Order of Things

October 13, 2011

In “The order of things”, Foucault questions the limitation of language as an expression or method of understanding but also capable of undermining meanings and essences. Information is lost within the use of language due to the highly structure perception and meaning of words. As information is categorized in to groups, described through words, the individuality of the subject is lost, fusing multiple slightly varied objects into a common species. That is the downside of language.

The syntax of language has always been interdependent on one another to create a legible understanding while meaning has always relied on binaries, you need to know ‘light’ to know ‘darkness’, ‘left’ from ‘right’. As a language becomes more refined with more terms within its universe, less information are lost in the construction of description and sentences but we become highly dependent on the term, ‘rounding’ off what is seemingly similar to identical.

“Absurdity destroys the and of the enumeration by making impossible the in where the things enumerated would be divided up.” It could very well imply that the unclear perhaps is the clearest similarly in society where Laws and Order acts similarly to languages, imposing, definitive and preconceived. In cases of misjudged cases, what seemingly is clear to the masses might turn out to be the most unclear (of the case) while the clearest is very well the accused who is most informed (being on the scene). It goes to wonder, Law serves an ‘order’ of society while languages is the ‘order’ of communication.

Language is a variable and not a constant. It continuously evolves to suit the zeitgeist and it is this phase of evolution that interest Foucault and he deems the evolution occurs when the ‘fundamental codes of culture’ meets ‘empirical orders’ to create or changes the meaning of a word. Between these two worlds exists an intermediary space which governs the evolution code, it is this intermediary space Foucault expresses interest in. What interests me would be the possibility of a separate ‘order’ within this intermediary space and might it have a further sub ‘order’ subsequently, creating recursive logic within the idea of ‘order’.

-Barry Lim


[1] Preface – pg xvi

[1] Preface – pg xix

[1] Preface – pg xvii

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