Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Claude Levi-Strauss 1908-2009


Claude Levi-Strauss, who died last week.

Structuralism, I was always told, was such a dry theory of things. A Technocratic idea of orderation. A logic to apply to all human societies, away of measuring all men through common principles. All societies have structures but to state that the very structure was the commonality between men would always be philosophical issue and consequently of interest to those outside the field of anthropology. This, maybe, was much to the chagrin of Levi-Strauss but much to the richer understanding of the complexities that we in habit for people like me, who read some of his works. But the credit that Thinkers should give to him was in the simplicity that he gave to such complexes. Logos, myth, magic and science, the real became that much realer imbued in creation like a phantasmic fabric that makes up the order around us. From that it doesn't take much to realise the poetry involved in the Analysts code is the very code itself and that difference between painting and maths maybe just a matter of percepting that code that unravels in chromatic plurality.

I was in my last year of college when I think I began to some what understand this. And somehow trying to get past the screen of words which was to be my final essay I came to a fruition that words and thought and logic where the consummation of order through there own internal magic. I think in my own way I began to understand the importance of what I read some years before and the ideas of Claude Levi-Strauss.

"The position of culture is always in the circumstantial initiation of political and temporal manifestations... Art is always compeled into a form of deliberative action or considered indifference. However, Art's paradox becomes its own search for the truth of human desire and suffering in the immediacy of reality. Culture's difficulty lies in its own ambigious function and meaning in proximity to temporal forces. (Post-modern) culture may wallow in political subterfuge but the desire for the real is not only a Baudrillardian fetishism bounded in the rhetoric of apathy and nihilism but the very compulsion of human conciousness. Realism's persistance is in Culture's conjunctive 'praxis', as the agency of performance and conduct which constrain social structure. Foster touches on the anthropological contention in mimetic ritual, what Girard's theory ascertains as the violence with which the origin of all things human is in the eradication (almagamation) of truth into mythic representation, the disturbance of reality. It is the proximity of violence which considers the real, yet its immediacy is the compulsion of all things too human in its incompleteness and trauma."

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