"Seeing in Third Sophistic Ways." Olson 164-176.
Vitanza introduces a third "seeing" to the seeing/not seeing dyad. With
it, he sets up a correlation between theory and seeing (etymologically, drawing
on Gk. thea and also Williams’ Keywords). From here, he accounts
for the shortcomings of dialectics resulting from the faintness of the
negatives (no longer can we test "the pagus of thought" and return
from the "wild, savage border zone where the excluded thirds and their ways of
seeing dwell" (166) to effect a more inclusive polis). Vitanza offers three
Sophistic ways of seeing:
1. misrepresentative antidotes: counter to representative anecdotes
2. dissoi-paralogoi: counter to dialectics–"against dialectic (of any
kind), against didactic, and against dissoi-logoi by moving from one and
two to an explosion of threes or ‘some more’ (excesses, dissoi-polylogoi)"
3. theatricks: counter to pragmatics (168)
Third Sophistic seeing will keep theorEYEzation alive, will continue to mine
the pagus. Without it, theory stalls, potentiality is reduced,
stifled, and we have a restricted economy (Modernism’s scarcities?). Whatever
beings (Agamben) "prefer not to be in the present reactionary community, prefer
not to be complicit in employing the principle that excludes, prefer not to be
in the coming community" (173).
Another point: Third Sophistic seeing is not the same as
Victor Turner‘s "liminal
"‘Whatever beings’ are not particular (i.e., species) or general
(genus); instead, they are a set(less) of radical singularities (in the
paralogic of the excluded Middle Ages, a.k.a. the manere )." (171).
"Whatever beings intuit that the principles of identity,
non-contradiction, and excluded-middle (all the principles of
negation informing re/invention) are the very principles that exclude, that
disallow the thing with all its properties, that disallow radical
singularities, themselves as such, in community" (173).
"Berger discusses ‘seeing’ as a matter of ideology and mystification" (165).
"I used to believe that it was possible after leaving the polis of
systematic seeing to spend some paraproductive time in the pagus of
thought–that wild, savage border zone where the excluded thirds and their ways
of seeing dwell–and then when done to return, with insights, to the polis so as
to make it more inclusive. I still believe that such excursions are
valuable, but they soon will be impossible" (166).
"What will de/form the coming community is without any notion of
antithesis but only remainders. Whatevers!" (167).
"According to Agamben, in The Coming Community, the coming beings are
‘whatever beings’" (170).
seeing, theory, theoreyezing, singularity, spectacle, thirds, binary,
whatever, community, indifference, identity
- Related sources:
- Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Community. Trans. Michael Hardt.
Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1993.
- Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley: U of California P,
- Jameson, Fredric. Signatures of the Visible. New York: Routledge,