Sunday, November 27, 2005

Oh Derrida...there is no end?

Derrida, Jacques, Collins, George (Translator)

Oh Derrida...there is no end?

The Politics of Friendship is a little fiend of a book. The contextualized chapters are independent essays all bending towards a deconstructionist and dis-evolving labyrinth of thought from the point of contemplating the phrase, "O Friend, there is no friend!" (Montaigne). Of course, Derrida seeks to weave in and out, to and fro, over, and under this phrase as he reviews the possible permutations of philosophical thought from Aristotle to his friend Blanchot... it is a little mind-numbing how many tacts he takes on points of views which are at times highly cryptic.

My favourite chapters dealt with liberty as it is thought of in a democracy, the outward hostility of democratic politics and thankfully the final chapter/essay on the hope for true democracy for everyone in the world some day in the future?
However, his insistence on analyzing the great thinkers in his typically gossammer-like meanderings make the idea of finally discovering The Minotaur or The Superman (all are apparently waiting for this character-archetype to define the philosophical context of politics and friendship)as a form of climax beyond our present abilities to render the topic. Lack of definition thereof is again evidence of Derrida's deep penetration of the intricacies and linkages, the evolutions, and underpinnings throughout western philosphical history. I hope?

However he touches on silence and claims even the hermit has a friend; his own subconscious mind, which requires a third person to make a friend. Feminists again will be less than impressed with the exclusionary tendancies of archetypal theorists; they would prefer to preserve a male-oriented understanding of friendship, and claim women are incapable of the best aspects of what true friendship ought to be. Derrida notes historical dismissiveness.

But in the end, if you are reading this review you are a really ponderous reader, you must quickly realize, early, that Derrida is not painting a story by numbers here, his "The Politics of Friendship" is never about a challenging debate among intellectual equals; it is a thorough sweeping and piling of Derrida's thoughts in review of what the most renown philosophers of history have to say about the topic, and at least not in the world of history, or Derrida's contemporary French context, are any of those women.

Not yet. However the future is a bright sun of hope for an evolutionary thought in the areas of the politics of friendship in democratic societies; Derrida recognizes that politics have never matured to the virtuous ideals of true politics which the philosophers insist is a worthy destination. In that sense, postmodernism is not absolutely the end; but perhaps the beginning of the end of illusions on this topic.

Worth a read, but expect little clarity and much confibulation.

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