Sunday, January 23, 2011

What would Jacques Derrida say about wedding?

When Steven asked me to MC for him, he wanted me to squeeze in some snippet statements from radical philosophers. Of course I reject his suggestion, as I, as a Presbyterian, naturally approach the wedding proceeding with solemnity and not radicality. However, after yesterday’s night rehearsal, he again bugged me to indulge him before we left. After giving his persistence some thoughts, and since this is his big day, so I guess I cannot not oblige. So I wrote it the night before his wedding. However after talking with the presiding pastor-in-charge, it would not be appropriate to give such a speech during the wedding procession. So in the end, the speech is not delivered. Nonetheless here is that snippet to the beloved newly wed:

The great French philosopher Jacques Derrida is most well known for his idea of deconstruction. People thought that his idea was like an ideological grenade thrown into the world of philosophy to destroy all philosophies. So, naturally people reacted with anger, rejecting his idea as destructive and nonsensical. However, in the year when Steven was born, Derrida gave a lecture that mentioned something peculiar about his destructive idea. He said that ‘deconstruction’ actually always accompanied by love. Surprising! How does something that is so destructive and nonsensical such as deconstruction has a place for love?

Later during an interview done in 17 March 1997 with Nikhil Padgaonkar, Derrida clarified what he meant by deconstruction as always accompanied by love. And what I will do here is to paraphrase and contextualize Derrida’s clarification for Steven and Joreen:

“Your love to each other means an affirmative desire towards the Other person - to respect the Other person, to pay attention to the Other person, not to destroy the otherness of the Other person - and this is the preliminary affirmation, even if afterwards, because of this love, you ask questions, criticize, and sometimes oppose one another. In the final instance, deconstruction is not negative although negativity is no doubt at work. Now, in order to criticise, to negate, to deny, you have first to say "yes". When each one of you addresses the Other person in your married life, even if it is to oppose the Other person, you are making a sort of promise - that is, to address the Other person as truly someone different from you, not to reduce the otherness of the Other, and to take into account the singularity of the Other person. That's an irreducible affirmation.”

In Derrida’s own words, “This is the reaffirmation of the affirmation.” To complement with G. K. Chesterton, “Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.”

Have a great marriage life together, Steven & Joreen! :-)

1 comment:

reasonable said...

wasted :p

Cheers to u Steven