Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Deconstruction in a Nutshell
"Deconstruction in a nutshell? Why, the very idea!
The very idea of a nutshell is a mistake and a misunderstanding, an excess of journalistic haste and impatience [...]. Nutshells enclose and encapsulate, shelter and protect, reduce and simplify, while everything in deconstruction is turned toward opening, exposure, expansion, and complexification [...].
The very meaning and mission of deconstruction is to show that things - texts, institutions, traditions, societies, beliefs, and practices [...] - do not have definable meanings and determinable missions, that they are always more than any mission would impose [...].
Whenever it runs up agains a limit, deconstruction presses against it. Whenever deconstruction finds a nutshel - a secure axiom or a pithy maxim - the very idea is to crack it open and disturb this tranquility. Indeed, that is a good rule of thumb in deconstruction. That is what deconstruction is all about, its very meaning and mission, if it has any. One might even say that cracking nutshells is what deconstruction is. In a nutshell.
Deconstruction is the relentless pursuit of the impossible, which means, of things whose possibility is sustained by their impossibility, of things which, instead of being wiped out by their impossibility, are actually nourished and fed by it.
(In "Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida", ed John D. Caputo
ISBN 0-8232-1755-8, p.31,32)