Dérive à partir de Lyotard

Since I’m determined to strengthen my practice of daily blogging (and turning away from FB), I’ll take just a minute or two fifteen thirty sixty away from reading about Lyotard in French to sketch in a bit more detail the rationale for connecting differential hermeneutics to psychoanalysis and specifically to dream interpretation.
In the first place, then, Big Thinkers have been wrestling with the hermeneutics of dreams for more than a century, with little attention paid from the side of biblical hermeneutics. That is, little attention from theoretical hermeneutics as a general biblical field, not ‘psychological criticism’ whose practitioners have obviously attended to dream interpretation — as have psychological interpreters who turn to the Bible as an object of their interpretive attention. Moreover, since the sort of interpretive attention in question is widely associated with ‘the masters of suspicion’ (Marx, Nietzsche, and especially in this case, Freud), and since many scholars take it as axiomatic that one must approach biblical texts with that ‘suspicion’, I stand to benefit from immersing myself in the relevant thoughts of one of the Masters.
Second, as I said several days ago, dreams provide the interesting case of a text (the dream, not simply the dream-report) whose ‘intentionality’ is open to inquiry, which we also feel it important to interpret one way or another. While one can quickly enough jump to the assumption that a subconscious process in the dreamer, or the unconscious, or some other impulse can stand in for the author of the dream (thus providing intentionality), that’s a different quality of ‘intention’ from (say) my determining to wear a red shirt today (and doing so). Indeed part of what’s perplexing in dream interpretation involves devising some form of coherent agency which might compose the outlandish pastiches that we recall on waking. So if we can learn something about dream interpretation without obvious intentional agency, we may be better situated to address the possibility that an ascribed intention need not provide the be-all and end-all of hermeneutical deliberation.
Third, many of the thinkers who weigh in on dream interpretation express comfort with the premise that dreams might not have one and only one definitive meaning. Since differential hermeneutics (as I envision it) sets out to investigate the ways and reasons for interpretive divergence, the study of multiple ‘meanings’ for dreams seems particularly apposite.
Fourth, even the pro-plurality phalanx of contemporary oneirologists treat some interpretations (or interpretive gestures) as better, wiser, sounder, more productive than others, any effort I make to espouse a hermeneutic that moves away from single correct answers to multiple plausible responses will always encounter the question of whether this makes all interpretations equal, whether one can say any damn thing one wants, whether I take away the grounds for distinguishing right from wrong. If I’m on a sound track, though, I will at the end be equipped to articulate a rationale for those distinctions that does not rest on transcendent Rules of Interpretation or The Nature of Meaning or any other such problematic construct.

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