“Interpretive Energies” and Energonomics

19 January 2006 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

I’d like to follow up on my entry about Dimock’s “Theory of Resonance” (see “Acoustic Metaphor for Textuality” 1/19/06) and introduce a concept that I have created called “energonomics.” She suggests that this notion of resonance, which posits texts as “time-travelers” and “puts the temporal axis at the center of literary studies,” is like a Bahktinian dialogue which is “above all temporal” and which incorporates “an interaction between texts and their future readers, complicated by the dynamics of historical change and by the interpretive energies thus released” (emphasis added).

I have spoken of the text as a form not only of information storage and retrieval but also of energy storage: the energy of the writer gets transferred to a book, for example, and it could be decades, even centuries later that that energy is released (in the form of memes — Mihaly Csikszentmihaly writes that “memes shape human energy through ideas” in his book Creativity) into the brain of another. I’m not talking about spacy new-age energy here: I’m talking about the real thing: sunlight into plants (and then animals or directly) into humans into the brain (which consumes 20% of the calories we consume). When we use our brains to organize language in written form, we are storing the brain-energy that memes are (see Robert Augner’s The Electric Meme for more on this).

Dimock’s acoustic metaphor of textuality invokes this model when she speaks of “interpretive energies” being released from a text upon being read. You might say that her theory “resonates” with mine. . .

And so I introduce the concept of energonomics — the management (nomos) of energy (energaia). It is my hope that someday energonomics will be an interdisciplinary field of study at the university level. Ambitious perhaps, but I hope to prove in subsequent posts why this concept can provide an alternative method of organizing knowledge, one that is especially critical in this day and age.

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Entry filed under: energonomics, memes.

Acoustic Metaphor for Textuality Positive Psychology as Energonomics

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