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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Process and deconstruction (and their left-overs)

Whitehead makes a surprising move, beyond his position in Process and Reality, in Perspective, Modes of Thought. He holds that eternal objects themselves have perspectives. Everything that affects the sensible has perspectives. The sensible is the realm of concrescences, where things acquire forms, where processes are issued from their original data. In Forms of process, Whitehead presents the limits of process - what is fixed, concerned with space, time and deity. These are the remnants of process, what is kept in a Heraclitean sensible in constant life and motion. Process is non-ending and terminates in no fixity or stability, but it has its left-overs. Whitehead is close to Plato there: there is life and motion and there is a support behind all, except the connection between the two is not one of participation but rather that of fixed points relating to a flux or attractors relating to a transition. The fixed elements, as much as the unstable ones, have perspectives because they are in the sensible (and not elsewhere, and here Whitehead reveals his Aristotelian face). Abstraction - where one gets analogous processes out of different individuals and analogous individuals in different processes - is not what is kept stable, it is only part of the building of potentialities in order to fuel further processes (they contribute to the secondary nature of God).

Derrida's deconstruction is also in the flux of meeting different voices that destabilize what was previously said in their always coming different sayings. Text is always a new encounter and, as such, the reader is never sure something is being said to her and yet feels its appeal. I take "bêtise" as it is analyzed in the 5th session of La bête et le souverain after Deleuze's original analysis in chapter 3 of Difference et répetition to be an important image for this process: "bêtise" has a role in thinking, a trans-categorial role that could be oblivious to some attempts at critique but is crucial to deconstruction. The challenge is that the reader could always find herself doing a "bêtise". Deconstruction is a non-ending process that produces no stable fixity where things a posit for good and nothing is further imposed by new encounters. It deals in the im-pos-ible. Still, it has its left-overs. What carries on the process of deconstruction is the ethics of reading as an encounter - it is justice to the other. This is a fixed point - or rather an attractor that makes deconstruction move. It is not about the truth of a thought, it is about the truth of an encounter (accessible to thought). Justice could also sound as a Plato-like stable element and it is - but it corresponds to no form, to no idea, to no category. It lies within the practice of encountering another understanding. Justice is not a model but rather it is something that emerges from the process of deconstructing the prevailing categories.

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