It is no exaggeration to say that everything in Shoshana Felman's book on promising in Don Juan and in the philosophical writings of J. L. Austin is inscribed in its main title, The Scandal of the Speaking Body: promising is always an event involving, and evolving from, an amalgam of language and matter. But there is no reason why the category “speaking body” should not encompass, say, a molecule, or a segment of a chromosome implicated as one (possibly powerful) force in the developmental event we name a “condition”: osteoporosis, obesity, schizophrenia, to give only a few names to the volatile but patterned unfoldings that deCODE Genetics, like other genomic companies, promises to pursue, if not catch. But promising Xgenomics in lavaXland is a matter of excess. We may not live in Iceland, but we do all live, now, in lavaXland. And even if such a territory is too volatile to be fully solved or controlled, the lavaXland of genomics can be inhabited more or less carefully, more or less thoughtfully, more or less justly, and more or less admirably.
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