On Deconstruction

(a small writing assigment I wrote for my Major Critics class)

The nature of a particular structure, such as a philosophical system, which has a center that cannot be altered, is the structurality of structure.  If I say that the goal of a nation is to maintain and improve, when possible and feasible, the standard of living of its populace, then I have proclaimed a political theory wherein the State must organize and execute its actions to meet the stated goal.  Any action on behalf of the State that conflicts with the center, namely, that the goal of a nation is to maintain and increase, when possible and feasible, the standard of living of its populace, is counterproductive.  Then we have a binary opposition of actions of the State that are productive, and those that are counter-productive.  If the nation tries to improve the standard of living by unfeasible means, such as the use of a non-renewable energy source that is fated to run out like the earth’s petroleum, then the nation would be acting in a counter-productive manner. 

In order to deconstruct this, one would have to challenge the center.  To challenge the center I could say, “if the goal of a nation is always to maintain and improve the standard of living of its people when possible and feasible, keeping in mind that what we call ‘standard of living’ is based on materialist philosophy, what about the spiritual aspects and needs of an individual?, which is just as essential as material needs.”

The center would then be found to be lacking because it is not the pinnacle of the needs of a nation-state and of the needs of its people.  A person who practices Dialectics would then be tempted to create a synthesis, or a new center, by saying, “Okay, then what we have now is a new paradigm, the goal of the State should be to maintain and increase the standard of living when possible and feasible and to provide conditions for a flourishing spirituality”.  In reaction to this, Derrida may state, “Yes, but in that case, can’t we say that there should be a separation of church and state, as all individuals approach spirituality from a different angle?  And is it really necessary to perpetually increase the standard of living when possible?  Contentment may be necessary”.  And so Derrida would’ve deconstructed the new center.

Within structures there is the possibility for free play, and one has liberty to be creative in the ways in which one accommodates the center, so long as there is no creativity and alteration of the center itself.  It is similar to those who subscribe to the maxim “You gotta know the rules to break the rules”, or, to master the fundamentals of a practice before one adds originality.  The fundamentals, or basics, then represent the center in a structure, and they are not to be overlooked, but rather understood and built upon in order to expand and sustain a particular structure.  For example: guitar playing.  To play guitar, at least in the popular sense, one would need to be instructed in the proper way to tune it, to hold it, to finger-pick or pick it, to play chords and scales.  If a kid decides to brush the guitar with a broom in order to produce sound, indeed one could say that the kid is playing the guitar (or rather playing with), but it would not fit into the preconceived structure that we call “guitar playing”, wherein the player holds, strums, and utilizes chords and scales in the conventional manner.  The conventions of guitar playing then represent the center of the “guitar playing” structure, on which one may express their creativity and originality by creating unique melodies and rhythms.

reflection on music and speech

In the textbook Contemporary Linguistics An Introduction, fourth edition, it says: “Humans… appear to have specialized neural mechanism for the perception of speech sounds”.  As opposed to other creatures, we as human-beings have a natural inclination to, and also biological components of, speech.  We also have a liking to music.  Although birds and whales may have speech and perhaps melodic pitches, human beings are unique in their savoring of music.  I share the  idea that a guitarist friend shared with me in East Los Angeles College, the idea that the more a musical instrument sounds like human speech the more people will like the sound that is produced by it.  Keeping in mind that the human brain is specialized for speech, and that musical instruments mimic the different sounds that can be produced by a human being, people then have the biological, and some may argue, the spiritual inclination to the appreciation of music.

Is it the one who beep-boxes the one imitating the musical instruments, or is the musical instrument imitating the human?  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Both are closely related, which is why the high-pitch, screechy, and melodic singing of Axl Rose blends with the solo of Slash’s electric guitar,  because they are almost, to use a cliche, one and the same.  Drums imitate the flow of air in the mouth, the base guitar imitates the deep resounding voice from the throat, and the flute imitates the human capability to whistle.