Notes on 5. 587 bc – ad 70: On Several Regimes of Signs

(p111) “If we call the signifying semiotic system semiology, then semiology is only one regime of signs among others, and not the most important one. Hence the necessity of a return to pragmatics, in which language never has universality in itself, self-sufficient formalization, a general semiology, or a metalanguage.” Honestly I think this is the only statement of this chapter/track that I understand. Moving into the murkier depths, we have indexes, icons and symbols, with Index being the “territorial state of things”, or the intensive (see track 2) connections, Icons being the “operations of reterritorialization”, or an “it/thing” that represents signified (???), and Symbols being when a signifier is deterritorialized to a point of “constant movement of referral from sign to sign” or when two separate signifieds are inexorably linked to the same signifier instantaneously. “The signifier is the sign in redundancy with the sign.” That sentence makes sense in relation to Symbols. “All signs are signs of signs” is to get at the impossible abstractions from the (thought to be intended) signified.

(p113)“The sign survives both its state of things and its signified; it leaps like an animal or dead person to regain its place in the chain and invest a new state, a new signified, from which it will in turn extricate itself. A hint of the eternal return.” I’m reminded of extensivity (a la track 2, again). A signifier will outlive/outlast its object though the thought remains. Am I correct to see a sort of transition from index to icon to symbol, where symbol is the most removed/polluted? Kind of funny, I guess… is symbolism made powerful or weakened by the dialectic it creates? The dialectic perhaps distracts (plants roots and grows a tree) and blocks the rhizomatic, intensive reading. Symbol places an artificial importance of connection. “The allegory of the cave” becomes flawed, for it is to insist that the shadow refer back to the object… but when you have shadows of shadows, the interactions become the only thing to map and thus the origin of new (original?) meaning.

(p113) “Signifier as the self redundancy of the deterritorialized sign…” Interesting. If the sign is deterritorialized so it is localized by other signifiers, THE signifier of said sign is indeed redundant, but absolutely required. But a “funereal world of terror”? Funereal perhaps because I get sense of “signs and signifiers being dead” due to this self-redundancy, but “of terror”?

(p114) “Interpretance or interpretation” Always connecting words up to new words. I’m confused by their “interpretive priest,” as I’m made uneasy by the assignation of a figurehead, a proper name. What happened to the rhizome? “In truth, significance and interpretosis are … humankinds fundamental neurosis.”

(p115) Faciality. Though many words can produce very similar, often redundant maps, the subtle difference in orientation between signifiers produces a “facial”, expressive quality unique to each signifier. “The face is the Icon” which would make the index a mere… index of relate words. The face crystallizes and takes polydimensional form. “Finally, the face or body … has something like a counterbody: the body of the tortured, or better, the excluded.” I’m quite certain I’m missing something in removing “despot or god”, but as mentioned I don’t get where they’re going with that. I don’t understand the “face of the regime”, only the “face of the sign.” As a result, the ensuing discussion of torture and “becoming-animal, becoming scape-goat” doesn’t add up for me.

I’m not going to lie… the next 30 pages make pretty much no sense to me. Granted I’ve only attempted to read about 4 of them, but with so many other tracks to preview...