Rowand Barthes: Death of the Author (5 quotations)

“It will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is
lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.”

“Probably this has always been the case: once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins.”

“The absence of the Author (with Brecht, we might speak here of a real “alienation:’ the Author diminishing like a tiny figure at the far end of the literary stage) is not only a historical fact or an act of writing: it utterly transforms the modern text (or — whatis the same thing — the text is henceforth written and read so that in it, on every le-vel, the Author absents himself).”

“child. Quite the contrary, the modern writer (scriptor) is born simultaneously with his text; he is in no way supplied with a being which precedes or transcends his writing, he is in no way the subject of which his book is the predicate; there is no other time than that of the utterance, and every text is eternally written here and now.”

“the writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original; his only power is to combine the different kinds of writing, to oppose some by others, so as never to sustain himself by just one of them; if he wants to express himself, at least he should know that the internal “thing” he claims to “translate” is itself only a readymade dictionary whose words can be explained (defined) only by other words, and so on ad infinitum:”

HL Essay Preferences

Text Preferences:

  1. 소년이 온다
  2. If this is a Man
  3. Atonement

Lines of Inquiry:

  1. From the perspective of Korean culture/traditional beliefs? Korean History? A Confucian analysis? Translation
  2. From the perspective of the history of the Nazis. As a memoir. Author’s message.
  3. Crime novel. Death of the author. Historical reading

The reading from the perspective of Korean culture or traditional beliefs is certainly a possible one. There are several references within the text such as the use of the term 혼 (魂 though the text notably avoids any use of Chinese characters) which is one of several terms for a soul that the author could chosen from. That may or may not have been a conscious choice of course though it is certainly interesting.

HL Practice Essay Feedback

General Feedback:

1) Write the question and focus on it. Link to Readers, Writers and Texts as well as Time and Space.

2) Introduce your text and ensure there is a common thread throughout the essay. Also, be selective, focus on the writer and don’t retell the story.

3) Be concise. Quote properly and effectively.

4) Ensure to have both literary and topic based sources. Let the experts speak for you

 

Specific Feedback:

  1. Be a critical reader of your secondary sources- don’t just take them as fat. Challenge/support them.
  2. Ensure you format quotations consistently and accurately

Also note: Just page number and year for actual text being written about (in text citations). When selecting secondary reading, go literary, not just historical.

Goal: Challenge and support secondary sources and ensure the sources are more literary and less historical.

 

Thoughts on the Nature of Life and Conciousness

Quite frankly life confuses me. Saying that life is just a biological machine seems lacking somehow. What is consciousness then? A complex set of chemical reactions can explain how stimuli can lead to a certain action or output, but it doesn’t explain in any satisfactory way why there is something aware of this stimuli and acting on it. Sure, you could make a super complex machine, but there is no reason to believe that such a machine would be any more than something generating outputs through complex mathematical equations. There is no reason to believe that such a machine would be aware of the process going on inside it.
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It’s impossible to detect or measure, but any living person will know that there is something more than can be explained by mere circuitry. René Descartes once said, “I think therefore I am”, but it’s more than that. It’s the fact that we are aware of the fact that we are thinking that allows us to know we exist. The very fact that I am aware that I am thinking these questions proves that some sort of consciousness exists. The problem with the argument that AI could eventually be the same as a thinking human is that given that there is no proven biological basis for this consciousness there is no reason to think that any amount of endlessly complicated circuitry could create a conscious being. There simply isn’t a clear logical link between complicated neuron circuitry and consciousness.
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At the end of the day, I simply don’t think that the evidence for the claim that humans are simple machines made out of proteins is strong enough. There are just too many unanswered questions. Too many holes in the logic. It’s a theory with too many missing parts to make a solid claim. Given the current evidence, it’s not something I can just easily accept.
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