No. 140
Author Admin / 2019-03-26
Class materials, 26th & 28th March, 2019

Order (of object): 

We start to realize we can make knowledge with object even though we feel it is not enough and complete yet. Michel Foucault stressed the importance of roles of resemblance and similitude when making knowledge, especially in 16th century, in his book “The order of things: an archaeology of the human science (1970; 1994 version)” (p17-30). He believed we can make knowledge, both scientific and artistic ones, extracted with or from resemblances found by our observation of objects. Human invented airplane after they found resemblance among flyings of birds. Every falling thing has resemblance, which could be derived to the law of Newton. Resemblance is one of the orders of the world. Foucault proposed the four kinds of resemblance: convenience, emulation, analogy, and sympathy. Firstly, between objects through representations, convenience type of resemblance exists when those are adjacently placed to be connected. All things contacted do not necessarily have resemblance but there is possibility. Foucault said there is resemblance between sea and river in estuary area, with respect to convenience, as sea and river meet each other. There are both boundary and interacting zone between the sea and the river. Waters in both places interact each other. We had better know the other to know the one side. Bread and sugar in a donut can be another example. Family member, car and road, bank and money, beatcoin and either internet or blockchain, and many others. Secondly, it is resemblance with emulation. Objects are placed at a distance physically or conceptually, thus, those are not contacted but still interact each other like doing competition while having similitude. Cash and credit card may be one example to have resemblance but the two are placed at different places at a distance in functions. UNIST and GIST have similitude  under the same adminstrating and funding institution of the government but the two have the different places to emulate each other. Train and airplane have the relationship of emulation. Also between polar bear in the Arctic and penguin in the Antarctic. The thirdresemblance is analogy. This resemblance gets over place thus can go and expand its scope to great extent. A student of UNIST with the highest or lowest grade has an analogy of similitude to the UNIST. A flower in a garden to the garden. Earth to the cosmos. Dollar, Euro, Yen, and Won to Currency or World Economy. Bank to Economy. Bus, train, or airplane to travel. School to Education. Money to political power. The fourthresemblance type is sympathy. Foucault defined sympathy using movement of object. When water moves from river to air, water in river and vapor in air have sympathies. Nitrogen contained in soybean can be transformed to nitrogen in feces, after digestion. Nitrogens in soybean and feces have a resemblance with respect to sympathy.

Value and Signature
We can use resemblance which is one of the orders of objects, to make knowledge. As discussed object comes to us as representations by sensibility, thinking, or understanding. Not all representations come to us to become knowledge; instead, those have to appear as event or matter (a series of events) to have a chance to be knowledge. An event comes to use and go through the following steps, as explained by Slavoj Zizek in his book “Event: philosophy in transit (2014)”. Event breaks our frame through which the realities of objects appear to observer. Narrower frame surely gives us narrower realities with limits. In order to obtain wider realities, we have to widen or break the frame to make a new one. Disintegrated frames allows us to have new truths which we have rarely obtained and have been stored only in our illusion. New truth brings us unexpected trauma which destabilizes a symbolic order, such as resemblance, where we live. Then, we have a subsequent signifier which has a power to structure the meaning; this meaning is made from the above event processes started with the corresponding object, through the destabilization of the old order. In summary, an event with an object enables to disintegrate our old frame (as observing window to get representations with the object) and to arrive at a new signifier with meanings through the collapse of old orders with the object.

Now we know we can make knowledge either with object and its representation (the first), from orders of the object (the second), or from signifiers having meanings (the third). If there is a possibility, the first knowledge appears to us through our sensibility. We can find the second and create the third knowledge. Orders of the object are already existing everywhere in the world to be found. There is no knowledge of signifier until we bring it into being.
   For the third knowledge, as signifier, we are initiated and eager to create when we think there are meanings. Without any meaning, we generally do not care unless we are forced to make. When do we think we can have a meaning? It is believed a value that enables our object to have meanings. There is no value in the Nature but only from human being. If there is any in the Nature, human places its value. Value can be formed when there is a gap of level in either quality or quantity of objects between human beings, in terms of possession. One man has a large amount of rice as a commodity and the other has gold, for example. The former can survive by eating the rice. The latter one has to get the rice to survive by giving his gold in return. Rice has a value, with respect to necessity as it is necessary, between the two persons because there is a gap and they want (from wanting and lacking) to exchange the belongings. Suppose that there are more than enough rice. People still need rice to live thus rice is still necessary, but, rice can not have a value there is no gap in possession or accesibility between people. The next is about utility of objects. We use woods to obtain heat, to make stick, or to build house. Thus, wood is a commodity for utility. Similar to the necessity, if wood is lack, it can have a value as we should obtain from other people who have enough. Pleasure may be one of these; for example, I would like to be pleased by appreciating live concerts performed by musicians. The perforance has a value because musicians have capabilities to play their musical instruments but I do not have the capability, thus, there is a gap in ability to perform. Another is rarity. We do not need gold or diamond as a commodity to survive, to utilize in general ways in our everyday life, or to make us pleased by itself. However, we desire those because of rarity. In summary, among objects, there are marks for resemblance of necessity, utility, pleasure, and rarity (Michel Foucault, p168-177). If there are gaps, we desire to obtain in exchange of something I have enough or even with sacrifice.

When one value is to be exchanged with other values or trasnferred to someone who want to get, there should be way or rule and subsequent tools of the way or rule to make exchange and transfer happen. Either way or rule can be gift, customs, culture, and standardized measure. Human have been inventing the tools for efficient exchange and transfer; we name tool signifier. Human being invented language to exchange their valuable stories with others who do not have the stories. Here, signifier is language. When human being found order of the nature in a quantitative way, they invented number as signifier to tell the quantitative secret of the nature. If human being have some valuable things, such as commodities, greater than they need, they need a signifier (or sign) to exchange with other things which they are lacking of; here, the sign of exchange is money.

We sense object through substances, find order behind the object, desire to have the order, put a value on the order with the object using the desire, and create a signifer which structures meanings. A certain desire (e.g., having/possession) is obtained or achieved by a found order (e.g., price) through an invented signifer (e.g., money).