The Aesthetics of Rupture: Deconstructing Rasa
Keywords:Transcendental Signified – Vyañjana – Trans-Epistemic Praxis – Bhanga – Post-Theory – Asamlakshyakrama vyangya – Chronotope – Doxa – Heterodoxic – Abhivyakti – Rati – Differance
Semantic fixity is a transcendental signified. One of the touted aims of literary theory was to topple it. The Indian semantic concept of Vyañjana attempted to do this millennia before. But canonical theories of Rasa established Rasananda as an attainment of absolute coherence and harmony. What this paper calls trans-epistemic praxis is a viable methodology to reclaim the long-lost rupturality (if structurality is resisted, rupturality must be embraced, at least as a neologism) inherent to aesthetics. This is done in a Post-theory context. “Bhanga” (rupturing) leads to “bhangi”, aesthetic charm. It is an aporetic textual disruption that leads to the most fertile indeterminacy of meaning. Modern literary theory set out on a debunking and destabilizing mission of liberal humanist tenets, but got hardened into “doxa”, crystallized structures and hierarchies. This necessitated a theorizing of theory itself. The chronotope of Post-theory gets foregrounded. A crossing of spatio-temporal boundaries gives us the freedom to site Rasa Theory and Indian Poetics as Post-theoretical. Inter-spaces and inter-times are engendered. Deconstruction and Rasa become heterodoxic knowledges to each other, subverting each other honouring the alterity of the other. This exercise liberates Theory from becoming sclerotic. Orthodoxics and monologisms get flouted. Theory is a story. Story is built on the figurality of language. The tropology of language is built on a never-ending desire for signification. This desire never meets with satiation. The concept of “Rati” can be seen as this interminable desire of language. Post-theory is a call to wake up from amnesia, the terrible oblivion regarding the fact that Deconstruction and Rasa are ceaseless streams of reading processes and not rigid and straitjacketed end products. This ruptural aesthetics leads to the rapture of poeisis, the indeterminate significatory process.
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