Fare Well My Loves, Derrida, &c, Cixous. Part III



Fare Well My Loves

Derrida, &c, Cixous


Part III



§ 34.   Are these the dreams were the dreamembered verses parallel? Wou could easily find another million paralleling dreams—but only paralleling, still, always, anywhere. The necessary spacing of the parallel, however thin we imagines the spacing at work, makes it doubtful whether the parallel is of the mathematical orders; spacing accounts for mathematics and not the other way around: at heart in math there is spacing for its idealiter possibility, a spacing which it cannot but try to ignore. But it might be of the iteratic; quanta of differences or rather differences of intensities—as AliCe’s uncle would have it on his Wunderblock, his “Mystic Writing Pad” from his 1895 project for a ‘scientific psychology’—only accentuates this irradical and irreducible, even “irresponsible” and “irrational,” circumstance. Spacing circumstances does not answer anything, and it is on the thither side of rationality . . . of course. But this does not make it irrational by that reason; it rather constitutes the compossibility of the possibility-and-impossiblity of mathematics and any other writing system. The parallel is therefore never of exactitude; more of the rigorous type, more of a transcendental thanatology. Iterability splits the sign a priori, Derreath writes in Limited Inc…abc. In Demeure, on abiding, it is said to reside in the instantaneousness of the instant appearing, anywhere. The speed is perhaps greater in Demeure—and speed is where DerreathandAliCe meets met. Dreath writes in H.C. for Life, That is To Say . . .—In Demeure: “In other words—let us always say “in other words,” for it is always a matter here of saying otherwise said and a certain slippage of the that is to say.”[1]—that:

Ever since I have known her, I have read her and I keep forgetting that she writes, and I forget what she writes. This forgetting is not a forgetting like any other; it is elemental, I probably live on it. Her work for me will remain for life like what I have already forgotten a priori: I forget it as naturally as I breathe. […] As if she had given me permission to forget, as if I were giving myself permission. Then I am no longer ashamed to confess: you know, I had forgotten you had already written that too. I believe I told her more than once. I act as if I could no longer know who wrote that first. […] And yet, in order to get the measure of how outrageous what I am saying here really is, you must know how little the things the two of us write resemble one another, especially when we write each other ourselves autobiographically: you must admit that it is difficult to imagine anything more different, difficult to imagine writings, ways, manners, gestures, rhythms, languages, lives of writing, and simply lives that are more heterogeneous, more dissimilar, more distant from each other and on both sides. And families of texts each more foreign to each other. Whereas (or because) everything we write, she and I, remains strictly autobiographical, as they say. We only ever write ourselves, on ourselves. Nous nous écrivons. Translate: we write to each other, she and I have written each other a lot.[2]

Last sentence is strictly impossible to translate, those two ‘us,’ as they are in an undecidable state—“and this indecision between two homonyms is not a game. It is so serious that it remains undecidable for me. An absolute difference, which can come to same thing around here. Between us, there is a language.”[3] Language is anything, whatever, showing itself through and making ‘history’: anything, who would know? Now there is language between all of us, so when Derrida writes such it means something:                      Cixous’ language is language as we dream and exist it, always for life for life all ready. When they write each other, for almost a lifetime, a generation’s time, 35 years or so, that is so because what they write each other is strictly incommunicable, communicating khōratic language as they do; they write the a priori split, the limit, from the irrhaptic nothing of the instant of lifeath. What cannot be scribed otherwise, by one or another, they do-uble. She wrote this and that already he says, but still she could not possibly write what he writes; they are on different sides of the Book. The wreat on each other, on each others anthrobiblos, autobiographically. Derreath wreats upon the structural necessity of destinerrance, that the letters always may not arrive—death—, whilst AliCe wreats upon letters always already arriving, precisely where and when intended, already having arrived before even being “sent away, out”—life.

§ 35.   —to be continued in Demeure such as this: “The slippage of the [metonymic] “that is to say’s,” the play of these [metonymies], is a passion of literature as passion of death and compassion.”[4]

§ 36.   Death and compassion, abiding. Death inscribes the com, the com the passion. Passion: com: death: . Dreamth of literature, Derreamember, abides in of on by metonymical death: death always slips, moving on further forth. Literature, then, is death and the “dothing” inversely delayed, deferred. Futurity makes death move, slip, makes it legible, makes literature—never as a tossed out fish: “caterature.” In this way not only democracy has to come—since it is what comes, inevitably, never heard of Hegel—but also democracy irradicalized, deracinated: allocracy. From literature nothing—and nothing is what yields differences—else comes forth than allocracy. And it may be that the friendship of DerreathandAliCe is the first writing where allocracy writes itself? And it may be that, for instance, the little piece called “La Différance” may be wreatten as a certain ontology certainly the remotest from that oontology so commonly disguised under the term ‘ontology.’ It might be a “cosmology.” In that cosmology Nothing is more important than what we are in the habit of calling Being. Translate that. But it is said that Being is a special case of Nothing, and that when you bond death and life together—lifeath—you only have allocracies to come forth, fragile, the most fragile ones, approaching always that Nothing, knowing that we have forgotten about what transcendence and immanence alike meant, only that the two were basically the same, luring us to belief in eternal existence. A différanceal ontology would acknowledge a certain machinic logic, very far, though, from the hallucinations of the perpetuum mobile; the machine might break at any time any thing any where any body. In the end we might dream that the Nothing is real, that it actually might happen to us, make us nothing by our own making us nothing neglecting nothing repressing it simulating it, therefore killing any belief in a “transcendentally” or “immanently” secured existence. The ‘slipping’ of the ‘that is to say’ bespeaks the spacing and temporization of death; general iterability makes the slippage from life to death and death to life.

§ 37.   In Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint, which is a biography and a text commentary, wou should be able to find passages between herself and “Derridada”—Hartmann’s phrase in Saving the Text—that not imagines, mēkhanē, machinates, prosthesizes, Derridada as torn and tormented by his not being able to believe as she does in life for life, for all of life, for nothing but life whatever, that taking side which in its exclusive finesse loses all sides. Here, as elsewhere, anywhere, words invite to discussion, recussion; their life-and-death: DerreathAndAliCe.

§ 38.   Next to last paragraph:

He is the divided, the one who—it took me so long to fathom this mystery—strikes the mountain twice yes, yes, twice, the one who makes the heart of belief tremble, the philosophical divider, the one who knows that one cannot say I believe without doubting, without crossing out I and believe and doubt.[5]

This striker of the mountain, “in a vision in 1963, a creature, person, figure, animal, “god”,” she has already related to the solitude of the Jew, to her “mythological imagination” where the most ancient characters of this mythological imagination “first manifested themselves on a mountain top, from the peak of their solitude. Of their incredible solitude.”[6] “In those days I said a mountain, it was my first apocalypse and there was no name for it. By antonomasia I called him native of the peaks.”[7] On this peak of the mountain Derrida is— . . . is not alone. She imagines Derrida—now rather named by title or epithet—as Abraham, Moses, and Derrida—there are three of them, three antonomasis. That is what the chapter “Second Skin” says. And this: whereas Moses’ sentence goes ‘You Shall Not Enter,’ Abraham’s sentence goes ‘You Shall Take,’ Derrida’s says: “A creature of the peaks I say, absolutely distant from the cemetery he dreads, he who, if only he knew, is elected for the cemeteryless peaks. All by himself. We need a witness.”[8] And:

For everything that is beyond us filters through the secrets of the writing, his ellipses, his asyndetons, his lightening juxtapositions, there is no bridge, the dictionary from the language of God or rather God-the-sentence (he speaks brief in sentences) to the language of the mortals has never existed. But one must read all of Genesis on one’s knees on his stones in order to get close to this Abraham of SayingNothing. God says. Done.[9]

“It is the same mountain, Nebo, Sinai, or the other I saw in 1963.”[10] I say Derrida is neither at a mountain nor at a peak. Second skin, circumcision, incision, violence, masturbation; there is no dictionary, and this so because there is no need for it. Where would it come from? Where? There is language, perhaps here and there “untranslatable,” perhaps so, and in double quotation marks, since there is no Measure. Perhaps the Jews were the first to experience and write this? Anyway, a ‘dictionary’ would witness and presuppose a god; Derreath the Derrida would surely not say of himself that: “He is the man in secret, in mourning, his smile damp with tears. Condemned—elected [“Eliah”]—mohel of his soul. In both cases suffering, cruelty. Wrestling with the angel of himself. Jacques on a superhuman scale. Vanquished and vanquisher.”[11]

§ 39.   Is not Cixous too literal in her knowing Derrida? More literal than Derrida ever wanted,

dreamed of, believed in? The tormented saint, Eliah? When I answer, respond, with a certain prefix ‘re-,’ otherwise than Cixous, without sponte, spontaneity, no spoon well-formed, rounded, digging into future’s foods, then I too writes autobiographically, and autothanatographically, but without believing that my very uttermost ownmost autographicity should write exactly upon his, his letters, literality, latin, mondialatinization; the Derridaean nostalgeria is not the same as Cixousean algeriance—to mention a spot where the literality of the two converges literally. Or to take another example: when Derreath writes about circumcision—and he mentions, e.g., the holy circumvented text in leather delivered to Freud—, is it lament autographically the writing incised on him without his possible consent, or is it to say something about graphemes, their structures, their laws, their conditions of possibility and impossibility, hymens, différances, parergons, margins, substitutions, and such.

§ 40.  Are the motif of circumcision in a chain of motifs, where you could say that they all ‘substitute for each other,’ ‘each others différance,’ etc., or is all these motifs reducible to the brit milah ritual, very autographically, as if Derrida only reflected that thing he was never to write with, the thing that wrote on him—‘him’? Somewhere else Cixous writes about Derrida’s “essentialism”…

§41. Mohel of his own soul, brit milah ritual? Is his soul his penis? Is his torment of a circumcised penis to be juxtaposed—literally ‘juxta’—on his soul, equally tormented (thinking with his circumcised “penisoula”), saint of a religious penis? How can you say that about Derreath? Or, it might be that I would that I might not understood AliCe, still knowing that she might be perfectly right. She would be right, Derrida would, I would, we all would.

§ 42. As I read their correspondences, their books devoted to and naming and referring to each other, I read it that I have had enough, for now at least, that perhaps I will return to the two, re-turn, and still be right, autothanatobiographically speaking then. But just let me end with some paragraphs from the last interview he gave two months before he died his coming, promised death, some paragraphs or some sentences of which will perhaps “contradict” what I resigned to write above: [let me mark in italics where I have my doubts]

[a]live, and from whom I have also inherited, and undoubtedly from others abroad, in even greater number, and who, for all their distance, sometimes feel closer. I thereby designate, metonymically, an ethics of writing and thinking that is intransigent, I would even say incorruptible (Helene Cixous calls us the “incorruptibles”), without compromise even with regard to philosophy, which does not retreat despite the prospect that public opinion, the media, or the fantasies of an intimidating readership might effectively demand that we simplify, or shrink back.


Each book is a teaching method intended to educate its reader. The kind of mass writing that currently dominates in the news media and publishing does not educate its readers; it supposes in some phantasmatic way some already programmed reader, so that it inevitably ends in affirming the existence of some mediocre recipient that it has postulated in advance. So that, by an act of faithfulness, as you say, at the moment of leaving a trace, I cannot but make it available for whoever comes along; I cannot even address it singularly, to anyone person. Each time, as faithful as we may want to be, we are betraying the singularity of the other whom we address. A fortiori when one writes a very general book, one does not know whom one is talking to, one invents and creates silhouettes; but at bottom this no longer belong to us. Oral or written, all these gestures leave us, they begin to act independently of us. Like machines, or better yet like

marionettes—I explain myself better about this in Paper Machine. At the moment “my” book is published (no one is forcing me to do so) I become an appearance-disappearance, like that unteachable specter that will never learn how to live.


The trace I leave to me means at once my death, to come or already come, and the hope that it will survive me. It is not an ambition of immortality; it is fundamental. I leave here a bit of paper, I leave, I die; it is impossible to exit this structure; it is the unchanging form of my life. Every time I let something go, I live my death in writing. An extreme process; we exert ourselves without knowing whom exactly the thing we leave behind is confided to. Who is going to inherit, and how? It is a question that one can pose oneself today more than ever. It constantly preoccupies me.


At my age, I am ready to accept the most contradictory ideas about this issue. I have, I assure you, a dual feeling that, on the one hand, and I say this with a smile, and rather immodesty, that we have not even begun yet to read me; that even if there are of course some very good readers (a few dozen in the world, maybe), at bottom, it is only later that all this has a chance of emerging; but at the same time, I imagine that fifteen days after my death there will be nothing left, except what is kept in storage by legal mandate. I swear to you, I think that both these things are possible at the same time.


That is why there is in my writing a—I would not say perverse, but a somewhat violent manner of working with the language. Out of love. Love in general passes through love of language, which is neither nationalist nor conservative, but which demands proof. And labors. You don’t do anything you want with language, it was here before us and it will be here after we are gone. If we have an impact on language in some way, this has to be done carefully, respecting even in disrespect its secret laws. This is unfaithful faithfulness: when I cause the French language violence, I do it with the careful respect of what I believe to be an injunction of the language, into its life, its evolution. I cannot read without smiling, sometimes with contempt, the writing of those who believe to be violating, without love, the classic orthography or syntax of the French language, like virgins ejaculating prematurely, while the great French language, ever impervious, watches them do their business and awaits the next one. I describe this ridiculous scenario, rather cruelly, in The Postcard.


It is true, I am at war with myself, and you have no idea to what extent, more than you can guess, and I say things that contradict each other, that are, let’s say, in real tension with each other, that compose me, that make me live, and that will make me die. This war, I see it sometimes as a terrifying and painful war, but at the same time I know that it is life. I will not find peace except in eternal rest. Therefore I cannot say that I assume this contradiction, but I know too that it is what allows me to live, and to pose the question, effectively, that you posed, “how to learn how to live?”

Q: In two recent books, The End of the World, Always Unique, and Rams, you come back to this major question of salvation, of the impossible mourning, of survival in fact. If philosophy can be defined as “the anxious anticipation of death” (see Giving Death), can one imagine “deconstruction” as an interminable ethos of survival?

D: As I already said, from the outset and long before the experience of survival that are actually my own, I noted that survival is an original concept, which defines the structure itself of what we call existence, the Da-sein, if you will. We are, structurally speaking, survivors, marked by this structure of the trace, of the

testament. That said, I would not endorse the view according to which survival is defined more by death, the past, than by life and the future. No: deconstruction is always on the side of the affirmative, the affirmation of life. [Mark the fact that I did not underline the last sentence.] Everything I have said at least since Steps (in Vicinities) about survival as a complication of the opposition death-life proceeds with me from an unconditional affirmation of life. Survival is life beyond life, life more than life, and the discourse I undertake is not death-oriented, just the opposite, it is the affirmation of someone living who prefers living, and therefore survival, to death; because survival is not simply what remains, it is the most intense life possible. I am never more haunted by the necessity of dying than in moments of happiness and joy. To feel joy and to lament the specter of death, for me is the same thing. When I go over my life, I tend to think that I had the chance to love even the unhappy moments of my life, and to cherish them. Almost all, with almost no exception. When I think of the happy moments, I cherish them too, of course, at the same time that they guide me toward thoughts of death, toward death, because it’s over, finished…

§ 43.   “I am at war with myself.” Derreamember: Derrida died Cixous, and too soon one will be able to say that Cixous lived Derrida. The stiffest, sternest difference but still not oppositional; if wou read them together I dream wou have that geography of the bearth. They met in bearth, they still meet and met, remotely, con-trolled. They will be dreamembered just before we wake, are wakened, up, inviting us, yet again and yets agains, to play write. Dreamth, they echo, spaced, the différance of nothing. Nothing? Last dreamth: ‘Life and death; a mostly fragile relation—irrelation? Is the ‘n’—not the ‘n-1’ or (n-1)-1 or n+1, etc.—in the middle able—from whom, what?—to bear, support, ‘a’’s life and ‘d’’s death? ‘N’ is the quasi-measure of the ab-solute and precarious fragility in question; it may point optimistically, but it seems more to resign in a downward motion, periodized, chthonicized, still, giving up, resigning (where the hyphen between ‘re’ and ‘signing’ has been forgotten altogether, leaving no trace). Still most of our letters do so—even if the machinic suspends the hands experience of this, having the letters hanged by electronico-fluid gallows—: they end searching for the root. But as there are no definite ending, so Nothing has said its last word. The marking of the period is still always already—always already by futureal proviso—an interim death. And so life and death are still joined, in the fragility and porosity of the well-rounded period and periodization. A period is always provisional. This attests to the intangibility of any ontology or oontology, any letter of beginnings, middles, or ends. What the period unwillingly attests and witness to—a blinded, deaf, mute testimony—is just another articulation of nothing, or the hirstory of nothing; Nothing is the innumerable, what mathematics pours numbers into, and so emptying reality with mass destruction bombs and mass pollution and disturbances, a reality that with the biblos as a firm historical condition creates more refined instruments of simulatory veils—news papers, notebooks, typing paper, computer and television screens, and still more virtual and/or subtle screens, more and more operating in that curious space of the binary of 1 and 0— veiling the fact of the vase and the subject and the period and what not—subsisting, the support, the substance, the hypothesis, the subterranean, the subterfuge, supplanting, subordination, supposing, supplementing, understanding, &C.[1] The letter is a mash and an image of death and nothing, much more so since it has been supposed to be the other way around. About Nothing wou could write just about anything, just about, except, that is, that tiny-vast nothing that keeps it Nothing.

And so infinitely more rich and giving than any conceivable Godhead. Fare, therefore, well.

[1] “Everything he writes, everything he thinks is a protest against the point as indivisible,” writes AliCe in her Portrait (p. 63), reminding us of a place where Derreath had it written: “writing no point in writing.” “Yet this point is not nothing.” (PJD, 65) Precisely not, says the two ones so impatient with the period.

[2] D, p. 72.

[3] HCL, pp. 152-3.

[4] Ibid., p. 153.

[5] D, p. 72.

[6] N, p. 123.

[7] Ibid., p. 122.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid, pp. 122-3.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., p. 123.

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