In this adolescent period, Derrida found in the works of philosophers and writers such as Rousseau , Nietzsche , and Gide an instrument of revolt against family and society. At the same colloquium Derrida would meet Jacques Lacan and Paul de Man , the latter an important interlocutor in the years to come. Derrida appears in the film as himself and also contributed to the script. Derrida traveled widely and held a series of visiting and permanent positions. He was elected as its first president. His papers were filed in the university archives.

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This is, in effect, the antinomy contained within the bourgeois notions of individuality, individual responsibility In the long term or in its notion , democracy is the only appropriate form of government; however, because of the immaturity of people, conditions for a functioning democracy can only be established through a non-democratic monarchy which, through the exertion of its benevolent power, educates people to political maturity.

At its most extreme, this brings Kant to the notion that human history itself is a deployment of an inscrutable? A way to clarify — if not resolve — this dilemma would have been to introduce some further crucial distinctions into the notion of "noumenal" freedom itself. That is to say, upon a closer look, it becomes evident that, for Kant, discipline and eduction do not directly work on our animal nature, forging it into human individuality: as Kant points out, animals cannot be properly educated since their behavior is already predestined by their instincts.

What this means is that, paradoxically, in order to be educated into freedom qua moral autonomy and self-responsibility , I already have to be free in a much more radical, "noumenal", monstrous even, sense.

How do we pass from "natural" to "symbolic" environs? This passage is not direct, one cannot account for it within a continuous evolutionary narrative: something has to intervene between the two, a kind of "vanishing mediator," which is neither Nature nor Culture - this In-between is not the spark of logos magically conferred on homo sapiens, enabling him to form his supplementary virtual symbolic environs, but precisely something which, although it is also no longer nature, is not yet logos, and has to be "repressed" by logos - the Freudian name for this monstrous freedom, of course, is death drive.

It is interesting to note how philosophical narratives of the "birth of man" are always compelled to presuppose a moment in human pre history when what will become man, is no longer a mere animal and simultaneously not yet a "being of language," bound by symbolic Law; a moment of thoroughly "perverted," "denaturalized", "derailed" nature which is not yet culture.

It is on account of this "unruliness" that the human animal needs a Master to discipline him: discipline targets this "unruliness," not the animal nature in man.

Was this withdrawal-into-self not accomplished by Descartes in his universal doubt and reduction to Cogito, which, as Derrida pointed out in his "Cogito and the history of madness", [4] also involves a passage through the moment of radical madness?

This brings us to the necessity of Fall: what the Kantian link between dependence and autonomy amounts to is that Fall is unavoidable, a necessary step in the moral progress of man.

That is to say, in precise Kantian terms: "Fall" is the very renunciation of my radical ethical autonomy; it occurs when I take refuge in a heteronomous Law, in a Law which is experience as imposed on me from the outside, i. Therein resides the difficulty of being a Kantian. This, precisely, is what the analyst refuses to do, and this is what makes him so traumatic — paradoxically, it is the setting of a firm limit which is liberating, and it is the very absence of a firm limit which is experienced as suffocating.

THIS is why the Kantian autonomy of the subject is so difficult — its implication is precisely that there is nobody outside, no external agent of "natural authority", who can do the job for me and set me my limit, that I myself have to pose a limit to my natural "unruliness.

In this precise sense, a truly enlightened "mature" human being is a subject who no longer needs a master, who can fully assume the heavy burden of defining his own limitations.

This basic Kantian and also Hegelian lesson was put very clearly by Chesterton: "Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense every act is an act of self-sacrifice. First, throughout entire philosophy of subjectivity from Descartes through Kant, Schelling and Hegel, to Nietzsche and Husserl, Cogito is related to its shadowy double, pharmakon, which is madness. Second, madness is inscribed into the very pre history of Cogito itself, it is part of its transcendental genesis.

In "Cogito and the History of Madness," Writing and Difference Derrida states that the Cogito escapes madness only because at its own moment, under its own authority, it is valid even if I am mad, even if my thoughts are completely mad. The term "light" is here crucial to measure the distance of Descartes from German Idealism, in which, precisely, the core of the subject is no longer light, but the abyss of darkness, the "Night of the World.

This tension may appear very "Lacanian": is it not a version of the tension between the Real — the hyperbolic excess — and its ultimately always failed symbolization? The matrix we thus arrive at is the one of the eternal oscillation between the two extremes, the radical expenditure, hyperbole, excess, and its later domestification like Kristeva, between Semiotic and Symbolic Illusionary are both extremes: pure excess as well as pure finite order would disintegrate, cancel themselves This misses the true point of "madness," which is not the pure excess of the Night of the World, but the madness of the passage to the Symbolic itself, of imposing a symbolic order onto the chaos of the Real.

Like Freud, who, in his Schreber analysis, points out how the paranoiac "system" is not madness, but a desperate attempt to ESCAPE madness — the disintegration of the symbolic universe - through an ersatz, as if, universe of meaning. This is why, for very good reasons, "Hegel" stands for the common sense for the moment at which philosophy gets "mad," explodes into a "crazy" pretense at "absolute knowledge" Is psychoanalysis not precisely the point at which the "man of reason" reestablishes his dialogue with madness, rediscovering the dimension of TRUTH in it?

And not the same "hermeneutic"-mantic truth as before, in the pre-modern universe? Foucault deals with this in History of Sexuality, where psychoanalysis as the culmination of "sex as the ultimate truth" confessionary logic On the one hand, his strategic aim is to make madness itself talk, as it is in itself, outside the scientific, etc.

A history not of psychiatry, but of madness itself, in its vivacity, before knowledge has even begun to close in on it. Textual endless self-reflexive games versus materialist analysis. He reproaches Derrida his inability to think the exteriority of philosophy — this is how he designates the stakes of their debate: could there be something prior or external to the philosophical discourse? Can the condition of this discourse be an exclusion, a refusal, an avoided risk, and, why not, a fear?

A suspicion rejected passionately by Derrida. Pudenda origo, said Nietzsche with regard to religious people and their religion. This, then, are the true stakes of the debate: ex-timacy or direct externality? And, also simultaneously, religion direct faith is evoked as madness Swedenborg for Kant, or radical Enlightenment rationalists, up to Dawkins , AND religion God enters as the solution from solypsistic madness Descartes.

Foucault and Derrida: polemic, in which they share the key underlying premise: that Cogito is inherently related to madness. Before it stabilizes itself as res cogitans, the self-transparent thinking substance, Cogito as a crazy punctual excess. In Foucault there is a fundamental change in the status of madness took place in the passage from Renaissance to the classical Age of Reason the beginning of 17th century.

In Renaissance Cervantes, Shakespeare, Erasmus, etc. It was a meaningful phenomenon with a truth of its own. Even if madmen were vilified, they were treated with awe, like messengers of sacred horror. It is no longer a phenomenon to be interpreted, searched for its meaning, but a simple illness to be treated under the well-regulated laws of a medicine or a science that is already sure of itself, sure that it cannot be mad. This change does not concern only theory, but social practice itself: from the Classical Age, madmen were interned, imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals, deprived of the full dignity of a human being, studied and controlled like a natural phenomenon.

Searching for the absolutely certain foundation of knowledge, Descartes analyses main forms of delusions: delusions of senses and sensible perception, illusions of madness, dreams. From here, he arrives at the certainty of Cogito I think : even if I can doubt everything, even if all I see is an illusion, I cannot doubt that I think all this, so Cogito is the absolutely certain starting point of philosophy.

Madness in the modern sense is not directly a phenomenon that we can observe, but a discursive construct which emerges at a certain historical moment, together with its double, Reason in the modern sense.

In his reading of Histoire de la folie, Derrida focused on these 4 pages about Descartes which, for him, provide the key to the entire book. Out of this universal doubt, Cogito emerges: even if everything is an illusion, I can still be sure that I think. Madness is thus not excluded by Cogito: it is not that the Cogito is not mad, but Cogito is true even if I am totally mad.

The extreme doubt, the hypothesis of universal madness, is not external to philosophy, but strictly internal to it. But the excess, the hyperbole of universal madness, is not historical.

It is the excessive moment which grounds philosophy, in all its historical forms. Madness is thus not excluded by philosophy: it is internal to it. Of course, every philosophy tries to control this excess, to repress it — but in repressing it, it represses its own innermost foundation: "Philosophy is perhaps the reassurance given against the anguish of being mad at the point of greatest proximity to madness" In his reply, Foucault first tries to prove, through a detailed reading of Descartes, that the madness evoked by Descartes does not have the same status of illusion as sensory illusions and dreams.

In madness, on the contrary, I myself am no longer normal, I lose my reason. So madness has to be excluded if I am to be a rational subject. Apropos the hypothesis of universal doubt and the Evil Genius, we are not dealing with true madness here, but with the rational subject who feigns to be mad, who makes a rational experiment, never losing his control over it.

Finally, in the very last page of his reply, Foucault tries to determine the true difference between himself and Derrida. What we have to look for are not deeper textual analyses, but the way discursive practices are combined with practices of power and domination. Since the two causal networks that of ideas in my mind and that of bodily interconnections are totally independent, the only solution is that a third, true Substance God continuously coordinates and mediates between the two, sustaining the semblance of continuity: when I think about raising my hand and my hand effectively raises, my thought causes the raising of my hand not directly but only "occasionally" - upon noticing my thought directed at raising my hand, God sets in motion the other, material, causal chain which leads to my hand effectively being raised.

Occasionalism is thus essentially a name for the "arbitrary of the signifier", for the gap that separates the network of ideas from the network of bodily real causality, for the fact that it is the big Other which accounts for the coordination of the two networks, so that, when my body bites an apple, my soul experiences a pleasurable sensation. This same gap is targeted by the ancient Aztec priest who organizes human sacrifices to ensure that the sun will rise again: the human sacrifice is here an appeal to God to sustain the coordination between the two series, the bodily necessity and the concatenation of symbolic events.

And is it not the same with our immersion into Virtual Reality? When I raise my hand in order to push an object in the virtual space, this object effectively moves - my illusion, of course, is that it was the movement of my hand which directly caused the dislocation of the object, i. This extreme and clear case of fake participation is an appropriate metaphor of the participation of individuals in our "postmodern" political process.

For that reason, it is crucial to maintain open the radical ambiguity of how cyberspace will affect our lives: this does not depend on technology as such but on the mode of its social inscription. Immersion into cyberspace can intensify our bodily experience new sensuality, new body with more organs, new sexes What one encounters here is the constitutive ambiguity of the notion of mediatization: [16] originally this notion designated the gesture by means of which a a subject was stripped of its direct, immediate right to make decisions; the great master of political mediatization was Napoleon who left to the conquered monarchs the appearance of power, while they were effectively no longer in a position to exercise it.

One can see, again, how the prospect of radical virtualization bestows on the computer the position which is strictly homologous to that of God in the Malebrancheian occasionalism: since the computer coordinates the relationship between my mind and what I experience as the movement of my limbs in the virtual reality , one can easily imagine a computer which runs amok and starts to act liker an Evil God, disturbing the coordination between my mind and my bodily self-experience - when the signal of my mind to raise my hand is suspended or even counteracted in the virtual reality, the most fundamental experience of the body as "mine" is undermined In other words, does the externalization of the big Other in the computer not account for the inherent paranoiac dimension of the wired universe?

Or, to put it in a yet another way: the commonplace is that, in cyberspace, the ability to download consciousness into a computer finally frees people from their bodies - but it also frees the machines from "their" people What, then, is the Matrix? Simply the Lacanian "big Other," the virtual symbolic order, the network that structures reality for us. In short, this "big Other" is the name for the social Substance, for all that on account of which the subject never fully dominates the effects of his acts, i.

However, it is here crucial to note that, in the key chapters of The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, Lacan struggles to delineate the operation that follows alienation and is in a sense its counterpoint, that of separation: alienation IN the big Other is followed by the separation FROM the big Other. Separation takes place when the subject takes note of how the big Other is in itself inconsistent, purely virtual, "barred," deprived of the Thing - and fantasy is an attempt to fill out this lack of the Other, not of the subject, i.

For that reason, fantasy and paranoia are inherently linked: paranoia is at its most elementary a belief into an "Other of the Other", into another Other who, hidden behind the Other of the explicit social texture, programs what appears to us as the unforeseen effects of social life and thus guarantees its consistency: beneath the chaos of market, the degradation of morals, etc.

Following the same paranoiac twist, the thesis of The Matrix is that this big Other is externalized in the really existing Mega-Computer. There is - there HAS to be - a Matrix because "things are not right, opportunities are missed, something goes wrong all the time," i.

Consequently, the problem with the film is that it is NOT "crazy" enough, because it supposes another "real" reality behind our everyday reality sustained by the Matrix. One is tempted to claim, in the Kantian mode, that the mistake of the conspiracy theory is somehow homologous to the "paralogism of the pure reason," to the confusion between the two levels: the suspicion of the received scientific, social, etc.

Chesterton, Orthodoxy, FQ Publishing,



In a sense, what we have here in the final analysis are grand, overblown condemnations of the more obviously condemnable aspects of modern medicine and politics. But part of the method here is to render the critic heroic by moralizing everything and by exaggerating the significance of the offense in question. Descartes fits into this story as the one early modern philosopher upon whom Foucault concentrates attention. The issue on which Derrida focuses is the impact on the cogito of the possibility that the subject is mad. This means that Descartes does not, in the course of finding certainty of his existence in the fact that he thinks, refute the doubt that he might be mad. Derrida notes that Descartes appears aware of this problem, since he appeals to God to ensure his sanity.



Below I go over the debate between Foucault and Derrida after a whole semester in which I taught their texts on crime and punishment, but not this particular debate. And obviously, anything below is a trying out of certain ideas. Final Lecture: Differences of Method This will have been an act of madness: to wait until the last class, in its final hours, to redescribe the relation between Foucault and Derrida in terms of their quite critical debates across 30 years of a limited number of writings. To have read them thus far, side by side, not even concerning the very issues confronting them in those debates most particularly a few short passages in the opening paragraphs of Descartes Meditations , but instead spending a semester on crime and punishment and the abyssal relation between the two.


Jacques Derrida

Meztizahn What, then, is the Matrix? Deconstruction appears to be a strangely closed system of opaque references to opaque texts, where the appearance of intellectual daring obscures a profound lack of insight, and amdness an imaginative use of etymology and metaphor stands in for learning. Unless I were to liken myself to madmen, whose brains are so damaged by the persistent vapours of melancholia that they firmly maintain they are kings when they are paupers, or say they are dressed in purple when they are naked, or that their heads are made of earthenware, or that they are pumpkins, or made of glass. A gift is not a gift unless it is unexpected, and 2. Become a PEL Citizen! This basic Kantian and also Hegelian lesson madnesss put very clearly by Chesterton: Following the same paranoiac twist, the thesis of The Matrix is that this big Other is externalized in the really existing Mega-Computer.

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