The tyranny of modularity

These merry games represent the condition of language; they point to a kind of loosening of our language that is historically unprecedented. But at the same time they also reflect the fact that reality itself has taken on an unparalleled flexibility. Nor do these word games only produce empty phrases or technical jabbering. That would be harmless. Their most effective products-and if one narrows the game to plastic words one can recognize this-are the finished building blocks of our world. Natura fictionem sequitur. Nature follows art, and at this moment pretty bad art, trash. A language of interchangeable words is reflected in a world of interchangeable trash. The principle of grand arbitrariness with which post-modernism pleases itself is currently leading to a trashing of history.

plastikworterp. 68–69

Perfect interchangeability - of human "units" cf surveil-and-punish - of money for "everything else" cf semantic-drain

cf The Atomic Age, although that focused on the atomicity of words in the postmodern setting.


surveil-and-punish Foucault, Michel. 2012. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. ↩︎ 1

semantic-drain Schwindt, Oriana. 2019. “Semantic Drain and the Meaninglessness of Modern Work”. Schwindterwonderland. [link] ↩︎ 1

plastikworter Pörksen, Uwe. 1995. Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language. Pennsylvania State University Press. ↩︎ 1