Looking at Michael Millerman’s Chapter (2020) “Derrida” (Part 3 of 5)

0012 Derrida says that deconstruction is not the same as negative theology.

Millerman isolates three themes that Derrida uses to characterize apophatic mysticism.  These are (A) hyperessentialism, (B) presentation and (C) spatialization.

So far, I associate (A) hyperessentialism to the essence of the actuality2 of negative theology.

I associate (B) presentation with the esse_ce of the actuality2 of negative theology.

The two states of apophatic mysticism represent preparation for and reception of a secret, defined as information known only to us, the Creator and the created.   Later, Millerman discusses Heidegger’s term, Walten, defined as a space of strife and accord.  One nested form contains two, disparate, actualities.

Perhaps, Walten looks like this.

Figure 06

0013 That leaves (C) spatialization be visualized.

Millerman notes that Derrida goes out of his way to avoid spatializing metaphors.  Derrida’s avoidance is so obvious that Millerman starts his chapter with a question, asking (more or less), “Is it possible to see how Derrida locates himself in a different place than Heidegger?”

The spatialization of apophatic mysticism is obvious.  The adept becomes an vessel that is consciously emptied of all matters, in preparation for a gift from the Creator.  That gift, at first, is like a secret, known only to the Creator and the adept.  So it is very important for the adept not to be fooled by just anything that enters the vessel that is “himself”.  The adept must ask the gift, “Where are you coming from?”

0014 So, why does Derrida avoid spatial metaphors?

After all, if spoken language consists of two arbitrarily related systems of differences, then it seems that there would be plenty of opportunity for spatial metaphors.  For example, I may say that deconstruction destabilizes cognitive spaces.  What are these “cognitive spaces”?  They are placeholders in systems of differences.

0015 Spoken words have two ways of being.

In the first way, a definition3 brings a spoken word2 into relation with the possibilities inherent in meaning, presence and message1.

In the second way, an uttered word (parole) occupies a position in a system of differences.  This fact forces the corresponding thought (langue) to occupy a position in a system of differences.

A question arises, “Is there a purely relational structure that spatializes word-positions in a linguistic system of differences?”

The answer must rely on the first way, even though it is not the same as the first way.

The Greimas square is a purely relational structure that satisfies the prerequisites of the second way, while relying on the first way.

0016 Here is a picture of the Greimas square.

Figure 07

What are the rules?

The spoken word under consideration is (A) the focal term.

B contrasts with A.

C contradicts B and implicates A.

D contrasts with C, contradicts A and implicates B.

I use the terms “complements” and “implicates” interchangeably.

I also confound the terms, “contradicts”, “speaks against” and “stands against”.

0017 I know from the previous discussion that deconstruction and negative theology share the word, “secret”.  A secret is information known only to us.  Each tradition focuses on different features of what a secret is.

So “secret” can be a focal word (A)

0018 For deconstruction, an utterance (B) contrasts with secret (A).  

Figure 08

I find it strange to think of an utterance as a style of conspiracy.  But it is.  Only people who speak the same tongue can whisper secrets to one another.  The information (C) speaks against the whisper (B).  If asked, a person sharing a secret will tell others, “I was only whispering.”  The information (C) is filled with concepts that express explicit abstractions.

0018 Explicit abstractions?

A Primer on Explicit and Implicit Abstraction, by Razie Mah, is available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  I think that, for the purposes of this blog, I can boil down that discussion into the following.  “Concepts” associate to explicit abstraction.  “Incepts” associate to implicit abstraction.  Explicit abstraction requires speech-alone talk.  Implicit abstraction characterizes hand and hand-speech talk.  Explicit abstraction is evolutionarily recent.  Implicit abstraction in evolutionarily ancient.

0019 So, here is the last item in Derrida’s Greimas square for the word, “secret”.

A conceptual apparatus (D) contrasts with the information of the secret (C), speaks against the secret itself (A) (because it exists before the secret) and complements the utterance (B), in the same way that langue [implicates] parole.

0020 For Heidegger, a pact (B) contrasts with the secret (A), which is really a gift from the Creator.

Figure 09

Awareness of the presence of a gift (C) in an incept (C).  Perhaps, it is a feeling, a motivaction, an insight, or whatever spoken word that one wants to use.  The awareness (C) stands against the pact (B) and complements the gift delivered by a messenger (A).  Finally, the incept (C) congeals into a conviction (D), a meaning, presence and message, that may or may not be articulated in speech-alone talk.

0021 The conviction (D) contrasts with the incept (C).  It (D) speaks against the secret (A, the gift) because every human vessel is flawed in our current Lebenswelt.  It (D) implicates the pact (B) that comes through an angel to the one who has be waiting.