Our time is an age of rationalism. Our rationality is based on an imaginary realm created within speech. In the words of Roland Barthes, modern speech and discourse have constructed a mythology of rationality. Barthes says: “What is myth today? I shall give at the outset a first, very simple answer, which is perfectly consistent with etymology: myth is a type of speech.”1
Jürgen Habermas states that with Kant, the modern age is inaugurated. As soon as the metaphysical seal on the correspondence between language and world breaks down, the representational function of language itself becomes a problem. The subject doing the representing has to objectify himself to gain some clarity about the problematic process of representation itself.2 Foucault develops his basic idea that modernity is characterized by the self-contradictory and anthropocentric form of knowledge proper to a structurally overloaded subject (a finite subject transcending itself into the infinite) in a wide arc that stretches from Kant and Fichte to Husserl and Heidegger.3 Thus, the human sciences occupy the terrain opened up by the aporetic self-thematization of the cognitive subject. With their pretentious and never redeemed claims, they erect a façade of universally valid knowledge behind which lurks the facticity of a sheer will to cognitive self-mastery, a will to a boundlessly productive increase of knowledge in the wake of which both subjectivity and self-consciousness are first formed.4 However, as the cognitive subject, a human being and his sheer will to cognitive self-mastery, as the being toward death has always lived in relation to its natural end. Habermas continues, but now it is a matter of the end of its humanistic self-understanding: in the homelessness of nihilism it is not the human being but the essence of the human that wanders blindly about.5
Such human essence clearly is written. As Derrida indicates, in any case the signified is not constituted in its sense by its relationship with a possible trace. The formal essence of the signified is presence, and the privilege of its proximity to the logos as phonè is the privilege of presence.6 The word mot is lived as the elementary and undecomposable unity of the signified and the voice, of the concept and a transparent substance of expression. This expression is considered in its greatest purity-and at the same time in the condition of its possibility-as the experience of “being.”7
On the other hand, Foucault remarks that writing, in Western culture, automatically dictates that we place ourselves in the virtual space of self-representation and reduplication; since writing refers not to a thing but to speech, a work of language only advances more deeply into the intangible density of the mirror, calls forth the double of this already doubled writing, discovers in this way a possible and impossible infinity.8 Foucault says, we must ceaselessly speak, for as long and as loudly as this indefinite and deafening noise-longer and more loudly so that in mixing our voices with it we might succeed-if not in silencing and mastering it-in modulating its futility into the endless murmuring we call literature.9
Today, the essence of human beings wanders blindly about in the homelessness of the deserts, which is constructed by this literature. Baudrillard calls it mirages on the deserts. He clarifies, the deserts here are not part of a Nature defined by contrast with the town. Rather they denote the emptiness, the radical nudity that is the background to every human institution. At the same time, they designate human institutions as a metaphor of that emptiness and the work of man as the continuity of the desert, culture as a mirage and as the perpetuity of the simulacrum.10
YeYoung Culture Studies (YCS), located in California, is a place for cultural studies and cultural practices. As Baudrillard contends, American culture is heir to the deserts, and California is the only authentic Disneyland, the only place in the world where the simulacrum is a homegrown product.11
There is simulacrum where there is real; there are deserts where there are oases. Mankind has survived in change, and mankind has changed in survival. Like a desert caravan, YCS travels across mirages of deserts slowly and steadily where we encounter simulacra and the real, enchanting Western modern art and postmodernism on one side, and Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Sinology on the other, looming through mirages.
The YCS journey of deserts begins at the desert and ends at the desert, utilizing the Chinese to serve the Western and the Western to serve the Chinese; employing the past to serve the present and the present to serve the past; applying text to reflect practice and practice to examine text.
YCS textual study sources include: Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean Baudrillard; Laozi, Analects, I Ching, Taoist Cannon, and Buddhist Philosophies.
YCS self-cultivation includes: Western modern and postmodern arts; Poetry of Tang and Song dynasties, calligraphy and literati painting, and Qin music.
Xiansheng established YCS in 2000. With the help from Furen and Siyi, YCS has grown in studies and practices, and YCS has studied and practiced in growth.
Xiansheng was born in China. As a child, he was raised and educated by his grandfather. As a teenager he studied with the eminent Chinese art critic, Mr. Shui Tianzhong, and soon after taught as a professor at universities, and later immigrated to the USA in 1989.
人的這個本質， 顯然是被書寫出來的。德里達說，在任何一種情況下，所指都不是以其本身意义、及其與印跡的可能關係構成。所指的形式本質是在場，其接近作為聲音的理念特權，只是在場的特權。 文字只是作為基礎、不可分解的所指、語聲、概念，及其明確的實體表現的統一體而存在。就其無上的純粹性，及其可能性的條件而言，種種體驗就是 “存在” 的體驗。
弋陽書院 (YCS)，位於美國加利福尼亞州，是一個文化研究與文化實踐的場所。鮑德里亞說：美國文化是沙漠的繼承者。加利福尼亞是唯一真正的迪斯尼樂園，世界上正宗擬象的唯一發源地。 有擬象，必有真相，有沙漠，必有綠洲，人類就在這種延續中變化，變化中延續。弋陽書院有如沙漠上一葉扁舟，緩慢而堅定，在重重海市蜃樓中，與擬象和真相遭遇，一邊可見，隱約蒼茫的儒釋道與漢學；另一邊可見，隱約變幻的西方藝術與後現代主義。
1. Roland Barthes, Mythologies, (New York: Hill and Wang, 2012), p. 217. ↩
2. Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, (Cambridge: the MIT Press, 1990), p. 260. ↩
3. Ibid., p. 261.↩
4. Ibid., p. 261.↩
5. Ibid., p. 161.↩
6. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, (London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974), p. 18. ↩
7. Ibid., p. 20. ↩
8. Michel Foucault, “Language to Infinity” in Donald Bouchard edited, Language, Counter-memory, Practice,
Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault, (New York: Cornell University Press, 1977), p. 56. ↩
9. Ibid., p. 60. ↩
10. Jean Baudrillard, America, (London. New York: Verso, 1988), p. 63. ↩
11. Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories IV, (London. New York: Verso, 1988), p. 96. ↩