> Writing Oceania

Writing Oceania

Par | 2018-02-18T19:05:54+00:00 10 mai 2013|Catégories : Essais|



In the present paper, I will ana­lyze the cha­rac­te­ris­tics and the inner dyna­mics of lite­ra­ry texts of Oceania[1]. I’d like to reveal the inner pro­cesses construc­ting, struc­tu­ring and orga­ni­zing the intra-tex­tual com­plexi­ty often seen and inter­pre­ted as inherent and consti­tu­ti­ve­ly a prio­ri. I aim at des­cri­bing the objec­ti­fi­ca­tion of tex­tual ele­ments (Pallai, 2010), the emer­gence, hap­pe­ning and beco­ming of texts.

The phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal approach can mediate bet­ween the pre-given state of tex­tua­li­ty and the com­ple­tion or satu­ra­tion of the ini­tial open­ness, which is an essen­tial cha­rac­te­ris­tic and acces­si­bi­li­ty that pre­pares the birth of a text and enables its pre­sen­ti­fi­ca­tion[2] and reor­ga­ni­za­tion by rea­ders. I use the words “pre­sen­ti­fi­ca­tion”“pre­sence” in a dif­ferent sense or at least on a dif­ferent plane of signi­fi­ca­tion than Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (2004). The truth in the sense of Entbergung (revea­ling), or Unverborgenheit (uncon­cealment) inevi­ta­bly needs our unders­tan­ding (or accep­ting by active exa­mi­na­tion) of the pre-onto­lo­gi­cal state of pre­sence (Heidegger, 1933/​2001). The embo­di­ment can easi­ly be read in terms of per­for­ma­ti­vi­ty (Gumbrecht, 2004). My the­sis is that a denor­ma­li­za­tion (cri­ti­cal des­ta­bi­li­za­tion) and decom­po­si­tion of our onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal and epis­te­mic spec­trum is trig­ge­red by the lite­ra­ture of the Pacific and the epis­te­mic dimen­sion of poly-struc­tu­ra­li­ty (White and Ralkowski, 2005). The pre-given state of tex­tua­li­ty is read here as pro­to-tex­tua­li­ty or sub­stance of content, which pre­cedes the actua­li­za­tion of the text in form of tex­tual objects[3] (cha­rac­ters, events, points of crys­tal­li­za­tion of inter­tex­tual rela­tions, etc.).

Gumbrecht des­cribes the typo­lo­gy of rela­tions bet­ween the signi­fied and its form by using the notions of “sub­stance and form of content”, “sub­stance and form of expres­sion” (Gumbrecht, 2004). I tend to apply sub­stance of content to speak about the pre-noe­ma­tic, and in some cases about the meta-inter­pre­ta­tive level of per­cep­tion, cog­ni­tion and onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal expe­rience.

By exa­mi­ning the dimen­sions and (micro-)realities of texts, we can des­cribe their nature as mul­ti-poten­tial and simi­lar to dyna­mic frac­tal sys­tems. Texts are construc­ted tem­po­ra­ri­ly in our men­tal hori­zon and seem to work with rei­te­ra­tion and/​or modi­fi­ca­tion of their ele­ments. Each sen­tence, para­graph, page and chap­ter appears to the mind as mani­fes­ta­tions of an inten­tion of pre­sen­ti­fi­ca­tion. Each tex­tual object is pro­du­ced by the sedi­men­ta­tion and com­plexi­fi­ca­tion of the text. When focu­sing on this aspect of inter­pre­ta­tion, we need to com­plete our text-based ana­ly­sis with a self-reflexive and epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal side. We also need to be aware not to focus our atten­tion exclu­si­ve­ly on the struc­tures of mea­ning, but also on the struc­tures of pre­sence (and spa­tio-tem­po­ra­li­ty).

When I say pre­sence, I need the sup­port of lite­ra­ry texts of regions with an undoub­ted­ly dif­ferent culture of reflec­tion and a much more non-her­me­neu­ti­cal­ly and non-onto­lo­gi­cal­ly orien­ted ten­den­cy of the inter­pre­ta­tion of being and reflexi­vi­ty : cultures and socie­ties of essen­tial­ly dif­ferent chro­no­topes (Gumbrecht, 2009). I use these texts in order not to fall prey to the allure and temp­ta­tion of occi­den­tal (and espe­cial­ly Eurocentric) phi­lo­so­phi­cal thought. I would under­line (among others) the sub­stan­tia­tion, typo­lo­gi­za­tion and sub­ject-cen­te­red culture of epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal prac­tice.




Presence is consti­tu­ted by effects of form taking shape in our men­tal hori­zon. To renew our phi­lo­so­phi­cal and lite­ra­ry praxis, we need to see pre­sence in a pre-concep­tual, but still phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal aspect (in the pro­cess of taking shape in our mind). Gumbrecht speaks about pre­sence as a “coming forth effa­cing itself and brin­ging itself back” (Gumbrecht, 2004). The being-in-front and the tan­gi­bi­li­ty of ‘prae-esse’ need to have various layers of rela­tio­na­li­ty and inten­tio­na­li­ty. A trans­mis­sion and a pro­duc­tive per­mea­tion can exist bet­ween per­cep­tion and mea­ning attri­bu­tion. The vibra­tion and fluc­tua­tion, gene­ra­ted by the move­ments of cir­cu­lar dis­pla­ce­ment bet­ween the sur­face of impres­sion and the sur­face of mea­ning attri­bu­tion consti­tute the com­plexi­ty of being. The cere­mo­ny of ‘sua’ (pre­sen­ta­tion of an ani­mal or ‘tapa’ cloth to an impor­tant per­son) gene­rates and struc­tures a per­cep­tual and men­tal space of pre­sence and epi­pha­ny. The per­for­ma­tive cha­rac­ter of pre­sen­ta­tion belongs to a trans­for­med refe­ren­tia­li­ty, to an intrin­si­cal­ly and extrin­si­cal­ly dif­fe­ren­tia­ted dimen­sion of pre­sence (Gumbrecht, 2006 ; Forrai, 1997). Presence is a pos­si­bi­li­ty of forms, an infi­ni­ty of conten­tual recom­bi­na­tions, an insta­bi­li­ty, a gra­vi­ta­tion towards mani­fes­ta­tion (Derrida, 1972). Presence is being-rela­ted, and thus it can be seen as limit-phe­no­me­na avai­lable in limit-situa­tions to our inter­pre­tive conscious­ness. Presence is the avai­la­bi­li­ty of a trans­gres­sive men­tal prac­tice, of a spa­tio-tem­po­ral change, a shift in our awa­re­ness.

In My Urohs, Emelihter Kihleng pre­sents us a scene of pre­sence, of unstruc­tu­red imme­dia­cy of pre-inten­tio­nal dyna­mics : “my urohs is an isim­was feast /​ with over a hun­dred urohs han­ging /​ from the raf­ters of the nahs /​ swaying in the breeze”[4] (Kihleng, 2008 : 49).

We can locate the mani­fes­ta­tion and the dyna­mic pro­cess of pre­sence in the col­lec­tion My Urohs. The water poun­ding the cement (‘Writer’s Block’), the karer tree and the pink Bougainvillea (‘ABC Ohmine’)[5], the bana­na on the side of fish and rice (‘Pwihk O’) – even though they may seem sta­tic to the per­cep­tion – offer men­tal spaces of intrin­sic move­ment and pre-noe­tic expe­ri­men­ta­tion. In the expe­rience of visua­li­zing the ‘urohs’ swaying in the breeze, we can seize a pre-mor­pho­lo­gic sta­tus in the consti­tu­tion of our hori­zon of expe­riences. This invol­ve­ment in the gene­ra­ting of the basis of our phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal (and later onto­lo­gi­cal) unders­tan­ding works never­the­less on a pre-appre­hen­sive level (Boi et al., 2007). The poe­try of Kihleng brings us clo­ser to the self-reflexi­vi­ty and the exa­mi­na­tion of the inner connec­ted­ness of our per­cep­tions and noe­ma­tic sche­ma­ti­za­tions, clo­ser to a tan­gible pre­sence. This is the deic­tic poten­tia­li­ty of epi­pha­ny. In the case of the Pacific, the traces of the mul­ti­pli­ci­ty and simul­ta­nei­ty of frag­man­ted domains of pos­si­bi­li­ties can be tra­ced in poe­try (and other nar­ra­tives of iden­ti­ty). The Pohnpeian Nan Madol (mea­ning spaces inbet­ween) sym­bo­lizes the arti­cu­la­tion of open­ness as the fun­da­men­tal world hori­zon. The imma­nent sub­jec­ti­vi­ty of poly-dimen­sio­na­li­ty is meta-the­ma­tic as for the concep­tua­li­zed (most­ly wes­tern) net­works of shapes of mea­ning. I would howe­ver refrain from using the notion of “pre­sence culture” (Gumbrecht, 2004). The imme­dia­cy of mani­fes­ta­tions in the pre-noe­ma­tic state of poly-struc­tu­ra­li­ty can­not be tem­po­ra­li­zed in the word “epi­pha­ny” as Gumbrecht uses it. Vertical and hori­zon­tal epis­te­mic struc­tures present them­selves simul­ta­neous­ly, and pre­sence (read in poe­try from authors of the Pacific Ocean) does not sedi­men­tate in a way to create layers of the­ma­ti­zed (wes­tern) exis­tence. This does not exist in deep struc­tures of imme­dia­cy (‘Lost in focu­sed inten­si­ty’). Pluri-dimen­sio­nal the­ma­ti­za­tions and the com­po­si­tion of a uni­fied pers­pec­tive out of geo­gra­phi­cal, soma­tic and men­tal insu­la­ri­ty can be seen in the Pe’a (tra­di­tio­nal male tat­too – Samoa) (Schwendtner, 2000).

            In the poe­try of Kauraka Kauraka, we find the gene­sis of seman­tic fields of inter-sub­jec­ti­va­tion and uni­ty. The men­tio­ning of Manihiki and Maui-Potiki[6] (Kauraka, 1985 : 9-13) acti­vate the syn­chro­nic com­po­si­tio­nal func­tion of lan­guage esta­bli­shing atta­ched regions of refe­ren­tia­li­ty to an onto­lo­gi­cal uni­ty of the Pacific. Havaiki (ances­tral home­land of the Polynesians) ins­cribes into the poem rela­tions consti­tu­ting mea­ning. These ope­ra­tors of iden­ti­ty des­crip­tion work in order to esta­blish an active asso­cia­tive and col­lec­tive hori­zon­ta­li­ty of ver­ti­cal seg­ments (to create uni­ty in dif­fe­rence and one­ness in dif­fe­ren­cia­ted exten­sions of the present moment). These tex­tual ele­ments contri­bute to a uni­fied rea­ding of self-tem­po­ra­li­za­tion (Selbstzeitigung) and the omni- or all-tem­po­ra­li­ty (Allzeitlichkeit).

Fragrances, weeds and ‘tihi­ti’[7] are ins­tances of the self-orga­ni­zing map of the world of objects. The spa­tial mor­pho­lo­gy of the notions and the men­tal fac­tors invol­ved in the ope­ning of the tex­tual archi­tec­ture create inter­re­la­tions bet­ween per­so­nal expe­riences of being and regio­nal­ly iso­mor­phic (yet still radi­cal­ly hete­ro­ge­neous) rea­dings of the world expe­rience. The Pacific, in this rea­ding, is concei­ved of as a concep­tual esta­blish­ment ope­ra­ting from the exte­rior, but having inter­nal epis­te­mic uni­ty as well.

            The poe­tic work of Kauraka offers us trans­gres­sive points of our unders­tan­ding of the construc­tion of the world, of our pre­sence, being and of our self-orga­ni­za­tion as sys­tems of for­mal ite­ra­tion and modi­fi­ca­tion (Ireland and Derix, 2003 : 1). Being in these poems is a “place of epi­pha­ny” without expli­cit mani­fes­ta­tion of a reflexion on sub­jec­ti­vi­ty (‘A nega­tive anthro­po­lo­gy’). The enclo­sed concep­tual space of self-objec­ti­va­tion is orga­ni­cal­ly atta­ched to the dyna­mic space of the per­cep­tual. This enables us to look at the gene­tic mor­pho­lo­gy of being as given, to gain access to the ana­ly­ti­cal and cri­ti­cal expe­rience of its pro­ces­sua­li­ty, of its beco­ming. Objects of the per­cep­tual dimen­sion serve in Kauraka’s work as elas­tic poin­ting indexi­cals[8] towards domains of onto­lo­gi­cal inten­si­ty. Indexicals have fix­point[9] ori­gins in texts, but they are deta­ched and they gain flexi­bi­li­ty as ope­ra­tors of onto­lo­gi­cal aspects. These texts lend them­selves easi­ly to a dyna­mic inter­pre­ta­tion of phe­no­me­no­lo­gy. In this aspect, I do not focus on tex­tual objects in their fina­li­zed or satu­ra­ted sta­tus (as they take their final seman­tic, struc­tu­ral place and their posi­tion in the net­work of meta-, inter- and intra-tex­tual rela­tions) but on the pro­cess of their beco­ming and com­plexi­fi­ca­tion. In this pro­cess, seg­ments of over­lap­ping occur. We need howe­ver, to cir­cum­scribe this phe­no­me­non and dis­tin­guish it from the notion of ubi­qui­ty as Gumbrecht uses it. In present moment (exis­ten­tial) pre­sence as in tex­tual pre­sence, this is not an infi­nite avai­la­bi­li­ty, not a manus­cript of omni­pre­sence or all-time avai­la­bi­li­ty. This applies to tex­tual objects in their inter-rela­ted­ness, seg­ments of meta-tex­tua­li­ty and per­so­nal being (as a conjunc­tion of soma­tic and men­tal components)(Gumbrecht, 2010 : 6-9). In this sense, each lite­ra­ry pas­sage and text is a site of men­tal (and onto­lo­gi­cal) delo­ca­li­za­tion and poten­tia­li­ty, of fluc­tua­tion in our ten­den­tious­ly sta­tic dis­course of noe­ma­tic contents (Lasserre et al., 2005 : 1-5).

Another way of illus­tra­ting what I would call the hori­zon­ti­fi­ca­tion of tex­tual and onto­lo­gi­cal expe­rience and inter­pre­ta­tion, is the example of ele­men­ta­ry mono­mials. (When rea­ding the Pacific, both in the lite­ra­ry and the abs­tract way, ins­tead of concei­ving of the text as a set of variables struc­tu­red and read in a reflexive and tem­po­ral way, we need to think of it as ele­ments, sub­sets and sets of poly­no­mials pro­jec­ted on what becomes an iden­ti­ty map). Writing (and being as an onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal expe­rience) is thus a map­ping (and ite­ra­tion, alte­ra­tion, move­ment) of variables or sequences of variables from infi­nite vir­tual sets to orde­red com­po­si­tions (Ebrahimi et al., 2007 : 1-7).

What I pro­pose here is a com­bi­na­to­rial iden­ti­ty concept[10], having the fea­tures of frac­tal dyna­mics. Our ten­den­cy of ope­ra­ting struc­tu­ra­tions of defi­nite sum­ma­tions over infi­nite arrays of inde­fi­nite ele­ments can be repla­ced or recon­cep­tua­li­zed by the unlear­ning of our habi­tua­tions and by the delo­ca­li­za­tions of our repre­sen­ta­tions. As for the expres­sion of the inter­nal epis­te­mic uni­ty of Polynesia, we have the word ‘feu­na’ signi­fying both home­land ter­ri­to­ry and pla­cen­ta (Gannier, 2005).

            In Hingano, Konai Helu Thaman des­cribes some symp­toms of an iden­ti­ty epi­de­mic (‘My Blood’), men­tions the tur­ning of the pages of forei­gn text books (“Island Fire”), but also the silence and the hid­den secrets of the past (‘Tiare’). The lon­ging for a fast canoe and the images of the mir­ro­red sky func­tion as onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal ope­ra­tors (Thaman, 1987 : 6, 14, 30): “Pray, give me now a fast canoe /​ That I may join the fish of the ocean /​ And toge­ther we will weep /​ For the works of the night”.

We can pose ques­tions concer­ning the her­me­neu­tics of fac­ti­ci­ty. The des­ta­bi­li­za­tion of our ratio­ci­na­ti­ve­ly orien­ted pre­sence works by the shift struc­tures of phy­si­cal scrip­ting (Pirastu, 1996 : 18-36).  The scenes and ima­ge­ry of pre­sence sub­vert our cate­go­ries and taxo­no­mic deter­mi­na­tions ins­cri­bed in the wes­tern phi­lo­so­phi­cal tra­di­tion.

We wit­ness the libe­ra­tion of the sign, the dis­clo­sure and uncon­cealment of opaque and dense concep­tual com­plexi­fi­ca­tions. Texts ope­rate as des­ta­bi­li­zing com­po­nents in order to out­line the basic dyna­mics of the dis­clo­sure of our men­tal fixa­tions : “we weave intri­cate pat­terns /​ around each other /​ making a tapes­try of silent songs /​ we lis­ten to each other’s dreams /​ pause then lis­ten again” (Thaman, 1987 : 58).

Facticity and the cha­rac­te­ris­tic (inter­pre­ta­tive) ope­ra­tions of being are dis­rup­ted in their phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal­ly and noe­ma­ti­cal­ly orien­ted flow. Silence, as a form of exten­sion of dis­course, or rather the inter­ro­ga­tion (dif­fe­ren­tia­ted pola­ri­ty) of the pause creates a space of par­ti­cu­lar tem­po­ra­li­ty, a tem­po­ral sin­gu­la­ri­ty. Identity is construc­ted by tem­po­ral and non-tem­po­ral ins­tances. When we refer to the concep­tual sequences of the mind, to the for­mal and conten­tual men­tal pro­cesses oppo­sed to the post- and/​or pre-struc­tu­ral moments of dis­con­ti­nui­ty, silence signi­fies an archi­tec­tu­ral hia­tus, or a dif­ferent tis­sue of tem­po­ra­li­ty in the para­digm where we conceive of time assi­gning visual units to the pro­ces­sua­li­ty of conten­tual phases.

When taking the concept of “chro­no­tope” in Gumbrecht’s rea­ding, we need to under­line that it exists only in terms of conti­nui­ty and trans­gres­sion bet­ween conti­nui­ties. Chronotopes are construc­ted by spec­trums of units of com­plexi­ty (second, minute, hour) rela­ted bet­ween their boun­da­ries and limi­ta­tions. Units of silence and the inter­play of seg­ments of non-tem­po­ra­li­ty do not fit into this para­digm. There is a need of deca­te­go­ri­za­tion and recon­si­de­ra­tion of moda­li­ty concer­ning the per­for­ma­tive time of men­tal pro­duc­tion to be able to attri­bute a place to other kinds of tem­po­ra­li­ties. Do domains of non-pro­duc­tive sequen­tial form make time invi­sible of inexistent ? Can we think of time bet­ween units of pro­duc­tion of signi­fi­ca­tion as gene­ra­ting an absence, or do we only have to let go of our noe­ma­ti­cal­ly expro­pria­ted unders­tan­ding of pre­sence, time and chro­no­topes ? Can the ‘dra­ma­tische Stagnation’ phra­sed by Gumbrecht be the signal of the inade­qua­te­ness of our chro­no­tope which can’t reflect on other kinds of tem­po­ral expe­riences or its own concep­tual res­tric­tions and defi­cien­cies ? (Gumbrecht, 2007 : 3-5 ; 2010c : 60-64).

            What we see is a dis­so­lu­tion of dya­dic oppo­si­tions (conscious-uncons­cious, inten­tio­nal‒­non-inten­tio­nal com­po­nents of conscious­ness). The efforts of phi­lo­so­phi­cal thought to ren­der contents visible and sei­zable to the mind fail at the onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal­ly uns­table struc­tures of signi­fi­ca­tion that we find in the poe­try of the Pacific. There is a sub­ver­sion of inten­tio­na­li­ty, men­tal spa­tia­li­ty and tem­po­ra­li­ty. Identity is not ins­ti­tu­ted, but ins­tal­led through pre­sence, satu­ra­ted by impli­ca­ting dif­fe­ren­tia­tions and pos­si­bi­li­ties (Butler, 1993 : 7-10). Literature becomes the fra­me­work of the resi­gni­fi­ca­tion of the self, of the de-/re-mate­ria­li­za­tion of the expe­rience. The sys­te­ma­ti­za­tions and the archi­tec­ture of our conscious­ness (and of our concepts about being) are contes­ted and des­ta­bi­li­zed by the dis­cur­sive excess of pre­sence and indi­vi­dual sin­gu­la­ri­ty appea­ring in a resi­gni­fied tem­po­ra­li­ty.

            The imme­dia­cy of our rela­tion to our exte­rio­ri­ty (pre­vious­ly absor­bed by abs­trac­tions) is res­to­red by the action of being present and atta­ched to mul­tiple facets and mani­fes­ta­tions of rea­li­ty : “you and i like waves will be /​ free to join the sky at sea” (‘Like Waves Will Be’) (Descombes, 1979 : 29-36). The deha­bi­tua­tion of our gno­seo­lo­gi­cal­ly (rela­ted to the phi­lo­so­phy of know­ledge) and meta­phy­si­cal­ly orien­ted being leads us to a cri­ti­cal unders­tan­ding of our theo­re­tic world-acqui­si­tion, of our apper­cep­tion and com­pre­hen­sion of the tan­gible dimen­sions of the world. Texts can lead us back to the dif­fe­ren­tiable nature of the matrix of our per­cep­tion of objec­thood and sub­jec­ti­vi­ty. Certain tex­tual places are capable of disor­ga­ni­zing our seman­tic hori­zon as well as of rede­fi­ning the axis and metric of our concep­tua­li­zing acti­vi­ty by inter­pre­ta­tive dis­pla­ce­ments. Texts, in this rea­ding, are emer­ging mem­branes, or spa­tial den­si­fi­ca­tions of trans­gres­sion, restruc­tu­ring fluc­tua­tions dere­gu­la­ri­zing and trans­for­ming men­tal fix­points. Fixpoints denote monic domains and sin­gu­lar points of confi­nable forms of intel­li­gible struc­ture. The emer­gence and beco­ming of the text can be inter­pre­ted as the dyna­mi­za­tion of tex­tual ele­ments by the for­mu­la­tions, approxi­ma­tions and pro­cesses of the mind. The text appears to the conscious­ness by its men­tal and cor­po­real gene­sis (effects of sound having a phy­si­cal dimen­sion) (Montero, 1987 : 154-56).

           Trough and in this poe­try, we are ins­cri­bed in the hori­zon of the intel­li­gible struc­tures of objects and objec­ti­vi­ty. Our rela­tion to the world of objects and pre­sence works on a pre-reflexive and supra-tem­po­ral level. A phase tran­si­tion ope­rates by tex­tua­li­ty, which inter­rupts the noe­tic flow and ins­talls a trans­for­med rela­tio­na­li­ty to hyle­tic contents (sen­suous contents of the deter­mi­na­tion of an object). We need to reexa­mine our cog­ni­tive and epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal orien­ta­tion in rela­tion to tex­tua­li­ty (Toronyai, 2001 : 1-10). The world of objects and of pre­sence (exempt from men­tal over-deter­mi­na­tion) is pre­sen­ted to us as a set of com­plex and struc­tu­red enti­ties present in our inten­tive pro­cesses preexis­ting for­mal onto­lo­gi­cal expres­sions and cate­go­ri­za­tions and not admit­ting voli­tio­nal and concep­tual reduc­tions.

Entropy and ani­so­tro­py as fields of phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal resca­ling : an onto­lo­gy of imme­dia­cy

The ana­ly­zed poe­tic works sketch a mul­ti-posi­tio­nal approach, where we expe­rience a fric­tion in the noe­ma­tic sub­strate per­for­med in order to renew our ways of objec­ti­va­tion and the opa­ci­ty of our pre­sence-orien­ted being. Scenes and objects pre­sen­ted in these poems appear to be non-contin­gent. The sin­gu­lar points of their pre­sence sug­gest that their being is opta­tive, but their tem­po­ral career posits them as being of non-chan­ging cha­rac­ter. Scenes, des­crip­tions and objects are super-tex­tual­ly inter­con­nec­ted and stra­ti­fied in their rela­tio­na­li­ty posi­ting them­selves in the form of objec­ti­va­ted objects with inten­tio­nal but intui­tive-natu­ral pre­sence. They esta­blish the meta-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal conti­nuum func­tio­ning as a contex­tual ins­tru­ment and a the­ma­tic field to create moments of digres­sion and entro­py. Thereby, the onto­lo­gi­cal struc­ture of enti­ties is re-pre­sen­ted, and the imma­nent dyna­mics and fluc­tua­tions of lite­ra­ry texts out­line a conti­nuum-based approach of meta­phy­sics and onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gy.

            Makiuti Tongia evokes the Avatiu stream and the gua­va trees (‘I Remember’) and Avaiki[11] (‘Outcast’). ’Ora’, mea­ning living time, is more clo­se­ly rela­ted to the pro­ces­sual com­po­si­tion of the inter­nal archi­tec­ture of phe­no­me­no­lo­gy than to the noe­ma­tic contents of conscious­ness. Scenes of des­crip­tion gene­rate sequences of ope­ra­tors occur­ring at suc­ces­sive ins­tants in the text (Omnès and Sangalli, 1999 : 163-79).  The changes that rede­fine rela­tions to the ‘marae’, ‘kikau houses’, ‘umu’ and ‘kai’[12] belong to the epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal­ly and inten­tio­nal­ly condi­tio­ned and for­ma­li­zed tem­po­ra­li­ty, but cer­tain com­po­nents of the ‘ora’ gene­rate sta­tio­na­ry and movable states of a pro­to-tem­po­ra­li­ty and intui­tive topo­lo­gy.

            In Ruperake Petaia’s poe­try, a depart­ment store (‘Blue Rain’), a mar­ket place, an ‘oso’ or a ‘tia­pu­la’ (‘Change’) can take this func­tion (Petaia, 1980 : 1, 5)[13]. The tex­tual body is ins­tru­men­tal in ins­tal­ling a mereo­lo­gi­cal bridge bet­ween the spa­tia­li­ty of the per­cep­tual (phe­no­me­na of simple men­tal construc­tion) and the eide­tic (in the sense of plas­tic given­ness in thought) (Fazekas, 2004).

            The pre­sence fac­tor of being, fixed in lite­ra­ry texts, contri­butes to a remap­ping of our onto­lo­gi­cal mor­pho­lo­gy. These poems allow us to rede­fine the conti­nui­ty and cha­rac­te­ris­tics of our phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal inter­pre­ta­tion, and enable us to per­ceive a repre­sen­ta­tion of the state space of pos­si­bi­li­ties in the sub­stan­tial­ly mul­ti-dimen­sio­nal rea­li­ty of the Pacific taking shape. The sub­strate of our epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal schemes and the gno­seo­lo­gic com­po­nents of our onto­lo­gi­cal conscious­ness ope­rate by per­cep­tual-gene­tic dimen­sions of the objec­tual imme­dia­cy, imma­nent in this poe­try. Instead of an inter­pre­ta­tive stress on voli­tio­nal struc­tures, trans­for­ma­tive tex­tual com­po­nents func­tion as attrac­tors in a pro­prio­cep­tive dis­course of a rede­fi­ned onto­lo­gy.




We see in this wri­ting the contours of the contin­gent super­struc­ture of a pro­to-epis­te­mic rea­li­ty. Descriptions define a space of insta­bi­li­ty, where monic ten­den­cies of for­ma­li­za­tion and meta­phy­si­cal mea­ning attri­bu­tion are delo­ca­li­zed from their regu­la­to­ry dis­cur­sive cen­ter : “Most of the world’s space is mine /​ Living crea­tures live and enjoy /​ They hide within my immense bel­ly /​ Their home for the bet­ter /​ and for the worse.” (Kolia, 1988 : 55).

The ego­lo­gi­cal struc­ture in this pas­sage of Fepai Kolia is part of the seman­tics of the exten­sion of inter­ocep­tion by an osten­sible defi­ni­tion of an inter-sub­jec­tive social space. This is the rea­li­za­tion of a trans­gres­sion of limi­ta­tive sets of onto­lo­gies and the emer­gence of poly-pers­pec­tive pos­si­bi­li­ties of the­ma­ti­za­tion and concep­tual sedi­men­ta­tion. The switch to macro-phe­no­me­na (com­pa­red to the intrin­sic com­po­nents) entails enti­ties that are arti­cu­la­ted as domains of poten­tia­li­ty (on a concep­tual level) and take part in the crea­tion of spaces of self-expro­pria­tion and praxio­lo­gi­cal ana­ly­sis (exa­mi­ning men­tal-psy­cho­lo­gi­cal and kine­sio­lo­gi­cal com­po­nents of action).

The syner­gy of spa­tial, tem­po­ral and men­tal fac­tors seems to result from an inherent super­po­si­tio­nal (over­lap of enti­ties) matrix and it expli­ci­tates the need of a reac­tua­li­za­tion and for­mal des­crip­tion of an onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal and exis­ten­tial her­me­neu­tics (Leonzi, 2009 : 79-84). The epis­te­mic ins­tru­ments serve the expli­ci­ta­tion of concep­tual struc­tures and of the deri­va­tio­nal mecha­nisms of the for­ma­li­za­tion of onto­lo­gies. If we do not gene­ra­lize and homo­ge­nize, but we take the ins­tances of sin­gu­lar repre­sen­ta­tions of enti­ties (in the present case be it onto­lo­gi­cal) sepa­ra­te­ly, we can speak of a phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal history/​histories of for­mal sys­tems. In this sense, I use the plu­ral form of the word : “Dreaming of a bright tomor­row for tomor­row /​ My tomor­row for tomor­row still /​ sha­ping up” (‘Tomorrow for Tomorrow’). The mul­ti-dimen­sio­nal and poly-struc­tu­ral Oceania dyna­mizes theo­re­ti­cal state spaces, ins­ti­tu­ting the­re­by new pos­sible states of know­ledge and onto-epis­te­mic resca­ling (Bokulich and Jaeger, 2010 : 189-204). In ‘Lost Reality’, the ‘sua’ cere­mo­ny appears as an axio­lo­gi­cal (stu­dy of value-orien­ted contents) fac­tor of actua­li­ty. Its cen­tral posi­tion endures a consi­de­rable loss of impor­tance. The telos seems contin­gent and the com­plexi­ty of the tra­di­tio­nal men­tal space is enfee­bled : “My sua was pre­sen­ted. /​ … /​ One percent native culture. /​ Ninetynine percent alte­ra­tions /​ … /​ A sym­bol only /​ A mingle of cultures /​ A mess of ideo­lo­gies /​ A lost reality”(‘Lost Reality’). 




Instability is read here as a mul­ti­pli­ci­ty-state of dif­fe­ren­tiable notio­nal nuclei, sus­cep­tible of gene­ra­ting trans­for­ma­tio­nal shifts resha­ping our onto-epis­te­mic confi­gu­ra­tions. There is a spec­trum of que­ry in the beco­ming of the struc­tures of the self in the epis­teme of Oceania. We need to see that the exter­nal­ly rhe­to­ri­ci­zed desi­gna­tion of Pacific Rim is mere­ly a pseu­do-rea­li­ty, a confi­ning desi­gna­tion crea­ting a sur­face of pas­si­va­tion to cover (among others) consi­de­rable parts of South-East Asia and Oceania (Dirlik, 1998 : 15-20, 53-65). This inho­mo­ge­neous gno­seo­lo­gi­cal vacuum ren­ders more dif­fi­cult the defi­ni­tion of an open-ended, dyna­mic men­tal space (Spinelli, 2005 : 92-113).

            The naming of the self is an ontic rea­li­za­tion, an auto-poie­sis, an esta­blish­ment or conscien­ti­za­tion of a spec­trum of cohe­rence in self-defi­ni­tion : “the tale i tell is my own /​ their­syours /​ a way of see­king some more /​ of Sāmoa /​ of my sacred centre /​ … /​ time­less mys­te­ries /​ … /​ spaces of silence /​ tel­ling lives” (Marsh, 2004). The flexi­bi­li­ty, resi­ding in the space of appea­rance and emer­gence of (owned) self-constructs, affects the scope of the poten­tial space of self-approxi­ma­tion by hybri­di­za­tion and over­laps.            

            Textual onto-gene­sis can be loca­ted in tex­tual ins­tances that hypo­sta­size moments of self-defi­ni­tion and exe­cutes pro­cesses of men­tal enti­ties and dis­po­si­tions defi­ning iden­ti­ty : “She wants ans­wers /​ what-whom-where” (Austrai-Kailo, 2004),  “Everyone eats up to their elbows /​ … /​ Bring us a bowl of water /​ a cloth /​ to wash our hands.” (Avia, 2002), “Where is the Ni-Vanuatu girl ? /​ … /​ lis­te­ning to deku­de­ku­ni /​ wea­ving bas­kets and mats /​ … /​ Playing the kuru­ku­ru duele /​ sin­ging tutu tutu gwao /​ sit­ting quiet­ly on a mat”[14] (Aru, 2004).

            In my rea­ding, the recon­si­de­ra­tion of self-constructs is a tex­tual event in its writ­ten mani­fes­ta­tion, and sin­gu­lar points (in this onto-pro­ces­sual approach) are tex­tual objects. Their emer­gence creates sub-sets and sets of ontic mani­fes­ta­tion, and by means of this mereo­lo­gi­cal sys­tem[15] (rela­tions of parts and wholes) a trans­ub­stan­tia­tion (onto-tex­tua­li­ty : text – being) ope­rates and attri­butes exis­ten­tial cor­pus and mea­ning to the indexi­cal devices (tex­tual objects) of the text. The nar­ra­tive pro­to­cols are the­re­by by-pas­sed by the very (onto-epis­te­mo-gene­ti­cal) nature of tex­tua­li­ty (Hereniko and Wilson, 1999 : 1-9, 381-85).



            When we try to get to a conclu­sion, we need to see, that the struc­tu­ral and pro­cess-based ana­ly­sis of our lives (and its mani­fes­ta­tions in/​through lite­ra­ry texts) can take the shape of a doxas­tic, epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal approach. These approxi­ma­tions, howe­ver, are not coex­ten­sive with the inherent, exis­ten­tial­ly orien­ted tex­tual domains. Textual objects func­tion as para­me­ters of bin­ding, crea­ting the attach­ment bet­ween tex­tual ope­ra­tors and the spec­trum of exis­ten­tial­ly-based mani­fes­ta­tions of being (Rahman, 2009 : 274-281). Thereby, the text is read as a set of pos­sible pro­jec­tors ser­ving as gene­ra­ting points of a conti­nuum of sin­gu­lar ins­tances of ins­tan­tia­tion. The text is the indexi­cal sub­set of pos­sible exis­ten­tial values[16], sha­ped by mani­fes­ta­tion, poin­ted to by tex­tual objects : “By your own seeds unk­nown, /​ … /​ Lifeless, hel­pless, cruel­ly defa­ced. /​ … /​ The sands of Point Cruz trem­bled, /​ The palms of Nukapu bloo­ded” (Habu, 1975).

            In the poe­try of Konai Helu Thaman, we can seize the nature of the orien­ta­tion of focal objects (tex­tual indexi­cals) and the field of mani­fes­ta­tion (evo­lu­tion of onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal pos­si­bi­li­ties): “So come with me sis­ter /​ Let’s take a chance and make the break /​ After all, we can­not all go back /​ To the land.” (Thaman, 2000 : 6). In lite­ra­ry texts of the ocea­nic ima­gi­na­ry, we find mul­ti­pli­ca­tives and recom­bi­na­tions, deli­nea­ri­za­tions of confi­ning concep­tua­li­ty and the emer­gence of exten­ding epis­te­mo­lo­gies (Subramani, 2006 : 1-9 ; 1999 : 1-3): “per­haps the ground /​ made it pos­sible to live /​ among the trees /​ … /​ lives lived under /​ clear skies defy /​ the fla­vor of storms” (‘Living Among the Trees’), “today it rai­ned and rai­ned /​ as if it’s never rai­ned before /​ as if the rain /​ was lea­ving its cage /​ ope­ning to the world /​ through the tears /​ of the sky” (‘Tango-I-Onehoko’) (Thaman, 1993 : 9, 13).

            We also need to reflect on the condi­tio­ning of space as a men­tal construc­tion and the vec­tors of our her­me­neu­ti­cal inter­pre­ta­tion of the sub­stance of the epis­teme of the ocean. Fracturing models of linear, dis­crete unders­tan­ding can­not pre­serve and inte­grate the com­plexi­ty and intrin­sic mobi­li­ty of the ocea­nic epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal conti­nuum[17] (Meyer, 2001 : 1-3). In ‘Ōlelo Hawai’I’ ‘ho’omaopopo’ means to unders­tand, reco­gnize, com­pre­hend, but also to iden­ti­fy and conceive. In the gno­seo­lo­gy and ente­le­chy present in (or invo­ked by) lite­ra­ry texts of ocea­nic regions[18], we can see actua­li­za­tions of dyna­mi­cal onto­lo­gi­cal dis­po­si­tions (Cannavo, 2009 : 9-14). The lite­ra­ry field (or spec­trum of mul­ti­tudes) of Oceania com­pre­hends an imma­nent variable actua­ting an open-ended ente­le­chy and a faci­li­ta­tive modu­la­tion in the struc­ture of our per­cep­tion and men­tal ope­ra­tion (Bell, 2004 : 1-4).

            The men­tal spa­tia­li­ty of Oceania is an affir­ma­tive pecu­lia­ri­ty of archi­pe­la­gic regions in the Pacific (e.g. Melanesia): the tex­tual ins­tances of iden­ti­ty func­tion as ope­ra­tive poin­ters satu­ra­ting pos­sible loops of inter­con­nec­tion bet­ween scripts of rea­li­ty (phase of tex­tua­li­ty) and onto-epis­te­mic/­cor­po­real mani­fes­ta­tions of flexible (concep­tual dimen­sion) or tan­gible form (phy­si­cal dimen­sion) (phase of ins­tan­tia­tion).

The ins­tan­tia­ting move­ments of tex­tual state vec­tors create open-boun­da­ry condi­tions of an epoche of her­me­neu­ti­cal resi­gni­fi­ca­tion : “half-flown moons /​ and cir­cling half pla­nets /​ deep in the concen­tric circles /​ of my tor­men­ted conscience /​ … /​ the fiji times lies crum­pled /​ … /​ and there is an unea­sy /​ fee­ling of uncer­tain­ty” (Mati, 1980), “fora­ging the com­mon refuse /​ for a cane­field and a woo­den house /​ … /​ you clear the clog of cam­phor /​ from your nasal pas­sages /​ brea­thing gent­ly from memo­ry to memo­ry.” (Mishra, 1995), “Samoans had taken the sea’s friend­ship for gran­ted /​ … /​ Free phone calls to Samoa (But only one Samoa)/ … /​ Solomon says /​ Viti says /​ Niue says” (Teaiwa, 2010).

            We can read the hypo­sta­sis of a spa­tio-tem­po­ral delo­ca­li­za­tion of our legi­bi­li­ty of onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal pro­cesses of trans­fer and trans­la­tion (Tymieniecka, 2009 : 312-17): “Vanuatu /​ our land /​ in per­pe­tui­ty /​ our people re-born /​ for eter­ni­ty. /​ … /​ Vanaaku Vanuatu.” (Molisa, 1983 : 7). The epis­teme of Oceania does not only have a regio­nal uni­ty in terms of iden­ti­ty and nar­ra­tive dis­course, but also repre­sents a pro­duc­tive phase space[19] of gno­seo­lo­gi­cal, exis­ten­tial and onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal resha­ping, of a fun­da­men­tal phi­lo­so­phi­cal repo­la­ri­za­tion (Subramani, 1992 : 83-90 ; Hau’ofa, 2008 : 41-44): “Oceania is vast, Oceania is expan­ding, Oceania is hos­pi­table and gene­rous, Oceania is huma­ni­ty rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire dee­per still, Oceania is us. We are the sea, we are the ocean” (Hau’ofa, 2008 : 39).



I would like to express my gra­ti­tude to my dis­ser­ta­tion super­vi­sor, Dr. Réka Tóth (ELTE BTK) for her advice and help. I have also bene­fi­ted from dis­cus­sing this work with Prof. Dr. János Polónyi (University of Strasbourg), Prof. Dr. Géza Kállay (ELTE BTK) and Dr. Viktor Malárics. I’m also thank­ful for the obser­va­tions of Dr. Elizabeth DeLoughrey (UCLA). This article could not have been writ­ten without the finan­cial sup­port of the research grant TÁMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0030/1.4 (Tendencies of changes of lin­guis­tic and cultu­ral iden­ti­ties).

© Károly Sándor Pallai

Cette étude a d'abord paru dans la revue Vents Alizés, diri­gée par l'auteur :





[1] I use the term to under­line the intrin­sic epis­te­mic uni­ty.

[2] The word is used here to refer to the sub­stan­tial­ly indi­ca­tive, open-ended pro­cess of tex­tual uncon­cealment out­li­ning gra­dual­ly more and more com­plex and for­mal­ly concre­ti­zed onto­lo­gi­cal mani­fes­ta­tions.

[3] tex­tual ele­ments objec­ti­fied and phe­no­me­na­li­zed in the pro­ces­sua­li­ty of tex­tual beco­ming (the struc­tu­ra­tion and men­tal com­plexi­fi­ca­tion of the text and its appea­rance as a fina­li­zed writ­ten enti­ty)

[4] mea­ning of words (Pohnpeian – Micronesia): isim­was (new nice house), nah (hut with a U-sha­ped plat­form hos­ting the cere­mo­nies)

[5] karer (Pohnpeian word for lime), Bougainvillea (flo­we­ring plant native to South America, named after French Navy explo­rer Louis Antoine de Bougainville)

[6] Polynesian cha­rac­ter of nar­ra­tives, also known as Maui-tiki­ti­ki-o-Taranga

kia ron­go aka­hou te ao nei /​ i na faka­hi­ti o te Ika-a-Maui-Potiki /​ no Havaiki mai!” – “so the world will once again hear /​ tales of the Fish-of-Maui-Potiki /​ from Havaiki”

[7] but­ter­fly fish (Zanclus canes­cens)

[8] a deic­tic ele­ment poin­ting towards tex­tual objects, onto-phe­no­me­no­lo­gi­cal or men­tal enti­ties

[9] inva­riant point, map­ped to itself by a func­tion

[10] with spe­cial regard to the com­bi­na­to­rial aspects of iden­ti­ty as a dyna­mic sys­tem, having cha­rac­te­ris­tics that can be model­led approxi­ma­te­ly by group theo­ry, frac­tal dyna­mics and chaos theo­ry

[11] the enti­ty refer­red to as the legen­da­ry home­land of Polynesians – Savaii (Samoa), Raiatea (French Polynesia), Hawaii (USA), Avaiki (Cook Islands), Niue, Hawaiki (New Zealand)

[12] mea­ning of words (Cook Islands) – marae (sacred mee­ting ground), kikau houses (coco­nut leaf that­ching), umu (earth oven), kai (food)

[13] mea­ning of words (Samoa) – oso (plan­ting stick), tia­pu­la (stem of the taro plant [Colocasia escu­len­ta])

schools now /​ tea­ching us living /​ with pens and papers /​ no more with the ‘oso’ and ‘tia­pu­la’” (“Change”)

This concept of time as an agent of change is simi­lar to the para­digm of chro­no­topes used by Gumbrecht.

[14] mea­ning of words (Vanuatu) – deku­de­ku­ni (cus­tom sto­ries), kuru­ku­ru duele, tutu-tutu gwao (tra­di­tio­nal games)

[15] with empha­sis on mero­no­mic rela­tions in set theo­ry and its adap­ta­tions to the stu­dy of iden­ti­ty

[16] set of pos­sible exis­ten­tial values of ‘hors-texte’ mani­fes­ta­tion and ins­tan­tia­tion {Ev}

[17] The dis­crete geo­gra­phi­cal and men­tal pat­tern of archi­pe­la­gos has conti­nuum-like domains mani­fes­ting through struc­tures of diver­gence. This enables a dif­fe­ren­tia­tion and concep­tual recom­bi­na­tion, while crea­ting a spi­ri­tual and epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal conti­nui­ty.

[18] I refer espe­cial­ly to the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean as spa­cial­ly poly-struc­tu­red, recep­tive lite­ra­ry fields that contri­bute to the repa­ra­me­tri­za­tion of our theo­ry-laden onto-epis­te­mic and her­me­neu­tic phase space.

[19] in mathe­ma­tics and phy­sics : a space in which all pos­sible states of a sys­tem are repre­sen­ted



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