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Derrida Quotes,
Dissemination

  • "there is no such thing as a "metaphysical concept." There is no such thing as a "metaphysical name." The "metaphysical is a certain determination or direction taken by a sequence or "chain." It cannot as such be opposed by a concept but rather by a process of textual labor and a different sort of articulation. This being the case, the development of this problematic will inevitably involve the movement of differance as it has been discussed elseware: a "productive," "conflictual" movement which cannot be preceded by any identity, any unity or any original simplicity; which cannot be appeased by any philosophical dialectic; and which disorganizes "historically," "practically," textually, the opposition or the difference (the static distinction [verses the dynamic differance]) between opposing terms." (6-7)
  • quoth Moa Tze Tung: "[The approach of the Chinese Pharmacy] is a formalist method, classifying things according to their external features instead of their internal relations... they merely list phenomena in ABCD order. What is a problem? A problem is a contradiction in a thing. Where one has an unresolved contradiction, there one has a problem." (Mao, III, 60-1)
  • quoth Karl Marx: "My dialectical method is not only fundimentally different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of "the Idea," he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of "the Idea." With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world transposed by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought. " (Marx, Capital, 17-19)
  • "The question of the preface is indeed the question of being..." (p.56 quoting Mallarmé)
  • "...a speech proffered in the present, in the presence of Socrates, would not have had the same effect.... Only words that are deffered, reserved, enveloped, rolled up, words that force one to wait for them.... If a speech could be purely present... naked... without the detours of a signifier foreign to it, if at the limit an undeffered logos were possible, it would not seduce anyone... Already: writing, the pharmakon the going or leading astray." (71)
    • from "Plato's Pharmacy". Pharmakos is medicine/poison. A polysemy (word with multiple meanings
    • hence, words detached from immediate presence, deffered, are the poison.
  • "If logos has a father, if it is a logos only when attended by its father, this is because it is always a being (on) and even a certain species of a being, more precisely a living being. Logos is a zōon. An animal that is born, grows, belongs to the phusis. Linguistics, logic, dialectics, and zoolog are all in the same camp." (79)
  • ":For it goes without saying that the god of writing must also be the god of death. We should not forget that, in the Phaedrus, another thing held against the invention of the pharmakon is that it substitutes the breathless sign for the living voice, claims to do without the father (who is both living and live giving) of logos, and can no more answer for itself than a sculpture or inanimate painting, etc." (92)
  • "The god of writing is thus also a god of medicine. Of "medicine": both a science and an occult drug. Of the remedy and the poison. The god of writing is the god of the pharmakon. And it is writing as a pharmakon that he presents to the king in the Phaedrus, with a humility as unsettling as a dare." (94)
  • "Just as health is auto-nomous and auto-matic, "normal" disease demonstrates its autarky by confronting the pharmaceutical aggression with metastatic reactions which displace the site of the disease, with the eventual result that the points of resistance are reinforced and multiplied. "Normal" disease defends itself. In thus escaping the supplementary constraints, the superadded pathogeny of the pharmakon, the disease continues to follow its own course." (101)
  • "he who has the technē of writing at his disposal will come to rely on it. He will know that he himself can leave without the tupoi's [imprint] going away... they will transmit his word[s?] even if he is not there to animate them. Even if he is dead, and only a pharmakon can be the wielder of such power, over death, but also in cahoots with it ." (sic.) (104-5).
  • "The sophist thus sells the signs and insignia of science: not memory itself (mnēmē), only the monuments (hypomnēmata), inventories, archives, citations... Not memories, but memorials." (107)
  • "What Plato is attacking in sophistics, therefore, is not simply recourse to memory but, within such recourse, the substitution of the mnemonic device for the living memory, of the prosthesis for the organ; the perversion that consists of replacing a limb by a thing, here, substituting the passive, mechanical, "by-heart" fir the actuve reanimation of knowlege, for its reproduction in the present. The boundary (between outside and inside, living and non-living) separates not only speech from writing but also memory as an unveiling (re-)producing a presence from re-memoration as the mere repetition of a monument; truth as distinct from its sign, being as distinct from its sign, being as distinct from types. The "outside" does not begin at the point where what we now call the psychic and the physical meet, but at the mnēmē, instead of being present to itself in life as a movement of truth, is supplanted by the archive, evicted by a sign of re-memoration or of com-memoration." ... "What Plato dreams of is a memory with no sign. That is, with no supplement... no pharmakon." ... "And writing appears... as that process of redoubling in which we are fatally (en)trained: the supplement of a supplement, the signifier, the representative if a representative. (A series whose first term or rather whose first structure does not yet.... have to be kicked up [fair sauter] and its irreducibility made apparent). (108-9) </whew>
  • "[Writing is a] dibilitating poison for memory... distinguishing itself like an index from whatever it is pointing to." (110)
  • "What is repeated is... the signifier... in the absence... of the thing itself which these appear to reedit... without the living tension of dialectics. Writing would indeed be the signifier's capacity to repeat itself by itself, mechanically, without a living soul to sustain or attend to its repetition, that is to say, without truth's presenting itself anywhere." (111; wordy repetition edited to get to our point.)
  • "Philosophy thus opposes to its other this transmutation of the drug into a remedy, of the poison into a counterpoison. Such an operation would not be possible if the pharmako-logos did not already harbor within itself that complicity of contrary values and if the pharmakon in general were not, prior to any distinction-making, that which, presenting itself as a poison, may turn out to be a cure, may retrospectively reveal itself in the truth of its curative power. The essence of a pharmakon lies in the way in which, having no stable essence, no "proper" characteristics, it is not, in any sense (metaphysical, physical, chemical, alchemical) of the word, a substance. The pharmakon has no ideal identityl it is aneidetic, firstly because it is not monoeidetic." (126)
  • "The hemlock has an ontological effect: it initiates one into the contemplation of the eidos and the immortality of the soul. That is how Socrates takes it... The pharmakon is the movement, the locus, and the play: (the production of) difference. It is the differance of difference." (127)
  • "This is the inaugural gesture of "logic" itself, of good "sense" insofar as it accords with the self-identity of that which it is: being is what it is, the outside is outside and the inside inside. Writing must thus return to being what it should never have ceased to be: an accessory, an accident, an excess." (128)
  • "There is thus for Plato no such thing as a written thing. There is only a logos more or less alive, more or less distant from itself. Writing is not an independent order of signification; it is weakened speech, something not completely dead: a living-dead, a reprieved corpse, a deferred life, a semblence of breath. The phantom, the phantasm, the simulacrum (eidolon) of living discourse is not inanimate; it is not insignificant; it simply signifies little, and always the same thing." (143)
  • "It is later confirmed that the conclusion of the Phaedrus is less a condemnation of writing in the name of present speech than a preference for one sort of writing over another, for the fertile trace over the sterile trace, for a seed that engenders because it is planted inside over a seed scattered wastefully outside: at the risk of dissemination. This, at least, is presumed by that." (149)
  • "The dividing line runs less between presence and the trace than between the dialectical trace and the nondialectical trace, between play in the "good" sense and play in the "bad" sense of the word." (155)
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