Derrida- That Dangerous Supplement

Derrida- That Dangerous Supplement - It is perhaps time to...

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It is perhaps time to reread the Essay on the Origin of Languages. ((141)) 2. ". ..That Dangerous Supplement . . ." How people will cry out against me! I hear from afar the shouts of that false wisdom which is ever dragging us onwards, counting the present as nothing, and pursuing without a pause a future which flies as we pursue, that false wisdom which removes us from our place and never brings us to any othe r.—Emile All the papers which I have collected to fill the gaps in my memory and to guide me in my undertaking, have passed into other hands, and will never return to mine. —Confessions I have implied it repeatedly: the praise of living speech, as it preoccupies Lévi-Strauss's discourse, is faithful to only one particular motif in Rousseau. This motif comes to terms with and is organized by its contrary: a perpetually reanimated mistrust with regard to the so-called full speech. In the spoken address, presence is at once promised and refused. The speech that Rousseau raised above writing is speech as it should be or rather as it should have been. And we must pay attention to that mode, to that tense which relates us to presence within living colloquy. In fact, Rousseau had tested the concealment within speech itself, in the mirage of its immediacy. He had recognized and analyzed it with incomparable acumen. We are dispossessed of the longed-for presence in the gesture of language by which we attempt to seize it. To the experience of the "robber robbed" that Starobinski admirably describes in L'oeil vivant [Paris, 1961]. Jean Jacques is subjected not only in the play of the mirror image which "captures his reflection and exposes his presence" (p. 109) . It lies in wait for us from the first word. The speculary dispossession which at the same time institutes and deconstitutes me is also a law of language. It operates as a power of death in the heart of living speech: a power all the more re-doubtable because it opens as much as it threatens the possibility of the spoken word. Having in a certain way recognized this power which, inaugurating speech, dislocates the subject that it constructs, prevents it from being present to its signs, torments its language with a complete writing, Rousseau is nevertheless more pressed to exorcise it than to assume its necessity. That is why, straining toward the reconstruction of presence, he valorizes and
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((142)) disqualifies writing at the same time. At the same time; that is to say, in one divided but coherent movement. We must try not to lose sight of its strange unity. Rousseau condemns writing as destruction of presence and as disease of speech. He rehabilitates it to the extent that it promises the reappropriation of that of which speech allowed itself to be dispossessed. But by what, if not already a writing older than speech and already installed in that place?
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This note was uploaded on 03/25/2010 for the course PHIL PHIL200 taught by Professor Guy during the Spring '10 term at Concordia Canada.

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Derrida- That Dangerous Supplement - It is perhaps time to...

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