Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jacques Derrida aka Michel de Montaigne

“For Heidegger , the fact of Mitsein, of the human being sharing a world in common with others, is the very condition of solitude…Precisely because we share a common world in which we can speak to and understand one another, we are liable equally to divide and differentiate ourselves from one another, above all by means of lies and deceit. Language is at once the source of a common world and of ’the absence of a common world, the irremediable solitude without salvation of the living being.'” The quote is from, “Run to Death," Josh Cohen’s review of Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign Volume Two in the December 21 and 28 edition of the TLS. And the subject is Derrida’s analysis of two texts, Robinson Crusoe and Heidegger’s “1929-30 seminar on the concepts of World, Finitude and Solitude.” Cohen provides a heady meditation on a hefty tome. But in actuality it’s a rather basic description of an intrinsic contrariety of human nature. Whoever thought that names like Defoe and Heidegger employed in the service of Derridean deconstruction could yield such a wonderfully simple truth about the self? Put even more succinctly alone = all one. Whoever thought Derrida, an intellectual known for his prolix and reticulated formulations could make statements with the aphoristic clarity of a Montaigne?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen the film you're referring to, but am fascinated by the equation 'alone = all one.' I have noticed that time spent in solitude invariably leads to noticing the interrelationships between myself and everything else. In my spacious life I have the opportunity to follow that further and consider the relationships between everything outside myself, removing myself from the center to the periphery of a complex web. The cartesian "I am" becomes "We are". The antithesis (or maybe more accurately, the counterbalance) to this is civilization with its unnatural constructs and frenetic busyness that derides those who take the time to stand still as 'useless parasites on society.'


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