Derrida simplified

This is one of the most cogent summaries of Derrida I’ve ever seen. Probably the most, in fact. Of course, just getting to the heart of the matter doesn’t really make deconstruction any simpler, or less necessary.

“Like other seismic events of thought, Derrida’s insight is quite simple, yet in its very simplicity hard to grasp. Identities in general (of whatever kind, at whatever level) arise out of difference, but difference is not itself any identity or indeed any thing at all. It is not that there are first things, and then differences and relations between them: the “things” emerge only from the differences and relations, which have an absolute priority, and that emergence is never complete. It’s that insight that led to the neologism différance. In the beginning is différance, which means that there is no simple beginning or origin. And the différance never ends, which means that there is no simple end. Derrida’s simple claim, then, is that nowhere ever is there anything simple.”

From Geoffrey Bennington’s essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “Embarrassing Ourselves”.

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