Sunday, November 27, 2005

Much bluster, perhaps re-readable?

Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question
Derrida, Jacques, Bowlby, Rachel (Translator), Bennington, Geoffrey (Translator)

Much bluster, perhaps re-readable?

This is my first excursion into Derridian philosophical wanderings and that being said I am afraid it was quite confounding. Philosophically it was a similar read to Hawking's A Short History of Time. I made it to the end because it is fairly brief.

Of Spirit presents Dierrida's niggling analytics in full flower as he tickles and trips upon a minutae of precious ponderings and burbling musings immersed in a liquid and flowing text, drifiting off into litteral translations and flitting endlessly from German to English to French to try to estimate how one which is best followed without pause or cause for concern is, in this case, a root cause of incomprehension. So one must have capabilities in multi-lingual translation to say, "Ah yes.Interesting." How relevant is the discourse?

Perhaps part of his raison d'etre is interpretive digressios, which ponder and pause without any real destination at times, in which he must be the finest crafter of thread upon thread of information which often only settles upon rocks of impenetrable thoughts as his references to the allusions of Hegel's lizards upon rocks do attest to the futility of attempting to nail spirit without the abilities of his "Dichten so dicht". Certainly Derrida is one of those lizards rather than a poet, what would indeed be necessary for interpetation of Hegel's thoughts on spirit, but which Derrida could never aspire to be.

He is a bumbler as a writer, perhaps a fine philosopher, and another is Jagdish Bagwati, the eminent economist who referenced Derridian logic as the defence that many anti-free traders use (hijack) to attempt to impact upon WTO or World Bank economic principles. Rather than take his word for it, I would attempt to confirm or deny it. But Derrida is proving a more difficult nut to crack than the weaknesses of competitive advantage. I guess I wanted to read Derrida because of Baghwati, who can also appear extraneous at times. They certainly belong together on a rock with a big lizard on it.

"Of Spirit" picks upon Hegel's interpretations upon the essence of spirit, as it impacted heavily upon German values previous to and during the time of the Third Reich. Where one would automatically seek to disavow Hegel's ehtnocentric philosophies, there are obviously enough readers who seek to examine interpretations from writers like Derrida, at least enough for him to warrant publishing his thoughts. However Derrida insists, as all non-Nazis do insist, that Germany was never and is not the centre of global culture or the greatest expression of spirit. Enough non-Germans of the period believed this, strongly enough to resist the Hegelian-spawned expansion of German ambition. Enough still believe this.

In the end, if one reads widely and deeply enough, the heuretics of Derridian discourse must speak more clearly over time. "Of Spirit" does not exactly put me off Derrida, but I wish sometimes he could get to the point a little sooner.

However then maybe he would have almost nothing to say about anything?

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