Friday, December 11, 2009

DIETROLOGY

DIETROLOGY
Introduction

You wouldn't believe the size of the mug of Americano in front of me in this Cologne coffee shop. Total mondo. Not to impress you, it's to help get this tricky post finished.

Dietrology. For quite some time now, I've sought a word to conceptually unite many personal ideas and recent theories within a single domain. For that purpose, I've brazenly co-opted dietrologia (from the Italian 'dietro' - behind). It is, therefore, the study or analysis of the perceptually invisible, of what lies behind language, events, actions, processes, and behaviours.

It's clear we all have a natural tendency to posit instant opinions about subtexts, prefaced explicitly or implicitly with languaging such as 'I think....' - something I prefer to classify under the umbrella of superstition. The other tendency, related, is to assume that that which does not makes sense to us is nonsense; exemplified by the etymological origin of barbarian derived from the ancient Greek term for 'foreign', a derogatory
onomatopoeic reference to the sound non-Greeks seemed to make. Another example is represented by patronising Western attitudes towards African music and art with terms such as 'primitive', or even 'world' or 'ethnic'.

The first lesson of dietrological analysis is to recognise that something that doesn't make sense to us may very well have complex sense, or indeed, may have no sense whatsoever. The directly perceptual is not enough to make the assumption one way or another. The second lesson is relative: the quantity and quality of the perceptually invisible is not measurable.

However, the third and most critical, is that dietrology differs from opinion and superstition in that it represents an inquiry into the heart of the matter, that which is factual. And in an illustrative way, the study of atomic particles, just as they cannot be seen with the naked eye (with or without the aid of microscopes) owing to their being hundreds of times smaller than the smallest light waves, is a form of dietrological analysis.

Anyway, enough dry talk already. Let's launch a few introductory sub-articles for the series; as always, comments highly appreciated.

DIETROLOGY : The Collateral Damage Of Everyday Conversation
(text coming soon)

DIETROLOGY : The Nature Of Facebook/Twitter Updates
(text coming soon)

DIETROLOGY : What Are Movie Credits For?
(text coming soon)

1 comment:

Thomas Bey William Bailey said...

"The first lesson of dietrological analysis is to recognise that something that doesn't make sense to us may very well have complex sense, or indeed, may have no sense whatsoever. The directly perceptual is not enough to make the assumption one way or another."

Also interesting is that we say something "makes sense" when it appears to have some rational or ordered quality to it. I think it was Erwin Straus in 'Primary World of the Senses' who placed *perception* as being the rational organization of *sensation*, in itself the primary and non-rational mode of experience. "Making sense" seems like one of those phrases that would confuse a learner of English as a second language into thinking it means something more like vague pre-reflective awareness of a phenomenon rather than, as we use it now, awareness and logical / cerebral 'mastery' of that phenomenon.