- Exécuter un tissu à mailles, soit à la main, à l’aide d’aiguilles longues et émoussées, soit avec un métier spécial.
Monday, January 9, 2012
TRICOTER: An Essay in Philosophical Archaeology
Wiktionnairetricoter transitif 1er groupe (conjugaison)
False relation with “tricher” which gave, in the XV and XVI centuries: trichot, tricotement, tricoter, tricoteur which mean chicaneur, chicaner, chicane
Came more likely from trique, the wooden needle having been named un tricot or petite trique
Portuguese: fazer meias, fazer renda
Déverbal de tricoter formé sur trique et le suffixe diminutif -ot (soit « bâtonnet », « aiguille à tricoter »).
Étymol. et Hist. A. 1. Mil. xve s. « courir, sauter » (Banquet du boys, Poésies fr. des XVe et XVIe s., X, 219 ds Gdf.); 2. 1677 (d'un cheval) « faire des mouvements de jambes très rapides, mais sans ampleur » (Solleysel, Nouv. méthode pour dresser les chevaux, p. 231); 3. a) av. 1741 « remuer vivement les jambes ou les pattes pour courir, danser, etc. » (J.-B. Rousseau, Allég., I, 2 ds Littré); b) 1819 tricoter des jambes (L. Balzac, let. in Balzac, Corresp., I, p. 56 ds Quem. DDL t. 34); c) 1891 « pédaler vivement à bicyclette » (Le Cycliste, avr. ds Petiot); d) 1950 (en parlant d'un facteur) « aller d'un trottoir à l'autre pour desservir une rue » (d'apr. Esn.). B. 1. Fin du xvie s. « exécuter un ouvrage en mailles entrelacées, avec des aiguilles spéciales » (Christophe de Bordeaux, Chambrière à louer ds Rec. de poésies fr. des XVe et XVIe s., éd. A. de Montaiglon, t. 1, p. 101); 2. 1611 intrans. (Cotgr.). Dér. de tricot2*; dés. -er. Les jambes, puis les aiguilles à tricoter, ont été comparées à des bâtons que l'on agite (A, B). Au sens B, tricoter a remplacé l'anc. verbe brocher.
Tricotage: Knitting Together Philosophy
I also have my crochet.
It dates from when I began to think.
Stitch on stitch forming a whole without a whole …
Crochet, souls, philosophy …
All the religions of the world ….
All that entertains us in the leisure hours of our existence
—Fernando Pessoa writing as Álvaro de Campos
(Ref: Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems. Ed. and trans. from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith. New York: Grove Press, 1998, p. 17)
There is a lovely French verb, tricoter, meaning in the plain sense to knit or to pedal a bicycle. Derived from tricot, it’s origin is speculative and perhaps comes from the word trique, a large stick, and the diminutive suffix –ot, a variant of estrique, from the Frankish strikan, related to “strike” in English. There is a false etymological relation to tricher (to trick, cheat or deceive) which in the XV and XVI centuries gave trichot, tricotement, tricoter, tricoteur meaning chicane, chicaner, chicaneur (argument, to argue, one who argues). As with many words derived from concrete objects and actions, tricot has a surfeit of metaphoric associations, from “quick repetitive action” and “strike” to “erection” (avoir la trique).
My own associations to it are fanciful. With one ear, I hear the tri of triage, from the French trier, “to sort, select, choose,” used since WWI to mean the sorting of wounded soldiers into three groups: those who needed immediate care to survive, the walking wounded who could wait, and those who would die anyway. With the other, I hear the tri of tricolore, France’s three-coloured flag with its symbolism and the ideals of the French Revolution, brought together in moderation. As an Italian, il tricolore italiano of the Cispadane Republic after Napoleone crossed into Italy in 1797 also comes to mind.
So, without threatening violence (strikan) or deception (tricher) and with as little unpleasantness as possible (chicane), much less an excess of passion (avoir la trique), I propose to tricoter, to knit together three major thinkers in this work: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Michel Foucault. All three are fluent if not native speakers of French and share important philosophical traditions. I read them in their original languages (French, Italian) but will use readily available English translations here for the purposes of communication, with frequent reference to the originals which I hold to be authoritative. All three are—in varying measures—scholars of etymology, history, philology, and philosophy with ready access to the Latin and Greek sources of European thought and to French, German and Italian philosophical traditions. Agamben adds to this a scholarly interest in the Hebrew sources of Church history through both Latin and Greek (see my translation of his essay, “The Church and the Kingdom”). Here, I must confess my scholarly limitations, as my four years of study in Latin and single year each of studies in Greek, German and Arabic allow me only a passive understanding of those rich worlds, so that I must rely on translations. My immersion in Hebrew, both biblical and modern, is more profound and longlasting but not systematic so that, again, I prefer to trust scholarly renditions.
I understand Agamben to be simply the most careful contemporary reader of Foucault, much as Lacan read Freud, advancing the Foucauldian project in the areas of law and liturgy (as he quipped, the only two fields that Foucault did not investigate), and take from him a methodology he proposes as philosophical archaeology. With a lineage that includes Foucault and Freud, not least with the invocation of archaelogy, this method refreshes thought to make it contemporary. It is a new form of critical theory. Foucault engages me most on the question of madness, the end of man, and methodologies for understanding discourses. It is a new way to think about ideology. Badiou is in a line of major thinkers who have rethought being and its implications and like his predecessors has things to tell us about psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis. That is largely because event means novation, the bringing of change, new possibilities into being. Unlike his predecessors, the professionals in those domains have hardly bothered to engage him seriously. This work proposes to do just that.
So this is my tricotage, a knitting together and a sorting out of a troika or triumviri of philosophers I call to task to forge new anwers to some rather well-tread aporias about trauma and event: the philosophical archaeology of the disruption of the discourse of being and the evental opening or traumatic closing of possibilities in the coming community.
Note: As I write this, I hear the notes of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Troika,” the fourth movement of a symphonic suite composed in 1933 for the Soviet film, “Lieutenant Kijé” (1934) based on Yuri Tynyanov’s story. Two fine performances are by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
The philosophers of being have given us new vistas in psychiatry:
Philosopher/Major Work Psychiatrist/Key Ideas
Edmund Husserl Influenced the entire school of phenomenological
Subjective/ and existential psychology, psychiatry and
intentional phenomenology psychoanalysis – from Eugène Minkowski, Ludwig Binswanger, to RD Laing, Rollo May and Irvin Yalom; Cf. Rollo May, ed., Existence
Martin Heidegger Ludwig Binswanger
Being and Time “The Case of Ellen West”
(dedicated to Husserl) Daseinanalyse—“existential analysis”
Foucault wrote the preface to
Dream and Existence
Jean-Paul Sartre R.D. Laing
Being and Nothingness The Divided Self, Self and Others,
Wrote Preface for: Reason and Violence: A Decade of Sartre’s
“Existential psychoanalysis “Ontological insecurity,” “mystification,”
has not yet had its Freud” (1943) “disqualification”
Black Skins, White Masks
A new theory of consciousness, combining the psychiatric and the political
Wrote Preface with the famous line: The Wretched of the Earth,
“Violence, like Achilles’ spear,
can heal the wounds it inflicts.”
A Dying Colonialism
Alain Badiou Vincenzo Di Nicola
Being and Event “Trauma and Event”
Objective phenomenology “Evental psychiatry”
Multiplicity “Relational psychology”
Evental site “Predicament”
Preoccupied with “the uncounted” “Liminality,” “threshold people”
I am grateful to Alain Badiou for his “blessing” to entitle my work, “Trauma and Event,” in the spirit of this line of inquiry.
A complete study of this line of inquiry would include, minimally, a dense review of the pioneering work of Wilhelm Dilthey and Wilhelm Wundt as early philosophical psychologists, as well the thought of Franz Brentano (see Wolfgang Schirmacher’s excellent introductions to two volumes in The German Library on German Essays in Psychology (2001; the essays by Dilthey, Husserl and Wundt are essential) and German 20th Century Philosophical Writings (2003; notably the essay by Jaspers on existential philosophy).