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THE BODY AND WRITING - Coming Into Being

Woman stands at the crossroad and contemplates humankind
making its way beyond the cosmic machine...

Part two

by Cecilia Bustamante

The Power of Language

The structures of contemporary society are destabilized, in this transitional process, we need to come up with options that will diminish violence and death. The idea of woman as being with stabilizing force in motion, who can bring about equilibrium, can be an alternative.
Ilya Prigogine, 1977 Nobel prize winning physicist, has opened with his work on “dissipative structures” and the order of fluctuations “flashing insights that subvert many of our most basic assumptions and suggest fresh ways to think about them”(7). The destabilizing behavior of an element can lead to higher levels of organization. The sociologist Erich Jantsch, applied the Prigoginian model to the social sciences, and observed that in such a transition the system takes on new margins of entropy, new possibilities for action. He said that some of the decisive mutations to come, and which should be encouraged to develop, will be at the level of cultural organization. That is, the change that can take us to higher levels of organization will occur in the realm of values and norms and measures: the process brings new structures into being, not the other way around.
Here I would like to quote Michel Serres on the new philosophy: “Its goal...to find balance between the thought of the exact sciences and the thought involved in beauty, the arts, literature, anthropology and ethics. It is a matter of construction, breaking ground, promoting, anticipating a culture that will be produced; a culture based on science, that will make the changes we have seen so far look minor indeed...Tomorrow, democracy of the XXI century, will have to include questions like this: ‘ladies what form of reproduction would you like us to develop in our labs?’ Today, the problems of democracy intersect with the questions proposed by the sciences... There are three powers in contemporary society, all derived from the power of language.

(7) Ibid., p. xii.

Word of the Poet

First is science, which is the truth factor on language. Then there are the media, the elements of seduction, and language...There is a need to examine these three powers in relation to the workings of democracy...There is a need to think about the counter-powers that we do not have now.”
As a poet I am concerned with the cultural change, and there is no purpose in postponing the examination of the roots of violence in society from a woman’s point of view. As such, I must be part of the ongoing efforts to link humanities and sciences. I must try to understand the harmony between them, to foster human dignity for all and a search for beauty. The analysis is already underway, seeking to stimulate a peaceful transition to the social organization of the XXI century. To make life lethal to the extent that not only kills physically, but annihilates the forces of spirit and individuality - is an act of violence. It is a distortion of the meaning of the word projecting in the real world its death: “life not lived/ of which we can die...” said the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
I refuse to accept the violence of thinking and not being free to express myself.

© CECILIA BUSTAMANTE, Austin, Texas, 1981.
Visiting Scholar, The University of Texas at Austin
Revised paper read at the IV Congreso Interamericano de Escritoras,México, D.F., 1981. Tr: from the Spanish “El Cuerpo y la Escritura” Prof Robert Baruch, Boise State University, Idaho, 1988.

With permission of EXTRAMARES International Journal of Arts & Letters,Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 123-129, Austin, Texas, 1989.

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