing one to have a love/hate relationship with the model. The promise to bestow the object either through a political discourse based on a vision of a more just or wealthier way of life, or through any public discourse, be it pedagogical or stemming from the advertising industry, generally leads to, at least, a partial failure. Those who believe in the promise and conform their behaviour accordingly, will either not get what was promised, (ecstasy, a better way of living,) or they will get capitulation from the model and nothing will be left. Most of the time, they are caught up in a constant process in which the promise of a better life has to be deferred and the model is constantly going from promise to promise (the syndrome of the knights of the round table making a circle around the king so that few people can ask him for a gift) without fulfilling any. This situation, typical of a modernity based on the repetition of master narratives, but still partially operating in the postmodern era, is fundamentally based on the void of a repetitive mimetic drive and leads to a hermeneutic fostering stable beliefs. It cannot engage in a dynamic hermeneutic process

15 leading, out of conflictual relationships, to the production of a third element, itself temporary. This promise is disseminated by specialists mastering problematic knowledge (religious, mass mediatic or economic orthodoxies) or instrumental knowledge (scientific and technological orthodoxies) (J. Rifkin: 1995). They use their specialized languages and paradigmatic organizations to produce arguments set in the framework of public language whose paradigms are different from theirs. This means that discourse is based on a split society led by specialists who have the capacity to operate in a double system of coherence1. This promise is based on two discourses: first, public language whose a prioris are based on a statism and a dualism depending on the a prioris of specialized languages and their strategies, allowing specialists to reconduct hope with a minimum of change, second, a production of images depicting the promised new order. These images (textual or iconic) consist of comparisons or metaphors, particularly Utopias or apocalyptic texts, found nowadays mostly on mediatic icons. For instance, the order disseminated through apocalyptic and utopist images, stemming from the ultramontane French-Canadian Church in the 19th century, changed direction and was combined with an order in-keeping with capitalist and liberal economic frameworks, as shown in Etienne Parent's speeches (1847). The images drifted from their origin towards icons of a particular economic order on which it was possible to build a colonial compromise avoiding the "chaos" of the American Republic. The path from promise to compromise is also followed in Argentina through a play between words and images and two different logics: President Menem keeps promising a better way of life while his Minister of Finance, Mr. Cavallo, initiates severe financial cuts under the auspices of the World Bank. As a result of pressure from the World Bank, the epistemic stability reinforced by the reassuring icon of President Menem superimposes itself on the lability of the epistemology of economic liberalism and on the ethic of competition; it has, until 1997, been very efficient in getting people to vote for the new Peronist party2. Discourse is the socio-semiotic process which narrates the illocutionary power of any language act represented by the promise made by a model (Searle: 1969). Discourse transforms the illocutionary act, the doing of the relationship based on the appropriation mimesis, into an essentialist presentation of facts in-keeping with the paradigms of the public language. The act of identity building in the context of conflicting doubles, aiming at controlling the Platonic mimesis and at imposing what is real and what is a fact, is transformed into a stable being, through arguments such as the attribution process (Johnson: 1972; Laing: 1969) used as an identity marker 1

This is similar to what happened when the zero, invented in India, was discovered by the Western world and the Church forbade its use among the public while specialists were using it for their scientific and philosophical inquiries.


However, in the October 1997 elections, the Justicialist party (Peronist) lost its majority in the Parliament.

16 hiding the injunction to behave under a pseudo statement of a fact. To be attributed the quality of being good or bad is to mask the process of the discourse which leads to an injunction to act. This dynamic is governed by disinformative acts which lead us to a specialized language epistemology whose basis is very different from public language, although it controls public language. In this study, we will not concentrate on argumentation per se, but on the dynamics which link the production of texts to dichotomies in language, to epistemological differences, to the invention of identities and of relationships in the framework of an everchanging and omnipresent postmodernity. Postmodernity redefines boundaries and forces everyone to fully develop one's potential for adaptation and change. Economy, culture and social being are set in power relationships based on dynamism and changing contexts instead of being based on stable entities. Economic and technological production as well as the creation of new meanings, tend to link together in a general fascination for a reorganization left open on a future contextualized in the present a prioris of specialized languages disseminating in public language.



1. The appropriation mimesis Je suis parti sous les rires de la majorité satisfaite, braves gens qui s'aimaient de détester ensemble, niaisement, communiant en un ennemi commun, l'étranger. (I left followed by the laughter of a satisfied majority, good people who liked each other, joined together by their common and stupid hate of the foreigner, a togetherness formed by a common enemy: the foreigner) (Albert Cohen, O, vous frères humains, p. 43).

The appropriation mimesis is oriented towards the possession of an object and the assertion of power in a sometimes deadly conflict between two parties who are acting as doubles in their endeavour to triumph. Using the example of two babies fighting for one toy, even though another identical toy is at hand, Girard demonstrates the manifestation of the desire (Livingstone: 1992) to assert one's own symbolic and economic power. The mimesis of appropriation, however, leads to the breaking of fixed dominance patterns as illustrated in animal life (Laborit: 1976) and is the expression of a desire to assert one's individuality. It also leads to a world where violence is grounded in a play of desires based upon mimesis. In a religious society, this violence which produces dead bodies is controlled by the fact that the victim is seen as a locus from which new significations arise. The victim is sacred and allows the differentiation process to start once again. This process is organized, canalized and made orthodox through rituals by religious institutions. The victim and its dead body is, therefore, at the root of culture. In a laicized world, the mimesis of appropriation is as operative as in a religious world. It relies on the victimization process which leads to the numerous wars and genocides which are committed in the name of "ideals" such as nationalism. After the media production of dead bodies, however, the world cannot be the same, particularly if victims can gain enough symbolic and economic power to insist upon the fact that one has to deeply reflect on what has happened. Movies such as Schindler's List or William Styron's novel Sophie's Choice are good examples of these developments. Reflecting over what happened because of the presence of a third element -in this case the discourse of those who have been lynched- leads one to redefine paradigms and worldviews. For the legitimacy of discourses (Fascism, Nazism or Stalinism) and

18 counter-discourses (Humanism; Camus: 1954) which lead to the explosion of the mimesis of appropriation has then been lost. The appropriation mimesis operates in order to control an object (Chirpaz: 1980). One very important object is the capacity to decide what is real. Therefore, the goal of the appropriation mimesis is to control the Platonic mimesis. Through the Platonic mimesis, one can assert that one has a direct access to truth, to the world of ideas or to facts and reality. This allows for obtaining facts out of an argument. Those who define what reality is, gain control over the symbolic and the economic world as well, because they induce others to behave in a way which is profitable for them. These behaviours are usually controlled through the process of attribution (Imbert: 1995a) which defines a supposedly stable identity, a being. The Platonic mimesis and its capacity to legitimate what IS and therefore what has to be done, is the main element which is at stake in the unfolding of the mimesis of appropriation and its link to violence. The Platonic mimesis, through its capacity to generate a belief in a stable world legitimized by the very fact that it develops in an institution which is the symbol of power linked to the capacity to organize the world, is omnipresent in the dualistic conflicts regularly thrown into high gear by the manifold expressions of the mimesis of appropriation which can be traced to political, religious and economic rivalries as well as to conflicts of interpretations. The mastery of the belief which allows for an equivalence with reality is nowadays, as it was in Antiquity, framed into the appropriation mimesis and has as its ultimate consequence, the activation of the victimization process (Girard: 1987). It does, however, show certain differences with Antiquity in a democratic, consumeroriented society. In this latter case, inside a given society, the objects are so multiplied that the conflict is tamed. Rivalries are also mitigated by the division of power and of responsibilities which prevents the monopolization of decisions. In the postmodern era, the logic of networks is so prevalent that often one cannot speak of decisions but of micro decisions which contribute to avoiding conflicts and to rendering the operating rules more efficient while decisions and discussions pertaining to principles are avoided (Atlan: 1986). The multiplication of objects, be they material or symbolic, prevents the mimesis of appropriation from degenerating into a fullscale rivalry, loosing sight of the issue and becoming a conflict rooted in prestige. However, the presence of rivalry is strong and is emphasized by constantly reminding individuals that they are expected to compete in order to produce more wealth. Moreover, this competition is framed in the within/without paradigm which pushes nations to compete with one another. Therefore, the danger of generalized conflicts has to be controlled and it is controlled, in the postmodern era, by changing the context in which this paradigm operates. Now, the world is no longer seen as the result of a zero sum game (Gilder: 1981) but as a place open to the creation of wealth. Here also the démultiplication of economic and symbolic possibilities prevents fully developed rivalries. Historically, economic liberalism at the basis of North American Protestant ethic came into direct conflict with British Imperial liberalism. Therefore, one of


the goals of the United States was to "become the entrepot of Europe and Asia" {Conspiracy...: 7) and to regulate economic exchange for the world. This aspiration was repeated by the French-Canadian Liberals who were opposed to England and to its presence in North America. Papineau, in his speech of December 17 1867, dreamed of "Dix mille chinois... construisant le grand chemin qui va relier les deux océans et faire de notre Amérique le centre commercial du monde entier". (Ten thousand Chinese... building one of the railways linking the two oceans and allowing America to become the commercial center of the whole world) (see 25). This competition between nations, leading to the messianic and typically modern idea of a concentration of wealth in North-America, has been transformed into market globalization as envisioned nowadays by North-American politicians, businessmen and thinkers, with the intention of minimizing the most dangerous effect of appropriation mimesis. It also demonstrates a drive to orient energies towards the production of consumer goods instead of weaponry. Already in the nineteenth century, this was a highly relevant issue for liberal politicians like Étienne Parent: L'industriel est le père de l'Amérique civilisée... Ce sont des cités sans nombre et des empires que l'industriel a conquis sur la nature sauvage, non plus avec l'épée et le sang d'autres hommes mais bien avec la hache et les sueurs de son propre front. (Discours prononcé par Étienne Parent devant l'Institut canadien de Montréal le 22 janvier 1846: 9) (The industrialist is the father of civilized America... He conquered numerous cities and empires against wilderness, not with swords and the blood of other fellow human being, but with axe and the sweat of his own brow).

This issue is even more relevant in a producer/consumer society set in a postmodern context allowing for differences to be expressed and for the energizing of relations. They demultiply the Girardian object and make it operate as a specific third element breaking any dualistic conflict rooted in a pure prestige rivalry3.

2. Within/without If you cannot believe in something produced by reconstruction, you may have nothing left to believe in. (John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Peasant, p. 426).

In the Western world, discourses such as sermons, slogans, printed daily media, etc., are overwhelmingly based on a conception of language which gives access to the without. This without has long been, and still is for many, the word of God. For 3

This is emphasized by G. Bateson (1972: 367) when he talks of specificity in communication and of the progress of humankind which is different from animals caught up in communicative behaviours depending only on the negotiation of fixed dominance patterns.

20 Catholics, the institutional discourse of the Church can communicate this exterior through a set of hermeneutic procedures established by Agostino de Dacia. This exterior was made accessible mostly through sermons disseminating truth orally. This orality is the expression of a society based on the power of a consensual hierarchy which can give access to deity: "this is my body, take it and eat it" (B. Stock: 1983). The fact that the media do claim that they can determine what really happened does express that one is in control of the exterior (and appropriates it) and therefore, that one, and not the other, demonstrates symbolic and economic power. Such control at the basis of belief in objectivity activates the Platonic mimesis, establishing an equivalence between a semantic code and the real world. This control is present in all endeavours to concentrate the media into a multinational claiming to get to the referent. Such a referent, set outside a dualistic communication behaviour rooted in a conflict based solely on prestige, is the element that has to be controlled in order to avoid a society based on terror.

3. The discourse of the media; objectivity and death Divert attention from deep conflicts within the society by engaging in foreign wars, make support of these wars a test of loyalty, thereby exposing and isolating potential opposition to the new order. (Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire, p. 134).

In today's laicized world based on the printed word linked originally to the Protestant ethics at the root of capitalism (Weber: 1974), the Word of God and truth are replaced by objectivity and the representation of death in conflictual actions (wars, revolutions). This is particularly true of the mass media which strive to show spectacularly the ultimate referent, death, through the "live" representation of individuals or masses in the process of dying or of being killed. Death, in the modern era, stands for what cannot be said or shown, even through a dead body is considered as a symbol. The without as opposed to within is "represented" by the dead body and it reinforces the belief in the capacity of the media to "present" death. The capacity represented in this way undergird the belief in objectivity (Imbert: 1989) as the modern democratic consensus offered by the media monopolies to the general public. The overemphasis on death as the unquestionable fact at the fringe of discourses is a quite effective strategy for legitimizing objectivity as produced by the media. Such an alleged capacity to "present" death, is viewed as the capacity to make relevant the discourses produced around death, for example through the attribution process (see 12). Thus, the discourse of the media is believed to be objective. This is particularly true for those who have access only to the stable, dualistic a prioris of public language (see 7). This situation is also in-keeping with metalan-


guage viewed as systematized procedures for presenting stable meanings given by what is considered as the issue of an object language (see 21).

4. Systems of realities: the within/without paradigm revisited What we know is not the world but stories about the world. (Stanley Fish, Is there a Text in This Class?, p. 243). Le totalitarisme et le monisme vont de pair (totalitarianism and monism go together) (Michel Maffesoli, L'ombre de Dyonisos, p. 128).

Access to the referent through language or pictures is understood as a direct access to the world in its intrinsic properties by a subject capable of finding and defining her/his identity as such (R. Rorty: 1989). The "construction" of reality is denied by the media which regularly concentrate on sensationalism and death in action. According to Ted Turner of CNN: "Nous filmerions la fin du monde en direct". (We would air the end of the world live) (Le Devoir, 26 janvier 1991, CI). Yet this would not be the end of the world because a journalist and a viewer would still be alive. This self-contradicting slogan does indeed demonstrate two things 1/ that the media strive to control the whole chain of events and even go beyond that and have control over what is outside 2/ that the vision at the basis of this slogan expresses the belief in the possibility of presenting the world in its essence and hence, without any interfering subject. Reality is a given, and therefore, stripped of any singular viewpoint. The subject is an independent entity capable of knowing and controlling himself/herself and the world through rationality. This is one of the ideals of modernity as presented by institutions that shape the public mind through established paradigms at work in public language. In this framework, postmodern thinkers and writers try to show the mechanisms at work in the discourse of the media, so that new conceptions which are operative in specialized languages, are added to public language. They try to adapt the general population to the ever-increasing number of those who are now part of the "cognitariat" (Jencks: 1989) working for the information society. The discourse of the media is quite different from literary texts published since the end of the Second World War by Borges, Gary, Kis, García-Márquez, Thomas Pynchon, Yvon Rivard, or Réjean Ducharme to name a few. These texts are in conformity with scientific theories stating that the human subject not only has an influence on any experience, but also is an intrinsic part of any experience. In these novels, the exploration of a static worldview based on the belief in something outside discourse is contrasted with an exploration of a dynamic worldview geared toward process oriented strategies.

22 This is also the case in Magritte's paintings which go beyond the involvement of the human subject in experience. Magritte brings about a transformation of the relations with the environment and suggests that we can live in, believe in, and build another system of reality. Process-oriented strategies characterizing postmodernity displace the within/ without paradigm of which the media are fond. Commenting on Magritte, Arthur Kroker and David Cook (1986: 81) recall that in the painting The False Mirror, "the eye and the sky are perfectly transparent; both are empty mediations... But the eye in the sky is also a simulation of the corporeal eye: it is symbolic of the externalization of the senses into a vast sensus communis." To understand the major shift pointed out by Magritte, one has to realize that until recently, using perspective was the only way one could build a relationship with the environment. Perspective in the Western world, moreover, represents a forward projection of the subject who tries to dominate the world by imposing a linear progression on it.4 Magritte makes the outlook vanish in favor of reversibility. Representation evaporates into relation. Magritte's world view completely displaces the within/ without paradigm, though not by way of retorsion. The within does not take the place of the without, or vise versa. Both switch back and forth, and there is no definite direction - n o master narrative to make an analogy with linguistically-based systems. The latter has profound consequences for the understanding of the body and its role as the ultimate referent in a world in which power and domination are subdued by the dynamics of exchange taking place in relational systems (specialized languages) and no longer by static paradigms (public language) based on evidence and representation.

5. Modern and postmodern dead bodies History is written by victors. Legends are woven by the people. Writers fantasize. Only death is certain. (Danilo Kis, The Encyclopedia of the Dead, p. 131). Most of the modern totalitarian are quite unaware that their ideas can be traced back to Plato. But many know of their indebtness to Hegel, and all of them have been brought up in the close atmosphere of Hegelianism. They have been taught to worship the state, history, and the nation. (Karl Raimund Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, vol. 2, p. 31).


This is of course different from the Oriental outlook whose focal point is situated behind the artist. This oriental outlook gives precedence to environment and makes the human subject disappear in an attempt to be at one with the world and in conformity with Tao principles.

23 A focal point and a firm basis is called for by the media. This basis is represented by the dead body used discursively as a referent. The dead body is at stake in the symbolic control linked to economic and political control. Every society produces dead bodies in order to discursively rebuild its consensus. This consensus is put in place mostly through the attribution process (he was a hero or a traitor) and through slogans such as "liberty or death", (Patrick Henry at the time of the American Revolution), "besser rot als tot" (better red than dead) (Marxist slogan of the eighties), and "red is dead" (anti-Marxist slogan of the eighties). These syntagmatic structures represent the daily operational production of dualistic paradigms. They clearly reveal that dualistic paradigms are not neutral elements but are valued either positively or negatively. Dualism is the basic framework on which antagonists agree in order to carry out the prestige struggle set within the limits of the appropriation mimesis whose goal is to prioritize, through valorization, one pole of the paradigm. These linguistic productions are mostly set, in our modern world born out of the triumph of the nation state over the organization of feudal society and also over the ideals of a universality disseminated by the Church, in the framework of a victimization process which is at work inside or outside a given nation. In order to protect the consensus in case of a threat from within, leaders easily assert that the nation is manipulated from without. The threat can also be set in the framework of an ideological war transcending borders and opening up to a conflict between class struggle and liberal democracy. This typical Cold War conflict took place at the level of people fighting against each other for the control of institutional power as well as at the level of the definition of terms in a dictionary. One can, for instance, think of very different definitions of a word such as "war" as it is given in two French dictionaries: Robert in 1972 and Larousse in 1973 (Imbert: 1994a): Guerre: épreuve de force entre peuples, entre pays. (Larousse) (War: Fight between people or countries). Guerre: lutte armée entre groupes sociaux et spécialt, entre États considérés comme un phénomène social. (Robert) (War: armed conflict between social groups and especially between States considered as a social phenomenon).

The first definition emphasizes national borders while the second privileges class struggle. The first definition is linked to a two-terms paradigm: Peace and war. The second definition rests on a three-terms paradigm: Peace, war and class struggle. In the first definition, peace is valorized while it is seen as negative in the second paradigm because peace does not lead to class struggle and to redefining society. The fight for the control of dead bodies is put into perspective when one reads two texts pertaining to dead bodies in the modern world (as opposed to the postmodern world). These texts are ideologically opposed but lead to similar conclusions. Edmundo Desnoes, the Cuban thinker, commenting on the style of Susan Meselas, a photographer from Central America, when she takes pictures of wars and of dead people, says that "something more than inert matter, something that transcends horror and calls for solidarity and a 'future' is conveyed":

24 There are two kinds of bodies in Central America: the bodies that are against history and the bodies that are on the side of history. But in the North, these bodies, for example, could lead to pity, horror, empathy, or indifference. The two discourses are at odds... Most photos taken in the North are self-referential, rely heavily on what is happening inside the frame... the photos of Susan Meselas have a historical, social, political and moral referent. (Blonsky: 1985: 40).

Such a remark is similar to the one made by Vigil (1994) about the coverage of an attack by the reporters of radio Venceremos in El Salvador. Vigil demonstrates that peasants are more interested in the news when they are presented with suspense. However, simultaneously they live in an environment which is reinforcing the belief in reality and in the consequences of exploitation. They are also regularly confronted with dead bodies and often with the death of a loved one. In this context, the demand for narrativity, which can be linked to a traditional fascination for stories and myths, is deeply rooted in a meaningful relationship with a historical and moral referent. This is not the case with the population of a techno-democracy who has access to mass death only through television. The remarks by Desnoes are similar to those given by thinkers of the American National Defense like C. Lord and F. Barnell who studied the coverage of the Vietnam war: The information content of TV pictures is typically low or nonexistent, and the emotions such pictures arouse are more likely to defeat than to promote rational discussion. The rapid juxtaposition of images of death and destruction torn out of any intelligible context, so common in television coverage of war, inevitably encourages the feeling that the current war is especially futile, immoral, or absurd. (1989: 25).

Desnoes and Lord and Barnell use bodies to produce meaning. A body is supposed to have a meaning. A dead body, as soon as it is shown, talked about, made public, is the most powerful producer of meaning. This for two main reasons. Through a dead body, the mediatic institution demonstrates that it has access to reality. This mediatic institution can then disseminate its message which will be legitimized by a dead body, as long as it can be believed that death was not in vain. "Presentation" of death, in the modern world, is linked to a coherence rooted in a signification overdetermined by the paradigm within/without. Lord and Barnell are chagrined by the fact that on television any meaning is lost in the rapid juxtaposition of images. During the Vietnam war, the representational world was evaporating, but the relational power structure was not efficiently put into action. Therefore, the representational world had been used by enemies who wanted to foster their worldview. And for a large part of the public, in the context of the modern world and of its emphasis on representation, the use by enemies seemed more coherent and thus more convincing. In the modern era, dead bodies were used to give an objective basis to meanings because attributing dualistic stable

25 qualities (he is a hero, he is a traitor, they are good, they are dangerous), which people could consider objective, was essential in the context of the Cold War. Today, a relational world is being put in place by the sheer fact that satellites are circling the earth and that computers and fiber optics are building a networked brain around the planet. An external brain is put into operation, peoples' brains are now part of a system of relationships which can no longer be symbolized by Orwell's "Big Brother" as in Nineteen-Eighty Four. In this case, there was a clear division between a center, the massified whole, and margins which were destroyed. In the postmodern era, brain and eye are externalized. But the eye is not Big Brother's. It is not to be equated with the multiplication of cameras filming the public in and around shopping centers and in sensitive areas such as banks. This type of eye is linked to the working of public life dominated by dualistic paradigms. The new eye is the one which is a brain and which puts detailed information like images of buildings in a city or the image of certain important future dead bodies in computers in order to target them when deemed necessary. Bodies are mathematical formulas, bits of information. They exist somewhere Other than in their flesh, and because of this situation, their flesh, in the event of a war, can be transformed into a corpse very rapidly due to the fact that their image is programmed into a microsystem powering a type of annihilation device. Bodies are also outside, in a systemic brain and, simultaneously, bodies contain a brain which can externalize itself through the access to the power of the systemic brain and its data. Magritte was right; reversibility is the norm and power is built into the very coding of the relational system. This also means that a body is no longer only within itself. It is extended indefinitely. A body goes far beyond what Gregory Bateson (1972) emphasized when he was noting that the body of a blind person, for instance, may stop at the point where his cane touches the environment. These days, with the increasing practice of virtual reality and the omnipresence of technology, the body of a soldier, for instance, is a network. It is connected to programs guiding missiles to their targets. The body stops where it reaches the enemy it has to kill. Invincibility, through an extended virtual specialized body, is implemented. At the same time, death is only a few inches away. This is very different from the type of body which the media present in their play on the traditional paradigms of modernity which emphasize access to the referent. This is why they tend to privilege images pertaining to Third World victims of conventional wars (when these wars are mentioned): guerrillas in Sudan and genocide in Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire. However, these wars are typical of a world founded on paradigms which have not yet been touched by the new epistemology in which within/without are reversible. These people are the public victims of a technological, strategic and knowledge gap and contribute to maintaining a link with public language and to dualistic paradigms at a time when the new paradigms of specialized languages are becoming operative within public language. Therefore, there are two types of bodies in our world, but not in the sense Desnoes (1985) meant it. There are the bodies of individuals who, through video games

26 and virtual reality, can live a simulacre of invincibility thanks to a spatial hyperextension of their selves, concomitant with the globalization of their economic system and there are the bodies of the "born" victims. Any new medium, in this case binary systems, dramatically increases illiteracy among a large part of the world's population (while another part is able to master the new system of significations) by marginalizing traditional practices, still alive through the a prioris of public language. Relational systems and hyperextended bodies go together. They are built into a new epistemological framework difficult to understand for those who still believe in a stable set of values, rooted in a framework resting on being and on fixed paradigms leading to a fixed identity and to "facts". Relational systems initiate a new use of the body which is still a nodal point in the production of signification. However, in the framework of discourses making use of the mimesis of appropriation set in a context where information can be considered as only strategically led, that is, as a type of normal disinformation set beyond ethical communicational a prioris like good faith, the body, and particularly the dead body, becomes in the postmodern world, the main element at stake in an epistemology which is linked to a constructivist view of the world and no more to an essentialist one. The meanings which were believed to be objective in modernity, because they were linked to dead bodies and to a presentation of death and of the without of discourse, are now seen as strategic and goal-oriented tools caught in the flux of discourses building their own without. Therefore, the dead body and the capacity to point to it as the only undeniable fact (to be dead/not to be dead), is now the only object which can differentiate outright disinformation from the constructivist conception linked to conflicting discourses shaping points of view based upon temporary consensus. Ethics, in order to be viable in a globalized world, need a point of reference, a universal entity, and this entity is the dead body. It is the only fact that one cannot deny. And this fact, although states and dictators often deny it, is that there were people who were alive and who have been tortured, exterminated, and are now dead (see 21). In the postmodern era, it is the only element left which can be conceived as being at the threshold between within and without in a context where the without is being built by the within. In this optimist world powered by commercials, by scientific discoveries and by the creation of new wealth in a world which is not conceived as a zero sum game, the dead body is the essential intersticial space opening to a universal ethic.

6. Disinformation Perhaps the whole root of our trouble... is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, p. 90).

27 How is disinformation defined by specialists when they publish a text on the subject which is supposed to be read by an informed public, but one consisting of specialists? It is a production of meanings geared towards the without or coming from the without (Shultz-Godson, 1986, Pincher, 1985, Wolton, 1986). In the process of communication, passing for information (although it is more a way of applying an administrative logic to social relationships), paradigms related to public language are activated while, at the same time, paradigms used by specialists differ radically from them. In public language, the difference between nation-states always parallels that of within/without. In specialized languages, the distinction within/ without does not necessarily correspond to the nation-state limits. Therefore, it is possible to implement policies which will take into account threats from within through the doctrine of national security or even to consider part of a national government as representing a threat which must be dealt with radically as it was the case in Chile at the end of the Allende years. In specialized languages, within/without and self/others are conceptualized as dynamic discursive forces, each of them dialogizing in a constant hesitation which allows for context-dependent strategies to be efficient. For Pincher "disinformation... is an ancient technique of deception comprising various ways of disseminating false or misleading information to discredit or undermine adversary governments, individuals, institutions, etc. Most disinformation operations, however, are long-lasting and rely on cumulative effects rather than spectacular actions." (1985: 146). The longest lasting effect is probably the one which plays with the foundation of the referent of public language (the dead body) not only through the attribution process (who is a traitor, who is a hero), but particularly through an absent/present process. Disinformation is particularly puzzling in the framework of the belief in stable entities when an institution denies that people were alive and that they are now dead, when it denies killing and genocide (desaparecidos), or when it temporarily hides the fact that people are killed (Timor) or have been killed (the Gulf War). This situation can be continued for very long periods as in the case of Chernobyl and of the general effect of the use of the atom in the production of energy. Following the Chernobyl incident for instance, the Soviet Government tried to hide the contamination figures and the number of people permanently maimed by radiation, and to considerably minimize the number of dead: Quand quelqu'un décéde au sein d'une famille, nous ne courons pas ouvrir la porte pour crier á la cantonnade: regardez ce qui vient de se passer! On parvient á faire preuve de tact; mais ce tact est évidemment le résultat d'un long processus de civilisation. (Tchernobyl: 45). (When somebody dies in a family, we do not rush to the door to scream: look what has happened! One manages to demonstrate tact; but this tact is naturally the end result of a long process of civilization.).

28 This is what Vladimir Lomesko, who worked for the Soviet Ministry of External Affairs, said about the accident. His rhetoric called for a consensus on the decency to be shown in the case of a great tragedy. It is based on the creation of an analogy between family life and the relationship between incompetent specialists and the people and on another analogy between natural death and accidental death. This analogy tends to induce people to keep quiet in the name of "decency", which is the new word for state secrecy. Instead of calling for outright censorship, it shows that one has to behave according to "universal" and traditional principles even if the totally new situation calls for a new consciousness. V. Lomesko intended to continue with an epistemology which is founded on past experiences and on the belief in stable entities while at the same time he was negating the basis of these stable entities, namely dead bodies. This situation has not been treated in a more efficient way by the International Atomic Energy Agency which is dependent on the United Nations, as was emphasized by L'Express (6 juin 1991). There has been neither a study of the effect of the accident on the 140,000 persons who were evacuated, nor on the 600,000 persons who contributed to the cleaning up of the environment. This narrowing of the study to a small group of people about whom nothing significant could be found is inkeeping with the role of the Agency which is to foster the expansion of the nuclear industry for civil and peaceful applications. People are not treated in a more transparent manner in the Western world as far as the nuclear industry is concerned. Chernobyl is also a menace for Europe and particularly for France, a major nuclear power, which insisted on the fact that the radioactive cloud did not go over its territory although, ten years later, research points to a possible relationship between the proliferation of thyroid cancers and the radioactive cloud. In North America, from the experiments in the deserts of New Mexico and of Nevada to the Three Mile Island incident, the information conglomerates try their best to minimize the dangers or to deviate the interest of readers to other themes. In the magazine Rolling Stone, C.T. Horncker (1990: 39) showed that when there are problems with nuclear power, states censor the media. The whole industrialized world negates the death effect in order to go on with military and scientific research and to export its technology to countries who need it, mostly Third World countries. The public is aware of problems without knowing their extent and without being able to make up its mind. A similar situation can also be seen with respect to the contradictory information given about smoking (Imbert: 1995). In all these farreaching situations, discourses are built around partial evidences and presented as dual conflictual options which cannot be resolved because of a lack of strong evidence. Arguments are periodically repeated, each in their framework based on the attribution of qualities or effects pertaining to chosen and partial research eliminating some important questions. A general bad faith is omnipresent which allows us to continue by trying to keep a certain type of balance of power between the options while avoiding as much as possible indicating the ultimate referent: the dead body.

29 This referential disinformation is what can be defined as the summum of disinformation because it goes beyond definitions given in books geared toward an "informed" public, but one deficient of specialists. These definitions are mostly linked to examples which can be related to the attribution process (paradigm self/other) set in a chain of conflictual events, but not to a long term endeavour to internally change the basic epistemological tenets of a civilization. In the present day, disinformation regularly plays with basic public beliefs in stable entities or in a referent on which discursive representations can be built. But as the study of a corpus of mediatic informative strategies reveals, as in the case of the Gulf War, the referent itself is dependent on discourse formations controlled by pools of information at the time of a crucial conflict which needs to be won. There are, in the world of mass media controlled by monopolies (part of conglomerates that also own armament industries) no definite possibilities for most of the public to know with enough certainty if, at what time, and under which conditions, the referent is simulated or not. There are, therefore, fewer and fewer possibilities for the public to act in a responsible way because of the very multiplicity of disinformation set in the logic of a communication ideology fostering speed (P. Virilio, 1984) and constantly asserting access to the referent while, simultaneously, playing on referentiality through disinformation games in a context of the omnipresence of reflexivity and virtual reality. Disinformation has, therefore, a very different impact on those who are still acting in-keeping with a stable epistemology. Disinformation, which was hidden from the public in an epistemology of the stable playing on virtuous and ethic discursive reactions, or which was considered exceptional when a case of disinformation was revealed, is in the present day sometimes made public after its particular techniques have produced the sought-after results. More and more, nowadays, facts are strategically revealed to be first and foremost acts of discourse, particularly in the case of the Gulf War. The revelation of disinformation defined as a specialized way of ordering facts and of inventing them, is part of a strategy. It is in-keeping with the strategy established by Lord and Barnell (1989). As we saw above, Lord and Barnell wanted to get rid of sensationalism and of the daily presentation of death in action which, during the Vietnam War, destroyed any meaning which could have led to a reinforcement of patriotism among the population. Therefore, during the Gulf War, United States troops were presented as victorious almost from the beginning. No suspense was allowed. A univocal meaning was continuously repeated: that of the superiority and of the total control of the Allied forces over the situation. No dynamics pertaining to the appropriation mimesis was set in motion. A structure of dominance was forced upon the dissemination of the news. As a consequence, dead bodies were totally hidden and the public was even led to think that there were almost no casualties either among the Allied forces or among the Iraqi population. The Allied forces, therefore, were in a position to impose a meaning because there was no other point of view and not even a possibility to imagine a different point of view by referring to dead bodies, which in this case represent the third element in a

30 dual relationship. As Girard emphasizes, the body of the victim is a bundle of significations which contributes to the restarting of the differentiation process after the consensus has been established against the victim. In this case, however, there has been mostly a dominant signification imposed by the institution and no process of differentiation which would have contributed to reempowering individuals by the practice of a polysemic hermeneutic. This led to displace the paradigm victory/ defeat. In a traditional semantic, that is before the considerable damage done by the Vietnam war to consensus, victory depends on the possibility of defeat for its meaning and vice versa. It depends on the possibility to create a narrative structure which will open the public to hope. It depends on the possibility to move semantic contents along a narrative structure which, as Barthes demonstrates (1966), mixes causal and consecutive logic. Indeed, this narrative is stereotyped but it is supposed to lead to a climax through which the collectivity reasserts its claim for the object and its rejection of the enemy through the victimization process. In the new post semantic of the Gulf war, there is no longer an antithesis between victory and defeat. There is victory which is only allowed to be contextualized in a consecutive logic. The Allies are the winners but it is going to take a short span of time to prove it. In this sense, history is dead because history is framed in a narrative structure solely based on consecution. Time is the new frontier and its spatial incarnation is speed. And the public cleft between old and new paradigms aspires to explore the new frontier of time, the frontier where reality is fiction and fiction reality, the frontier which was opened by Einstein and is concept of space-time. In such a world, all the other important paradigms are displaced. For instance, lie is no longer the antithesis of truth. One cannot say the truth. One can only point out lie by saying that it is not possible that in a war there are no dead bodies (see 19). It is clear also for the opposition crisis/normality. In such a situation, the context based on normality is extended indefinitely and there is only a dynamism of strategic changes in a flux and not a rupture in the rhythm. Not only is there no room for class struggle and its dichotomizing of the concept of peace (set in the antithetic paradigm peace/war linked to within/without (Imbert: 1994a) into exploiter/ exploited, but also there is no longer room for war as it was understood during modernity. War became a game controlled by specialists sharing their capitalized knowledge through media with an astonished public. This new use of semantic prevented the public from reacting when reaction would have had an impact. In this conflict, no dead body has been shown. But revealing afterwards to a public believing in stable entities, that the whole process of information was controlled so that events looked like a game, contributes to cleaving the public between old and new paradigms and to inducing people to adapt to new situations which they do not master. In the modern era, because of the monosemy of master narratives, the public was led to believe it was controlling its destiny. These days, it is led to realize it does not master its environment which is constantly destabilized by an everchanging context. This situation demonstrates to the

31 disempowered public that this disinformation is a normal procedure in which the government, the media, and the armament world regularly cooperate. As public language is still based on an epistemological ground emphasizing stability and language transparency, most people were devoid of means to react creatively to such a "normal" situation because they did not have easy access to non-conformist and/or in-depth information which would confront them with different types of discourses. Most people were prevented from having access to an undeniable element at the root of the capacity of an institution to generate meanings linked to a stable exterior. They were given discourses which were believed, in North America particularly, to be objective. Then they were told that they were caught in a binary situation where the control of their perceptions was the goal. They were caught in a power relationship similar to a dominance relationship, that is a dualistic conflict in which there was no third element given which could have grounded the stake into a specific entity. They were not given the opportunity to get out of this conflict based on the mimesis of appropriation of discourses by being able to relate to a third element, dead bodies. They were, therefore, denied access even to the traditional situation of an orthodox discourse commenting upon the victims and building a consensus linked to a stable exterior. Victims, contrary to what is emphasized by Girard referring to past situations, were prevented from becoming a nexus of significations engaged in a ritual because they were lost in a network open to flux. The public was denied access to dead bodies because the political and military establishment, at that time, were fully aware that another process would take place as a result of the undeniable fact of death. A certain number of people living in the postmodern world have learned to think in terms of two epistemologies. They would have started to produce discourses outside of the orthodoxy and set a process of production of discourses which could, theoretically, have been used by the enemies' orthodox discourse. This example clearly shows that death as an undeniable fact is what powers the production of meanings and that the mimesis of appropriation, by centering on the victim (as opposed to dominance patterns), is at the root of culture. In a dualistic epistemology, the mimesis of appropriation privileges the discourse of the lynchers who are able to control violence by the sacralization of the victim and by building a ritual upon it, leading to the reaffirmation of a shared consensus. The public was denied this ritual which, in the media, could have taken the form of articles dealing, for instance, with guilt or with an analysis of the similarities and differences between the Gulf War and the Vietnam War. In a dynamic epistemology, the mimesis of appropriation allows people to be aware of the dynamic of the production of discourses, and of the strategical necessity of producing a certain discourse at a certain time. People are thus trying to build temporary agreements with others in order to accomplish a future-oriented and pragmatic goal. This is the situation of the mimesis of appropriation and of death in a postmodern liberal world where the multiplication of objects, be they material or symbolic, is the norm. Therefore, this type of society can continuously disseminate

32 power relationships, simultaneously foster dissimilarities and the integration of difference through, for instance, the multiplication of responsibilities, overproduction, etc. A clear connection between a dynamic epistemology, context-dependent processes of significations, an administration of social relationships through the ideology of communication (static epistemology) and a certain type of economic production underlies any postmodern society divided between the epistemologies of public language (see 7) and of specialized languages, the latter being ever more present in the public space. Revealing that there has been a coherent and deliberate disinformation turned not towards the world without but towards the within of society itself, at the time of the Gulf War, put the public, which was mostly refering to a dualistic epistemology, in a state of disarray. Ethics are not efficient when confronted with the surprise of a radically different epistemology. Since then, this state has been slowly modified because through media, schooling and publications, a certain percentage of the population has been trained to act and think with the help of paradigms which would be closer to the dynamics and to the indeterminacy of the specialized languages. However, this is still impossible for an important part of the population where helplessness is even deeper than if it were able to believe in its former simple dualistic epistemology. In this case of helplessness, any new fundamentalism capitalizing on resentment (Angenot: 1996) could act as a powerful source of cohesion when emphasizing shared values based on non-rational reflexes such as exclusion. However, now more than ever, the paradigms of specialized languages are continuously disseminated among the class of the public that deals with economic and symbolic global problems. It is even disseminated by the media which are caught between two epistemologies and which, particularly through advertising (see 7), tend to educate the public in a kind of double coding opening on a new conception of the world. It is based on fragmentation and also on the fact that, as M. Régnier points out (1985: 33), there are values which are applicable to all human beings. For instance, the prohibition of torture or of clitoridectomy can be considered to be universal, because all human beings suffer equally when subjected to such treatment. The body and the capacity to point out that somebody was alive and that he is now dead is the last element in which universality can be located in the postmodern world. This is why the dead body is an important element at stake in the new discourses which are fragmented by the global access to the world and to its manifold cultures, languages, and epistemological points of view. It is the only foundation on which to develop an ethic which will not be linked to the paradigm within/without, but to a self-contained universe in which life is a flow of discourses and of information creating more and more information whose ultimate limit is the disintegration of a complex system, the body, into unrelated parts which are recycled by other systems.



7. Public language/specialized languages Le législateur vertueux... tentant d'inventer une société meilleure pour le plus grand nombre... ne peut traduire (son plan) dans la langue du peuple. (The virtuous legislator... trying to invent a better society for as many people as possible... cannot translate (his plan) in the language of the common person) (J.-J. Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, p. 533).

Among Indo-European languages (Sapir 1962; Whorf 1965), public language is composed of a syntaxically-based semantics deeply grounded in a conception of the world which still has strong links with a mythical, non scientific, world conception. This is well illustrated by clichés such as the sun rises or sets, by standard expressions such as I see a wave (as if there were something as static, such as in cartoons, as a wave) or by dualistic processes. Bateson (1972: 317) gives a good example of this last situation when he demonstrates that there is no such thing as a man felling a tree with an axe but a series of differences making differences: "(differences in tree)-(differences in retina)-(differences in brain)-(differences in muscles)-(differences in movement of the axe)-(differences in tree), etc.". Public language rests on a syncretism of mythical elements and on statism, on dualistic a prioris pitting man against environment, or human against human. They are tainted by a monosemic conception of signification which is only jeopardized randomly by puns and jokes. They are the heirs of past specialized languages, like platonism, which were conceptualized as a reaction against change and an unstable political world moving from an oligarchy to a democracy. This has been shown by Karl Popper (1963: 14): "It often seems as if they (Heraclitus and Plato) were trying to comfort themselves for the loss of a stable world by clinging to the view that change is ruled by an unchanging law". These specialized languages which, contrary to what is happening in the postmodern era, emphasized stability, were operative at a certain period of time. They are now mainly leading to inefficient conceptualization in the specialized domains although their paradigms can sometimes still be considered useful in certain contexts as Bateson demonstrates. During the Second World War, Bateson convinced the Government of the United States that dualistic oppositions provided the best framework for allowing the public to construct meaning from war news. This is why he told the government and the press to present the

34 news in such a way that Americans would not be disturbed by the complexity of a three pole presentation, the Soviets, the Allies and the Axis countries (Germany, Italy and Japan). The media presented the situation with only two poles: the Allies (including the Soviets) against the Axis countries. In the Eighties, the public was provided with slogans such as "Profits isn't a dirty word" (.Macleans: March 22 1982: 9) which tend to counter the antithetic discourse present in capitalist society, that of Marxism and its epigone. These slogans were coupled, in Europe, with "Il était temps qu'un capitaliste fasse une révolution" (It was high time that a capitalist started a revolution). This last sentence was printed on top of an image showing the works of Mao, Engels, Lenin, and Marx, and advertised Apple Computers (Gèo: october 1984: 33). Therefore, public language is perceived as a target for the dissemination of a renewed liberal economism. However, this liberal economism is still linked to a confrontational dualism opening up on a kind of monism, because the goal is to have the liberal economist ideology triumph through economic exchange and technology over other discourses and notably over discourses linked to dictatorships of the left or of the right. It also tends to maintain in the margins discourses which are different, like these, pertaining to social-democratic ideals or others such as gay and lesbian ones. But there is more to this slogan. It can also be read as a particularly clever text which directly connects with the philosophical language of specialists. It is clearly in conformity with what Marx had stated as is explained by Popper (vol. 2: 109): "It is vain to expect that any important change can be achieved by the use of legal or political means... Only the evolution of the underlying essence, the economic reality, can produce any essential or real change in a social revolution." The text by Apple Computers is, in a way, the perfect illustration of Marx's theory. This display of texts, which imposes a new public language and which also intertextualizes a particular specialized language itself conotatively and performatively decontextualized while being kept conformed to the denotative meaning of the original conceptual framework, is typical of a postmodern production of significations as is also shown by Jencks (1989) in architecture. This displaced conflict is developed by many commercials, which tend to sell a new system rather than a product. "More than the wall has come tumbling down" posts the Hyperion financial company (The Globe and Mail: Tuesday, May 29, 1990: B5), reminding us of November 9 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. "La liberté finira un jour par aller à tout le monde" (One day, freedom will be in everyone's interest) emphasizes Levi's (Figaro Magazine: April 8, 1989: 87). "Deux moyens infaillibles pour mettre en feu tous les palais" (Two infaillible means to set palates (palaces) on fire), says Tabasco pepper sauce beside a book by Mao (Elle: 25 avril 1988: 167). These slogans express the new ideology of liberalism which is fighting not only Marxism but also any locked-in, static, violent situation such as the dictatorships of the Marcos in the Philippines. "Happiness isn't 3,000 pairs of shoes" says the world's sole authorities (Ottawa Magazine: Summer 1988: 23) beside a picture of Mrs. Marcos and another of Kruschev. The new public language while

35 being used according to the static paradigms emphasizing objectivity, lends itself, through a kind of confrontational humour, to the basics of liberal economism and to its a prioris, change, freedom and responsibility. Yet, these values are still framed in paradigms generating a static consensus based on the alleged capacity of the new public language to tell the truth. And it is this last element which differentiates the new public language from specialized languages. One has to be aware of the fact that this endeavour to disseminate specialized a prioris into public language is not new and that it is accelerating at a very fast pace. Already in the nineteenth century, when thinkers like Horace Mann (United-States), Étienne Parent (Canada) or Sarmiento (Argentina) realized that national identities had to be built in accordance with the development of societies completely losing their links with aristocratic values and connecting with a global market, they wanted, through schooling, to transform a stable way of life and way of thinking into a dynamic one: La irrupción de las masas antes inmóviles en la vida económica, en la vida social, en la vida cultural, he aquí, viene a descubrir Sarmiento, el problema central del siglo. (Donghi, 1975: XXII) (The irruption of the formerly motionless masses in the economic, social and cultural life is becoming, as Sarmiento just discovered, the central problem of this century).

This sentence, pertaining to Sarmiento, can be linked with the dual aim that Jencks (1989: 14) sees in postmodern architecture: "an architecture that was professionally based and popular..." Today, we are also in an era of rapid change which causes us to produce a social environment which is conducive to the adaptation of as many people as possible to a new epistemology based on the generalization of global competition. The goal is partly confrontational. It leads to spreading doubts about static paradigms which refer to any without, which would be related to an essence. This is why these slogans attack not only Marxism and political dictatorship, but also any references to sacred texts. "Turning water into wine may have been a miracle, but turning it into great beer is no picnic either" says the Upper Canada brewing company (The Ottawa X Press: Wednesday, June 14, 1995: 15). "Sur terre comme au ciel" (On earth as it is Heaven), advertises Bell Mobilité while using a sentence reminding us of prayers (La Presse: Tuesday September 15 1992: A 17). "And on Sunday she discovered No nonsense Pantyhose" intertextualizes Kay ser Corporation (Self: March 1991: 118). "Qu'Esso soit loué" (Be Esso lauded), advocates Esso over a furnace on top of which shines a saintly crown with a halo (La Presse: Saturday October 14 1989: A4). Clearly, every discourse which relies on stability is subjected to a type of irony which is often present in commercials. In these cases, the goal is not only to sell a particular product but also an allegiance to the new masters of the world through a discourse which is still presented as based on facts

36 mostly in the news covering world events while simultaneously indicating that facts are processes led by change in commercials. In the mid-Seventies, a new era was emerging. Indications of this were numerous but not always obvious to the general public. Some pictures and texts were produced which pointed out a new conception of the world and of social relationships. They were masterminded by multinational advertising agencies working alongside with multinational conglomerates. "There is nothing permanent except change" proclaimed the multinational Conoco (Business Week: 23 oct 1978) under an image showing a gradual transformation of a block of coal into a drop of oil. Here, Heraclitus is directly contributing to the new era questioning the static a prioris at work in public language. This paradox hints at the fact that now, dynamism is, more and more, the basis on which competition and creativity operate. It is complemented by another text like "Bechtel builds water" which tends to destroy a dualistic positivistic vision of the industrial world seen as imposing itself in opposition to nature. In this text, nature and industry cooperate for the building of a better world. Power and weakness are both present. Yet, these paradoxes are communicated to the public accustomed to reading Business Week and already attuned to complex ideas and to business goals. The paradoxes are used to influence those who are already aware of many central social goals. They manifest the presence of the new paradigms penetrating public language and are used to counter the dualism which can influence thinkers and leaders who are cleft between two sets of paradigms. This dualism, omnipresent in most media reporting, sometimes permeates through specialized languages which are supposed to rely on different a prioris such as dynamism, flux, polysemy, and context-dependent production of significations. This is demonstrated by Lakoff (1987) who underlines the inability of many people to think creatively outside the paradigms of routine day-to-day public language. It is commented upon by researchers interested in international relations: Closely related to mirror-imaging or perhaps a peculiar American aspect of it, is the tendency to evaluate likely decisions by the probability of demonstrable military success, and the inability to appreciate that political aims can be achieved through unsuccessful military efforts (Tet, Middle East War). To a large degree this reflects the traditional American bifurcation of peace and war into antithetical states rather than elements among the same continuum. (Lowenthal: 1985: 49).

The dualistic paradigm attributed to Americans, but which can be seen as fully operative in most of the Western world, is a founding block of public language. It has been present in the reasoning of specialists for the last twenty years and is still present, at times, today. They are constantly operating on two levels of discourses. The specialists are themselves cleft because they were all educated in a dualistic ideology generating a belief in stable dualistic paradigms. However, they are able to operate on a dynamic epistemology at the level of their expertise. They are more and more operating at the level of a type of post-theory (see 22) connected with a kind

37 of pragmatism taking into account the lability of discourses and leading to the production of a third discourse from the conflict between two others. In a dynamic epistemology, conflicts are not locked in a static dualism. Specialized languages are not built on statism and dualism. This leads to people 1/ able to deal with multiple and complex relations between manifold parts of a whole in which the person is him/herself part of the relation (Capra: 1982: 70); 2/ able to work in an environment of effects which can be causes (Watzlawick: 1977) or of effects without a cause or a generating principle (Freud and the theory of the unconscious accessible through its effects only); 3/ able to work and create without referring to a stable principle although they would be able to evaluate the advantages/disadvantages of using stable entities or of using the belief in stable entities; 4/ interested in the probabilities of interconnections and in the inescapable interconnectedness of actions which are better to be considered as reactions about reactions; 5/ able to build different scenarios when facing a set of indexes; 6/ be less inclined to crave consistency and to dismiss important variables or missing data; and 7/ be able to evaluate similarities in situations of juxtaposition which do not rest on causal relationships.

8. Public language/specialized languages, time and logic Les aïeux de ma mère auraient été stupéfaits que la clef de l'univers de l'un de leurs descendants se manifeste par écrit. (My mother's ancestors would have been dumbfounded that the key to the world of one of their descendants manifests itself in writing) (Peter Hoeg, Smilla et l'amour de la neige, p. 384)

Public language keeps a strong relationship with time. Things to come are one of its important preoccupations as can be seen in popular culture. The signs of the future, as defined within the framework of astrology, are an important component of public language which is preoccupied with the body, particularly heavenly bodies. This is obvious in the most popular Hollywood star romances and their dependence on all kind of divination leading the intrigue. In a way, public language also connects us with a semantic very different from a teleology based upon the sign as a manifestation of an exterior, the logos, which does not exist in time. This conception with its emphasis on hermeneutics led by a written text, be it centralized under a monosemic institution as in Catholicism or be it more loosely built around the legitimacy of margins as in some kabbalistic Jewish traditions, represents an important attempt to build a specialized language. This language, however, is based on static exterior entities. These a prioris have, through centuries, permeated public language which opened on a syncretism of myth and static a prioris pertaining to the religious specialized languages. These religious languages were built around the possibility of returning to a lost paradise, to an origin defined by the Bible. After

38 the Reformation and its emphasis on individual production of significations and after the Renaissance and its displacement of infinity in man himself, new specialized languages started to emerge. These languages were obsessed with going back not to an origin in time but to the root of things, to their first principles, to their basic form. A logical origin was postulated and this gave rise to scientific hypotheses helping to build a vision of an infinite but measurable universe. These specialized languages, linked to modernity were, however, composed of basic stable entities or principles governing the universe. These stable a prioris also permeated public language which became a syncretism of myth, historic obsessions of the origin and logic obsession of basic principles. Therefore, slowly but surely, a type of narrative emerged, which is built on the confusion of temporal and causal linkage and which expresses, in a way, a syncretism particular to a public language originating in the transformations led by the Renaissance. However, in the postmodern era, they also disseminate the values of contemporary specialized language as can be seen in a novel such as Pynchon's Vineland (1990) (see 26). Literature, from this perspective, is at the junction between public and specialized languages and cannot be simultaneously equated with either of them. History also focuses on chronology and causal relationships. However, modern causality became displaced in the postmodern world and this became particularly obvious when the antagonistic ideology, Marxism, had been defeated or at least minorized up to the point that it had to redefine itself totally when it became contextualized with a dominant economic liberalism. This is very clear when one compares two utilizations of the image of Nadia Comaneci, the famous young Romanian gymnast. In a caricature by Girerd (La Presse: Friday December 1st 1989: B2), Nadia's image is used to ridicule soldiers guarding the Romanian border and trying to stem the flux of people who want to go to the West. The soldiers do not know if it is a phantom or an air draft. They are blind to movement and excellence. On the back cover of L'Actualité (December 1989), Nadia's multiple images and its dynamic and very present body are used in bright colors by Northern Telecom with the slogan "Un saut dans le futur" (A leap into the future). Escape from the past, leap into the future and globalization were still in 1989, three necessarily connected movements which, in the framework of the struggle for the appropriation of the object (economic and symbolic power), were dramatizing the last fireworks of modernity based on the recourse to the past and to an origin in order to move forward. This origin is portrayed as a historic origin as well as a logical one in the sense that it shows an escape from the basic tenets of statism and state Marxism in which dialectics became lost in a rigid structure. However, this recourse to the past is simultaneously presented as obsolete by the sheer irony communicated by the caricature. History and its numerous conflicts for the appropriation of the object are not an arbiter of truth, even in its milder form, which could tolerate a certain form of relativism. In the commercial by Northern Telecom, however, no past is mentioned. The colourful image is an apology of the pleasure to live in a stimulating present. The whole text constitutes an apology of the future, of total quality in the

39 domain of communications and of innovation seen as a dynamic creative impulse adapted to the needs of the workers, of the consumers and of other companies. In the new perspective provided by new paradigms, dynamism and change are important and they are envisaged as an expression of a contingence which frees us from the obsession of a static truth and dysphoric reality. Change is now connected to relationships which are not historically determined because the antagonist ideology has been marginalized. Conflicts over causality, dependance on root forms and on a monosemic or linear type of reasoning are not the norm any more. Relationships can now be defined as relationships of similarity, analogy and probability. They can be envisaged as a potential wide open interconnectedness following manifold patterns which can cooperate in a present where open systems are prevalent. A culture then becomes a multiplicity of differences set in a context of interactions of which any observer, himself cleft between multiple allegiances, is an important part. Therefore, everything is contingent and imprecise but also more interesting. In any case, a new kind of specialized language is disseminating some of its a prioris in public language through the educative powers of commercials. This new specialized language takes into account an infinite possibility of heterogeneous finalities and a combination of possibilities which can produce similar or dissimilar consequences while not being connected causally. Compared to this new epistemology, public language is still mostly built on a syncretism of mythic preoccupations turned towards the future and of static obsessions drawn by the past and also by the reference to static elements. However, public language is now integrating the new paradigms of specialized languages through a suspicion that stability linked to the within/without paradigm is a device in the hands of those in power. This suspicion leads to the realization that there is an interconnectedness of multiple differences which is far more complex than what master narratives were hinting at. Therefore, an intuition of the virtuality of the world is present and can as well lead to a deepening of strategic thinking as to an emergence of a mythical new age recycling wishful thinking, prediction and obsession in signs of the future.

9. Specialized languages and the appropriation mimesis Je peux rester toute ma vie un apatride, un éternel pèlerin, si je plante un arbre dans chacun des lieux où je m'arrête. (All my life, I can be a stateless person, an eternal pilgrim, if I plant a tree in every place where I stop) (Antonio d'Alfonso, Avril ou l'Anti-passion, p. 181).

The bilingualism or better said the bi-discursivity, stability/flux, and monosemy/polysemy, is inserted in a context of conflictual relationships that depend on the mimesis of appropriation and on the victimization process at play inside a given

40 community and also outside of it. Historically, this mimesis of appropriation tends to be linked with the strong dissemination of modern values which run contrary to monosemy and stability, two values which are traditionally emphasized by a religious world. One of the best example of this is given by Étienne Parent in Du travail chez l'homme (23 sept. 1847). In 1847, he states that the biblical curse "Thou shall work at the sweat of your forehead" is no longer valid. Remarkably, he does this when the ultramontane ideology is becoming omnipresent. To work is no longer a curse; it is the very foundation of freedom: "Ainsi, les peuples les plus industrieux furent-ils toujours les plus libres." (61) (Therefore, industrious peoples have always been the most free). This expression is particularly interesting because it comes close to a complete turning over of the accepted paradigm saying that work is a curse. Work Is Freedom is the new motto of modernity and liberalism and of its new epistemology. At the end of the 20th century, the most dangerous antagonist community, that is the Communist world with its numerous ramifications within non-Marxist communities, no longer represents a menace. The mimesis of appropriation is therefore concentrated within the community which is represented by the Western world and a world in a process of rapid westernization. This world is subjected to continuous pressures to conform to a system controlled by those who are able to capitalize more and more economic, symbolic and technological power, and who are trying to disseminate the ideas of liberal economism worldwide (Gilder: 1981). Postmodernism is changing the basic ideas of modernity while mixing them with new ones. For instance, if we go back to what Parent said about work, one has to realize that this new paradigm was simultaneously rejecting slavery linked to an aristocratic world where dominance relationships were the norm, and excluding all those who would not conform to this new paradigm, particularly indigenous people: Le sauvage d'Amérique a pris nos vices et laissé de côté nos vertus, il a pris ce qui fait notre faiblesse et négligé ce qui fait notre force, le travail et les idées de la civilisation. Le sauvage pense comme nos nobles au sujet du travail et le tient en mépris. (76) (The savage of America took our vices and rejected our virtues, he took what makes us feeble and neglected what makes our strength, work and ideas of civilization. The savage thinks like our aristocrats about work and despises it.) (Parent: 23 September 1847).

Sarmiento, the Argentinian writer and President of Argentina said similar things in his book entitled Facundo (37) and it is in conformity with Lamartine who, in Le conseiller du peuple, said that savages remain savages because they do not significantly develop the law of propriety (vol. I: 26). This radical exclusion of people who were living on American soil and who are suddenly reproached for not having developed the law of propriety, is typical. However, in a postmodern world which is contextualized with postcolonialism, there is a departure from this attitude and a desire to integrate every group in the dynamics of the liberal economy. This attitude is changed because new industrial nations have emerged and also because a reevalu-

41 ation of power structures is taking place. The Western World wants to integrate as many people as possible into the new techno-financial culture which will help control the drift towards new potential wars stemming, among other things, from the tremendous increase in the world population due to the combination of traditional ways of conceiving life and old age with the progress in controlling infant mortality. A network of interconnected specialists and internationally prosperous and connected groups has to be developed. This corresponds to a réévaluation of the Protestant ethic (Weber: 1974; Jencks: 1989), to a strong emphasis on individualism, personal responsibility, increased productivity and total quality. These ideas create many casualties among those who cannot adapt or who believe they cannot adapt, and/or who are clinging to static paradigms allowing them to still see themselves, individually or collectively, through dualistic paradigms and through one particularly well known incarnation of static beliefs and discourses and nationalistic rhetorics. The nation state is still seen by many, as it was to a certain extent in the past, as the entity which provides protection for the weakest. However, in the new context of flux, the nation state merely represents the tentative of the dominants connected to international power such as the World Bank, to keep a basin of population under influence in order to ascertain their own local power. This localized power is part of a dynamic opening on a multinational planet. This dynamic is led by those who are bi-discursive. They impose their views on those who cannot be symbolic or economic producers and who are forced into the role of simple consumers of standard objects or ideas still connected to a dualistic epistemology ultimately depending on monism and monosemy (Imbert: 1995c). They are often unable to cope with the new epistemology because they either were shaped by a religious or a lay epistemology based on stable entities which do not provide them with the tools necessary to become creative and at ease in this new world, or started in a framework where flux is overwhelming because it is not linked to an educational training which would help them to position themselves as competent producers of significations. When this is combined with a redefinition of the workplace where the baby boomers generation weighs with all its might on younger generations, a fairly important percentage of this population is marginalized. This is even more worrying when one recalls Amitaï Etzioni who demonstrated, in The Active Society (1968), that the end of the 20th century belongs to those who are able to interconnect knowledge and to use it effectively, that is in a dynamic, polysémie and strategic way. This leads to a situation which is even more difficult for the marginalized. It has been called a post-national situation in which some powerful urban centers like San José, Boston and Road 128 or DurhamRaleigh (Research Triangle Park) and Ottawa, are gaining more and more power by connecting globally while trying to bypass state, provincial, or national borders and limitations. However, this means that those who cannot find a sense of usefulness in a socially recognized goal, will tend either to be ever more destructured or to cling to old nationalistic reflexes linked to the exclusion of those who are different.

42 This new dynamic is extending into new territories which are westernized through the ideology of communication and the basic paradigms of liberal economism. This economism is exporting itself through the imposition of mimesis of appropriation. It allows the specialists of the already westernized world to co-opt those able to adapt to new sets of paradigms. The Western world, while sidetracking, in its own territory, people who cling to the epistemological a prioris of public language and its stable view of the world, needs many more specialists who are able to disseminate a context dependent knowledge allowing participants of newly westernized power centers to participate in a process of transformation which leads to a multinational multiculturalism. This multiculturalism rests on the fact that millions of specialists in the area of banking, technological and symbolic institutions communicate with each other using an international simplified destructured American English in order to participate in multicultural and bi-discursive processes. They tend to break the traditional relationship established by nationalist thinkers between language and culture. They also tend to break the dualistic view separating public language from specialized languages. This was the norm during the Seventies when intellectuals were trying to speak the language of the people in order to recognize its value and to demonstrate that they were bi-cultural since they were mastering their own rhetoric and the values of the uneducated masses 5 . These days, the reordering which takes place tends to blur limits and to spread values from the specialized languages to the public language. The specialized global epistemology and the bidiscursivity represent a level of paradigmatic organization which is partly independent of the semantics of the public language used as a transmitter. This situation evidently modifies somewhat the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis stating that the structure of a particular language leads its users to organize the world in conformity with the structure of their language. B.L. Whorf compares American-Indian languages with Indo-European languages and asserts that they tend to organize a vision of the world resting on statism while American-Indian languages are more open to fluidity. In the case of the specialized languages we are talking about, it is clear that it is possible to organize other paradigmatic configurations through the displacement of the a prioris of public language. Therefore we do not retain a strict connection between language structures and points of view in our reflexion, although we recognize a certain pertinence to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in the framework of modernity. The theory is, however, not as operative in a postmodern world using specialized discourses intertwining with other discourses in order to render the complexities of the new postmodern condition (see 26). 5

This type of cleavage can still be seen in endeavours which try to vulgarize sacred texts in order to make them more understandable to the common people. The Montreal publicist Claude Cossette recently published a new version of the Bible whose originality lies in the use of a popular spoken french: "Jésus dit au malade: Écoute, mon gars, toutes tes fautes sont pardonnées. Quelques professeurs de religions sont presents et ruminent..." (L'Actualité: June 1st 1991: 11) (Jesus told the sick guy: Listen, man, all your mistakes will be forgiven. A few professors of religion listen and muse over). The endeavour to modernize the Bible is linked to a conception of modernity which is fading away.

43 This bi-discursivity, due to the democratization of the paradigms of specialized languages through the process of education, linked to the necessity of disseminating western-liberal-economist values to the world, is communicated to millions of people going to colleges or universities, instead of being confined to a small group of advisers closely knit together around a concentrated center of power which had, as a main strategy, to disseminate a simplistic dualistic set of values in order to tame populations. This does not mean that this new framework is verbalized and that all its a prioris are clearly stated, but that it permeates, as a new silent language, the manifold facets of a condition to which people tend to accommodate themselves. The equestrian statue effect, so evident in South America with the valorization of action and of its heroes, is replaced by activities inserted in contexts changing mostly by osmosis. Therefore, the paradigm theory/praxis becomes inoperative and is replaced by a continuum based upon illocutionary acts in which to do things with words is the norm. The understanding that to say is to induce into acting becomes the normal landscape of the social relationships framed into a disinformative context.

10. The stable third element of modernity: land; the dynamic third element of postmodernity: production of significations Oui, ces hommes n'ont qu'un pays, le mouvement. (Yes, these people have only one country, movement) (Yvon Rivard, L'ombre et le double, p. 106).

The main revolution of the last three centuries brought forward by the American Revolution was to give titles and property rights (De Soto: 1990) to people who were, up to that time, totally dependent on an oligarchy. It represented a complete change in the symbolic as well as in the economic reasoning of that period. The Biblical myth, and even the very name of Adam, presented mankind as born from the soil. It is a predominantly nationalist myth which, however, did not lead to the economic conclusion that if one is born from the soil, one should at least be allowed to own a parcel of it so that one can make a living out of it. America is the opposite. People were not born from its soil, they came from somewhere else, but this fact led to the right to be the owner of a piece of land. In a way, this revolution, redefining work as a complement of freedom instead of seeing it as a curse, allowed people to have access to a third element, the land. They could therefore escape from a dominance relationship, aristocracy/peasantry, which was concentrated on a dual and stable relationship preventing most people from being able to get at something specific, that is the object, the land itself. Property rights were a way to make everyone productive in the context of the industrial revolution. It gave everybody the possibility of becoming a specialist in their own


"field" by putting a third element within their reach. This right to property was set in a new society governed by a present open to change (M.A. Rockland: 1970: 166), and not by a stable and dualistic past. This right to property was historically connected to the ideals expressed by Horace Mann (Cremin: 1957) through the creation of a school system disseminating the values of technology, tolerance, economic progress, multiplicity and change and contributing to the invention of a new humanity whose ideals were linked to democracy. People were rooted in space (Mark; Johnson: 1969) which gave some stability to their social life. Property rights were seen as the natural basis for the legitimacy of a nation where the state could use its taxation, based mostly on land, in order to give itself the means of defining a collectivity. Limits and borders were more clearly defined and it made life simpler than it is presently. Life, on a linguistic level, was based on the emphasis of the use of a simple language, fostering exchange through the valorization of the "proper" meaning giving access to reality or at least to its representation. But in a society which has become more complex and which is connected to the whole world, the use of a simple language based on "proper" meanings which are supposed to give a grasp on the reality at hand, is no longer considered productive except in certain ideological domains fostering a creed in traditional values. Space, or at least some spaces, have declined in legitimacy as well as in economic power. While agricultural land increased slightly, space where specialists can meet in a pleasurable and domesticated environment is at a premium, for example city cores designed for meetings and artistic facilities established close to parks are at a premium. In the postmodern era, the competence of specialists able to manipulate immaterial knowledge instead of raw material is important. This knowledge is not valued for erudition, a static capital, but for its contribution to establishing new connections between bodies of knowledge. Circulation and choice are important and capitalization of territories, while maintaining a certain importance, has been surpassed by the organization of temporary interest groups trying to establish new networks able to rapidly produce new wealth. Ownership of land and titling led to a third element which was relatively static but which was the modern basis for democracy; now the third element is always in the process of being displaced by another one in a race for power through the development of new knowledge in a broad liberal context. The main revolution brought forward by postmodernism is, in the context of the explosion of bit technologies, to relatively democratize a type of production of signification linked to context-dependent processes of interpretance (Peirce: 1982) (Boily: 1996) and to the acceptance that nothing is either stable or definitive in a world of discourses in competition for the leadership of movement (in the context of specialists) and for the mastery of the Platonic mimesis (in the context of the non bidiscursive public) depending on the communication skills of specialists. The relational supersedes the representational in a thrust to conquer new knowledgeintensive territories by switching from the static (the property rights linked to land of the XVIII, XIX and most of the XXth century) to a kind of appropriation per-

45 taining to processes (the property rights linked to immaterial capital), to the creation of a third element from the rethinking of previous paradigms in a dynamic which is not oppositional. Simultaneously, this capitalization of new strength at the level of conceptual and hermeneutic knowledge contributes to the dissemination of Western values among other cultures. There is no stability and no good faith in the traditional sense of the term, but a capacity to look for compromises when they are useful, that is when they will contribute to its future use for a better mastery of dynamism and for the conservation of a certain world leadership. This sense of democratic compromise allows the integration of useful knowledge from margins (feminism) and/or from others (Japanese total quality). Feminism, for instance, can be used against other dualistic public languages in order to free the minds and the lives of women and to allow some of them to feel positively about Western democracy. This type of strategic capacity to relate to others, which in a traditional framework could be called disinformative, is seen as a normal process of communication and is now widely democratized among a new class of specialists of the "symbolic", who gain some form of economic recognition while disseminating the values of liberal economism. Disinformation, while having always been present in social and political relations, has become a convenient tool to direct attention to themes which do not threaten the capacity of a group to keep its leadership on a network.

11. Divergence between communication and information Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. (U. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 7).

This new type of disinformation represents a further development in the new relationship between information and communication. It is similar to the one established between public language and specialized languages. This can be understood when one considers the situation of education in different political discourses. On the one hand, media, industry and government insist upon the fact that training, capitalization of information and communication skills are important and because of this (and also because of the deficit), governments decrease their monetary commitment to education and rightly expect people to invest more and more of their personal financial future in it. On the other hand, a kind of simplistic discourse tends to denigrate education in its informational content. It was obvious in a speech given by John Gogo, the Minister of Higher Education in Alberta: "Have a 10 by 10 foot screen with the real (teaching) experts... Professors don't have to know their subject. If you watch movies, there are many good actors who are excellent teachers." (CAUT Bulletin-, december 1992: 7). This speech infuriated many people, including the Premier of Alberta and, significantly, Mr. Gogo was asked to re-

46 sign. However, he is not alone in expressing such views. Frank Ogden, the "futurist" from Vancouver, believes that education will no longer be associated with academia. Because of the way computers and new technology change institutions, he thinks that education will be associated with entertainment: "I'd much rather have a certificate of competence from Nintendo than a degree from Harvard or Heidelberg" (University Affairs: May 1996: 40). This demonstrates that there is still a trend to consider higher education as a show to be performed and that knowledge is secondary. Communication seems to dominate information or, at least, this is how a few specialists, emphasizing information for themselves, tend to present the situation to the public. However, being able to use information and communication as complementary elements in a full-fledged strategy helping to build a discourse which reassures the public in its craving for identity and for collective goals is a privilege which is mastered by specialists. This point is of capital importance in our world and this is the point that was missed by Mr. Gogo, who probably mixed an obsolete conception of knowledge with the new emphasis on communication. In short he was repeating stereotypes directly related to public language and did not play the role of a leader in tune with the specialized language epistemology which has to be repeatedly hinted at, so that a fair share of the population can grasp what is at stake in the current fast changing world and can organize itself in the framework of competition. Competition and risk taking require a well balanced blend of capitalization of knowledge and of communicative, seductive skills if one wants one's strategies and one's capacity to transgress limits and norms in order to be efficient in the dynamics of globalization. This is particularly true when one wants to be a leader in information/communication. This capacity to play on information and also on communication is the lot of specialists. For instance, lawyers and lobbyists tend to complicate events to an extreme when writing a contract or analyzing a situation because they try to take into account all the possible variants which can interfere with the intended goal. Once the contract is signed, they tend to present things as if they were a fairy tale and as if everything will run as smootly as in a Disneyland. This is often true of the news disseminated by the media which are seldom based on an inquiry but more on a simple rephrasing of kits of information produced by interest groups, be they governmental or private. One can, for instance, read that the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Jean Chrétien, signed a commercial contract with Pakistan even though the bureaucracy involved in the contract tended to question its appropriateness because Pakistan did not offer sufficient guarantees for the deal to be insured by governmental agencies dealing with insurance and capital lending. Keeping a leadership position in an everyday competitive context leads one to reconnect with a pragmatism which is positioned over theory (Simpson: 1993) and over dualistic antagonisms.


12. Identities and the attribution process I'll never be the same, but then I never have been. (Jim Harrison, Julip, p. 21). They were at the central periphery of my life. (Yann Martel, Self, p. 4). By becoming myself, I have become someone else. (Christopher Dewdney, Concordat Proviso Ascendant, p. 27). My skull is pith, cerebrum contoured segments all tucked in snugly, convolutions containing the juice. Hold it, hold it, trying, I'm trying but... head is cleaving, hemispheres pulling apart, cleft soon,... (Marion Campbell, Lines of Flight, p. 3).

The self is set into a world where the reality principle is put into jeopardy by the strategic fight for the control of the platonician mimesis and of the definition of what is real. This fight takes place in the context of contenders hiding the fact (no one is in control) that they fight for a temporary legitimation by being able to reach a third element presented to the public as a reference to an outside world (the reality of the prices and of the structure of the market). Simultaneously, this legitimizing process takes place in a world where an epistemology based on flux allows us to consider the referent as an effect of discourse. Therefore, the problem is to be able to keep an individual sense of direction while being efficient in a world open to different scenarios. The issue is to push a situation of defamiliarization to the limits in order to strategically use what, in this case, can be revealed as contradictions. This is difficult because social relationships are fragmented into many discourses governed by speed (Virilio: 1995). A world of discourses which are not grounded in a stable referent, because this referent is now seen as an effect of discourses, is open to everyone and to groups which, in order to prosper and gain advantages, have to make intelligent use of this new situation by avoiding stable entities. Disinformation is the norm and is democratized, at least among the myriad of specialists applying their fragmented knowledge and their bits of power to securing advantages for themselves and their group (multinational companies, research institutes, governments). However, specialists can invent their own self because they still have enough confidence in themselves, thanks to the integration of the new epistemology of flux and of context-dependent significations and to their bi-discursivity. They can therefore assert themselves through language acts, such as "I declare" (Derrida: 1984), which allow them to project a type of personal self-institution looking for a partial and temporary consensus, be it in a professional task, a commercial or political endeavour or a possibly fruitful hypothesis. In the modern era, identities are shaped by the attribution process and are, therefore, stabilized. Institutions which are founded on the fact that they are connected to a without use the attribution process in order to define identity as a static entity. The process of attribution is activated through a set of narrative structures

48 establishing unequivocally (Imbert: 1995a; Johnson: 1972) who's who. R.D. Laing is very clear about this process: To get someone to be what one wants him to be... is another matter. The best way is, within a hypnotic (or similar) context, not to tell him what to be, but to tell him what he is. Such attributions, in context, are many times more powerful than orders. (The Politics of the Family : 11).

In this case, the within/without paradigm can be read as self/other. It puts into place an essence through the rhetoric of being (John is intelligent, Saul is Jewish) or through "marking" (Hassoun/Wasjbrot: 1991). Marking is the material complement of this linguistic attribution process. This thematic was elaborated more than a century ago in Sarmiento's Facundo where he shows that the dictator Rosas had been coercing Argentinians into wearing a red ribon to show that they approved of his political party. When the attribution process is used more subtly, it remains at the level of semantics but it is very efficient, particularly when it is coupled with political and religious institutions. This attribution process was the basic technique of the traditionalists who in French Canada wanted to keep people in a traditional world influenced by ultramontanism and away from the republican and liberal ideas coming from the United States. This was the technique used by Patrice Lacombe in his novel La terre paternelle (118), where he called upon writers to describe French Canadians the way they are: religious, honest, peaceful, and submissive. This alleged description of facts, of reality, is nothing more than an injunction to behave according to certain sets of expected behaviors developed by those controlling a social code. This technique is the basis of canonicity which imposes certain discourses or presentations as legitimate, while others are rejected in the margins. This attributive process has been used for centuries, for instance, by nationalist governments who wanted to create heroes. In this case, the attribution process was coupled with the decision to mark the space with monuments or statues. Semantics is, this time, coupled with stone. More recently, it has been used by the advertisement industry in their attempt to impose behaviors through sets of definitions including a whole political system, supposedly corresponding to a deep personal identity in order to induce an individual to buy such and such a product (Imbert: 1995b) (see 7). This deep identity is part of an epistemology which is unequivocally criticized by Rorty (1989) when he states that believing in the transparence of language is a fundamental mistake. This epistemology leads to the belief that one can have access to the intrinsic properties of the world and of the subject. One believes that an identity is somehow definite and that it is mostly composed of core attributes which do not depend on an environment. Therefore, particularly at the level of a group, identity becomes almost impossible to open to a more multicultural society built on fluidity, change and contingent relationships allowing for different readings. Traditional nationalism rests on this type of assumption fostering vertical links oriented

49 towards the past and the purity of the genetic, linguistic or cultural stock (Scarpetta: 1981). This attribution process is the obliged complement of the power struggle to attribute a name to a place, a thing or a person. This is obvious in the geographical renaming which took place in the Americas where the non-European civilizations were erased from the maps. These changes allowed the immigrants and colonizers to feel in control of the immense space open to their explorations. This is also obvious in the choice of names given to God. Jesus, Allah or Buddha are names which immediately set up a power struggle between discourses and orthodoxies. It is particularly explicit when the government of Mexico tries to know who is Comandante Marcos (a former professor of philosophy from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico?), the leader of the revolutionary movement in the State of Chiapas. Putting a name and a face together gives a sense of mastery over a situation which is difficult to manage. However, if Comandante Marcos had not been ready for negotiations, staying anonymous would have represented an important strategic move in order to control the dynamic of the rebellion. In the ideology linked to the belief in a without, the one who convinces is the one who has the power to decide who's who (that is, who is supposed to do what) and what is a fact. This is accomplished by a constant activation of an epistemology typical of any public language connected with the paradigm center/margins relying on being and on stable meanings whereas many practitioners of specialized languages (Maurer, Turnstall, Keagle: 1985) consider this epistemology a useful (in specific contexts) illusion and work on a prioris based on doing and on contextdependent meaning processes in which the paradigm center/margins fluctuates according to the modification of power relationships. In a postmodern world, identity is relational and the subject is what he shows through doing. According to this distinction, there is a major difference with the Baroque as it is exemplified, for instance, by Baltasar Gracian for whom being was dominated by appearance. Identity is multiple and dependent on the presence of others in oneself (parents, friends, mentors, institutional discourses) and also on the privileged relationships which are established through the life process. Promethean mastery over self and the world is disappearing and is giving way to a kind of accommodation to a situation (Maffesoli: 1982). One accommodates others in oneself and tries to derive pleasure out of it by inventing a temporary new self. For instance, in a sexual relationship, if one is conventionally defined as a male because of one's own sexualized body, one can invent many new selves by changing one's own position in discourse. Making love with a female, one can fantasize that one is a female having a relationship with a female, therefore attributing to oneself the quality of being a lesbian and deriving an intense pleasure out of it, a pleasure which at the level of the skin and of the body, is very different from what, as a male, one usually feels, and which could be similar to what a women would feel. Discursive positions can be switched and allow for the breaking of stereotyped discourses and roles. Because this discourse is action, it goes far beyond any play

50 on appearance as in the theater of transvestites (Treichler: 1994) still partly related to an epistemology of the static and trying to subvert it. In the new epistemology, body and self are not involved in a one to one relationship. A person has many selves which are virtual but which can be fully developed depending on the context. A self then becomes "real" when it is shared in an interaction with another person because what makes it "real" is not an essence but a communicative process which allows this self to enter into a performance and to be modified by an interaction. This process is well shown by Yann Martel in his best-seller novel entitled Self. Any identity is a relationship and authenticity is a function of a relational context itself depending on a set of variables built according to a set of modifiable recurring properties. This is not only true of a sexual relationship but also of the manifestation of some particular personality traits in the framework of the interaction of a person with a keyboard giving access to the Internet. So many possibilities are opened that the usual self is modified by the impossibility of figuring out the identity of the interlocutor and by the strong desire to obtain an answer. People are connected to other people whose personalities are, at least at the level of the a prions of their respective public languages, potentially very remote. Contrary to people who synchronize the way they process symbols and therefore share a common culture (at least at the level of public language) because they act daily in close proximity, the net compels internauts to invent seductive texts out of a series of themes and questions which usually attempt to connect to specific interests. This net personality is virtual and becomes "real" when activated and given an existence by the interaction with an interlocutor sharing the same interests. This interlocutor is usually partly disconnected from its context and has to be rebuilt through the confrontation with other partly disconnected contexts. Then a global interest can be shared and, if the group works well, it can be extended to a global context which could integrate some of the local variables. This training in seductiveness and in the connecting of a new personality through a specific interest, leads to the invention of a new hermeneutics through the use of an international American language and to a fragmentation of self, traditionally conceived as a unit, into selves who can grow globally or disappear, but who, nonetheless, are distinct from the body. The body tends to retain the marks inscribed in it by parenting, education, and joys or traumas inherent in this process. Postmodernism and technology allow for a distinction between self and body. This has nothing to do with the antithesis between body and mind that operates in traditional thinking and in public language. Today, the distinction of body and self is associated with many selves in context, and not with a mind in contact with the essence of the universe or of God. In the case of postmodernism, selves are part of an exchange and of an interconnectedness between people or groups who, not long ago, were ignoring each other because of lack of technological links in a globality which was not yet a village or better said a city (McLuhan: 1964). These selves, which consign the traditional notion of authenticity to oblivion, tend to establish as

51 many connections as possible in an open system environment. They are linked to a world which is potentially open to a new form of disinformation: the constant invention of oneself according to events which, by retroaction, confer a different meaning to past self-events. Therefore, in this framework the only referent is the passing from life to death of a body. And this referent does not allow one to say the truth, but at least to point out lie (see 21: a postmodern ethic). Moreover, in the new epistemology of dynamism and of production of signification, lability of discourse tends to privilege actions connected to pleasure. Individuals, in postmodern societies, refuse to further explore pleasure. One knows that each individual is a result of and a participant in constant strategies in a world which is not conceived as a zero sum game. This changes the economy of bodily pleasure as well as the economic exchange of goods, because pleasure can be created in the intersticial zones which seem to escape to a power encoded in the dynamics of the information/disinformation systems. This new vision of self as an act capable of living several lives simultaneously and strategically is what allows the production of a third element. In the postmodern era, out of their co-presence, two individuals temporarily confronting their numerous selves integrated in the dynamics of a polysemic system of production of significations powered by the play of differential marks, generate a third and temporary personality. Freedom is not an ideal embodied in the figures of heroes and ethical discourses, it is a kind of comfortable pleasure expressed through a capacity to act in the interstices left by a system open to virtualities. Although separated from traditional local or politically and idealistically oriented solidarities, it opens the way to individual solidarities, often based on a temporary seduction connected with play (Huizinga: 1970). These solidarities create a small organic consensus in a globalizing world. International solidarities at the root of NGOs such as Amnesty International whose action is dedicated to freeing citizens from the claws of authoritarian states are part of these dynamics which also animate some local groups. Humanitarian solidarity acting in emergency situations through pragmatic interventions but with long term visions is replacing political discussions based on the principles communicated by master narratives.

13. Public and specialized languages at the international level The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. (Thomas Paine, Common Sense 1776, p. 3).

Changes from the belief in one stable discourse to a generalized bi-discursivity can be observed at a multicultural level because globalized individuals are cleft between discourses. Public discourse is linked to a dualistic static epistemology and the specialized discourses to a dynamic polysemic epistemology. These individuals, notably those living outside Europe and North America, tend to cling to their public

52 languages which directly enter into conflict with the public languages of the West. This situation has been studied by immigrants (or children of immigrants) authors who have integrated a new society (Mukherjee: 1990; Hong Kingston: 1977; Bissoondath: 1993). In this situation, most individuals tend to defend their belief in the possibility of having access, through a traditional or national institution, to the without (be it the word of God as in most fundamentalism or an idealization of some type of authoritarian community), to a referent which gives them a sense of stability and of being, able to ground their comparisons with the new way of thinking and acting, on something "secure". Most individuals tend to cling to the paradigm within/without applied not only to the without of discourse but also to relationships between people segregated with the help of the paradigm self/other. They reactivate the victimization process grounded in the conflict between discourses and groups trying to impose their vision of the world and of the without of discourse. In this context, certain national governments reactivate in their own national territories, old fears among people who do not have access to the new epistemology and are backed by populist or charismatic leaders trying to maintain a tension at a level bearable by the local elite but threatening the new processes of globalization. In clinging to this within/without paradigm, national governments tend to use old stereotypes to create the enemy in a way which is coherent with the old epistemology but not with the new context. The national governments are themselves agents of disinformation and hold their populations hostage by denying any access to a new epistemology, to a new specialized discourse which, for those who would be able to use it, would have a liberating effect opening unforeseen symbolic and economic opportunities. The rulers deny them the possibility of becoming bi-discursive, the same way as a state or a provincial pedagogical nationalistic tradition and/or laws or regulations prevent children from effectively becoming bilingual when it is very easy to do so, that is at a very early age. The rulers cut themselves and part of their population off from the possibility of participating in the international exchange of goods, ideas and information by concentrating on old consensual reflexes. However, this is not always the case. In many instances, innovations are discussed by producers of knowledge using the paradigms of specialized languages through an international language which is American English. This is now possible, almost instantaneously, because research articles are often not published on paper. They are aired on the internet and commented upon almost immediately by other specialists through this medium. Articles are then modified accordingly, which is another way of showing that there is no longer original text authenticity. A text is a production of meanings in collaboration with other specialists. Production of new knowledge through dialogue takes place on the internet in American English and leads to the refinement of discoveries or solutions. When these problems are refined, then articles are published or products are marketed. Furthermore, these products can be disseminated into national communities and they are vulgarized through national languages. Therefore a trend is developing although it is not completely generalized. This trend is based on the fact that some national languages

53 tend to be linked with technology only as a means to foster consumer awareness of another world, while the language used for producing this new knowledge is American English or one of the other important languages in the domain of technology or communication. The new epistemological and bi-discursive context creates a new community of people who are able to communicate through the new specialized conceptions of the world (dynamism, non-dualism) geared to a temporary goal-oriented common activity (developing some technological, scientific, symbolic or economic partnership) usually through a language (American English) which is not completely mastered or through a more or less effective system of translation and interpretation. If one wants specialists to be producers of new knowledge in their national languages, translation has to be done very fast. This is why some developed countries of the Pacific Rim, e.g. South Korea, send some of their brightest students away to study automatic translation abroad, so that parts manuals from huge companies building planes or robots, can be translated quickly. This would allow companies in South Korea to produce parts for replacement. But even this represents primarily an endeavour to accomodate a national language to the demands of an already existing market. It is not an endeavour which would change the paradigms of the national language in order to try to produce new relationships between concepts leading to a possible reorganization of knowledge and communication. At the level of conceptual frames, any translation is only an imperfect means of communicating which is dependent on cleft personalities and on the fact that one can never completely translate very different concepts (Lakoff: 1987) although one can live in two different systems used in parallel (bi-culturalism, bi-discursivity). The only thing that translation can achieve is to tend to integrate, in the receptive society, the simple dualistic values of the economic liberalism part of public language which is partly at work in the specialized languages of the Western world. These dualistic values, mixed with the dynamic/strategic conceptions of the specialized languages of the Western world penetrate through translation or through an impoverished American English, the specialized languages of the receiver (whose a prioris can be either different or similar to those of Western science (Capra: 1982) whose personality is modified and who then acts professionally using one type of specialized language and two sets of dualistic a prioris: those of his original national public language and those of the value system of economic liberalism received through the public language of the Western world). This allows him to have access to new ideas and to participate in the global network. His national public language is usually based on a vision of society which favors complementary, that is hierarchical relationships while the imported public and specialized languages are associated with a valorization of symmetrical relationships through which competitiveness is supposed to reactivate a democratic individual equality through doing, through performance. This situation is very different from a colonial empire trying to impose its values and keep a center. In the case of a colonial empire, to be anglicized did not mean to become English. Quite the contrary. It meant clumsily imitating the codes of a


power which, from the very beginning, are supposed to control orthodoxy. In the case of globalization, American English is deterritorialized and helps contextualize different cultures and economic exchanges through a medium which is not primarily equated with a particular culture rooted with the soil. Historically, as was emphasized by Even-Zohar (1996) the American nation is not a creation of its literature. Language is a medium for exchange, a means of communication mostly independent of a defined cultural content. Therefore, it is seen as particularly apt at conveying other cultural contents even if it is transforming them. This conception of language is applied by the marketing and administration of a proficiency test, the TOEFL test (Teaching Of English as a Foreign Language) used in most universities of the world and by different professional organizations to measure the degree of mastery of American English (ESL: English as a Second Language) in most parts of the world for students who wish to study in American universities in the United States or abroad. These tests are coupled with English courses which are given to classes of students of any cultural origins 6 : China, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Russia, etc., and they are mixed together. But by not taking into account the semantic, grammatical and phonetic structures of the language of origin, a large number of problems develop in the comprehension and use of language by these students. In this case, and it is more common everyday, globalization does not take into account the context, and the burden to progress has become the individual responsibility of students, whose linguistic structures can be very different from American English. However, with the integration of the new specialized discourses a prioris and their pragmatic slant, students are getting in a process of transformation which will help them embrace to commercial, technological and cultural exchange. The consequence is the creation of a hybrid person, because American English is not independent of a culture, but an agent of dissemination of the pragmatic, technological, individualist, dynamically-oriented new postmodern culture originating in the particular Protestant ethic developed by two centuries of success by the elites of the United States. The learning of American English will therefore cleave the new global elites from the world, as well as any individual subjected to a bi-discursivity linked to this bilingualism, between different allegiances and lead them to produce a third discourse (see 16) which will be a hybridization of the different discourses they are integrating. A cultural and psychological change is at work. From this process a new vision of oneself will emerge which will radically alter ethics and the attitude towards others 6

This situation is very different from the approach of the seventies which emphasized taking into account the structures of the language of origin in order to teach particular linguistic problems which might be hard to understand to particular linguistic groups. This emphasis had also its disadvantage, notably in the hiring of teachers because it favored a kind of regionalism by the fact that one tended to protect its own cultural group in hiring teachers who were from the same background as the students and sometimes more knowledgeable in the language of origin than in the language they were supposed to teach. See P. Imbert, Mimesis d'appropriation et exclusion: la théorie de R. Girard appliquée à une démocratie multiculturelle: le Canada: Colloque international "Formes et dynamiques de l'exclusion", UNESCO, 23-26 juin 1997.


as far as dissemination of information is concerned. Good faith will no longer be the same because it cannot be locked in a stable and hierarchical tradition. Flux and adaptability will dominate and be seen as positive. Adaptability, in an epistemology of dynamism, is the positive side of what could be termed treachery in an epistemology of stability. This, for the very wealthy, has far-reaching consequences, one being that they can deterritorialize themselves and chose to live in a tax heaven while their companies and investments are beneficiaries of off-shore regulations. They are the new nomads of the dynamics of postmodernism. Simultaneously one now has access to the most remote places of the world in which slavery takes a new face. It is destroying the lives of about 200 million people and children who are obliged to live in appalling conditions behind closed walls in Asia or Africa as well as in Europe (Torres: 1996). Their passports are taken by their employers and they have to work up to twenty hours a day, seven days a week, without being paid. They are sometimes submitted to inhumane and degrading treatments such as mutilations, beatings, rape, etc. They are usually not protected by any national laws because they do not or cannot complain in fear of being sent back to their countries of origin where very hard economic conditions prevail. When one realizes that the International Organization of Employers rejected June 3 1996 (La Presse, June 4 1996: C 7) the inclusion of a social clause in the regulations pertaining to international exchanges, although it called for a control of the conditions under which children are working, one can understand that there are people who have no voice and whom one can neither present from the perspective of public language nor from the perspective of specialized languages (Domitila: 1981). The dynamic transformation at work in most developed societies which tend to integrate Western values, is nonetheless an asset because it favors knowledgeintensive and economic competition over war. However, this competition often leads to monopolistic situations because new technologies based on knowledgeintensive research entail huge research costs but low production costs. This is in favour of specialists who command fairly high salaries in their endeavour to lower the cost of each item as much as possible so as to encourage the use of goods by different and very large publics in the whole world (L. Boucher: 1995). It is also an asset in the light of future strategies which need to be put in place early enough so as to control the future of the planet in the XXIst century. This planet, due to an incredible increase of the world population, mostly in underdeveloped countries or in countries which are developing at a rather rapid pace such as India or Indonesia, has to create new individual and group networks which will help to prevent wars. It also has to adapt to the growing power of a giant such as China which, while entering into new technology and economic exchange at a rapid pace, refuses as much as possible any cultural, linguistic and epistemological change. However, globalization and postmodernism as contextualized with postcolonialism fosters the development of new groups and personalities and can help control any dictatorial and warlike drift. Dynamism and flux represent their lines of strategic context.



14. Relativism, risk and success S'accrocher au connu, c'est rester prisonnier de l'ignorance. (To stick to what is known, is to be incarcerated within ignorance (Yvon Rivard, L'ombre et le double, p. 21).

Democracy is based on the fact that any individual is free and responsible. Therefore, he or she is not supposed to be afraid of risk, although risk is controlled by social-democratic regulations acting as a safety net for the weakest or for the temporarily unsuccessful. The ultimate risk is to be able to put one's life at risk. Democracy is opposed to dictatorships which try to control a system as tightly as possible in order to prevent disorder brought allegedly by new ideas or behaviors. However, trying to control and to avoid risk and the ultimate risk, death, is what produces the genocides that dictatorships are prone to provoke. Death, as an accepted possible risk, is at the center of democracy and allows individuals to be omnicompetent risk-taking citizens (Lippman 1922), reactivating their capacity to optimistically venture into new and potentially dangerous territories. Risk-taking is closely related to failure or success. Success, according to the point of view originating in the Protestant ethic, is supposedly an indication of the favors of God. In a lay society, success is what allows an individual to be part of the consensus and to be gratified with favorable qualities. This capacity to be part of a group or to define a territory, either economic or ideological, has been understood among liberals since the 19th century (and it is even more evident in the postmodern era) as dependent on a changing context instead of an essential and stable quality. This is what De Lorimier, one of the leaders of the Rebellion of the Patriots of 1837 in French Canada, was able to clearly express a few hours before his death on the gallows in a letter addressed to his brother (February, 17 1839): "Suis-je criminel parce que je ne réussis pas? Si je réussissais demain je serais bienheureux." (21). (Am I a criminal because I did not succeed? If I were to succeed tomorrow, I would be considered a blessed man). Being successful gives legitimacy and allows the individual to start a process of attribution defining what kind of society he wants and what kind of people should be produced in order to serve the interest of the group. De Lorimier who, like most people at that time, was educated in a conception of a

58 stable society and of the legitimacy of a position whatever the end result, is confronted with a new political and economic process. Success tends to justify decisions. Coupled with risk, success represents the optimistic side of relativism which is linked to a new conception of historical determinations. This way of thinking which is fully developed in the postmodern era, is sometimes applied to the economic realm. It leads new institutions like the ACP (Action Comunitaria del Peru) (Truitt: 1996: A15) to allow poor but enterprising individuals to have access to microlending so that they can escape from loan sharks and expand their own product line. In order to organize this new form of development, one has to reverse the dominant traditional and premodern ideology based on the belief that the poor people cannot be trusted, that they will not pay interest and repay their loans. One has also to simplify business registration, establish land registry (De Soto: 1990). In such a context, new dynamics open new fields to people who have been marginalized by traditional institutions and incredibly complicated and expensive bureaucratic red tape. This concrete new way of reorganizing society, which can also be seen in Pakistan, represents a dynamic postmodern performance acting in conjunction with a postcolonial vision endeavouring to open new possibilities for the marginalized so that they can create new wealth for themselves and for their society. This endeavour is connected to countries which are only partly participating in the dynamics at work between other countries which can more powerfully redefine central networks. It can also be linked to the dynamics at work in North America. Stemming from a deep suspicion about traditional cleavages in society (Black/White, Indian/White), a reorganization takes place which leads to the fact that poverty and discrimination can no longer be directly equated with visible physical characteristics. Exploitation will not be as easily directly linked to race or gender because dynamism opens the way, through education and economic opportunities, to those who are able to integrate the new epistemological paradigms and to capitalize knowledge, whatever their origin or the colour of their skin. Postmodernism tends to break traditional oppositions which have been entrenched in the minds of people for a long time. This is why in Illiberal Education Dinesh D'souza, symptomically an American of Asian origin, supports the a prioris of a liberal economist discourse tending, however, in this book, towards the reaffirmation of too many simple static views. Postmodernism is thus strategically connected with postcolonialism. This connection leads to a redistribution of power among groups which have been minorized in the past. This example has to be linked to a global endeavour: that of transforming the world into a network where goods and ideas, economic and symbolic capital circulate and are exchanged. But movement and decentering are still the apanage of the Western world because many countries, due to the fact that the majority of their people are still caught in a premodern and/or essentialist world in which a traditional oligarchy controls power, can only slowly be integrated into new relationships. These new developments also cause many negative reactions because, even if a new share of the population is allowed to try to develop economically, others are losing ground. Negative reactions also stem from the

59 fact that this process of demarginalizing certain groups in different populations is lead by the West and, therefore, can be seen as a type of new colonialism. One has, however, to consider that this new influence is very different from an essentialist or a colonialist perspective, because it constitutes the very movement which allows the breaking of sclerotic and inefficient bureaucracies at the service of landed owners and/or of wealthy national bourgeoisies, often united by strong family ties. This new influence is a process and therefore is open to a regular reorganization. In the postmodern era, risk, success and relativism are tightly united. Simultaneously, they are dependent on a context which is perceived as even more difficult to control than before and particularly its consequences. Something may or may not succeed as planned, but when not in-keeping with tight planning, an endeavour might nevertheless succeed because of contextual solutions at hand, as Gilder (1981) emphasizes in referring to the myth of the "invisible hand" evoked two centuries ago by Adam Smith. Perhaps chance plays an important role because history itself has been relativized and with it the quasi mandatory notions that there is a relationship of causes and consequences in every pattern. These days, there is also room for similarities, and simultaneous and haphazard events. In a postmodern liberal economist democracy, most individuals and particularly those working under the aura of a specialized language, know that institutionalized truth is a lie in a world where pragmatism and performance dominate theory (Atlan: 1986) and where nothing is certain. Naturally, this myth of the "invisible hand" is strongly challenged by organizations which care for the most deprived populations on earth. Antislavery International whose offices are based in London, England, emphasizes the fact that if a project flounders and is reoriented thanks to grants, the poorest never benefit from the "invisible hand". Alison Sutton (1994: 60) gives the example of cellulose factories which were never built although companies receives huge amount of money to reforestate regions in Brazil. Charcoal production therefore still depends on deforestation. Ecology suffers and the fate of many workers and children remains one of enslavement. All this is well documented but less disseminated than the discourse of liberal economism and of its successes. However, this point of view does not mean that the contextualization of postcolonialism and postmodernism does not lead to deep changes which benefit millions of people able to develop themselves by capitalizing conceptual, technological scientific and communication skills. They are also able to cross imposed limits and to venture into new territories, a situation which puts in jeopardy accepted dualistic paradigms such as national/international by reactivating the urban or such as body/mind by expanding the concept of body to the environment.


15. Crossing limits: the local and the global Still, after examining the chief nations of Christendom, I have come to the conclusion that the Americans are the only really cultured people that exist on this earth and the last word in modern civilization. (M.A. Rockland, Sarmiento's Travels in the United States in 1847, p. 151).

For those who refer to a traditional epistemology, it is unbearable to realize that the consensus is broken inside the limits where they are supposed to operate. When they realize that the community is not a secure place invented for growth and development, but an aggregate of conflicting goals based on power relationships, they can either learn the new paradigms or cling to older ones emphasizing community. This is when fundamentalism and sects demonstrate their usefulness. They reinforce limits and guidelines and try to impose strong bonds on people who are lost intellectually and emotionally. However, there is a difference between fundamentalist movements oriented towards the West and other movements. Most of the other fundamentalisms, Islamic movements for instance, claim the necessity of a holy war. They try to gain converts in as many countries as possible, while simultaneously becoming particularly vocal in order to defend national and religious sovereignty. However a fundamentalist movement oriented towards the West, a westernized society or a westernized group of people such as the Moonist sect shy away from any emphasis on national allegiance, although it is supposed to act as a canal for the defense of the interests of South Korea. Although it emphasizes a local consensus and a very strict code of life, it also wants to demonstrate its universal intent which is connected to a truly monopolistic and global financial situation. Therefore many fundamentalisms springing up in a westernized context avoid traditional state limits and try to play the local and the global. National boundaries are crossed as well as the rules and laws pertaining to them. This situation allows the secret services working for states which need to grow globally to become particularly operative by using these base communities to penetrate milieux or to trap people into allegiances which will allow them to be influenced in the direction wished by the representatives of these secret services. Therefore, what is as stake in this redefinition of limits is the race towards new power dynamics which parallel the new financial flux led by the instantaneity allowed by the application of new technologies webbing a world made of bits and waves. Thus, those in power know that, in order to stay ahead in constant change, they have to gather new "facts" daily (this mix of information, communication, objectal and subjectal discourse). These "facts", these situations in process, are temporary nodes in a web of information which cannot be synthesized because of its lability and because any synthesis changes the situation. The question is to control enough data in an instant, so as to be able to make the right temporary decision, if any is taken, which will allow the increase of one's power.

61 In this perspective, the shift from national allegiance to a concentration on the local, the city and to an expansion towards the global, is very meaningful. More and more cities need to be able to give advantages to multinational companies if they want to thrive. Development is urban. A state, with its zones of low development which drain funds from the Government like the Nordeste in Brazil, although this money would bring in much more wealth, much faster, if it were invested in the region Sao Paulo, Rio, etc., is seen by some cities as an impediment. Postmodernism is linked to knowledge-intensive production of wealth and this can be done only in places where a quality of life can attract enough specialists who will be able to create new lines of concepts and of products. This can be done only if states give more freedom and more decision power to these cities. While cities in the United States like Boston, San José or Seattle have a wide range of decisional power, the same is not as true in Canada. This is why Ottawa, while being on the right track, lacks the advantages of some cities south of the border. This is even more true for Montréal which is destabilized by the nationalist ideology trying to fit the old ideology of the unity of the territory into contemporary life. This ideology prevents the Québec Government from giving all the means to Montréal for a fast, high tech development. Moreover, Montréal often presents itself as a city which considers difference such as other languages, as a disadvantage instead of a source of wealth. In the postmodern world, local differences, multiple ethnic groups and a capacity to link to the global world with the use of international American English is a tremendous advantage. However, this point of view is marginalized because of the static conflict between English and French Canadians. The inability to bypass these overdue conflicts are simply ruining Montréal at a time when power is shifting from the state to other entities, such as big cities, and delocalized global centers. Modernity refused mestissage in order to foster a kind of integration in a nationstate space (Shapiro: 1997) which was the limited entity created to build a market. This entity is surpassed by a consciousness that difference, in the postcolonial sense, is an advantage to be used to create wealth in a world where wealth creation in the present is what unites these differences. Practically speaking, life in many parts of a multicultural developed country or in many parts of the world where a certain level of material and educational consumption is reached, demonstrates tendencies towards the use of many products which are similar. These can be hardware or software, best-sellers, scientific or very technical books, etc. The new paradigms can be seen operating in the information domain as well as in the daily organization of a city life, whose activities can be seen as a particular way of mediating and directing information, following certain patterns, in a local network springing from a knowledge producing city connected to a global web. Power comes from being able to function as a link between nodes of knowledge. Power is related to a capacity to cross boundaries and interconnect. It is based on a fractal kind of logic in which a global network can reduplicate itself at the local level and vice versa.


16. Mimesis and the new dynamic of interpretance The significance of De Revolutionibus lies less in what it says itself than in what it caused others to say. (Thomas Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution, p. 135). Electromagnetic technology requires utter human docility and quiescence of meditation such as befits an organism that now wears its brain outside its skull and its nerves outside its hide. (M. McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, p. 57).

Branching and connecting following a fractal networked pattern is a new way of defining mimesis. There are no more one-to-one relationships, no more simple conflictual dualistic duplications of an essence. Man is not created as an image of God anymore. Man is an entity who demultiplies his selves following redundant patterns from the local to the global and from nanospace to an infinite which is infinite but measurable through the establishment of probable and statistically definable patterns. The body-mind frame which was talked about by Bateson (1972) has expanded dramatically since he published his research. The body is now simultaneously a compressed and an extended space because it is a complex node of information. And sex has been a privileged route towards crossing body and mind limits. Sex is a way of trying to get into another and to build a new awareness from this context creating new identities. Wilhelm Reich (1975), with his theory of the orgasm, was aware of this desire to cross limits and to break an imposed and determined conception of self as a continuum of body-mind-gender-perception-environment. These days, this extension goes far in space and in time. It is not linked to transgression, as in modernity, because there is neither a conscience of being coerced into reacting against the past nor an overemphasis about being in the avantgarde. One can be at the cutting edge of research, production or development but this leadership is itself demultiplied in a myriad of groups who are all part of a global systemic pattern. This extension can even be set in reversed paradigms, for instance, one's "real" presence can be felt worldwide on the Internet, the expression of an information/communication megalopole, and then one can be conceived as "virtual" when one is not engaged in communicating. This extension can be modified by the fact that if someone implants electrodes connected to a transmitter in the ear of a mammal and that a group of people put on headphones, they can have a far deeper access to the life of this mammal through most of the different noises this mammal can capture while moving. Therefore, a new identity is developed by the gathering of so much and such unexpected information that the cartesian separation man/"animal machine" which allowed the distinction of man from the other species becomes displaced. Moreover, a person will soon be able to carry a city in his body through implants guiding him and giving him information so that he is efficient in his management of space and time. The city is outside but also inside. Limits are blurred and a totally different landscape is transforming the city

63 which is in fact (but was not seen this way until recently) a set of connectors facilitating exchange of production and information. The mini copies, the maxi and fractalization, are omnipresent. Mimesis consists in a dynamic replica of a global system which is nothing other than the interconnection of mini interconnected systems establishing links through similarities which do not rest on a linear and causal logic. In the new dynamic epistemology, mimesis can no longer be merely seen as a copy of a referent. A kind of organic systematized interconnectedness is emerging and it is inventing a world which is smaller and smaller and which is constantly adding information in real time to what is happening. This means that what is happening is not what was happening. Limits are crossed here as well. Because what is happening is more and more what is immediately reflected upon and commented upon. Historically, commentaries, when they were legitimate such as in the margins of the sacred text in a Jewish hermeneutic tradition, came after and sometimes a long time after the main text was written. The same thing was true in a Christian hermeneutic, except that commentaries were imposed by specialists defining a canon. An origin was set and the hermeneutic goal was to try to return to this origin and create new meanings from this origin. Now the original image and the superimposed image are the same as in graphics which superimpose an orange line on the trajectory of a hockey puck on the ice. This is done by inserting a chip into a puck; captors then receive the information and transmit it to computers and video cameras. A similar situation was created during the Gulf War when what was happening was the reaction of the public to the intervention. The dynamic of interpretation, set in a communicative reflexive context, dominated the circulation of information. However, the question is to determine who is in charge of real time, who controls it, who knows that there is an addition to real time and to what something is added because there is often no possibility of disentangling two events which are linked together by the superimposition, not of causality but of sheer simultaneity. The conflict, therefore, is not between the world of images and the world of words: it is between the representation of a reality in real time and the former techniques of representing "reality" in deferred time, often passing for presentation at the level of public language. Real time collapses the relationship between original text or image and represented text or image; it collapses the text object and the commentaries or metalanguage. If people referring to the public language believed in objectivity and presentation, while being aware of an objective commentator who was obliged to assert his credibility, now people still see a commentator but it is harder to evaluate the play on presentation. This play on presentation is not part of a conspiracy to hide facts from people by censors or disinformation specialists, although this can also be the case, it is part of a technological innovation allowing for a more pregnant kind of communication geared towards the receivers. Pregnant communication means that it will be easier to see a puck on the ice or the fact that one will see images of a war, such as the Gulf War, in which technology triumphs while no dead bodies are shown.

64 Meaningfulness through communication springing from technology supersedes information. With economic liberalism as the new panacea of the liberal capitalist postmodern world, it redefines mimesis as a process of reduplication which can be achieved by an everyday larger group of specialists. In this process the complementary relationship implicit between God and man, the aristocracy and the people, landed and landless or any dominance/submission relationship is put aside and replaced by a symmetrical one fostering emulation and competition. Democratization as a capacity for the majority to gain, develop and create wealth is in keeping with the extension of the discourse of economic liberalism. This omnipresence of symmetrical relationships is the quintessence of the mimesis of appropriation which turns everybody against everybody but in a world where scarcity does not push this dynamic too far. This is what was clearly seen as early as 1832 by Achille Murat, prince of Deux-Siciles who emigrated to the United States: Les princesses à conquérir et à délivrer sont en nombre suffisant pour contenter tous les preux chevaliers, et même beaucoup de leurs écuyers; de façon que le combat n'est pas aussi acharné qu'on pourrait bien le croire. (Esquisse morale et politique de l'Amérique du Nord: 359). (Princesses to be conquered and delivered are in sufficient number in order to satisfy all the gallant knights, and also many of their squires; therefore the fight is not as embittered as one could imagine.).

Today, however, competition is fiercer but it is tamed somewhat by serialization, multiplication of available goods and the remnants of social democracy and of government programs helping the weaker members of society. However, the dynamics of the mimesis of appropriation become somewhat rougher at the level of the relationship between communication and information confronted with public language. The mimesis of appropriation leads to the supremacy of communication over information as a means to build a constantly changing context for meaningful information. This leads to the prevalence of communication over information. This prevalence tends to represent a type of complementary relationship. Information is seen as a tool to keep the consensus around symmetrical competitive relationships operative. However, it is determined by communication which hides its collapsing of symmetrical discourses, text and comment on the text, under the marvel of technoeconomism. Competition shall not take place at the level of information which is inkeeping with the monopolization of media by huge financial and armament conglomerates (Mattelart: 1976; 1983; Keable: 1985), but at the level of a pragmatic techno-economism. Among the group of specialists who master communication and information processes, there is a competition for legitimacy. This means that, in a networked world, those who will be trusted are those who are closer to others because they will carry or produce recognition signs going beyond efficacity and information, and into influence. Influence is the third element set between information and communication which were seen in the modern era as dualistically conflictual. It is a word underlining new solidarities between members of the new class of spe-

65 cialists and leading to a discourse which supersedes dualism through the dynamic of interpretance. In this framework, those who try to cling to past dualistic paradigms are condemned to become the new illiterates of the postmodern world. Any new technology creates its own illiterate. This was the case when printing multiplied texts and created a new and large group of people able to master reading, writing and the rational processes (Stock: 1983) at the origin of the Protestant ethic (Hobsbawn: 1975). This new technology immediately created new illiterates, those who were caught in an oral culture and who could not have access to the new capacities connected with rational thinking, dialogue, critical thinking, etc. Today the new literates will become masters of the production of new discourses by confronting two discourses at odds. By using reflexivity and playing one discourse against the other and vice versa, the new literates will produce a third discourse integrating the reflexive dimension. This reflexive dimension in which the authenticity of the old discourses will not be preserved, is the equivalent of the collapsing of text and commentaries into a new and temporary entity. This is well demonstrated by Manuel Puig in The Kiss of the Spider Woman or in all the intertextual endeavours transforming traditional novels in a new genre in which fiction and metafiction, language and metalanguage create a new fiction (F. de Toro: 1994). This capacity to act in the framework of the new epistemological paradigm could transform the nonspecialist into an agent at ease in the speedy flux of the production of significations. However, a large part of the public is neither able to operate in this framework nor able to realize that strategies of disinformation constitute a normal ground for communication processes and that they are part of an activity tending to influence others and to win in a world which is symmetrically competitive. This large part of the public does not grasp that it could use the normal misunderstandings inherent in communication as a tool towards decoding information/communication in an active performance which could lead to the establishment of a starting point from which agreements could be negotiated. These types of agreements would leave room for an essential secrecy (Levinas: 1969) (see 20) which could protect the individual from the group or a group from another group. The public could also open negotiations to diverging goals which could benefit themselves and any group of specialists. Instead of being tricked in their hopeless quest for objectivity and stability, being trained into the new paradigm would make people producers of strategic and tactic actions and discourses which would counter the production of discourses coming from the "disseminated" centers of corporate, governmental and media discourses. This would make the identification with the group fluctuate and transform each individual, as well as the group context. For instance, people would try to imagine, beyond the dichotomy self/other, directly linked to the strategies used to master the appropriation mimesis in order to win symbolic and economic leadership, what they have in common (beyond manifold cultural and structural differences) with those who are tortured or destroyed by nondemocratic political regimes,

66 by antagonistic powerful organizations, by institutions demanding unconditional religious, economic or political allegiance, or by conglomerates organizing networks in which people are induced to behave in a very controlled manner. This would contribute to an agreement based on context-dependent practice (Atlan 1986) and not on a theory enforced by a self-proclaimed "universal" institution resting on monosemy and exclusion. This would help marginalized individuals to penetrate manifold centers of power. A strategic context-dependent capacity of meaning production, based on the short circuiting of static discourses, would displace the paradigms self/other, lie/ objectivity, within/without, center/margins and reempower the individual through the full activation of his capacity to grasp that the within/without paradigm is the product of a static discourse. This could bring the media consumer, accustomed to the paradigms defining the structure of public language, into the realm of a dynamic usually linked to the production of specialized languages. It would help redefine the goals of liberal democracy which needs much more creative individuals acting efficiently and critically, as much at the level of the symbolic as at the level of the market.

17. Change of paradigms in postmodern democracy Je ne crois pas un seul mot de ce que je dis... Je ne crois en rien. (I do not believe one word of what I am saying... I do not believe in anything) (Réjean Ducharme, Le Nez qui voque, p. 124).

Modernity (Touraine: 1992) is based on a conception of the subject as a mainly rational being built around a center and able to translate his ideals into the practical world through a continuum established between theory and praxis. However, due to the enormous contradictions revealed by the horrors of two World Wars which originated in Europe, at the very center of so-called civilization, and due also to the contradictions between theories or master narratives and their praxis marginalizing millions who were then lead to Gulags, whose very existence was denied by Western "progressist" intellectuals in the name of a strategy founded on distant ideals, also due to the pretence of leading colonized civilizations to progress while, simultaneously, regimenting "inferior" civilizations in the name of the logic of economic exploitation, the very conception of a rational being fell apart and with it dualism. This dualism was felt as a collective schizophrenia allowing for a disconnection between what is projected and what is done and also between the ethical values of a group and the practical actions of the leaders of a group. Narratives became viewed as shared pretences helping a group to assert its power by communicating a set of disinformative a prioris.

67 During modernity, the cosmetics of transcendentality became wrinkled and opened the way to a transformation of the conception of the subject as an indefinite set of possibilities led on one hand, by the unconscious which can only sporadically be fathomed through its effects (lapsus, puns, dreams) and, on the other hand, by propaganda (Reich: 1972) and its appeal to the masses or by subliminal seduction (Key: 1974) acting within the logic of all the a prioris of the silent language (Hall: 1973) governing the demassified (because of its isolation) but nonetheless conformist consumer. This new vision, which has for quite a long time been inherent in specialized languages (Packard: 1964), leads to the problematization of dualism and opens up to a third element and, therefore, to multiplicity and complexity. The new dynamic paradigms of specialized languages which are part of the changes brought forward by postmodernism lead to the fact that good faith is not, contrary to what Habermas (1974) envisaged a few years ago, an operative a priori on which one can base the ability to communicate. Objectivity, for instance, is now perceived as a relationship established between the paradigms of public language and of different specialized languages which allow the construction of meaning from a certain set of preestablished goals, depending on the ultimate intention to achieve an end, put in the general framework of the appropriation mimesis, but in a situation which is context dependent. Any information is a piece of power which is strategically oriented in order to make gains. There is nothing new in that. Specialists and intellectuals have always been aware of this but, in the modern era, they simultaneously tended to believe in a rational subject not only mastering its field of competence but also controlling the context and the chain of events resulting from an action. However, a new suspicion revealed itself among specialists. This suspicion is explored by intellectuals who are often those who determine how to apply new strategies of communication on behalf of institutions in need of a temporary control, such as during the Gulf War. These new intellectuals, although they do not all use deconstructive practices (Norris: 1982) of reading and of producing significations, tend to think that there is no subject before a signifying system is in place. Therefore, there is no definitive signified, only a constant process of significations. Specialists who switch from public language paradigms to specialized paradigms do not get closer to authenticity; they simply are more efficient because they are able to work, produce and derive pleasure in two different discourses and two world constructions while trying to be at the leading edge in their own specialized fields of competence. Realizing the fact that referentiality is the most important simulacre in the hands of governments or institutions is a step in the right direction particularly if the new paradigms of flux, speed, construction of discourse in constant decontextualization are transfered from the level of specialized languages to the level of public languages. It would be particularly helpful in fostering a new critical ability among the users of public languages. In order to achieve this goal, one has to lead enough people away from the relativism of modernity which still clings to partial and contingent truth based upon history itself (Himmelfarb: 1994), and its master narratives

68 which represent a type of shared knowledge from which it was possible to arbitrate decisions and produce significations. One has to train the public to become creative in a postmodern world in which there are no partial or contingent truths, but only temporary goals which can also be won temporarily by a group or an individual whose ultimate desire is to increase its own symbolic and/or material power. This does not mean that this person or this group wants to deprive others of everything, the more so because postmodernism does not present the world as a zero sum game. This zero sum game was one of the basic assumptions of most discourses linked to modernity such as David Ricardo's ideas of a world of scarce land and diminishing return, or even other ideas such as those of Marxism. The Marxist discourse considered that capitalizing wealth had, as a consequence, the taking away of wealth from a multitude. As Gilder (1981) explains after Etzioni (1968) and Adam Smith (and the "invisible hand"), capitalizing knowledge or material wealth creates new wealth which can then be shared by a larger group of people. This emphasis on new creations which prevails in corporate culture (Boily: 1993) is an important element of the new postmodern epistemology emphasizing the influence of limitless ideas on growth and on inventing new ways of combining concepts in order to generate new products and new behaviors. This new epistemology is slowly but surely disseminated, through intellectually challenging productions such as the magazine Wired, among a growing cultured and informed public riding the wave of the way of life brought by new economic a prions in-keeping with the globalization of markets and technology. This dynamic of disseminating a relativism pertaining not only to absolute truth but also to contingent truth is one of the main realizations of postmodernism particularly in its liberal North American variety. This does not mean that monosemy, truth or reality have to be abandoned. They have only to be considered for what they stand: a particular type of historical discourse which helped build identities, those of the public and those of the specialists. These discourses can still be useful inside a society or outside of it as a tool used to gain advantages. Today, however, these historically dominant discourses are given a marginal place while the new discourse of flux, contingence and multiplicity circulates among the informed people of liberal societies. These people enjoy living more than one life at a time, thanks to their capacity to participate in different contexts allowing them to explore their multifaceted identities.


18. Secrets and ethics An obsession with the true versus the false leads us to artificial solutions as reassuring as the old certainty that the world was flat. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p. 20).

In a world in which "small is beautiful", that is in a world in which the microchip and the microprocessor contribute to the storing and circulation of huge amounts of information, in a world in which the microchip card will contain an important amount of medical, social, financial and security data pertaining to each individual, there is less and less room for a private life. This is even more true when one realizes that this data can be matched instantaneously with data banks controlling the veracity of allegations. Each person is now confronted with institutions which, in order to create a controlled world, allegedly more secure for the normal law-abiding citizen, rely on immense data banks capitalizing on accumulation of information in order to build a networked picture of any social being. Each individual is networked and exists socially because of his or her networked and quantity-based quality. Therefore, the traditional belief in a monosemic order which, in a Catholic world, relied on the capacity of the subject to confess to a priest, whose role was to listen, to pardon and to keep secret what he heard, is not in tune with the new social order. In a networked world, the only secrecy possible in social relationships, is to hide behind a screen of images and of words whose meanings are constantly in evolution. Many debates have taken place which confronted the new expressions and meanings related to political correctness. But they are all based on the illusory principle that there is a true meaning for a word. There has never been a true meaning for a word, only meanings which were recognized as legitimate or useful for long periods because they were guaranteed by a center whose stability and allencompassing position contributed to creating a sense of permanence. Secrecy is now dependent on elusive and fast changing contexts which are impossible to control in their effects and consequences. Simultaneously, an individual has to establish more and more integrated connections with others and to standardize links with them in order to become compatible with the temporary spirit of the interest group in which he is participating. He also has to keep secret as long as possible what is important for him or for the product to be created, so that he can fully gain the symbolic or economic advantages of his knowledge. He is also very dependent on data banks which can grow indefinitely because they can always incorporate more minute and precise information which can be connected through manifold intertwined linkages. Individuals now have to contribute to their own secretive powers and they achieve this goal by hiding among the general dynamics of languages. Each individual has to become a master of the pragmatics of language and to realize that, in this information/communication society, dialogue, subtly but constantly, is partial and is based on misunderstandings. It is from these misunderstandings that one can gain definitive advantages and have an opportunity to hide

70 because one can be interpreted, read by others in a way which can elude strong personal features. Romain Gary in Pseudo demonstrated this very skillfully by emphasizing that a newspaper article written by Ms. Baby describing his personality was so unlike him that he became afraid everybody would recognize him. To be in tune with flux, one has to go with flux and disappear as a personality whose features are evolving although, somewhere, data keeps track of social, psychological, medical and financial information. Moreover, in a world in which goals are temporary and solidarities are goaloriented, protection comes from an assertiveness diluted by the conscience of the transitional, itself linked to the inoperativeness of the master narratives. This low key assertiveness, linked to the fact that decisions have to be taken consensually by evaluating together the heterogeneous finalities of multiple contexts, although what is still demanded from people in executive positions is a capacity to risk and to take responsible and enlightened decisions, is a particular feature of our liberal postmodern world. Yet, any situation has its dark side. The "Unibomber" is the dark side of this situation. He is a lonely terrorist whose efficacy is built on the fact that he is acting alone and that he is well-educated and very much aware of the new paradigms and the new technologies which he directly confronts (La Press e: Saturday April 13 1996: A24). A similar situation has been put to the fore by Paul Auster in Leviathan whose story deals with an unknown and lonely well-educated terrorist. This novel is not the only one to underline the change in social attitudes. One can also think of the value judgments held by the ironic hero of Cliff Stoll's novel The Cuckoo's Egg, whose knack for catching a computer spy is balanced by a constant contempt for law enforcement institutions (FBI, CIA) whose inefficiency is paralleled by their incapacity to adequately reward the work of the ironic hero. One feels that, somehow, somewhere, these new post-personalities can be seen as potential traitors to any stable entity. However, treacherousness is not necessarily a perversion because it is more the resultant of the interplay of systems in evolution to which huge established organizations do not adapt. Who is right, now, after the craze for dinosaurs in films and toys? Those who adapt and who are aware of the "invisible hand" and of the fact that nothing works as planned in advance? Those who are keenly conscious of a generalized possibility to end up in failure and who take it into account? Certainly those who strive to keep their motivations secret in a world where secrecy is defined by change. And change is what makes us secret because one does not know what one is going to choose when one is confronted by multiple kinds of changes. And, traditional ethics do not really give answers to this situation. This is emphasized in William Styron's novel Sophie's Choice. In this book and movie, the mother of a boy and a girl driven to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany has to decide, on the spot, which one will be allowed to survive. No ethic provides anyone with an answer for such a terrible situation. She is confronted with an untenable choice and she decides for the boy on the sole ground that a boy might have a better chance of surviving although he might only be given an opportunity to


suffer longer, which eventually is what happens. She will never see her children again. Modernity, directly or indirectly, confronted us with the eventuality of such choices and TV images emphasize situations which reenact such total disempowerment. A subjectal conscience can or cannot be maintained when facing such nochoices. It is similar also to what confronts people who are tortured, as is emphasized by M. and M. Vinar (1989). Torturers use torture to obtain names of people but also to extort an ultimate secret from of the suffering individual. It is one which is linked to the capacity, in hallucinations or not, to maintain a subjectal conscience. If the tortured person maintains this capacity, the torturer will fail and the tortured might be killed. If the torturer succeeds, the tortured will accept the torturers stereotypes and this acceptance will be reinforced by niceties provided by the system. Then torture will have succeeded and symbolic violence will impose itself on top of bodily violence. The tortured might end up getting filled by the stereotypes of the system and his capacity to produce significations will be completely annihilated. This possibility of total disempowerment leading to the complete annihilation of the capacity of producing significations is rejected by postmodernism in its emphasis on the capacity of producing new significations. Simultaneously, it shies away from any reference to any myth of the end, to an omega which would traditionally contribute to the grounding of any endeavour to produce an effective ethic. Production of significations is contextual, relational, and not centered. Traditional ethics are confronted with annihilation of subjectal conscience through pseudo choices in no-win situations. Traditional ethics give no solution when one is facing the perverseness of any stable order derived from dictatorship, genocide and torture. Traditional ethics are now confronted with a world which rejects this stable order which led to genocide. These ethics are seen as inefficient and they have to give way to a new kind of ethic which would integrate the new paradigms of dynamism set in a world led by infinite heterogeneous finalities. This minimal ethic is based on the capacity to point out lies although there is no longer a possibility to tell the truth. Therefore, while acknowledging that the Sokal (1997) controversy is healthy, we consider that Sokal himself tends to attribute the qualification of postmodernism to remarks or attitudes which are not always deeply linked to the dynamics of postmodernism. Postmodernism does not represent a rupture with modernity but a double-coding as is emphasized by Jencks. Postmodernism also strives to find new answers in a world definitively unsettled by the conscience that many institutions do not deserve the respect they are claiming, because genocides are carefully masterminded by state institutions and by bureaucracies. Postmodernism represents a condition which is open to dynamic changes displacing boundaries and paradigms which no longer prepare populations for a humane and enjoyable life.


19. Pointing out lies: a postmodern ethic ... myth is a text that has been falsified by the belief of the executioners in the guiltiness of their victims... (René Girard, Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, p. 148). Peirce's philosophy as a whole takes representation and semeiosis to be the fundamental ontological process. To be real is to be represented in a final and infinite series of interprétants. (David Savan, An introduction to C.S. Peirce's Full System of Semeiotic, p. 19). La vérité, en fin de compte, n'a jamais servi qu'a l'oppression (Truth, in conclusion, always served oppression). (Alain Robbe-Grillet, Le miroir qui revient, p. 65).

In this situation where there are neither absolute truths as they were traditionally conceived by lay or religious institutions opening up to a without, nor relative truths guaranteed by history and hermeneutic procedures, there is still something basic which can lead democratic societies away from dictatorships built on the total arbitrariness of discourses generated discretionarily by a small group in power. It is the fact that, if it is impossible to tell the truth, it is still possible to point out a lie. A dictatorship, a strong regime, spends its time coercing people into believing or, at least, into acting as if there was an absolute truth, while denying genocides or institutional murders (desaparecidos). A postmodern democracy points out that there is no truth, only strategic discourses, but that it is still possible to point out lies. This possibility is based on the study of texts of persecutions as Girard (1987) points out. These texts teach us that history has been written by lynchers, that those who lost have no history, be they ethnic groups, poor people or marginalized people (women, gays, lesbians) as defined by the dominant context of a particular period. We can still retain our capacity to point out lies generated by power centers, without feeling obliged to valorize as well the discourses or the minorities which, as Girard demonstrates, also tend to project violence on the outside world and create their own victims. By emphasizing this fact, we are led to drift away from a basic tenet of postcolonialism which demonstrates a tendency to valorize minority-ethniccommunity centered discourses. By doing this, postcolonialism often tends to reactivate a kind of appropriation mimesis which can lead to a power struggle losing sight of the third element, the object. This struggle tends to stabilize discourses into dualistic conflicts instead of generating a debate which would lead to the production of new discourses. Pointing out lie in the postmodern era means to reject any dual orthodoxy and dual discourses leading to a pseudo truth. It is to engage in the production of a third discourse rediscovering people who have no history, people who have been "lynched", who have been tortured and killed and whose death has been denied and forgotten. Therefore, in the postmodern era, the static referent of the modern era, the undeniable dead body which has so often been hidden because dualistic rivalries


lost sight of the object and lead to prestige rivalries which eliminated the antagonist group of individuals, is reinserted as a third dynamic term breaking dualistic paradigms. This allows to start a process of production of significations which is not blocked on a static referent (for instance the institutional mourning of certain victims) but which is organized to produce more significations and integrate other potential victims in the redefinition of the new temporary third term paradigm. A dynamism of discourse production is organized through this process of interpretance. However, in order to create a dynamic which will lead to point out lies one has to realize that there is no dichotomy metalanguage/object language but a confrontation between discourses. By analyzing a discourse, by referring to another discourse allowing for a temporary distanciation, one produces a new discourse by the sheer fact that, after the analysis, the a prioris of the analyzed discourse are now explicit and also those of the discourse used to analyze the latter one. The confrontation of two discourses produces a third one. This has three consequences: first, the fact that it is impossible to go back to the pseudo authenticity of the former analyzed discourse; second, the fact that one now clearly realizes that, in the modern era, distanciation was what allowed to analyze discourses and that this distanciation had strong links with dualism; and third, the fact that there is no distanciation in the postmodern era because a discourse is analyzed through another discourse which is put in the position of a specialized language. This specialized language is not perceived as a metalanguage. Therefore, the analysis leads to the creation of a third discourse which is becoming the new legitimate, albeit temporary discourse leading to pointing out lie by referring to what had been forgotten, or denied, the passage from life to death of victims. This confrontation of discourses does not imply that one has to use a hard-core theoretical discourse to produce a third discourse. For instance, Monique Wittig (1992), by saying that lesbians are not women, is able to analyze the discourse of the norm and its paradigm, woman defined by man. Moreover, they are able to escape from the paradigm norm | recognition by the norm in that they do not, like gay men, ask for a recognition by the norm. They are not only able to analyze conflictual discourses set in potentially locked paradigms, but they are also able to produce a new discourse from this analytical distanciation. This third discourse, breaking the dual relationships man/woman and norm/outside the norm, will then, by its sheer articulation, have a retroactive impact on the two conflictual discourses trying to reorganize the norm. These two discourses will have to rearticulate because of this third element. By this rearticulation and leading then to the necessary rearticulation of the lesbian discourse, a new dynamic discourse that breaks other paradigms will be produced as a third element. In this dynamic process, no discourse is locked in a repetitive conflict leading to the loss of sight of the object connected to a rivalry based solely on prestige. This loss of the object is at the root of total violence, and terror as is the case with monosemic dualistic discourses (linked to public language) trying to impose the truth of the stable without to which they are referring.


One can also consider the rearticulation of the political discourse after the Second World War due to the presence of the emergence of the conscience of the Holocaust. After the war, one of the questions was to determine if the Petain government was legitimate or if it was installed by a foreign force. In the first case, those who served Vichy were, at most, erring patriots or, at best, patriots who tried to help the nation to survive. In the second case, those who served it were traitors and deserved to be treated accordingly. Two legitimacies were considered: one possibly linked to Petain and the other connected with Free France and De Gaulle. The issue was to see if one could condemn those who served Vichy because their behaviour was not deemed to conform to a patriotism in the service of the nation. As one can see, after the war, the logic of a nationalistic discourse was still at work and was based on a dualistic paradigm national/foreign which still excluded those who did not fit in one of these categories. However a very important question slowly emerged. It was linked to the fact that Jews were not treated like French nationals but like foreigners, although they were French nationals. Moreover, they were denounced by French nationals, arrested by French police, and sent to concentration camps. This question arose, which displaced the questions of legitimacy related to a nationalistic discourse and its paradigm. Displacing the paradigm national/foreign by showing that there are hybrid categories and that this hybridity was rejected as well as those who corresponded to it, caused a redefinition which points to lies and genocide. It emphasizes the fact that a crime against humanity had been supported by individuals on orders of the Vichy Government. The discourse of the Holocaust acts as a third term in the conflict between two legitimacies and contributes to the rereading of a past, which could not lead to the silencing of its most tragic and abhorrent elements7. It is in such a rethought framework that we can base our capacity to point out lies. Among the new dynamic paradigms which abolish the belief in the referent, remains the fact that one can assert that someone was alive and that this person is now dead (see 5). This is very different from what the media try to do. By showing dead bodies, they try to persuade us that they are able to present the without of discourse. They immediately capitalize on this situation and disseminate their value judgments by telling the public how to behave when taking into account the reality of the economic structure or of any so-called fact. This game is included in the fight to control the Platonic mimesis through the appropriation mimesis and is not fundamentally different from a procedure leading to a stable dualistic epistemology. But beyond the fights to control mimesis, to gain legitimacy over who says what is a fact, and who's who through the use of the attribution process, there is an undeni7

Both examples illuminate a process that is similar to the rereading of the past from the strategic point of view of the present. The present builds a past in whose meaningfulness remains in the present. Borges in "Pierre Menard Autor del Quijote" and even more Oswald de Andrade in his book entitled Anthropophagie, were very conscious of this dynamic and they both helped in building American identities escaping from the canons of the European past by rereading European codes from the point of view of the Americas.


able fact, the passage from life to death. It can be pointed out without using the attribution process which always contributes to creating the bases for an orthodoxy. As is clearly shown in The House of the Spirits written by Isabel Allende, pointing out lies is not the same as trying to say that one possesses truth, because the one who possesses truth is also prone to hide dead bodies and genocides. Whoever or whatever institution tries to hide corpses and genocide is part of an endeavour to transform a democracy into a dictatorship and to terrorize people so that they submit to the total arbitrariness of discourses escaping the only universal mimetic relevance, the pointing out of the passage from life to death originating from the dynamic of a process of interpretance escaping dualism and its pseudo authentic referents. This pointing out is not supposed to be done in order to gain a legitimacy at the root of a discourse based on truth or on objectivity and it is relying on the attribution process expressing a transparent identity. Pointing out the passage from life to death is part of a dynamic where the lie is understood 1/ as a constant conscience of a situation in which information has to be complemented by more information which itself has to be complemented by more information, etc., and 2/ as a situation where there are tactics and strategies used to stay ahead and set in a competitive framework, but without any fixed goal apart from the one leading to creation of new knowledge and wealth without producing dead bodies. Flux, non-dualism, dynamism, and infinite heterogeneous finalities, do not represent an exploration into arbitrariness. On the contrary. They represent a realization of the arbitrariness of any institutional power based on being and on a static dualism aiming at disseminating a truth on which to build a consensus resting on static paradigms which often lead to pseudo-choice-no-win situations and degenerate into a victimization process prone to generate more victimization processes because a fight for prestige, linked to revenge and hatred, takes over any sound competition, based on controlled violence, and producing a third element. By training people to think and act in a context-dependent epistemology, postmodernism and the epistemology of specialized languages maintain the capacity to point out lies while simultaneously making people aware of the fact that truth can never be said or given. Truth is a tool in the hands of an institution inventing a reality in order to create a consensus. The without is impossible to control because as soon as there is an attempt to define it, it is part of the discourse itself. Yet, the capacity to point out the fact of being alive and then dead is fostered by the concentration on flux and on the exploration of the possibilities to produce a third element. It is this fact which allows the new epistemology to renew democracy. Democracy, therefore, does not rely on the binary paradigm truth/lie, but on the pointing out of this paradigm as the ultimate lie at the origin of genocide. This creates a third discourse which is very far from nihilism or from absolute relativism because process and pointing out lies unmask the deadly terror inherent in a society based on absolute truth and dualistic conflicts which produce dead bodies in order to generate more terror within, but which also often try to hide them, particularly from other communities, when their number is too high. Pointing out lies in an epistemology

76 based on contingence and on bad faith, understood as an impossibility of knowing oneself through any transparency of discourse, and as a dynamic conception opening to conflicts based on strategies, are the elements powering a postmodern democracy fostering responsible, critical and free individuals. Therefore, the paradigm lie/truth is the expression of the modern era which was reading texts following the logic of the belief in the culpability of the victims. However, lie is not antithetical to truth. Truth is the opposite of truth and leads to the victimization process and to genocides. It generates a dualism which does not open to a third element and to a process of redefinitions at work in a postmodern democracy. Pointing out a lie can be considered as a conscience of the productivity of discourses in ever-changing contexts. It is linked to a postmodern ethic at work among discourses which produce effects of stability and of reality in a world which is impossible to define and/or to master. It is very different from many postcolonial endeavours which tend to base an ethic, mostly grounded in a dream of authenticity, on the recognition of the other as an other kept in a static and marginal relationship with centers. This is achieved through a renewal of the paradigm metalanguage/object language and of the approach to theory. As we will see in the next chapter, it is through post-theory that one can unlock the situation and also escape from the dichotomies between theory/practice.



20. Theory and pragmatism A theory is a point of view about what is invariable. (Tobin Siebers, "Sincerely Yours", in: Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism, Ed. Charles Bernheimer, p. 197).

Pragmatism tends to dominate the new North American culture revisiting Adam Smith for whom experience is the basis of everything. This culture tends to reject theory in the domain of the speculative and hypothetical mental projections which cannot blend with the practicality of multiple interfering contexts. This conception is in-keeping with Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He demonstrates that objectivity is dependent upon previously established paradigms. However, when paradigms change, objectivity is revealed for what it is: an illusion. This does not mean that Kuhn does not theorize. On the contrary. It means that, in the framework of public language, the influence of the belief in objectivity in areas which are related to society instead of science, is based on a point of view which captures various ideas congruent with a particular epistemology and rejects others as non-pertinent. This process is part of the production of significations as emphasized by the new epistemology which is more interested in methods allowing the confrontation of discourses relying on different paradigms rather than in generalizing a theory supposedly relevant for any text analysis. Method as a type of progressive procedure oriented towards doing things is different from theory but it is linked to the capacity to act according to a dynamism oriented towards the production of a third element in the framework of changing contexts which can be seized at their temporary points of concordance. Method is dependent on context, in a world which is impossible to grasp, as Gilder repeats many times in Wealth and Poverty. This world, however, typically generates euphory because the invisible hand, as a kind of benevolent providence, allows an escape from tragedy. At least, as Sarmiento, the Argentinian writer, understood very well when travelling in the United States in 1847, following a trip to Europe which had horrified him, nothing is definitively established:

78 The Yankee is a born proprietor... he does not say that he is poor but that he is poor now or that he has been unlucky, or that times are bad. (M.A. Rockland, Sarmiento's Travels in the United States in 1847: 166).

Therefore, by escaping the essentially aristocratic ideology of the attribution process which imposes qualities on a person or a group, the citizens of the United States were able to keep their democratic dynamic and to continue competing through symmetrical relationships in order to apply the right method. This method is not necessarily elaborate and complex; it is merely what experience teaches: hard work and shrewdness will eventually bring economic and personal rewards. There is a very important difference between the nineteenth and the end of the twentieth century. In the eighteenth and in the nineteenth centuries, all citizens were thought to be different but were also thought to be alike in their craving for equality when given the opportunity to develop in a new, free, democratic, potentially rich and republican world. Horace Mann, the famous nineteenth century pedagogue from Massachusetts, is a good example of this belief. He builds a modern, technologically-and-scientifically oriented tolerant new system of education in order to create wealth and Republicans. "It may be an easy thing to make a Republic; but it is a very laborious thing to make Republicans." (Cremin: 1957: 92). Again, as is also true for Egerton Ryerson in Upper Canada and for Sarmiento in Argentina, who both tend to copy the system of H. Mann and of his wife, Mrs. Beecher, the formation of a new rational citizen is realized by practice, by a constant monitoring of context and experience. This practice, however, is based on a minimum of theorization (although far from being compelling like the one produced by the French Revolution) inherent in the criticism of England and of its Parliamentary monarchy, whose colonialism often negated the principles established for home. The new American citizen is seen as being part of a collectivity, whose goals will be common and also, being an independent individual, who will have internalized democratic values, particularly freedom and responsibility. This is why, in its drive to reaffirm its economic power over Argentina, a British envoy, in 1828, cautioned the Argentinian Government against "the doctrine set up by some crude theorists that America ought to have a political existence separate from the political existence of Europe". (Kiernan: 1967: 283). Monroe and his doctrine (America to the Americans) is alluded to in this text originating in the discourse of a country which rejects theory as an expression of dangerous generalizations leading to unmanageable utopias like the ones implemented by the French revolutionaries or like the ones which led to the separation of some of the British colonies from the central power. Yet, these "crude theorists" were not theorizing like the French revolutionaries (Simpson: 1993). They were pragmatic people taking power into their own hands. In the twentieth century, however, a society built on the equality of chances through the practice of symmetrical relationships is seen as democratic if it recognizes and accepts differences. These differences are what complexify the world and what powers the dynamics of contextually-dependent organizations. There is no

79 more rational uniformity as a basis for an enlightened democracy. Blacks, women, Asians, the disabled, all start from different backgounds and when given the opportunity to compete, will do so in a way which will influence competition and which will even have an effect on the rules of the competition itself. This is naturally due to an emphasis on practice which has replaced common sense. An action geared towards the future is what can unite people who are not being configurated by a set of past qualities or of discriminatory attributes. This activity is now led by technology, capitalization of contextually adapted knowledge and finance. In theory, everyone is equal. In practice, as it was shown in the Sixties and the Seventies by thinkers such as John Holt (1970) or Postman and Weingartner (1969), equality is only an illusory premisse which does not take into account differences, that is the context at work. This is what can explain why so many Blacks fail at school while relatively fewer Whites have problems in succeeding. Experience is the great teacher, and it definitely contributed to undermining the master narratives, not only the messianic ones like popular Marxism, but also the rationalist ones governing the directives on which the public school system in North America was based (Baldwin: 1961). The question is to try to determine if the recognition of differences is a means for rendering minorities more capable of getting a good start in competition based on symmetrical relationships, if it is a means for trying to overcome the shortcomings of rationalism and to go around a mostly male and white well-served economic group depending on the indirect advantages of an everburgeoning government basing its role on the remnants of the New Deal, or if these symmetrical relationships are subordinated to established complementary relationships dominated by a small group of investors, presidents, bankers, media gurus, and think tanks such as those who meet in the Bohemian Club8 near Santa Rosa, California. In this case, differences and their celebration by thinkers associated with postcolonialism will only create margins unable to get into the mainstream and to compete with it in order to get power positions and to infuse the mainstream with a new dynamic. In this perspective, one looks at the triumph of a minority of people who, because of their wealth, are able to dominate technology and to impose their political agenda on North America and on the world. Many signs are pointing towards this direction, while it is clear that the new emphasis on competition tends to reduce the power of some established professional solidarities which depend on governmental bureaucracies and their financial help. From another perspective, one observes a rediscovery of a dynamic value system which re-empowers individuals and emphasizes their freedom and responsibility in order to stimulate them in the formation of their life and in the production of new wealth. From this position, those who enter the mainstream are modified by it and modify it, thus creating a third element. This influx of new ideas transforms the 8

This Club which was a hub of radical people at the beginning of the twentieth century, (John Reed, for instance, was a member of the Club), is now much more conservative.

80 antagonism between mainstream and margins into new streams contributing to the changing of society and to the dissemination of new ideas and products worldwide. In this case, the emphasis on group differences fostered by a postcolonialism with which postmodernism has no difficulty cooperating (being itself developed in North America from a contestation of European supremacy and its imperial colonialism acting as an extension of nation-states preventing globalization), represents a transitional phase for having different people entering the mainstream and the manifold disseminated power centers of a complex financial and technological democracy. As a result, the ideology of individual freedom could gradually eliminate this emphasis on minority groups, as is desired by Dinesh D'Souza (1991). He himself represents this tendency because he is outside of the traditional white male mainstream. Yet, having been able to penetrate the mainstream, in this American society open to immigrants, he is eager to reaffirm individual value and commitment as the dynamic element allowing liberal democracy to develop and to counter static or bureaucratic tendencies. Theories which became embedded in bureaucracies are rejected and individual development based on difference, on networking contexts and on experience are given a new impetus. Experience, in this case, is the capacity to be creative in a world of tightly monitored systemic relationships where unforeseen events and particular conditions can regularly develop.

21. Theory and reflexivity Les publicités qui se sont servies de la peinture, deviennent à leur tour sujets pour les peintres populaires ou hyperréalistes... qui les transforment à nouveau... (Commercials which used paintings, are in turn becoming subjects for popular or hyperrealist painters... who then transform them) (G. Roque, Ceci n 'estpas un Magritte, p. 21).

Whole encompassing theories, as well as master narratives, go together in their endeavour to communicate and explain a certain state of culture and dissemination of information. It is particularly true, for instance, of the Greimassian theory, based on the capacity to break apart narratives, while asserting its universal domination through its conception of a generalized narrative structure. Slowly but surely, these all-encompassing theories have receded and led to an acknowledgement that the paradigm within/without applied to a hiérarchisation between language and metalanguage, should open to the realization that a metalanguage is only a particular type of a specialized language in the hands of a group of specialists dreaming of mastering a text and its context. A metalanguage is merely a type of discourse. It is included, like any other discourse, in a broad ideology permeating it, usually without the acknowledgement of its users. Although thought of in the epistemology of the stable as a means to control a text and as a tool to be controlled by a subject able to decipher himself/herself and a text, a metalanguage represents a type of dis-

81 course confrontation attempting to play on a relative distanciation controlled by a context where cleft and even fragmented personalities are the norm. Though, specialists always participate in and are partly molded by public language, and distanciation in the postmodern era is displaced by reflexivity and the production of a third element. Reflexivity is problematized in the same way as the loss of the referent in many novels written by Borges or Cortázar: "En 1833, Carlyle observó que la historia universal es un infinito libro sagrado que todos los hombres escriben y leen y tratan de entender, y el que también los escribe." (Borges: 1974: 669) (In 1833, Carlyle observed that universal history is an infinite and sacred book that all human beings write, read and try to understand, and this book in turn writes them as well). This consciousness of the text producing a text, this type of a text in a text, leads to surpassing the conception of discourse as mimetic and to reflect on a mirror-like structure. Reflexivity is the name of the game in the post-information era emphasizing the management of the collective PERCEPTION of events (Vargish: 1991) rather than events themselves. It is clear when one thinks that the Reagan years in the United States or the Mulroney years in Canada, were a period of increased public expenditure and increased deficit, although the political elite and the administration claimed that it was applying financial restraints. This is also clear in the results of the numerous opinion polls done daily. These polls are supposed to stay at the same level as the object studied, contrary to the specialized language of sociologist, and to reproduce the object while quantifying it statistically. Their goal is mimetic, but it is a mimesis associated with conflicting opinions and not with the specificity of an object. Opinion polls are therefore the equivalent, in a peaceful setting, of the fight for prestige mentioned by Girard, which is particularly deleterious for the collectivity, because it represents the ultimate level of aggressivity that one can reach in the acting out of the appropriation mimesis. Opinion polls are a euphoric commercial or political way of emphasizing a fight for legitimacy in peaceful and democratic terms, although these terms are defined and tightly controlled by the polling industry and its allegiance to those who pay for the opinion polls. However, by the fact that opinion polls are supposed to stay at the same level as the object of study, they can destroy their very mimetic property because the results influence the group and generate a feedback which is changing opinion. Perhaps this change is not considerable but it is probably enough to deviate previsions based on them as many presidential elections show, in which a candidate was believed to be elected and, in reality, his opponent was victorious. This happened for instance for John Kennedy's election. These dialectics between mimesis and feedback have the advantage of persuading many people that they have an important influence on political or economic decisions (Bourdieu: 1987). However, it hides the fact that anonymous lobbies have a much stronger voice in the process of decision-making and of establishing which themes should be discussed. In this insistence on statistics there is a reversal of point of view. The particular, the self, is not important, statis-

82 tics are. It is important to try to predict how many car accidents there will be in a given region, so that insurance companies can foresee how much money they can lock into long term investments. It is not important, and not possible, to foresee that Mr. X. will have an accident. The particular cannot be derived from the general and conversely the knowledge of a particular case in its details does not help the general. Neither deduction nor induction are pertinent for this type of statistical knowledge. Statistics are used by a technological, economic and technocratic society which redefines identity in terms of impersonal contents, previously set in contexts linked to goals defined by the group which pays for the poll. By multiple statistical segmentations, as opposed to the massification associated with modernity, groups try to manage the progress in the importance of difference by trying to keep ahead of fragmentation. They do so by bypassing the traditional epistemology defining the relationships between the particular and the general and by reconfiguring the process of attribution. One no longer says that, in Québec, there are 51% Federalists and 49% Sovereignists, but that the Federalist and the Independantist options are now respectively credited with 51% and 49% of support. Qualities are not attributed to fixed identities; they are conceived as flux which can aggregate with so many groups at a certain period of a society's development. Specialists developing polling stategies are using paradigms which are connected with a questioning of mimesis in the Platonic mimesis sense of the term for their alleged goal of mimeticizing public discourses. Mimesis is impossible; knowledge is produced by a confrontation of diverging epistemologies. However, managing collective perceptions reinforces information whose goal is not primarily to get at some essential truth but to acquire more information to be put in bigger data banks in order to create new interconnections between elements and to constantly produce new elements which could, in this way, emulate and even simulate what can happen. A metalanguage, in the modern sense of the term, is not conducive to such postmodern goals. In inquiries dealing with more complex issues, one is not confronted with opinion polls which are only a starting point for more elaborate sociological analyses. In this case, reflexivity concentrates upon the description of the possible attitude of a public towards a certain situation (Lord/Barnell: 1989) and particularly a war. In the case of the Gulf War the important event was not what was happening, although the conflict was retransmitted in real time, but the perception of and reaction to these events. In this situation where discourses are governed by real time, the paradigm within/without is held hostage by specialists, when deemed necessary. This paradigm has outlived its usefulness for those who want to understand the POST world. However, a derivative of this paradigm, that is self/other, is dynamized through reflexivity. Reflexivity is the way specialized languages work to stay away from the epistemology of public language when they want to go beyond a dualistic epistemology. However, in the case of a reflexivity caught in a dualistic discourse, the necessary link with a third term is broken. Bateson (1972: 367) underlined that achieving specificity outside relationships was real progress accomplished by humans. Therefore, reflexivity, in a dualistic context, goes back to the situation of a

83 type of appropriation mimesis governed by the triumph of dominance patterns, because it eludes the specific and concentrates on who is going to impose his arbitrary meaning. This was what happened during the Gulf War when pools of information were used to control the flux of information and to present viewers with no images of dead bodies. Reflexivity did not lead to the production of a third discourse by adding more information linked to the victims because all the semantic contents were locked in a dual paradigm by censorship and pools of information. In a dualistic epistemology, this avoidance of specificity which can be defined as giving access to a given, to a referent, accentuates the cleavage between social classes, between those who have the means of capitalizing and networking information and those who do not. Yet, in the framework of the new epistemology, the situation is different. Here, there is a play with a third term seen as an element originating from the conflict of a discourse with the discourse reflecting on it and opening up on a new discourse set in a dynamic context of interpretance. It puts into place a new kind of hermeneutics, one which does not rely on dualistic concepts like object language/metalanguage. Any text is an indiscernable blend of an original text rephrased by additions, derivations, deviations, displacements, metonymic or metaphoric elements. A text is a commentary of texts which are commentaries of text, as was clearly and humoristically shown by Eco in his novel Foucault's Pendulum. However, Foucault's Pendulum also illustrates the ideas of another Foucault: Michel Foucault who states: "What we speak can never tell us the difference between mere expression and the analysis of this expression." (1973: 303). A production of meaning is an event not a thing. It is particularly true in the context of the penetration of an epistemology associated with specialized languages in the domain of public language. In the postmodern era, a double, unstable discourse is at work which produces an unstable subject constantly adapting to shifts of expression in a society in which norms are blurred by rapid change and exchange. This lability far from the clear cut "double talk" dramatized by Orwell in Nineteen-Eighty-Four, and inspiring adepts of a theory of conspiration, leads to the questioning of theory. Theory is now seen as a fixed discourse unable to explore the subtleties of an imbalance which provides a certain type of pleasure. The new specialized and public language open new opportunities and what is sought is an enlightened practice of contextually-dependent discourses allowing us to peek into a complex universe. Theories, particularly semantic, literary and political theories, do not offer such a broad and open-ended opportunity. Simple whole encompassing theories are behind in comparison with technological and conceptual innovations; they cannot offer strategic efficient answers to questions which are themselves fast changing because they are part of the flux of discourses. Hard-core theories also give way to analysis of discourse confrontations because their pseudo scientificity have been superseded by bytes, by the digital encapsulation of informations and by the daily usefulness of digital speed as Negroponte demonstrates (1995). Moreover, in a society which strives to produce faster and

84 more efficiently for a global market, more and more thinkers insist on the practicality of results. This practicality can be framed in the basic ideas of Atlan (1986) who emphasizes the fact that people will disagree and fight over the reasons governing abstract theories at the bases of a particular practical realization, but that they will tend to cooperate on the practicality of a production. Theories are part of a mimesis of appropriation which loses sight of the object itself and can be linked to an epistemological violence ghettoizing ideas or groups and contributing to an isolation of thinkers at a time when they should, at least, help to disseminate the a prioris of specialized languages in manifold specialized communities which need, in order to be efficient, to cooperate around inter-and multidisciplinary reflexions. Efficient in this context means to be able to create new ideas and products which could be communicated to a variable and different public and consumer groups temporarily interested in some object, project or element. For this, one needs not only to disseminate specialized knowledge in a packaging (see 23) which could render understandable, palatable and connectable, complex specialized information, but also to add bits onto bits and to build easy to consult architectures of indexes. They could lead to different types of pragmatic configurations of classifications allowing for change. A kind of interpretance (Peirce: 1982) is needed among hard core theoreticians which depends on the fact that speed opens up to new questions definitely linked to the capacity to establish new connections between new elements, be they bits, places, time frames, people or highly technical problems.

22. Post-theory and contingency ... car l'ironie est la souplesse... c'est-à-dire l'extrême conscience... car il y a une culture de l'universalité intérieure qui nous maintient alertes et détachés. (Because irony... is the extreme consciousness... because there is a culture of internal universality which keeps us in a state of alertness and detachment) (Vladimir Jankélévitch, L'Ironie, p. 144).

Hard core theories with their ultra-specialized vocabularies, often not welldefined or relating to similar ideas through the use of very different vocabularies without giving a clue to the laymen and even to specialists of the possible connections to be established between different words/concepts, are not very effective in the new Post world. One of their blind spots lies in their incapacity to reflect on their own productions (de Certeau: 1987: 73) even if Barthes (1967) tried to reflect on this problem and Bourdieu (1988) on their linkage to institutional interests. One of the other blind spots is the fact that they were produced as universal systems which were supposed to be valid and independent of any situation. One very problematic weakness of most structuralist theories and in particular that of their epigones, was their insisting upon coherence in semantic processes, although

85 contradictions can permeate a text, and although the play of signifiers leads to a constantly deferred production of groups of signifieds, as demonstrated Derrida (1981). Linked to this was the assumption that good faith was the basis of communication; it is still the basis of much research, even that dealing with speech acts (Austin: 1962), although thinkers like Perelman (1988) take into account the position of the producer of a message as well as that of the receivers. This is one of the most dangerous assumption ever produced for any theory intended to account for signification processes. Firstly, because in a contingent world, nothing is identical to itself. Secondly, because everything is polysemic and can mean something else or be turned from the positive to the negative or vice versa. An example of this would be an old man remembering his youth and saying: "flesh is weak". By this, he would not hint at the conception of sin as exemplified in the Bible, but at the fact that he cannot have sex more than once a month. Thirdly, because communication, independently of any proclaimed ethical or a-ethical position is, like any cultural process, part of a conflictual structure, the mimesis of appropriation, demanding constant strategic thinking. This produces texts which are basically disinformative, be they made of outright lies or of a mixture of partial informations, forgotten elements, unexplained contexts and interpretations based on past logics. It seems as if most theoreticians cannot tolerate the idea that communication and signification are dependent on this labile framework. This is probably because most theoreticians were influenced by Platonic traditions, and that a form of intellectual bureaucratization linked to institutional interests now represents a tolerable norm connected with the contemporary figure of the appropriation mimesis. This figure, and the metalanguages connected to it, hide the violence of the appropriation mimesis and particularly the epistemological violence of the Platonic-based metalanguages which are out of tune with the new problematic, but which can still serve particular and local elites calling for a strong emphasis on the need to regain a stability set among known limits. This leads to a type of "fanatically soft" institution, as is explained by Baudrillard (1990: 51). It is an institution which tries to build intellectually bureaucratized consensus avoiding any intellectually controversial (Imbert: 1995d) ideas or challenging publications. Some theoreticians are no longer satisfied with this type of theory and metalanguage based on a prioris which do not take into consideration such important elements as the presence of a constantly changing context or the non-pertinence of the good faith postulate. This is why some of them (Leblanc, 1992) decide to study texts which are supposed to resist theories such as autobiographies. This genre is supposed to consist of a type of uniqueness aided by a process of enunciation connected to a subject who is conceived as expressing him/herself in his/her uniqueness. The contradiction between the uniqueness of the autobiography and the metalanguage connected to a historic past might help uncover how the metalanguage avoids elucidating the institutional operation which creates it. However, this solution is flawed from the start because the subject is not only a potential uniqueness in action, allegedly transparent to himself/herself but also a concentrate of institutional

86 discourses kept operational in a chain of transmitted memories. Confronting a theory with such a text could help deepen the doubts about the virtues of a metalanguage, but it does not allow us to conclude that metalanguages represent an enterprise in the hands of an orthodoxy trying to plug the gaps inherent in semiotic processes and therefore trying to attain a form of legitimation in an epistemology still linked to stable entities.

23. Post-theory, narrativity and globalization ... le lecteur pourra mettre la dernière main au protagoniste en le rendant plus ou moins écrivain lui-même, prélevant dans la réserve décalée un plus ou moins grand nombre de passages d'autocritique pour les insérer dans son monologue. Je deviens alors le rêve de cette fiction, (the reader will be able to complete the protagonist by making him more or less a writer, appropriating in the reserve a certain number of self-critical passages in order to insert them in his monologue. I then become the dream of this fiction) (Michel Butor, Intervalle, p. 73).

A corollary of the shift from hard core theories to a pragmatic method of investigation confronting a discourse by the use of another discourse, is represented by the need to practice the analyzed discourse. Starting with a point of view dealing with stable entities, practice becomes necessary. In this situation, the practice of fiction can be privileged as a means of pointing out that any type of discourse is part of a fictional world which finds its legitimation in a consensus which excludes others (Bezenson: 1992). Perhaps this is why, twenty years after Lyotard (1976) spoke of the delegitimization of master narratives, simple narrative structures, used in literature, and applied to complex philosophical reflexions seem to allow people to gain insights into specialized knowledge and conceptual organizations. This is what Orwell discovered fifty years ago when he published Animal farm, a book written in such a way that it can be read by an adolescent as well as by a civil servant dealing with daily international problems. If master narratives based on the coherence of an objective history are now held in suspicion, pleasurable experiences resting on loose causal and temporal relationships are still efficient. Even if most readers are looking for new relationships which are not necessarily causal, they still enjoy the pleasure provided by a fictional narrative based upon the structure of a novel because they deepen their knowledge by getting involved in a ludism which explores the different kinds of fictionalities at work in discourses. Symptomatic of this new situation is the fact that very complex books like those of Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose or Foucault's Pendulum reach the status of international best-sellers. More than 15 millions copies of The Name of the Rose were sold. It is even more symptomatic that a book about the Western history of philosophy, eg. Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World sold 7 millions copies in more than 100 countries. Sophie's World is similar

87 to an epistolary novel, putting to the fore the intellectual dialogue between a young girl (public language) and a specialist able to disseminate his complex knowledge through simple sentences and interesting daily examples but without compromising the complexity of concepts and contexts. These successes lead us to acknowledge the fact that historically the government and intellectuals were probably well-intentioned and relatively efficient in producing regulations which were intended to protect the culture of countries such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, etc., but that today regulations dealing with culture can only be very specific and limited because it is often not possible to implement them and because they might even be counterproductive. Yet, in the framework of a very threatening presence in the domain of media and publishing, certain regulations are temporarily effective for protecting a cultural identity. For instance, US companies, while allowed to trade in Canada are not free to buy a Canadian book publishing company (based in Canada or owned by Canadians and doing business in Canada) as it is stated in the Baie Comeau agreement of 1985. Canadian broadcasting companies must be 80% Canadian owned. Moreover as R. Lowrimer and E. O'Donnell say (1992: 134): "Section 19 of the Income Tax Act (formerly Bill C-58) does not allow Canadian business to deduct as business expense the cost of advertising in foreign-owned publications destined for the Canadian market". These policies should however be seen as measures protecting Canadian companies so that they keep a fair share of the Canadian market in order to use this respite for creating new products which would be of a world format and have an international impact. This type of production is not too frequent yet, although huge companies such as Southam News and particularly Torstar with its world collection of Harlequin is in a good position to increase its world market share. Recently, however, smaller corporations are penetrating world markets with sophisticated and profitable products. One thinks of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (a Crown Corporation) publishing books like Inuits: Glimpses of an Arctic Pas f geared to national as well as to international markets (see 27). These scientific and simultaneously lucrative initiatives are made more profitable by the negotiation of agreements with multinational publishers based in Europe (Bertelsmann, FranceLoisir) or in the United States. The Museum is also involved in the dissemination of the Virtual Museum of New France on CD (with the Musée de la culture de France) and on the Web. It is also marketing a CD dealing with Inuit life. In order to have a world wide audience, this research is packaged in such a way that it will attract 9

Morrison, David and Germain, Georges-Hébert (1995) Inuit: Glimpses of an Arctic Past. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization. This book has also been published in French with the title: Inuits: les peuples du froid and the emphasis on certain aspects of Inuit life has been controlled so as to take into account the interests of readers in French and in English Canada. A professional narrator, G.-H. Germain, has been hired for the French version, a situation which had a tremendous impact on sales (see Patrick Imbert, "The Canadian Identity as a Relationship between Three Groups: Inuit, Francophones and Anglophones").

88 many buyers. It is based on universal contents like love, death, family, children, etc. It features the narrativization of the Franklin expedition in the North (1845) and the eventual death of the explorers who did not learn how to live in harsh conditions like the Inuit. Thus, the buyers are not facing a dry encyclopedia but a book full of facts which are contextualized in an interesting story full of suspense. Paralleling this tragedy, the daily life of the Inuit is presented and is adapted to the interests of the targeted societies. This beautiful narrativized research is a joint venture between the Canadian Museum of Civilization and private companies, Edirom and Art global in Montreal10 which are in the process of negotiating distribution rights with 23 companies in the world (China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, USA, etc.). These initiatives prove without doubt that some aspects of Canadian cultures neither need to be protected nor to be enclosed in a discourse linked with authenticity in the traditional conception of the term. Canadian cultures, if properly packaged in the context of a postmodern/postcolonial world, can draw the interest of buyers in many parts of the world. However, if the Canadian cultural content is obvious in the publications produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, a pertinent question arises, when one talks about Harlequin novels or even with the world renowned singer Céline Dion11: what is specifically Canadian in these collections or in Céline Dion's songs apart from investments, profits and dividends? This ambiguity is clearly underlined by Rebecca Goldfarb researching the situation of broadcasting in Canada. She rightfully recognizes that "Globalization requires a further move away from Canada's protectionist impulses and a greater move toward the international outlook stated in the 1995 Foreign Policy Review... Historically, such policies (protectionism) have not succeeded in creating a single broadcasting system fundamentally Canadian in character... The survival of Canadian cultural product requires an internationally competitive industry." (1997: 43). These protective policies are contributing to a way of working in an environment which is still dominated by an inwardly turned mentality. This can be verified by surprising situations. At the University of Ottawa which has an important collection of books written by English and French-Canadian writers, many books by Canadian writers but published in the United States are not to be found. Up to this date, there is not a single copy of Anthony Hyde's The Red Fox published in New York and then in French in Paris, although this writer lives in Ottawa and the book is a sophisticated best-seller. There is not a single copy of Yann Martel's excellent and very original postmodern novel Self, although he is a Montreal author published 10

All these scientific and commercial successes are under the responsibility of Jean-François Blanchette, conservateur responsable de l'édition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Québec, one of the municipalities included in the National Capital Region.


Québec Amérique published a biography of Céline Dion on November 12 and Libre Expression is going to sell the biography written by George-Hébert Germain November 14, 1997. Libre Expression is also a very efficient publisher disseminating culture in Canada and abroad. 100,000 copies of Céline Dion's biography have been printed in French for a population of 7 millions francophones in Canada.

89 in New York. Bureaucratic regulations tend to direct attention inward and to have those who succeed outside and who are exporting Canadian culture12 not recognized by the canon. By creating such a mentality which ignores those people or things which cross limits and borders, regulations are counterproductive and are not conducive to actions which would aggressively create and export Canadian cultural products in a globalized world. It is true also that when an industry succeeds in marketing a product which is appealing to international tastes, its content may no longer specifically be related to a stream of the Canadian cultures in the traditional conception of a rootedness in historic problems linked with a specific territory. However, why would this type of production be allowed to define Canada? If one defines Canadian cultures as urban cultures relatively well connected with a liberal economist and democratic, knowledge-intensive and high-tech world, able to integrate newcomers who have capitalized useful new knowledge, one sees that Canadian cultural products and know-how could be fairly well positioned for a broader dissemination worldwide. By considering these examples, one sees better how postcolonialism can escape an obsession with authenticity which could tend to reassert a stable epistemology leading to fragmentation and a closed mentality. Postcolonialism can recognize what, in regional, marginal or liminal cultures, has the potential to be disseminated worldwide and can use the dynamism put in place by postmodernism to give an audience to cultures who have been sidetracked but whose impact can contribute to demultiply discourses and transform the world in a flux of exchanges. In this case, there is no longer a dualistic margin/center paradigm but a dynamic in which manifold discourses penetrate each others and transform the many disseminated centers at work globally. By packaging a product efficiently, unimportant groups or cultures can have an impact because they will switch from a protective environment to another one attracting the desire of others. People like to buy narrativized cultural productions such as those made by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, because they know that they enter fictional worlds, be it history, paradigm relationships or stories, and they like to experience these different levels of fiction. This experience helps them to connect elements together which affect each other not because they are linked in a causal chain, but because they are set in a contingent relationship. These elements happen to be comparable because they are put in a context which is built by chance, by sheer occasion revealing similarities. These new relationships are, as in a multicultural relationship, becoming important since they tend to lead to a new balance of power geared to a common future originating in past elements which were thought to have nothing in common.


Both authors have written texts which display a Canadian content in the sense that part of the story takes place respectively in Ontario or in Québec.


24. Narrativity and avatars De sorte que, ne sachant trop ou j'allais, je n'avais pas lieu de m'alarmer. (So that, not clearly knowing where I was going, I had no reason to be frightened) (Jacques Ferron, La Nuit, p. 12).

The practice of fiction can be further enhanced by computer programs, the internet and avatars. Avatars are on line characters which, depending on the program one uses, can be led to change identities in changing contexts. These contexts can be changed by other people interacting with their avatars which will demand others to modify their personality through the acts produced by their avatars. Avatars are a way of creating one's other personalities in an out of body experience turned towards the future. This ludic experience represents another world that one can contribute to build with others in order to feel one's capacity to design manifold personalities that one can embody successfully or not. Social interaction is the name of the game and it is explored in this new virtual frontier which, after a while, tends to create a real personality: that one of the player interacting with other players. The persona of Greek comedy becomes a world game turned towards the invention of many futures reacting on the real personality of the player who, from his participation in a global network, can assess his strength, his shrewdness and apply what he has discovered about himself in his daily non-wired life or in his daily wired but non-game-oriented action. Avatars allow the multiplication of projections of one's many selves and identities in the framework of a pragmatism connected with the new epistemology which dynamizes a new frontier that of the virtual reacting by retroaction on the real. With these new games allowing some persistence of meaning which can be retrieved, a fantastic broadening of the possibility of exploration occurs and it goes well beyond the narrative structures of novels. These novels, even if they tended to break narratives in order to give the opportunity to the reader to invent himself through identification with the character, thanks to possible variations in the combination of events like in Cortazar's Hopscotch (1975), could not lead him to a fast track exploration through his own production of himself in interaction with others who are neither professional writers nor professional dramaturgists or actors. These programs can transform anyone into the creator of his story and of his self with others while simultaneously allowing him to quit when he wants (which is very different from the real world) or to have the right to have access to one more kind of ignorance (which is usually condemned in the world). This surplus of ignorance could then lead him to a deeper knowledge of his relational identity and also to multiply himself by the very capacity he has to create new connections with others. His avatar then, becomes a part of himself with a life of its own. The Teddy bear syndrome is globalized into an adult game. A new culture is emerging and this is why a specialized public is interested in the questions pertaining to epistemology as they are framed by Eco or by Gaarder.


This public needs and likes to play with paradigms; he needs and likes to be more acquainted with the different a prioris which govern the production of texts, of ideas and of discourses. It wants to know more about stability and flux because in its specialization, it participates in the invention of a new sociability through these avatars which create a multiculture from a practice of mixing texts, images and kinesics (see Laura Esquivel: The Law of Love). This culture is invented daily in real time. This capacity to be productive in real time globally allows for a constant retroaction far away from a culture based on the past. Consumation, while important, is superseded by the pleasure of being a productor among all the specialists who are able to be productors, worldwide. This capacity to produce new discourses, new connections and new ideas is inkeeping with liberalism. It is disconnected from the past and open to meticity through the possibility of implementing new connections in a competitiveness escaping the epistemology of a closed narrativity always pointing out a culprit which the group rejects. Most traditional narratives display a belief in the capacity to determine which characters are the good ones and which ones are the bad ones. And most importantly, they are able to do this through the elaboration of a plot and of suspense which is organized around the presentation of a dead body. And if one postulates a murder, this is because there is a murderer, a culprit who must be punished. This will help the community to reassert its closure on itself and its capacity to produce master narratives explaining why the victim is guilty (Camus: 1957). Traditional narratives, tales or modern tales like the ones sold in popular fiction are closely connected to this structure which is turned into a subtle parody in a postmodern text like La Démolition by Pierre Marcelle or like White Noise by Don Delillo. Traditional narrative is deeply engaged in the process analyzed by Girard. Looking for a founding murder is the basis which allows the production of more dead bodies and to reaffirm the legitimacy of the community controlling the victimization process by asserting that it is able to say the truth and to judge who is the culprit and why a victim is guilty. In a postmodern narrative, like the ones created by Cortázar, Eco, García Márquez, Pynchon or Don Delillo, the open ended narrative connected with a narrator who is not omniscient merely allows us to point out lies and to say that there were people who were alive and who now are dead and that a group, a system, a set of reference that denies this has to be changed through the production of demultiplied and manifold discourses open to difference. In this framework, theory is becoming increasingly less efficient because it is often based on text objects structured by the belief in a narrative stating, contrary to Girard, that the victim is guilty and that paradigms are definitively fixed. Theory, in the modalities we have known it in the Seventies and in the Eighties, is superseded by a phenomenal increase in the capacity to invent the present in interaction with avatars reacting in real time on the lives of internauts inventing their selves through a multicoded playfulness. This playfulness is what matters because it is the expression of a desire to be productive and to project oneself in simultaneous fictions in order to be able to evaluate in practice the fictionality of the dominant discourses

92 controlling one's daily life. This allows us to evaluate the effects of these discourses and to set a dynamic of individual productions escaping institutional allegiance. Difference in one's own selves connects with difference outside the selves. This dynamic is particularly noticeable in North America.

25. Post-theory and America I early realized that ideological systems are the true enemies of freedom. (P.-E. Trudeau, Federalism and the French Canadians: XXI).

For a long time, North America searched for causal roots and legitimations in its European past and did not try to directly explore similarities of experience in its own space or on the whole American continent. Today, however, similarities, sometimes set in a past which can be partially related causally, are explored (M. Couillard, P. Imbert, 1995). More culture related studies are also set into motion. It is in-keeping with a world which is fast becoming a global market linked by a global network of satellites and computers creating new interests and relationships stemming from the contingent and the simultaneous: a desire for a new product, an interest in a place to visit which was broadcast in a particularly alluring image, a strong will to migrate in order to realize one's own potential, which is, however, determined by the desire of the new country to allow potential immigrants to settle within its borders, etc. For this new global melting pot to work without generating too many conflicts, one has to allow for a type of pragmatic relationship which is geared towards economic and cultural goals oriented towards the future. These cultural goals are pragmatic and connected to daily lives such as those of two engineers trying to create a new program for computers or such as those of a group of Asian artists newly settled in North America and organizing a multimedia show disseminating Asian culture. However, the American context in which they set their performance transforms the Asian values they want to disseminate. This is so firstly because, if they had stayed in their respective countries, they would never have cooperated; they would, on the contrary, probably have fought wars as their nationalistic countries, torn apart, in declared or latent civil wars, would have induced them to do; secondly because, in a multicultural context, they have to escape from violent appropriation mimesis reactions and try to seduce a public whose aesthetic and cultural values are far from their own. The obvious, for them, is mysterious or meaningless for most of the new public and it is by a pleasurable experience that they can give hints of their own values which are nonetheless already considerably modified by their cooperating and by their own endeavour to understand the values of their new public. In other words, as Stuart Mill said two centuries ago when he was referring to the French Revolution, one accomplishes more by suppressing internal passports

93 (which the French Revolution failed to do) than by disseminating inflammatory theories. Again, performance and pragmaticism are more efficient than theory. Post-theory is set in a multicultural and global world. It has to be oriented towards a way of fostering an understanding of specialized languages among an everyday larger group of educated people who want to pragmatically build their future in common. They want to circulate from the margins to the centers in order to penetrate the centers and also integrate values from the centers into their temporarily marginal position and integrate themselves in the flux generated by new disseminated centers. This is more possible than ever before because the influence of national boundary's constraining margins is weaker than in the past. Margins internationalized themselves rapidly during the last 30 years and even co-opted new marginal groups involved in defending their values worldwide through NGO's such as Amnesty International or Greenpeace or through personal and international links weaving together, for instance, different lesbian organizations.

26. Post-theory and postcolonialism Les fous, les malades, les femmes, les enfants, les plébéeins, les sauvages sont rarement les destinataires et jamais les destinateurs des discours canoniques qui dissertent sur leur dos. (Insane and sick people, women children, plebeians, savages are seldom addressees and never addressors of canonic discourses which dissert in their back) (Marc Angenot, 1889: Un état du discours social, p. 1102).

If this internationalization of powerful margins is undeniable, one should not forget that POST is often seen as a prefix expressing the domination of the Western world leading the flux of indeterminacy globally. F. Jameson (1991) observed that postmodernism is a conspiracy originating in North America and oriented against the Third World. A. Mukherjee suggests that postmodernism is largely a white Western phenomenon. She goes as far as saying that when postmodernists wrench the postcolonial and non-White texts of Euro-America out of their cultural contexts they are being assimilative and hegemonic (1990: 8). This may be true, but postmodernism is not supposed to try to regain some mythical authenticity; it is trying to take into account different contexts in a present which accommodates difference. In order to do this, postmodernism links with postcolonialism but in emphasizing a dynamic epistemology discarding essence and authenticity. Postcolonialism, as is suggested by F. de Toro (1995: 139), only retains marginality and does not dismantle the Eurocentric subject if it reiterates an epistemology based on an essentialist master narrative used by a nativism or a nationalism reconfiguring a simplistic Marxism which is, moreover, part of Eurocentrism. Yet, postmodernism linked with postcolonialism can reconfigure social relationships and Western culture, seen, through public language, as a dominant essentialist culture, by allowing the para-

94 digm self/other to be displaced and by opening opportunities for the others to learn how to displace the effects of epistemological, political, social and economic violence in order to penetrate the centers. Postmodernism is a dynamic turned towards the present and the future and to a conception privileging performance in order to implement identities able to enter into new relationships built on difference and equality instead of going back to the past in order to start a new awareness of one's own authentic self. Postmodernism is not linked to the desire to reconnect with the past and to foster stable groups but to rekindle a dynamic of integration towards the creation of a third and temporary element: a discourse, an identity, a capacity to work together for development. And in saying this, one reconnects with the intuitions developed by Bourne in "Trans-National America" (1916). This reconfiguration brought to the fore by postmodernism is linked to the fact that Europe is no longer the center of the world. Western thinking was modified when America and its emphasis on reconfiguration and change, produced by the sheer fact that it was populated by immigrants from different parts of Europe and the world, had to reflect on how to invent nations and identities out of these differences, which were suddenly brought together while getting in conflict with indigenous peoples. However, this modification was not immediately perceptible because, up to the beginning of the twentieth century, it did not have military, economic, scientific and political power. The dream of becoming the entrepot of the world because the United States was strategically located between Europe and Asia, broadened to include a reflection on European, Asian and Indigenous cultures. This general reflection on identity and otherness as it was also exemplified by numerous Canadian and Latin American writers and thinkers, revealed itself to be a fundamental problem, particularly just after the Second World War. At that time, Europe was obliged to recognize its barbarious side and to decolonize, sometimes under pressure from the United States. North America was able to disseminate not only its popular culture through Hollywood and Disney Corporation but also its reconfiguration of epistemological a prioris grounded in North American multicultural democracy and originating in research centers such as Palo Alto. These new a prioris were, at that time, easy to disseminate throughout a world where change, exchange, and immigration became the norm. Instead of being caught copying European codes and canons, as most countries in the Americas did in the 19th century (and, for some other countries, eg. Brazil, Argentina or Canada, still up to the 1930's), the United States also became an exporter of culture. This culture, redefining epistemology, displaces the European center and its essence and opens the world and its traditional elite still committed to stable values, to the challenges of dynamism and globalization. As we have seen this also happens through the use of American English as an international language disseminating a prioris of the public language of America and also of the specialized languages allowing the connection to networks creating new wealth. Therefore, postmodernism and postcolonialism are dynamically linked. Postcolonialism could be seen as the contextualisation of nationalism in postmodernism.

95 Postmodernism represents a change of perspective and dissolves Western culture as it was understood in its emphasis on Platonic essentiality, dualism and European thinking. But two points must now be emphasized. First, the emphasis put by postcolonial critics on rejecting europeocentrism is itself founded on a project which has its roots in a typical North American anticolonialist attitude. Therefore, poststructuralism unites with an active and typically American critique towards European codes and their symbolic domination. However, postcolonialism misses the point because the hegemonic discourse, in the framework of postmodernism, is not an European discourse but a discourse which is grounded in the desire of the United States to become an economic, military and symbolic world superpower. Clearly, one can admit that the New World embodies what was inhibited in Europe (freedom, dynamic, pragmatism). It is also true that the United States has prospered well and contributed tremendously to transform the european discourse into something which is now part of the continuously evolving identity of North America. Mimicry as defined by Bhabha (1984) is no longer what powers North America. Hybridization as a dynamic in North America can no longer be equated with what happened even fifty years ago. It cannot be equated with what is happening now in countries which, in order to progress technologically and economically, have to adapt to norms set in North America. If postcolonial critics wish to be efficient, they must change their misleading vocabulary which describes a situation which no longer exists. Even the non-Native populations of Canada cannot really claim this colonized status in view of the successful influence of Canadian technology, banking presence and ideas in the world. This is particularly well emphasized by Graham Huggan (1990). He demonstrates through the cartography present in literary texts that there is "a resisting of the traditional 'mimetic fallacy'" (131). He remarks that the anxiety arising from attempts at defining a national culture has changed to the conception of "an ongoing perceptual transformation which in turn stresses the transitional nature of postcolonial discourse" (131) He demonstrates that writers such as Yvon Rivard or Koch "celebrate the particular diversity of formerly colonized cultures whose ethnic mix can no longer be considered in terms of the colonial stigmas associated with mixed blood or cultural schizophrenia" (132). Postmodernism is however a Western phenomenon, as A. Mukherjee suggests, but it is a phenomenon which radiates from North America, from former colonies which are now powerful enough economically and symbolically, to globalize their capital accumulation and to influence others. And these societies are more and more culturally defined, because of their multiculturalism, by a prioris which do not consider the psychic scars of colonialism as pertinent. This is clearly stated by Filippo Salvatore (1985: 203), and it is the experience of many immigrants who are, contrary to fifty or eighty years ago, usually well educated and ready to participate in the dynamics of a technological world. They frequently see their experience as the reverse of a process of colonization. It is often a conscious and planned decision to change culture and to penetrate the center in order to fully participate in its global dynamics. Postmodernism, in a certain way, lets others find their place in a dynamic open to a recon-

96 figuration of the world, where defending the authenticity of margins, as it was done in the Sixties, is seen as counterproductive because it leads to valorizing antiquated structures of exploitation and production as is shown by H. de Soto (1990). However, one has to acknowledge that there is a more problematic side to postmodernism. It is true that postmodernism is related to the fact that the world desires to be North American. Yet, problems have to be acknowledged, and these are epistemological as well as economical. Postmodernism in its relationship with liberal economism tends to open to a new dualism by the fact that now industry is subordinated to finance and finance itself is completely dependent of markets. When this situation is linked to the fact that nation states do not have the capacity to fight this immense and rapid flux of capital and that they are, moreover, weakened by the generalized fiscal crisis (Chesnais, 1994: 254), the situation of salaried work can only become more and more precarious. The widely disseminated book by Schumacher, Small is beautiful can be read in all its implications, now that most people are aware of the fact that Fordism no longer applies. It can be seen as a way to prepare populations ideologically, with many newspaper articles dealing with the same topic (Imbert: 1989), to accept a reduction of their buying power and of their living standards. The present situation of the liberal economy widens the gap between the haves and the have nots and leads the world to a possible new statism with the new poors at best being entertained by the images of the globalized media (Bezenfon: 1992), while the new privileged populations are able to participate in the production and enjoyment of goods and knowledge.

27. Textual practices in the postmodern/postcolonial context Foreign editions have been published in most countries of the civilized world, the English-language edition of Pleasure of Ruins (by Roloff Beny) having been selected by the Time-Life International Book Society. (Backflap of Roloff Beny in Canada: To Every Thing There Is a Season, ed. by Milton Wilson).

Starting from these postcolonial and postmodern perspectives which give a different view of the past and of identity, one can compare three recent publications dealing with the Inuits. Two are productions of the Canadian Museum of Civilization which commercialized two versions of the "same" book. One is in English and is entitled Inuit: Glimpses of an Arctic Past. It is written in a somewhat scientific fashion by David Morrison who details the life of the Copper Inuits in the nineteenth and at the beginning of the twentieth century. The other book which features the same presentation, the same illustrations, etc., is written in French by a professional writer George-Hébert Germain. It is entitled Inuit: les peuples du froid. The third example is a novel by Peter Hoeg entitled Smilla et l'amour de la neige, featuring as a main character, Smilla, an Inuit women from Greenland who adapted to

97 European life in Denmark and who is involved in a series of intrigues reminding us of George Smiley, John Le Carré's hero. These two endeavours, one dealing with the production of two documentary books and the other, with the production of a novel by P. Hoeg, manifest some of the problems which are underlined by A. Mukherjee. One has first to recognize the fact that if numerous documentary books are produced in order to help the majority groups to try to understand the way of life of minorities, the reverse is not true. No documentary books are produced which would try to present the way of life of Whites to Inuits. Are strangeness and mystery on one side only or it is always on the side of those who lack power as opposed to the group in power? There are, however, books which represent the way of life of different economic and social groups in a given society which is considered homogeneous by its national qualities. They are not documentaries, however, but novels. One of the roles of literature, since Hugo, Dickens and Balzac in particular, has been to problematize the social organization and its social stratifications so as to act as a reflexive discourse fostering a conscience of interrelations in a given country. This conscience could be used to foster revolution, change or status quo but it prevented isolation and complete ignorance of others. This reflexivity pertaining to literature is not the reflexivity which is supposed to be at work in contemporary books, in which a literary discourse maintains a kind of mirror image of another discourse (Imbert: 1983) but rather one which, through narrativity and aesthetics, starts a process of discourse confrontation around social, political, and economic themes and their public or specialized languages based on different a prioris. This confrontation is analyzed by Bakhtine (1970) applying his theory of dialogism and flux to interpenetrating discourses. The confrontation of discourses in conflict leads to the production of a third discourse, that of literature which is reacting to the two conflictual discourses at the origin of a process of new discourse creation, particularly evident in the works of Hugo and Solzhenitsyn. These fictions tend to displace the question of theory. Theory is associated with a metalanguage supposedly able, in a static epistemology, to build a coherent text accounting for a text object which is outside of it. A metalanguage is a specialized language agreed upon by a group of specialists whose competence is warranted by a respected institution and who is supposed to create a text rendering the relationships in a text object clearer. This text object can be a series of political speeches, a social text reconstituted through manifold documents and archives, etc. However, this conception only repeats the a prioris of a stable epistemology and its dependence on a repetitive mimetic organization. Yet, fiction demonstrates a more flexible approach to texts and discourses because it allows us to be inside and outside of these texts and discourses. Fiction, in its best realizations, is a confrontation of discourses in action united by a causal temporal structure, that of the narrative structure. It leads to the production of new discourses giving room to those which were previously excluded. This, at least, is the conception that one can

98 have of certain works of fiction which do not emphasize a kind of nationalist didactic aim. In this last case, however, the conception is different. The writer thinks that he/she is inside the system of discourse and that he/she is the spokesperson of the nationalist discourse which has to be communicated in order to build a consensus or a stronger consensus. An example of this can be seen in a writer like Gaston Miron (1970) who regularly refers to an epistemology whose tradition is Platonic. For him, there is a being, an essence associated with a People. In a postcolonial framework, closely related to a stable epistemology, literature is often close to this conception which tends to rediscover the forgotten or hidden roots of a group. In this case, the past is essential and contributes to building a new tightly knit society in the present. Postcolonial and tightly knit do not seem, at first, to go together but they often do because postcolonialism is based on the point of view of minorities who want their legitimate share of symbolic and economic power and who want to be recognized. However, in this case, these minorities being connected with a territory where they can build a consensus, they tend to act the way majorities, set in a stable epistemology, acted towards them. This is because postcolonialism and its traditional governmental and bureaucratic avatar, multiculturalism, are based upon a stable epistemology. In its rhetorical form postcolonialism is associated with political correctness and can go as far as to deny any legitimacy to a writer who would write a text about Inuits, if he/she is not an Inuit. Again, this epistemology tends to favour a dualism based on paradigms such as interior/exterior and to valorize the interior pole while rejecting the displacement of the play on interior and exterior and the confrontation as a source of transformation. Postmodernism and postcolonialism are therefore temporarily allied in their goal to foster difference. Postcolonialism mostly uses a stable epistemology and is defiant of globalization seen as a tool in the hands of a hidden North American supremacy (if not nationalism), trying to pass for a generous messianism as exemplified by Paine's quotation. Postmodernism is turned towards a dynamic epistemology where changes, in context-dependent problematizations, are valorized. Going back to the books produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization and to the novel entitled Smilla, one can see if and how these publications correspond to a capacity to foster a better understanding and a greater presence of a minority in the mainstream. For this, it is necessary to compare the French and English versions published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. One can immediately give a good example of the differences in the construction of the Copper Inuit from the perspective of the French-Canadian public and that of the English Canadian public by comparing what is said of the role of the lamp for the Inuit: "On aura posé la lampe, l'âme du foyer qui dispense chaleur et lumière." (The lamp, the soul of the hearth dispensing heat and light, sits in the igloo, (56)); "The lamp was one of the most valuable items of personal property, used for both light and heat." (56). Soul and valuable are related to two worlds which are defined, starting from a single useful object, by producers of significations attributing

99 a meaning from their own a prioris. The French writer insists on emotional community living; the English author insists on individual self realization through material and technical possession. Community and Protestant ethic invent two different Inuits. This can be demonstrated by literally hundreds of examples. In English, the author speaks of a "highly disciplined crew" going whale hunting (129); in French the text adds "discipliné et hiérarchisé" (disciplined and hierarchised) (129). The English text tries to give a vision based on egalitarianism and individualism as a way to build a society; in French, a group linked by a hierarchical contract lives a kind of communal partnership. Differences between both texts are even more obvious when one deals with the relationships established in the text between a Western point of view and the point of view of the Inuit. In the English text, there are references pertaining to the point of view: "Inuit culture as seen by 19th and 20th century explorers was far from the 'pristine' hunting culture often depicted." (41). One mentions that rousseauism was a particular point of view imposed on the Inuit and that the contact between both cultures has always been difficult for the Inuit: "It is ironic that doctors, missionaries and police... who are keeping medical records are destroying health patterns." (102) because they bring contagious diseases with them. In French, the question of the difference of point of view and of the clash of discourses is not even mentioned. Therefore, in English, there is an endeavour to give a sense of difference to the reader and to make him aware that Whites are inventing the Inuit they want to see according to the creeds of their time, not withstanding the fact that the English text does not speak of the sexuality of the Inuit and that it expresses a puritan shying away of such issues. This text leads us to a conception of Inuit closely related to a postcolonial political correctness linked to a desire to repair the damages done to these minorities. However, this text depicts the past and stays at a level which does not give a voice to the Inuit themselves, and it does not give any clue about what could be done in the present. Inuit are presented as isolated people and the book tends to perpetuate the idea that they should continue with their traditions and their authenticity. The English text also builds an image of the kind of Inuit the readers will accept to have access to. In the French book, everything is presented as if it were objective and as if what is said corresponds to reality. There is no conscience of distanciation and construction, although the text is built more around a narrative written in the present tense than following the sequences of a scientific report written in the past tense as in the English text. In the French text the metaphorising narrative structure organized by an omniscient narrator leads us to a genre which is closer to a tale and to its monologic traditional presentation, rather than to a novel which would problematize discourses as it is done by Carlos Castañeda, using, in a book like Journey to Ixtlan, a prioris drawn from the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (1962; 1965). The French text tends to lead the reader into a kind of dream where Inuits are a pretext used to connect them to their own social organization and problems. Inuits are used in order to confirm the French community in its own vision of itself. Nar-

100 rative leads to a euphoric tale escaping the problem that the recognition of Inuit culture in the modern world and its desire to integrate a postmodern, high tech, financial, globalizing society, would raise. This is well demonstrated by the fact that the English book clearly shows where Inuit communities are located in Canada and in Québec but that the French book does not mention any precise location of Inuit life on the map of Québec. The English book tends to valorize differences per se which are conceived as a way of preserving the community. However, authenticity is a defense which tries to impose purity and avoid meticity, not only biologically but discursively and economically. Therefore, when one reads only one book, which is what readers often do, one might think that one has access to the real historic life of the Copper Inuit. If one reads both books and compares them, one understands that only certain fragments of Inuit life are depicted. The image of the Inuit, which is built from the comparison, is therefore confusing because what is communicated is as much a portrait of the receiving society as that of the target society. The vulgarised "metalanguages" used to convey a sense of the past and of difference are imposing their norms and the "true image" of the Inuit disappears. Who is really a Copper Inuit? A person who is free and responsible or a person whose dependence on the group and its hierarchy is the main feature of his passage on earth and ice? It is impossible to decide. This situation is not a problem in itself for the new dynamic epistemology. Rather, it is a problem in an epistemology which tries to disseminate a faith in authenticity and objectivity. However, this comparison shows that objectivity and authenticity are arrived at by the fact that, for the most part, people have only access to one type of discourse, whose canonic argumentation and rhetoric became naturalized because there was no other discourse which could pretend to a similar position of power. In a situation of competition between discourses, reflexivity reveals itself as an important ingredient in the depiction of any social-textual object. Who are the Copper Inuits is not important because identity is not outside of a context anymore. It is building itself in a labile context. Identities define each other by their interrelations and by the goals which can be shared, or not, in performances. Valorizing difference per se, as is done in the English text, is a way of avoiding the dynamics of a postmodern world which tends to restart a spirit of reconfigurations by recognizing that change and movement are the elements which, combined with individual freedoms, can open up access to difference and that these differences can thrive and penetrate centers in a world where multiple discourses are competing and creating new third discourses, to then be changed by the strategic use of contextualization. If the French text borders on assimilation and the English text on ghettoization, postmodernism calls for a process of permanent integration of differences in a performativeness open to a goal-oriented future. The question asked by the flow of immigrants to the Americas for centuries was clearly; how can we, pragmatically, create a richer and better world? This question is also asked of mankind through this exchange between postmodernism and postcolonialism.


Peter Hoeg's book is closer to a postmodern dynamism. It is clearly written with a view to distancíate itself from the cold war conflicts inherent in the clashes between master narratives as they were dramatized in the series of best-sellers produced by John Le Carré. In a way, Smilla et I'amour de la neige is a parody of a spy novel in which the heroine is able to escape all the traps directed against her. Simultaneously, it is a novel in which suspense is built on the accidental death of a Greenland child in Denmark, a death which Smilla does not believe to be accidental. She thinks it is a murder linked to a ring of bureaucrats and capitalists in power in Denmark who try to impose their system on everyone. René Girard's theory can be evoked here, because Smilla does not believe the victimization process is self inflicted, she does not believe the victim is the cause of the problems which are surfacing, and she is right. She is caught in a quest for an object which, in the end, turns out to be nothing more than a strange stone. Yet, as the murderer explains to Smilla, the reality of things is not so important, what counts is what people believe. In the book, they are ready to believe in this stone which can be a missing link to prove Prigogine's hypothesis that life could have been born out of inorganic substances irradiated by energy (458). The context is set and radically questions reality, the paradigm exterior/interior, the distinction between animate/inanimate. The problematic of the book recognizes that reflexivity and construction of the world are paramount. But Smilla is facing a dangerous group of governmental bureaucrats associated with capitalists and members of liberal professions who are simultaneously trying to reassert a truth emerging not from a monument such as a temple or a church, but from a stone (Imbert: 1991). From this stone, these technocrats are trying to rebuild a kind of belief in a truth that would reaffirm the basis of a stable epistemology when they simultaneously deny any responsibility in the death of the Greenland child and act as experienced disinformators at ease with flux and lability. Peter Hoeg underlines the fact that trying to set an exterior of discourse leading to monosemy is the very strategy used by those who use the paradigms of specialized languages to keep power for themselves, to eliminate others, and to reject the only pertinent referent: the fact that somebody was alive and has been killed. This novel points to many implications which are fictionally explored. For instance, it is more and more difficult to be a Sheherazade who could seduce a tyrant by his talent in story telling simply because one can become a story teller "subjugué par son propre récit" (167) (subjugated by one's own story). However, this context, in-keeping with the dissemination of paradigms of a specialized language into a public language, is enhanced by the identity quest of Smilla who is a Greenlander living in Denmark. There is a constant reflexion on Smilla's capacity to adapt to a liberal economic technological world. This adaptation is not dysphoric, however. Although it is sometimes hard to achieve, it leads her to become a scientific specialist and to be able to conceptualize the dynamics of change at work in the world, while being particularly aware of what can be dangerous in this process of adaptation. However, performance, action and doing are privileged over the quest for authenticity and

102 roots. "Car le besoin d'expliquer l'étrangeté disparaît dès l'instant qu'on arrive à la saisir." (199). (Because the need to explain strangeness disappears as soon as one can understand it). In this sense, this novel is not postcolonial; it is rather a postmodern work, directly in gear with the dynamism of technology and of economism connected to the new paradigms of specialized languages which would become dangerous, if they were to be monopolized by a group instead of being disseminated among a new middle class of active producers of knowledge: La culture technologique n'a pas détruit les peuples autour de l'océan Arctique. Le croire serait lui faire trop d'honneur. Elle n'a servi que de déclencheur, un modèle à l'échelle cosmique des possibilités de chaque homme au sein de chaque culture: centrer son existence sur ce mélange proprement occidental que sont la convoitise et l'insouciance. (360). (Technological culture did not destroy the Peoples of the Arctic. To believe this, would be to bestow it with too much honor. It merely released a model, to be used at the cosmic scale of possibilities for each person acting in a particular culture to center his/her own existence on this particularly Western mixture of lust and carelessness.).

In this sense, Peter Hoeg reminds us of a process of globalization which retains the dynamics of the appropriation mimesis, covetousness leading to socially organized competition, and a dynamic of repetition linked to a socially organized thoughtlessness built around an industrial polluting development. This example, however, is soon supposed to be dealt with, when financial investments, somewhat foresaking a society based on the burning of carbon, will not find enough profits and growth in the development of a high-tech society based on silicium. Both books published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization eschew in part the dynamics of postmodernism. The French version, because it relies on a more or less conscious projection of a desire for unanimity and opens to a traditional tale featuring a touristic approach to others. The English version because it is linked to politically correct statements and to a postcolonial vision of the world, which retains reality and authenticity as modelling values around which others are built. In one sense, one could almost say that this situation was foreseeable because the documentary genre itself tends to push the author to a certain type of discourse. The first step would have been to redefine the genre and to reflect on the question of the relationship between a metalanguage and an object language, between the producer of commentaries and the "social text" subjected to these commentaries. The second thing would have been to rethink the relationship to the past and the clear evaluation of a distanciation for contemporary Inuits as well as Francophones and Anglophones. This rethinking is made more obvious when it is coupled with a capacity to narrativize such as in the CD produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Edirom and when it can use all the hypertext possibilities given by a CD read on a

103 computer screen. The repackaging through narrative structures and through technology13 allows it to reach a global audience. In Peter Hoeg's novel, rethinking is made easier because the genre itself is malleable and the story is set in contemporaneity. However, P. Hoeg knows how to practice a multidiscursivity commenting over its own process. He is, thus, able to perform a fascinating experience exploring the relationship between play and game, ludism and strategy with the playful dimension always leading plot and style. All of this leads us to a new dynamic epistemology, which is not linked to a territory even if one can say that, historically, postmodern values such as dynamism and reflection on difference are major themes in the Americas since the time of the American Revolution. This is in-keeping with postmodernism which shuns any direct relationship with an authenticity rooted in a particular territory. The insistance on authenticity is a way of ghettoizing groups because the world of the majority is already reinventing itself following the dynamics of strategy and flux. This is what is emphasized by Diana Brydon (1990: 196): "Whose interests are served by this retreat into preserving an untainted authenticity? Not the native groups seeking land rights and political power. Ironically, such tactics encourage native peoples to isolate themselves from contemporary life and full citizenhood." Her question is particularly pertinent when it is put in the framework of a movement which is not only anticolonialist but also nationalist and revolutionary. In the history of the Venceremos radio in El Salvador, Vigil (1994) shows that guerrillas were cutting themselves from the population in the cities by broadcasting only traditional, folkloric or revolutionary music. Purity was becoming a disadvantage and led to a redefinition of identity: "We are Latin American, tropical countries that have lived under the cultural influence of the United States. Our culture is a hybrid of our Indian, Black and Spanish roots, and the Saxon culture from the North... The revolutionary generations of America have grown up under the influence of rock, Hollywood, salsa, Mexican romanticism, and the Christianity brought by Spain. There is a process of cultural fusion under way between Latin America and the United States" (218). The context of postmodernism led to a redefinition which opened to a process of negotiation linked to establishing the possibility of a form of democratic experience shunning away from traditional oligarchies and also from Marxist theories. Postmodernism retains something of a ludism which, in popular culture, is developed along the films and theme parks of Disney Corporation. Postcolonialism exists in a conception which is more tragic and which is more in tune with hardcore recycled theories. This situation could originate in a puritanism contextualized in the awareness of a changing decolonized world, or they could branch out of an international Marxism which, for conditions of efficacy, became a national Marx13

One has to realize that the success of a company like Disney Corp. is based in part on the repackaging of a European folk culture (tales by Grimm or Perreault, etc.) through rewriting and through their insertion in the ideology of the image itself reaching world status thanks to their formatting in high-tech products particular to different time periods such as cartoons and TV, CD and special effects, digitalized imaging and films, etc.

104 ism and now a minority's oriented social discourse. Postmodernism is more in tune with the meticity of discourse which can be dramatized in fictions because postmodernism is also a part of the fictionality of political discourses while engaged in the necessity of a fictionality hidden in a strategy emphasizing the euphorism of play. A certain kind of fiction, (defined as a consciousness of construction and not following the dualist paradigm fiction/reality because reality is a construction based on a belief in the mimetic powers of discourse), particularly that practiced by Peter Hoeg, García Márquez, Don Dellilo or Pynchon, is very efficient in stimulating a reflection about the loss of referentiality in postmodernism and its displacement in a conjunction of a new kind of performance built on a mixture of play and strategies open to a process of interpretance breaking dualistic paradigms and giving a place to a future-oriented discourse connected to victims.



28. Violence and hatred Il est fort extraordinaire et impossible de comprendre comment des millions et des millions de gens obéissent tous à un ramassis de malades mentaux qui s'appellent: gouvernements! Le mot, je le suppose, leur fait peur. C'est une forme d'hypnose à l'échelle planétaire, et particulièrement morbide. (It is extraordinary and impossible to understand how millions and millions of people obey a pack of insane people who are named Governments! The word, I suppose, frightens them. It is a kind of a particularly morbid planetary hypnosis) (Léonora Carrington, Le cornet acoustique, p. 198). Le service militaire obligatoire me parait être le symptôme le plus honteux du manque de dignité personnelle dont notre humanité civilisée souffre aujourd'hui. (Mandatory military service seems to me to be the most ignominious symptom of the lack of personal dignity under which our civilized humankind suffers today) (Albert Einstein, Comment je vois le monde, p. 19).

René Girard demonstrates that violence is inherent in social relationships but that its modalities differ between a society mostly based on complementary and dominant relationships and one fostering symmetrical and competitive relationships. The second type of relationship is linked to the process of hominization because, through the mimesis of appropriation, it allows the assertion of one's individuality. The individual possesses as much right to have access to the object as the one who by his/her action indicates the object to be desired. This potential violence, which is regulated through religious rituals dramatizing a real aggression which, in the past, produced its share of dead bodies, is dealt with in lay liberal economic societies through exchange of a surplus of goods and through a démultiplication of divided responsibilities. Modernity was engaged in this process but by maintaining a faith in a stable epistemology, it reinforced the use of the attribution process which led, for instance, to considering Indians and Indigenous people as savages unfit for the modern world. It reinforced the paradigmatic opposition within/without and applied them to group separations as well as to territories. It was done so almost in a caricatural way, by a thinker and a political figure such as Sarmiento who constantly opposed the barbaric space of the Pampas to the civilization of the city of BuenosAires turned towards the liberal thinkers of Europe in order to invent Argentinian identity. Therefore, this lay modernity did not cut itself completely from an episte-

106 mology which was fostering the victimization process and which excluded a significant part of humankind. By doing so, this triumphant historical period engaged itself in exclusion and genocides which had far-reaching effects. The most important one is the fact that it generated hatred. Hatred as opposed to violence, results from a deep suffering, originating in a violence which goes as far as reaching the fundamental integrity of a being for whom happiness is no longer possible. Torture (Vinar: 1989), wars and massacres, genocides, a strongly perverted family life, and antagonistic colonization processes, are some of the causes for the development of hatred. Hatred rests on the deliberate production of dead bodies which are not important for aggressors but which are immensely valued by victims. This leads to a compulsion to repeat massacres, in order to avenge and to soothe a suffering, which is impossible to soothe. The process of ritualization inherent in the violence at work in the mimesis of appropriation is no longer possible because play has been superseded by a long emphasis on the epics of master narrative and because the distinction between play and aggression has been blurred. This distinction made by Huizinga (1970) is essential. He shows that animals of the same species, although sometimes killing each other, also know this difference. They pretend to attack each other although they merely play. They do not bite each other but know how to simulate aggression with the body language which are commonly used in this situation. One element which contributed to the breaking of this compulsive repetition to produce millions of dead bodies has been the recent capacity of the West to reintroduce a kind of "play" in the aggressiveness displayed by nations during the Second World War. This "play" is a fiction based on the demonstration of the capacity of atomic bombs to wipe out whole populations. The fiction is that of the possible total destruction of humankind. It has contributed to the reorganization of the world in a way which gives more room to a violence which does not degenerate in hatred. This fiction displacing the epic based on the belief of the possibility to annihilate the other while surviving, paved the way for an emphasis on economic and symbolic exchange. Commercial competitive relationships tend towards play while military conflicts represent the actual production of dead bodies and correspond to a referential society based on hatred. It is true, however, that economic competition, in its daily organization, is not always playful and that extensive and outrageous exploitation takes place all over the world, particularly against women and children. When this occurs, it also has the potential to lead to wars, armed conflicts, and organized or non-organized outbursts of hatred. This is why postcolonialism insists upon the protection of minorities and tries to maintain social regulations which will allow people to participate in the creation of a new worldwide wealth which should be shared for the development of everyone. Nevertheless, postcolonialism has many faces. And the big cleavage is between postcolonial ideas thriving in a Western context, eg. North America where it is not linked to territoriality and postcolonial ideas developed in the Third World. In the first case, it organizes a new compatibility by underlining differences but


with a view to abiding by rules rather than by principles. In the second case, postcolonial ideas are more radical and, simultaneously, are still linked to an epistemology resting on static values. An emphasis on difference associated with territoriality, which was typically European, is still prevalent. However, it is combined with the fact that it is a weapon used against the West and that it does not easily recognize the differences and minorities inside its own territory. It rests on traditional allegiance based on religion, race or tribe and not on the sharing of democratic principles, the valorization of individual responsibility and the symbolic, economic, legal and political equality of women. Often principles associated with a group in power, be it the family (Ceaucescu's Romania) or the ethnic group of a dictator (Mobutu's Zaire) prevail, and an explosive mixture of local conceptions and of traditional European conceptions imposed by the colonizers still dominate a discourse which is faced with the thrust of globalizing multinationals. In the West, postmodernism, as it is contextualized with postcolonialism, in its aiming towards the development and the dissemination of a new epistemology, stimulates a dynamic which avoids hatred. To accomplish this, it takes its inspiration from a revised modernity which floundered in its rejection of others and in its building of an empire based upon colonialism. It is inspired by a postcolonialism originating from a world of victimization and tries to inflect it towards the integration of different minorities and non Western economies into a stream leading to the establishment of manifold links through competitiveness in an atmosphere of controlled optimism.

29. Identities and the future J'ai beaucoup plus appris en faisant l'amour qu'en étudiant la philosophie. (I learned much more by making love than by studying philosophy) (Oliviero Toscani, La publicité est une charogne qui nous sourit, p. 123). Peirce did not read Hebrew, but the ancient Israelite term for "knowledge" - yidiah may convey Peirce's claim better than any of the terms he used. For the Biblical authors, "to know" is "to have intercourse with" - with the world, with one's spouse, with God. That is, it is to enter into intimate relationship with these others... (Peter Ochs, in: Griffin et alii (Eds.), Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy, p. 72).

One cannot deny that postmodernism is the incarnation of flux and rapid change. Therefore, an integrative process is taking place in the world. However, the goal of this process is to allow people to share values and wealth independently of their ethnic, sexual, religious, etc., origins. In order to achieve this, the question is not to retain the past as it was and to cling to it and ghettoize the dynamics of the process. The purpose is to reread the past, to become a producer of significations

108 and to produce new significations from past texts and experiences by putting old stories in a contemporary temporary perspective. One is supposed to recognize oneself in one's own future. This is clearly not the case for the new discourses of resentment that are analysed by Marc Angenot (1996) criticizing the new nationalistic gurus who try to increase insecurity in the mind of those who are disillusioned or of those who are afraid of becoming different, of having a multiple identity, of those who are unable to project themselves as multiple identities into their future. In order to be efficient, the new epistemology of specialized languages is disseminated along with a certain knowledge of the a prioris governing the values of different communities as they can be read in a contemporary context. For instance, in a negotiation, specialists must be aware of past but still influential a prioris by rereading them and putting them in a contemporary context. Let us take, for instance, the attitudes of Mexicans and of American Anglo-Saxons towards the law. For Mexicans, common law is exploitative and institutions were organized in order to protect people. For people depending on the Anglo-Saxon American world, it is the opposite: the law was the law of the Colonizing power and although it was more or less accepted in English Canada, it was not accepted in the United States which valorized common law over the written laws issued by England. Therefore, pragmatism is privileged over theorizing. Post-theory is part of a world of post-information leading to what Oliviero Toscani (1995) calls a posthuman world. It is the world of the screen where information, while being transmitted in real time, is subjected to elaborate strategies of construction and reflexivity. In this context, the past is losing ground in front of the rereading of different pasts which now interfere with a future to be built together in consideration with multiple contexts opening up to different possible futures. Post is the era of risk taking. It is the period valorizing the risk of being another self because each individual has to use the resources of its possible multiple identities in order to communicate and to work with individuals coming from totally different backgrounds. Post-theory, in this case, can lead people to new similarities or dissimilarities and allow them to envisage creative contradictions as does Richard Desjardins who, in one of his songs, humoristically evokes the office of Welfare international as a parallel with the internationalization of money markets. If the reality principle is gone in its objective, historic, and scientific form and if hard-core theories have become less productive, post-theory contributes to underline the new faces of the disseminated centers and the difficulties inherent in restructuring and in the constant flux leading to an enrichment of the wealthiest. They lead the flux because they are able to control markets by lobbying governments into imposing tax laws which are in favor of their own interests and which are powerless when facing global and deterritorialized financial flux. Bruce Powe in The Solitary Outlaw quotes the Toronto Star of September 23 1984: "... control of Canada's economy is passing into the hands of the few... a new form of economic and political feudalism... a 20th century version of Upper Canada's Family Compact back in the 1800s." (115). The past reread from the perspective of the present can teach us

109 much about a possible orientation of contemporary societies if the complementarity between postcolonialism and postmodernism is not maintained and if the dynamism disseminated from specialist languages to public language is not accelerated. The permanent transition in the European-American world is matched in Asia by westernized countries: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Again, as was the case for Japan which, in 1916, was qualified by Bourne (1916) as being postmodern because it was leaping out of tradition and statism at a fast pace, these nations are distancing modernity and sharing dynamism and a new epistemology with the countries bordering the North of the Atlantic. If the Pacific is gaining in importance, it is because it leads the world of globalization, technology and market capitalism. However, in contradistinction with the Americas, these "mini-dragons" tend to keep the values of their traditional culture which are based on community, inequality, hierarchy, a strong sense of saving and on Confucianism. Appropriation mimesis, in this world which standardizes technological products and which is homogeneized by the laws of science applied to technologies, is clearly linked to culture, to a social text which has to be efficiently reinvented, produced, deciphered, produced again through multiple significations generating new complex significations allowing for new forms of ideas. The main wars, hopefully pacific, will take place at this level, even more so in the future than now. This is why culture has to be redefined, not as a set of fragments drawn from the past to be put in the museum of one's community ghetto, but as a constant turmoil where people live many lives and where they are able to occupy and share different discursive positions in the practice of production of new significations. Everyone can now be part of a temporary consensus built around more or less temporary problematics. POST is a prefix and rightly so. The writing is not on the wall any more. There are fewer walls now and more screens linked to satellites or to fiber optic cables which contribute to the radical switching of limits and borders. Post is a prefix to which can be added to many determinants open to the creativity of discourses set in the complexity of polysemic identities facing the challenge of unexpected similarities originating in the surprise of the confrontation of cultures rapidly put in contact in a world where the new frontier is the capacity to invent new agreements and new social and cultural relationships allowing people to see themselves in their own future.


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SUMMARY The goal of this intentionally concise book is to trace the different modalities of paradigmatic and discursive changes disseminating from specialized languages to public language among the populations of the Western and westernized world in the framework of the postmodern condition contextualized with postcolonialism. From the dualistic paradigm "within/without" allowing to create a belief in a referent which organizes a base for a religious (the Word of God) or a positivistic discourse (objectivity), one uses René Girard's theory dealing with appropriation mimesis (whose goal is to control the Platonic mimesis, that is the capacity to say what is real) and the victimization process in order to explore three types of discourses. The first discourse is built around a dualistic conflict between two antagonists who try to control a third element, the object. Up until modernity, antagonists were considered as having a clearly defined identity by attribution processes and the object, which grounded discourses in objectivity, quintessentialy defined by the mediatic capacity to "present" death and dead bodies, was static. The second discourse is typical of modernity. In this case, the antagonists lose sight of the object and the conflict is transformed into a dangerous struggle for prestige. This dualistic conflict leads to victimization processes which are generalized and which, as a corollary, lose sight of the victims whose deaths are forgotten (the case of many genocides) or denied. A dualism losing the third element, the object, always transforms into a monism eliminating difference. Therefore, in a dualist epistemology basing its stability on the object, on the referent (on the without of discourse), the exacerbation of dualism leads to a monologism permitting the fabrication of official histories eliminating difference. In this case, the dead body considered as an undeniable referent is lost and the within/without paradigm is complemented by an orthodox arbitrariness using disinformative practices to maintain the social consensus. This represents the sinister side of the modern era. The third discourse is particular to-the postmodern condition displacing limits. Emphasis is put on the third element in the conflict of the appropriation mimesis. The object (either economic or symbolic) is now perceived as a dynamic and demultiplied element. It is considered in its capacity to transform conflicts, based on multiple identities, into mere competition. This change of epistemology is particular to the liberal economic postmodern/postcolonial context which is linked to dynamic paradigms originating in specialized languages and disseminating into public language. In this case, being able to open discourses to a process through a third eie-

122 ment allows one to expose the lies (in a world where it is not possible to believe that one can say the truth, the ultimate lie is represented by official histories) and to create a new discourse which dynamizes the static referent linked to modernity. Therefore, this process of production of significations, similar to a Peircian process of interpretance breaking dualistic paradigms, displaces the referent of modernity (the dead bodies of the victims) through a dynamism linked to the legitimization of discourses pertaining to the victims and to their descendants. This new dynamic referent is no longer based on a static third element believed to be grounded outside the discursive realm. The capacity to start a process of production of significations gives marginalized groups or individuals, a legitimate place opening to a rereading of the past and to the building of a society in which differences are welcome and turned towards the future, instead, if not totally denied, of merely being remembered episodically, as is the case in narratives connected with modernity. This concentration on a third element which, starting from being conceived as a stable object in modernity, becomes a process of production of significations in postmodernity, is particular to the new liberal democracies redefining limits. This new discourse and its process of production of significations transforms other discourses. It is open to dynamism, and starts a global economic and symbolic competition which allows one to avoid dualistic conflicts leading to the many wars particular to modernity and the age of nations. It is through this new dynamism that some of the victims (marginalized groups and individuals) can penetrate the manifold disseminated centers of the postmodern/postcolonial era and benefit from intersticial opportunities transforming the dualistic center/margins paradigm into a process based on liminality and on the crossing of thresholds.

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