08 May 2007

The Title of the titling title with(in) the title's title of titling a title... @_@

Might as well start this out cliché-like. "What's in a name?" *gag* Well, someone out there surely doesn't get the name of my blog, so allow me to satiate you with brilliant and pithy elucidative delineation... *gag x2*

Aporia is a term used in critical literary theory, mainly by deconstuctionists. Such as Jacques Derrida. Ever tried to read him? Egads batman... it makes your brain jelly. However, not all literary theory is bunk and should be tossed aside with the morning's garbage.

Aporia is worthy to be entertained, and thus I will. Aporia, according to the Wiki (this isn't a credible source! Why the hell does everyone use it?), is: "A philosophical puzzle or a seemingly insoluble impasse in an inquiry, often arising as a result of equally plausible yet inconsistent premises." Derrida prefers the term "undecideables", while Emmanuel Levinas calls them "non-synthesizeables." Whatever the term, they are all aporetic and so that will be my effective blanket term.

Aporia results when something is simultaneously one thing and its opposite. It makes us skeptical and inspires faith; it is nothing more than an imaginative romp, and it is a serious challenge to our way of thinking about reality.

Aporia refers to that which "can no longer be included within philosophical (binary) oppositions, but which, however, inhabit philosophical opposition, resisting and disorganizing it, constituting a third term, without ever leaving room for a solution" (Derrida, Positions, 1981, p. 43).

These undecidable, non-synthesizables provoke us to question the categories and pigeonholes we use for taming and making sense of experience. Usually, therefore, we ignore them. If we don't, they have the ability to undermine and shake up our systems of thought. In other words, aporia simultaneously reveals and questions the ordering codes of a system; showing how it works, and showing that it doesn't.

Aporia will inject infinity into a closed system and split it wide open. By breaking open our previous ways of thinking, by adding something new and irreducible, such concepts offer true teaching. In Plato's Meno (84), Socrates describes the purgative effect of reducing someone to aporia: it shows someone who merely thought he knew something that he does not in fact know it and instills in him a desire to investigate it.

You see where I'm going with this. You pair two things that are both contradictory and true. The evidence stands both for and against it. Zombies are an easily graspable aporia: they are dead...but they are alive. Unfortunately, society dictates that ambiguity must be resolved. I'd vote maybe that's not entirely the best answer.

By becoming enmeshed in the predicament of either/or morphing into both/and, we blow the system apart; enabling us to move forward with that not yet experienced, not knowing where it will lead.

The point of this whole discourse... Pairing Mormonism with Homosexuality. At first look, they are inherently incompatible. That's how I felt when I first admitted to myself that both were true of me. But how? I was in direct conflict with myself and I was unsure how to proceed. Could they really co-exist? I was determined to find out. Aporetically, it seems they can. The logistic details of this aporia are another matter entirely, and hence, the journey to be undertaken as we explore the far reaches of this struggle. My struggle.

I want to document my experience, my turmoil, and my anguish in trying to figure this out. Done in literature, it just makes your brain hurt sometimes. But when it's your life? Everything hurts; you bleed, and cry, and try, but mostly just want to die sometimes. That's what I want to capture. The reality of the struggle. I feel that the real nature remains unsaid in its truest, most poignant form. I hope to remedy that.

Aporia is a crazy, beautiful thing. And so am I.



drex said...

You are beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can't get you down.

Aporia is a fantastic descriptor for you - did you first hear about it in a literary theory class, did you just stumble on it, or what?

Also, I'm sad you are going camping so much, because it's so much easier for me to do things on the weekend. :P

Hidden said...

Aporia was discovered this past semester in my 452 class: Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism. I honestly learned more about the gospel... and myself... than in most religion classes. Pretty amazing. And as soon as it was introduced, I latched onto it and ran with it. I visited my prof on numerous occasions to get more info and sources where I could learn about aporia. I heart aporia.