Methodological Tools for Hermeneutics

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Hermeneutics the art of interpretation has tons of literature on it. Here I am concerned about how it can be devised into a methodology. Here are some methodological tools for the art of Hermeneutics.

(a) Philosophical Etymology

Now what is Philosophical etymology? Etymology is searching for the root meaning of words and Philosophy comes from Philos love and Sofia wisdom. Let’s analyze Plato’s allegory of the cave using tool of Philosophical etymology. In Plato’s allegory of the cave, people are standing in a dark cave and they are separated by a wall; yet they are able to sight luminescence of blinding light on other side of the cave. This allegory is used explain the theory of forms that is we are imperfect copies of a perfect world. Analyzing Plato’s allegory in a postmodern sense can give us insight that the cave was Plato’s repressed and its external luminescence was in fact a projection of Plato’s vision to a metaphysical transcendence. This vision is highly narcissistic and couched in a language of absence if analyzed through structural conjectures of the language.

(b) Phenomenological Ontology

How can we adorn the garb of Phenomenological Ontology on the art of Hermeneutics? Phenomenology for a lay man means the contents of consciousness. Ontology refers to Being and its presence. I would like to say that Presence and Being is PROCESSUAL meaning that the structural presence of being is always dynamic and in the process of creation. This can also be explained as processual teleology. Teleology refers to a purpose of something. The presence of Being as processual involves historicity and temporality. Let me try to use an example from my own life. A UK friend of mine sponsored my ticket and invited me over there. I was thrilled on the prospect of visiting Stratford Upon Avon the home of Shakespeare and also visiting art galleries. When I went to apply for the VISA, I became the subject of ridicule. The officer a white treated me as a colored coolie. Seeing that I do not have a bank account or money and seeing that I am highly qualified he dismissed me with a curt: „good day“. In the UK consulate my BEING was created by another with a colonial bourgeoisie mindset as native who is colored and who doesn’t deserve to be given the right to travel to the land of colonized. History, prejudice against Asians and mind that’s warped in the grand narrative of colonial mindset created an identity for my being, an identity that hurts my skin and color. I was judged and labeled unfit due to no fault of mine. The creation of being by external factors can be interpreted in hermeneutics as a BEING IN PROCESSUAL ONTOLOGY.

(c) Deconstructive Theology

Deconstruction was pioneered by its Guru Derrida. Deconstruction is more than Philosophy and encompasses a trans-sense narrative which questions the Binary construction of all Meta narratives or grand narratives. Now what is Binary Construction or Binary divide? Let’s take the case of study of Semitic religions. Semitic religions like Judaism, Christianity Islam and Zoroastrianism assume the presence of God. God and light are privileged where as darkness and the devil are marginalized. Semitic religions tend to terrorize and manipulate the BEINGNESS of a believer by SIN and DIVINE punishment with HELL for the unrepentant soul. Deconstructive theology examines how language is constructed as a Binary Divide and it exposes the faulty nature of language as being a privilege of sense in meaning and nonsense of being marginalized.

(d) Pharmacological Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis has gone a long way from Freud its father to the ground breaking work of Jacques Lacan. Lacan is noted for having claimed that the Unconscious is structured like language. Notable are his contributions like the GAZE, MIRROR STAGE AND THE LAW OF THE FATHER OR THE PHALLIC FATHER. Lacan also has a drawback of being very male-centered. Lacan questions the subject’s ability to maintain a stable self. Our self is engineered by the society’s ideology and it has to struggle to maintain a sense of coherence. For LACAN the gaze is intentional and has sexual connotations. Today art films try to incorporate many types of Gazes and art films deviate from the typical male gaze to the feminine and gay gaze. But traditional societies incorporate only the typical male gaze which is rather the behavior of typical male who is a patriarch. Now what is the Lacanian Mirror Stage? The Mirror Stage is stage when the Child becomes weaned physiologically and psychologically from the Mother and enters the realm of the language which trains the child to develop the notion of an idea of a stable self. The Mirror Stage has also been used in Film studies. A film viewer becomes subject to the gaze of the camera, he becomes chained on to his seat and through the whole viewing of the cinema he is a prisoner. Films need addictive viewers and films are constructed in such a way so that it gratifies the instruments of the social self to be a consumption of a mass fetish. Only Art films have broken this barrier. There also other concepts of psychoanalysis that can be used in Hermeneutics like the Freudian Oedipal Complex and the Electra Complex where texts exhibit a symptom of expressing these complexes from the repressed. A phallic text would be the one which is male-centered. Psychoanalytical hermeneutics is opening up the Feminine Libido to new significations of writing. Women are opening up their bodies newer modes of dialogues and discourses.

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