Sunday, October 30, 2005

So There

Unfortunately or fortunately, as you like it, I am not mystical and there is nothing mystical in my work. In fact my work is a deconstruction of values which found mysticism, i.e. of presence, view, of the absence of a marque, of the unspeakable. If I say I am no mystic, particularly not a Jewish one as Habermas claims at one point, then I say that not to protect myself, but simply to state a fact. Not just that personally I am not mystical, but that I doubt whether anything I write has the least trace of mysticism. In this regard there are many misunderstandings not only between Habermas and me, but also between many German readers and me, as far as I can see. In part this is because German philosophers do not read my texts directly, but refer instead to secondary, often American interpretations. For instance if Habermas speaks of my judaic mysticism he uses a book by Susan Handelman which in my view is certainly interesting, but very problematic regarding the claim that I am a lost son of Judaism. At any rate one never reads immediately. I know very well that one always reads from within certain schemes and mediations, so I do not demand that one read me - as if before my texts you could put yourselves into some kind of intuitive ecstasy - but I ask that one be careful with the mediations, more critical regarding the translations and the detours through contexts that very often are quite far away from mine.
- Derrida

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