Excuse me, but I never said exactly so: Yet Another Derridean Interview

On the Beach (Glebe NSW, Australia), no. 1/1983: p. 42

In 1982, Paul Brennan spoke to Jacques Derrida at the Collège de France. He specified his questions to issues arising out of Derrida's De la grammatologie.

P.B.: How would you respond to the assertion that you are trying to set up a kind of literary science?

J.D.: It's not really a science in the traditional sense. It's strategy for interpreting sciences, and philosophy also... to deconstruct them, to look at them from many points of view (but of course also from a political point of view) and to show the implicit limits of sciences. For instance, language sciences are the dominant models of science on the French scene.

P.B.: What can a grammatologist do that other philosophers and linguists can't do?

J.D.: First I must say [laughs] that since grammatology is not a positive science... nor a philosophy, there is no "grammatologist". The book on grammatology is not a book for grammatology; it's also a book which insists on the limits of grammatology.

P.B.: You talk about living languages, where the written language closely reflects the spoken language. And you talk also about dead languages, where the written language has no connection with the spoken language. If you look around the world at the hundreds of languages which exist at the moment, which ones would you say are very much alive and which ones are approaching death?

J.D.: Excuse me, but I never said exactly so. I never said that there are totally living languages and that there are dead languages. I think that there is a part of death in every language. And the opposition of life and death in language is a false opposition. The traditional statement about language is that it is in itself living, and that writing is the dead part of language. And this is what I'm fighting against. So, I would not engage myself in saying that there is a hierarchy of more or less living languages today. There are more or less powerful languages - on for instance the technical level, on the economic, or scientific or military level. There are some languages - for instance, English, Russian, Chinese - which are spoken not only by more and more people, but by people and nations which are, for the moment, more powerful than others. But I wouldn't draw the consequence that they are more "living" than the others.

P.B.: You do make a contrast between spoken language and written language and the relationship between them...

J.D.: Ah... it's not an opposition. What I've been doing in the last few years is to extend I mean to give an absolute extension to - the concept of writing so that even the spoken language is written in some way. I mean, there is what I call an "arche-writing" (arche-écriture) which is implied within the spoken language, which implies that the concept of writing is transformed, of course. So there is no opposition between them. For instance, tape recordings are writings in some sense.

P.B.: You've suggested we should stop thinking about various media - speech and writin - that we should stop thinking about them ethically and that the two media of language are beyond good and evil. This obviously puts you at variation with someone like Marshall McLuhan who talks about the medium in very ethical terms - "the microphone created Hitler" and so on.

J.D.: Mm... I think that there is an ideology in McLuhan's discourse that I don't agree with, because he's an optimist as to the possibility of restoring an oral community which would get rid of the writing machines and so on. I think that's a very traditional myth which goes back to... let's say Plato, Rousseau... And instead of thinking that we are living at the end of writing, I think that in another sense we are living in the extension - the overwhelming extension - of writing. At least in the new sense... I don't mean the alphabetic writing down, but in the new sense of those writing machines that we're using now (e.g. the tape recorder). And this is writing too.

P.B.: You end your book with a quotation from Rousseau, who has written about writing as a kind of dreaming. He says:

The dreams of bad nights are given to us as philosophy. Younwill say that I too am a dreamer. I admit this. But I do what others fail to do. I give my dreams as dreams and leave the reader to discover whether there is anything in them which may prove useful to those who are awake.

My question to you is: are you allowing me to interview in much the same spirit - as a dream to be taken as the listener or reader wishes?

J.D.: Yes, but if I were to indulge in saying so, I would imply that I am totally awakened while dreaming, and I have no illusion about that.

*this article is officially published at http://www.hydra.umn.edu/derrida/so.html


Derrida Interview with Robert Maggiori

appeared in:
Le more cahier livres de Libération, Jeudi, 24 novembre 1994, pp. I-III

Translated by Hans-Peter Jaeck

Q: After year Spectres de Marx you publish at the same time with Politiques de l'amitié a still much more political text: Force de loi (dt.: legal power, 1991). called is that, you wants for the rumor an end to prepare, whereafter the Dekonstruktion before questions of the ethics, the social one and the policy resigns as it were nihilistically?

A: No, primary intention is not the retort or the final speech. Since beginning before nearly 30 years has itself my work under the indication, says we, a ethical-political affirmation developed. It concerned itself first with the question of the political one, the moral one, the fair one and the right. One of the manuals will have been the problem of the nationalism. This topic gewidmteten seminars Politiques de l'amitié prepared, particularly for the topic of the Autchtonen, the birth and the fraternity. That is only one example. It actually concerns the responsibility generally - since years the topic of my instruction meetings. A new experience to make with the ethical-political responsibility, to which we are called, i.e., itself the collateral and conceptualnesses too entaeussern, which have an old and tough history: that is a painful experience, thus a dangerous and a Unabschliessbares. The vibrations of our current time make these unimpaired collateral many faster homeless than all dekonstruktiven discourses. The entrance to these requirements after responsibility runs over critical ways, over an obviously destructive, destructive Negativitaet, which like a shade also still the allerverantwortungsbewussteste Affirmation accompanies, the unabschliessbare Affirmation Gerechtigkeit/des of right. One may stop never times to shift the dominating term of the democracy in unrest: the sympathetic, republican and universal fraternity can let the symbolic of the blood return at any time, the nation, the Ethnie or the sublimated Anthrozentrismus. On the other hand one will not react appropriately to these necessities, if one thinks not in other way and writes for not exercising thus without any force opposite thoughtless readings and withdrawn paths of the legitimacy. Particularly in the area of the policy, where one believes, who sloping courses follow, which justify simplifying and ­p;after bereinstimmung looking for Rhetorik, to be allowed to demand from the reader or the voter not too much trouble.

Q: One does not hesitate today to explain the ideal of the emancipation and release for outdated. They do not support such an explanation. Why not? And does one have to have in order to animate, the Moeglihkeiten of the justice, the right think such ideals again again, at the risk, shows that Gerechtigkeit/das right requires from the outset for force?

A: They know very well that I was never, even as it usual fashion, something against the ideal of the emancipation and release (sexually, culturally, linguistically, socially, economically, politically) said or along-talked also only in such a way. I remain progressistic in my kind. Let us nevertheless steadily continue, the classical inheritance of the clearing-up, the Metaphysiken of consciousness, the subject, the liberty, to ask the property or the reappropriation of the cultural tradition again. To do without but without on other clearing-up. And by, more than before, arguing from different control rooms for the Emazipation or release, even, where a certain Heteronomie can be unavoidable - and to be may! Instead of throwing these slogans on the garbage: why them a new value in use don't give, recalling the power of their reliability? That may appear impossible, but without this other language it will not give politics, which are worth the trouble. Above all also no justice. Not the right is it, then one could say, which demands the force (the right must remain disarmed and a rule-free and term-free respect erheischen, an infinite respect for the singularity), but the obligation, the justice as much as writing possible into the calculable public of a law. This obligation is difficult to think and in the work set: the justice becomes never outside of the shape of a law effective, outside of a legal power, which exceeds it however nevertheless. One calls that the policy or history.

In Politiken of the friendship you grant much place, which defines the policy over the distinction of friend and enemy to Carl Schmitt. Meanwhile you add a long note here, in order to hold at least an unavoidable ambiguity within limits. Were you that one would make you - like already before some theoreticians extreme linking - responsible for the rehabilitation of this philosopher, afraid you of its anti-Semitic affect, which had accepted extreme an extent, remind, and of which you say, he had remained probably also after that time, when he explained himself openly as it, Nazi?

Rehabilitate in no case! The word and the gesture frighten me. I referred unambiguously to the Nazi mash and the Antisemitismus Schmitts. It dedicated chapter are from me consciously wanted minutioese questioning of its venture, its Vorannahmen, its diskursiven strategy, its anchorage in the European right, its oppositional logic, its dezisionistischen thinking, the sovereignty and the state of emergency. Briefly said, I believe, one must Schmitt, like Heidegger, again read - and also what takes place between them. If one decided the watchfulness and the daring courage of this reactionary philosopher seriously takes, straight, where it is on restoration out, one can estimate its influence on the left one, in addition, at the same time the disturbing affinities - to Leo bunch, Benjamin and unites others, which do not suspect that. To understand and not formalize the law from these paradoxes - is that not a good introduction to the political tasks from tomorrow? When sleepless guard saw Schmitt me coming or as scouts with the siege its fear courage, what the European order, its political theology, their international right, their state -, war and technique terms, their term of the parliamentary democracy and the media threatens. It is not easy to dismantle the schmittianischen discourse if one wants to do that honestly, and even that is not even sufficient; but I ask myself, whether ies is not one of the useful exercises, in order new political thinking, new thinking of the policy to sharpen.

Q: The Aristoteles awarded sentence - O my friends, it does not give a friend - is the red thread of their reading. At one point you set in addition, what he states over the friendship or the friend to translate into terms of the love but you leave the dissolution in the schwebe. What does he say about the love?

A: I believe, the book act particularly of the love. Tacitly, in the Gleichnis or secretly perhaps - however with each sentence a restrained singing reminds it of the magic transmission, from which you stated evenly, would remain in the schwebe. There is by the way one point perhaps, where everything remains in this book in this dangerous, Nietz coming thinking adds and to which I, as you know, gave much attention. A paper over the love must be a dear act, an act: an explanation and an endorsement, the answer give to the love in the right name, in order to use another word here Nietz. This triftigkeit excludes neither the deceit picture nor the verruecktheit. With respect to the reason I could never differentiate between the love and the friendship, nor want. But over a friend or a friend -I love you to say to be able and for amour fou one must cross so many historical gates into the own body, an immense forest of interdictions and distinctions, code, Scenarien, positions. Perhaps in order to animate again the voice magnetizing loving, which before all distinction between loved and are loved, of a love and a friendship, Eros and Philia, Eros and Agape, a mercy, a fraternity and a next love sounds. This singing lures us on the soil of a labyrinthischen and and-codable, seductive and desperate history. I risk there gladly a step, I may also lose themselves there, to me the time take lose me there. But this Chnace can do us also, strength of word, one moment, a jealous view or a Liebkosung assigns to become. Perhaps that occurs, but without or the other one to betray or the others one cannot do of it account placing.

Q: In order to update your analyses, you did consciously without illustrations, which you the political or medium "Aktualitaet" infer would have can and which would have ordered a canvas to reflection. That is disappointing. One would e.g. gladly have seen, what from the definition its would have become, which says Kant, not only regarding the philanthropist, but also regarding the people friend, on the humanitarian or concerning the process of the fraternal humanization, which you analyze.

A: I hope nevertheless that these "current" purchases one come there into the sense, where I mean allusions not unfold cannot still also do must. The question of the humanitarian one is an example under thousand others. By so many geopolitical tragedies through the interventions in the name of the humanitarian one are inclined to multiply itself it require today, then I, after a new right, assume a more appropriate name, another term of humans - and of the alive one at all. These interventions mark first, then it seems me, the daily confirmed border of the states and the international institutions. Neither their power nor its right, neither their political discourses nor the interpretation of humans or the human rights, who justify it, are on the height its that we, if one may say in such a way, expect from us, in view of the new world-wide disasters, the hunger emergencies, the foreign trade indebtedness, the genocides, the mafia, the inequality before death and before the science, the nameless wars, the crimes against the humanity, apart from all the war crimes and the political crimes. Even, where Kant differentiates the people friend more clearly from the philanthropist, this cannot be we no more humans of the Philsophie or the human, still also the Kanti subject, from which I try to show that it remains still all too very like brothers, clarified male, familial, ethnical or national etc.. But I try to become fair other possibilities of the kantischen discourse which it resumes or shifts. Permit me to point out at least once clearly that it is difficult at the many different in this point as also to speak balanced about it.

Q: They take off with all canonical discourses over the friendship on the exclusion of the friendship between women and that the friendship between a man and a woman. In it does the outstanding feature of the history of the friendship lie? And which were thereby the influences on the constitution of political models e.g. the democracy?

A: It does not concern mind you, to denials that a friendship between women or between man and woman is not possible, completely in the opposite. It goes to a certain extent and all only into Europe around analyzing history through the shape of the friendship - the pair of friends and its testamentischen federation -, phallozentrische through, controlling, canonical became and alone a legal claim on political, philosophical and literary archiving kept. The interpretation of this archives is not easily, rather an endless affair, but it opens to material history (it is now diskursiv or not), de for this model to the political supremacy help. I began to follow to this so rich and so distorted motive of the fraternity: by Greek and Christian representations through, in the process and after the French revolution - so had trouble with the eddy around this into many eyes so Christian word. And despite the intensive effort of the Vergeistigung, sanctioning, the Universalisierung the ideal meaning of the fraternity - and even those the praised and sworn fraternity - remains verwurzelt in the family or in the birth (and thus in its national nature: Blood, soil, Autochtonie) and in the maleness, in the virtue of the sons, the heroes and the soldiers. Thus the topic appears in its Klassizitaet: the virtue, in particular the political virtue, the virtue of the love and the necessity to entreissen this virtue their and RON trichloroethylene mash peculiar vorvaeterlihen. The civilian, civic equality between the men and the women, which is in its kind, particularly with us, only newer date, remains, in order to mark out here only this aspect, still another affair furthermore future. The Brueerlichkeit was helpful to the democratization and her even their range give could, but this horizon marks also a border. No historical break will have become with this Fraternalismus finished, about whose meaning we have to think today, particularly regarding a future democracy: neither the circulation from the Greek to the Christian world (whose usual interpretation I denies in this point), still the post office-revolutionary republic (you look yourselves the exciting writings of Michelet or from Hugo - by through I the little bit a French epoch of these Fraternisierung pursue), still the revolution of the psychoanalysis, still also the today's time, and straight that is the one which can be estimated at most, also at most disturbing section of this book: the writings of those, for which the authority of this greco Christian paradigm is no longer natural: Nietz and still many more ueberfeinerter, more quietly, Maurice Blanchot or Jean Luc Nancy. The fraternity, so legend I sometimes, is worried it perhaps not too much.

Q: Jacques Derrida, who are your friends? Not: whose friend are it, but whom love you, since now times the first gentleman-out-rising up moment of your history of the friendship points out with Platon or Aristoteles that one should prefer it, to even love, instead of being friend?

A: My friends and my friends! Even if time and space were left us in addition, I would be silent here. The public answer to this question would be located in my book, sometimes between the lines, sometimes (toward end) in certain names. Those do not designate lle, but they state enough over it that all - male and womanlike - could be called only in the Singular, in the irreplaceable Vokativ. As you see, everything hangs on the Frge the singularity and the number: can one have more as a friend, more than one friend? How many? And where with the equality, the otherness one and the justice in this relationship? Perhaps with this "more as one" and "more than one" the policy begins. The sensitivity and the perseverance, which one spends on the investigation of this place of the Aporien, make perhaps ready and sensitively to the friendship, as I it love. It gives her more opportunity, but all that is never a condition. The friendship does not place conditions, it expects no rueckerstattung: Equality without reciprocity or symmetry. And everywhere, where also only a friendly thought is gently the brother authority, and it those of the idealized brother, asks, it shifts, to worry can, resembles this friendly thought, if he writes himself down, perhaps the thought of a friend; but why not, if the sister is not any more a special case of the brother?

Q: The most beautiful sides of the Politiques de l'amitié are in my opinion those, which dedicate you to Maurice Blanchot. But its term of the friendship seems nevertheless - indivisible and unreversible friendship, for which one leaves, without traces too, a permeable-passive answer for the Nichtpraesenz unknown quantities permits, or: Appeal to dying, coinciding with the separation - not possibly, untenable. Can this term entrance into a policy of the friendship find?

A: No, and the whole problem lies there. No, if one limits the policy - or the democracy - to its today identifiable or unangezweifelten forms. I dream to also always be about a policy, which remains an effective policy, without the possibility of this friendship, so improbably it may do force beyond the mutual cooperative, the neighborly proximity, the identification. Briefly, a policy, which does not do to this friendship opposite wrongly. Is that bare a dream? Perhaps. Still one would have to give one day to it: which seems impossible, already one promised and remains thus conceivablly. We keep it in thinking memory of everyone times, if we love, if we pass the words on love or friendship transferred and. If we it, the love and the friendship make each mark. Perhaps at the origin of the policy this endorsement confessed, even if at this point - inkommensurabel with the secret - a policy remains inadequat and must remain.

This article was translated from German to English. Below is the original text in German that taken from http://www.hydra.umn.edu/derrida/force.html

Derrida zum Freundespreis

erschienen in:
Le cahier livres de Libération, Jeudi, 24 novembre 1994, pp. I-III

Übersetzt von Hans-Peter Jäck

Q: Ein Jahr nach Spectres de Marx publizieren Sie gleichzeitig mit Politiques de l'amitié einen noch viel politischeren Text: Force de loi (dt.: Gesetzeskraft, 1991). Heißt das, Sie wollen dem Gerücht ein Ende bereiten, wonach die Dekonstruktion vor Fragen der Ethik, des Sozialen und der Politik gleichsam nihilistisch abdankt?

A: Nein, primäre Absicht ist nicht die Erwiderung oder das Plädoyer. Seit Beginn vor fast 30 Jahren hat sich meine Arbeit unter dem Zeichen, sagen wir, einer ethisch-politischen Bejahung entwickelt. Sie beschäftigte sich zunächst mit der Frage des Politischen, des Moralischen, des Gerechten und des Rechts. Einer der Leitfäden wird das Problem des Nationalismus gewesen sein. Die diesem Thema gewidmteten Seminare haben Politiques de l'amitié vorbereitet, besonders die zum Thema des Autchtonen, der Geburt und der Brüderlichkeit. Das ist nur ein Beispiel. Tatsächlich geht es um die Verantwortung im allgemeinen - seit Jahren das Thema meiner Unterrichtsveranstaltungen. Eine neue Erfahrung zu machen mit der ethisch-politischen Verantwortung, zu der wir aufgerufen sind, das heißt, sich der Sicherheiten und Begrifflichkeiten zu entäußern, die eine alte und zähe Geschichte haben: das ist eine schmerzvolle Erfahrung, also etwa Gefährliches und Unabschließbares. Die Erschütterungen unserer heutigen Zeit machen diese ungestörten Sicherheiten viel schneller heimatlos als alle dekonstruktiven Diskurse. Der Zugang zu diesen Ansprüchen nach Verantwortung verläuft über kritische Wege, über eine offenkundig zerstörerische, destruktive Negativität, die wie ein Schatten auch noch die allerverantwortungsbewußteste Affirmation begleitet, die unabschließbare Affirmation der Gerechtigkeit/des Rechts. Man darf niemal aufhören, den dominierenden Begriff der Demokratie in Unruhe zu versetzen: die sympathische, republikanische und universelle Brüderlichkeit kann jederzeit das Symbolische des Blutes wiederkehren lassen, die Nation, die Ethnie oder den sublimierten Anthrozentrismus. Andererseits wird man auf diese Notwendigkeiten nicht angemessen reagieren, wenn man nicht in anderer Weise denkt und schreibt, also nicht ohne irgendwelche Gewalt gegenüber leichtfertigen Lektüren und ausgetretenen Pfaden der Legitimierung auszuüben. Besonders auf dem Gebiet der Politik, wo man glaubt, den abschüssigen Bahnen folgen, die vereinfachende und nach ­p;bereinstimmung suchende Rhetorik rechtfertigen, dem Leser oder dem Wähler nicht allzuviel Mühe abverlangen zu dürfen.

Q: Man zögert heute nicht, das Ideal der Emanzipation und der Befreiung für veraltet zu erklären. Sie unterstützen eine solche Erklärung nicht. Warum nicht? Und muß man, um solche Ideale neu zu beleben, die Möglihkeiten der Gerechtigkeit, des Rechts neu denken, auf die Gefahr hin, zeigen zu müssen, daß die Gerechtigkeit/das Recht von Anfang an nach Gewalt verlangt?

A: Sie wissen sehr gut, daß ich niemals, selbst als es gängige Mode war, etwas gegen das Ideal der Emanzipation und der Befreiung (sexuell, kulturell, sprachlich, sozial, ökonomisch, politisch) gesagt oder auch nur so dahergeredet habe. Ich bleibe auf meine Art progressistisch. Laßt uns doch beständig fortfahren, das klassische Erbe der Aufklärung, die Metaphysiken des Bewußtseins, des Subjekts, der Freiheit, des Eigentums oder der Wiederaneignung der kulturellen Tradition neu zu befragen. Aber ohne auf andere Aufklärungen zu verzichten. Und indem wir, mehr als zuvor, von verschiedenen Warten aus für die Emazipation oder die Befreiung streiten, selbst da, wo eine gewisse Heteronomie unvermeidbar sein kann - und sein darf! Statt diese Parolen auf den Müll zu werfen: warum ihnen nicht einen neuen Gebrauchswert geben, eingedenk der Macht ihrer Glaubwürdigkeit? Das mag unmöglich erscheinen, doch ohne diese andere Sprache wird es keine Politik geben, die der Mühe lohnt. Vor allem auch keine Gerechtigkeit. Nicht das Recht selbst ist es, so könnte man sagen, das die Gewalt fordert (das Recht muß entwaffnet bleiben und einen regelfreien und begriffsfreien Respekt erheischen, einen unendlichen Respekt für die Singularität), sondern die Pflicht, die Gerechtigkeit soviel wie möglich in die kalkulierbare Allgemeinheit eines Gesetzes einzuschreiben. Diese Pflicht ist schwer zu denken und ins Werk zu setzen: die Gerechtigkeit wird niemals außerhalb der Gestalt eines Gesetzes wirksam, außerhalb einer Gesetzeskraft, die sie aber dennoch überschreitet. Das nennt man die Politik oder die Geschichte.

In Politiken der Freundschaft räumen Sie Carl Schmitt viel Platz ein, der die Politik über die Unterscheidung von Freund und Feind definiert. Indes fügen Sie hier eine lange Anmerkung an, um wenigstens eine unvermeidbare Zweideutigkeit in Grenzen zu halten. Fürchteten Sie, daß man Sie - wie schon zuvor einige Theoretiker der extremen Linken - für die Rehabilitierung dieses Denkers verantwortlich machen würde, an dessen antisemitischen Affekt, der ein extremes Ausmaß angenommen hatte, Sie erinnern, und von dem Sie sagen, er sei wahrscheinlich auch nach jener Zeit, als er sich offen dazu erklärt hat, Nazi geblieben?

Auf keinen Fall rehabilitieren! Das Wort und die Geste erschrecken mich. Ich habe unzweideutig auf den Nazismus und den Antisemitismus Schmitts hingewiesen. Die ihm gewidmeten Kapitel sind eine von mir bewußt gewollte minutiöse Infragestellung seines Unterfangens, seiner Vorannahmen, seiner diskursiven Strategie, seiner Verankerung im europäischen Recht, seiner oppositionellen Logik, seines dezisionistischen Denkens, der Souveränität und des Ausnahmezustands. Kurz gesagt, ich glaube, man muß Schmitt, wie Heidegger, neu lesen - und auch das, was sich zwischen ihnen abspielt. Wenn man die Wachsamkeit und den Wagemut dieses entschieden reaktionären Denkers ernst nimmt, gerade da, wo es auf Restauration aus ist, kann man seinen Einfluß auf die Linke ermessen, aber auch zugleich die verstörenden Affinitäten - zu Leo Strauss, Benjamin und einigen anderen, die das selbst nicht ahnen. Das Gesetz aus diesen Paradoxien heraus zu verstehen und zu formalisieren - ist das nicht eine gute Einführung in die politischen Aufgaben von morgen? Als schlafloser Wächter oder als Späher bei der Belagerung hat Schmitt mir seinem Furchtesmut kommen sehen, was die europäische Ordnung, ihre politische Theologie, ihr internationales Recht, ihre Staats-, Kriegs- und Technikbegriffe, ihren Begriff der parlamentarische Demokratie und der Medien bedroht. Es ist nicht leicht, den schmittianischen Diskurs zu demontieren, wenn man das ehrlich tun will, und selbst das ist noch nicht einmal ausreichend; aber ich frage mich, ob ies nicht eine der nützlichen Übungen ist, um ein neues politisches Denken, ein neues Denken der Politik zu schärfen.

Q: Der Aristoteles zugesprochene Satz - O meine Freunde, es gibt keinen Freund - ist der rote Faden ihrer Lektüre. An einem Punkt setzen Sie dazu an, das, was er über die Freundschaft oder den Freund aussagt, in Begriffe der Liebe zu übersetzen, doch Sie lassen die Auflösung in der Schwebe. Was sagt er denn über die Liebe?

A: Ich glaube, das Buch handelt vor allem von der Liebe. Stillschweigend, im Gleichnis oder insgeheim vielleicht - aber bei jedem Satz erinnert ein verhaltener Gesang an die magische Übertragung, von der Sie eben behauptet haben, sie bliebe in der Schwebe. Es gibt übrigens einen Punkt, wo alles in diesem Buch in diesem gefährlichen vielleicht verharrt, das Nietzsche dem kommenden Denken zurechnet und dem ich, wie Sie wissen, viel Aufmerksamkeit geschenkt habe. Eine Abhandlung über die Liebe muß ein Liebesakt sein, ja ein Akt: eine Erklärung und eine Bürgschaft, die Antwort gibt im rechten Namen der Liebe, um ein anderes Wort Nietzsches hier zu verwenden. Diese Triftigkeit schließt weder das Trugbild noch die Verrücktheit aus. Im Grunde habe ich nie zwischen der Liebe und der Freundschaft unterscheiden können, noch wollen. Aber um einem Freund oder einer Freundin -ich liebe Dich- sagen zu können und für amour fou muß man bis in den eigenen Körper so viele historische Gatter durchschreiten, einen immensen Wald von Untersagungen und Unterscheidungen, Codes, Scenarien, Positionen. Vielleicht um die Stimme einer magnetisierenden Liebe neu zu beleben, die vor aller Unterscheidung zwischen lieben und geliebt werden, Liebe und Freundschaft, Eros und Philia, Eros und Agape, Barmherzigkeit, Brüderlichkeit und Nächstenliebe ertönt. Dieser Gesang lockt uns auf den Boden einer labyrinthischen und undechiffrierbaren, verführerischen und verzweifelten Geschichte. Ich riskiere dort gerne einen Schritt, ich mag mich dort auch verlieren, mir die Zeit nehmen, mich dort zu verlieren. Aber diese Chnace kann uns auch, kraft eines Wortes, eines Moments, eines eifersüchtigen Blicks oder einer Liebkosung zuteil werden. Das kommt vielleicht vor, aber ohne den einen oder den anderen, das einen oder den anderen zu verraten, kann man davon nicht Rechenschaft ablegen.

Q: Um Ihre Analysen zu aktualisieren, haben Sie bewußt auf Illustrationen verzichtet, die Sie der politischen oder Medien-"Aktualität" entnehmen hätten können und die der Reflexion eine Leinwand geboten hätten. Das ist enttäuschend. Man hätte z. B. gerne gesehen, was aus der Definition dessen geworden wäre, was Kant sagt, nicht nur im Hinblick auf den Philanthropen, sondern auch im Hinblick auf den Menschenfreund, auf das Humanitäre oder bezüglich des Prozesses der brüderlichen Humanisierung, den Sie analysieren.

A: Ich hoffe doch, daß diese "aktuellen" Bezüge einem selbst dort in den Sinn kommen, wo ich meine Anspielungen nicht entfalten kann, noch das auch tun muß. Die Frage des Humanitären ist ein Beispiel unter tausend anderen. Durch so viele geo-politische Tragödien hindurch neigen die Interventionen im Namen des Humanitären dazu, sich zu vervielfältigen, sie verlangen heute, so vermute ich, nach einem neuen Recht, einem angemesseneren Namen, einem anderen Begriff vom Menschen - und vom Lebendigen überhaupt. Diese Interventionen markieren zunächst, so scheint es mir, die alltäglich bestätigte Grenze der Staaten und der internationalen Institutionen. Weder ihre Macht noch ihr Recht, weder ihre politischen Diskurse noch die Deutung des Menschen oder der Menschenrechte, die sie begründen, sind auf der Höhe dessen, was wir, wenn man so sagen darf, von uns erwarten, angesichts der neuen weltweiten Katastrophen, der Hungersnöte, der Außenhandelsverschuldung, der Völkermorde, der Mafia, der Ungleichheit vor dem Tode und vor der Wissenschaft, der namenlosen Kriege, der Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit, neben all den Kriegsverbrechen und den politischen Verbrechen. Selbst dort, wo Kant deutlicher den Menschenfreund vom Philanthropen unterscheidet, kann dieses wir nicht mehr der Mensch der Philsophie oder des Humanismus sein, noch auch das Kantische Subjekt, von dem ich zu zeigen versuche, daß es noch allzu sehr brüderlich, verklärt männlich, familial, ethnisch oder national usw. bleibt. Aber ich versuche, anderen Möglichkeiten des kantischen Diskurses gerecht zu werden, die er weiterführt oder verschiebt. Erlauben Sie mir, zumindest einmal deutlich darauf hinzuweisen, daß es in diesem Punkt wie auch an den vielen anderen schwierig ist, ausgewogen darüber zu sprechen.

Q: Sie heben bei allen kanonischen Diskursen über die Freundschaft auf den Ausschluß der Freundschaft zwischen Frauen und dem der Freundschaft zwischen einem Mann und einer Frau ab. Liegt darin das Hauptmerkmal der Geschichte der Freundschaft? Und was waren dabei die Einflüsse auf die Konstituierung politischer Modelle wie z.B. der Demokratie?

A: Es handelt sich wohlgemerkt nicht darum, zu leugnen, daß eine Freundschaft zwischen Frauen oder zwischen Mann und Frau nicht möglich sei, ganz im Gegenteil. Es geht gewissermaßen und allererst in Europa darum, die Geschichte zu durchleuchten, durch die hindurch die phallozentrische Gestalt der Freundschaft - des Freundespaares und ihres testamentischen Bundes - beherrschend, kanonisch geworden ist und allein einen Rechtsanspruch auf politische, philosophische und literarische Archivierung behalten hat. Die Interpretation dieses Archivs ist nicht leicht, vielmehr eine endlose Angelegenheit, doch sie öffnet sich zur realen Geschichte (sei sie nun diskursiv oder nicht), de diesem Modell zur politischen Vorherrschaft verholfen hat. Ich habe begonnen, diesem so reichhaltigen und so verzwickten Motiv der Brüderlichkeit nachzugehen: durch griechische und christliche Darstellungen hindurch, im Verlauf und nach der Französischen Revolution - die sich so schwer tat mit dem Wirbel um dieses in vieler Augen so christliche Wort. Und trotz der intensiven Anstrengung der Vergeistigung, der Sanktionierung, der Universalisierung bleibt die ideale Bedeutung der Brüderlichkeit - und selbst die der gelobten und geschworenen Brüderlichkeit - verwurzelt in der Familie oder in der Geburt (und damit in seiner nationalen Natur: Blut, Boden, Autochtonie) und in der Männlichkeit, in der Tugend der Söhne, der Helden und der Soldaten. So erscheint das Thema in seiner Klassizität: die Tugend, insbesondere die politische Tugend, die Tugend der Liebe und die Notwendigkeit, diese Tugend ihrem eigentümlich vorväterlihen Androzentrismus zu entreißen. Die zivile, staatsbürgerliche Gleichheit zwischen den Männern und den Frauen, die in ihrer Art, besonders bei uns, erst neueren Datums ist, bleibt, um hier nur diesen Aspekt anzureißen, noch eine Angelegenheit ferner Zukunft. Die Brüerlichkeit war der Demokratisierung dienlich und hat ihr sogar ihre Reichweite geben können, aber dieser Horizont markiert auch eine Grenze. Kein geschichtlicher Bruch wird mit diesem Fraternalismus fertig geworden sein, über dessen Bedeutung wir heute nachzudenken haben, besonders hinsichtlich einer zukünftigen Demokratie: weder die Umwälzung von der griechischen zur christlichen Welt (deren gängige Interpretation ich in diesem Punkt bestreite), noch die post-revolutionäre Republik (schauen Sie sich die aufwühlenden Schriften von Michelet oder von Hugo an - durch die hindurch ich ein wenig verbissen eine französische Epoche dieser Fraternisierung verfolge), noch die Revolution der Psychoanalyse, noch auch die heutige Zeit, und gerade das ist der am meisten zu schätzende, auch der am meisten beunruhigende Abschnitt dieses Buches: die Schriften derer, für die die Autorität dieses greco-christlichen Paradigmas nicht mehr selbstverständlich ist: Nietzsche und noch viel überfeinerter, leiser, Maurice Blanchot oder Jean-Luc Nancy. Die Brüderlichkeit, so sage ich mir manchmal, beunruhigt sie vielleicht nicht allzu sehr.

Q: Jacques Derrida, wer sind Ihre Freunde? Nicht: wessen Freund sind Sie, sondern wen lieben Sie, da nun mal das erste herrausragende Moment Ihrer Geschichte der Freundschaft bei Platon oder Aristoteles aufzeigt, daß man es vorziehen sollte, selbst zu lieben, statt Freund zu sein?

A: Meine Freunde und meine Freundinnen! Selbst wenn uns Zeit und Raum dazu gelassen wäre, würde ich hier schweigen. Die öffentliche Antwort auf diese Frage würde in meinem Buch stehen, manchmal zwischen den Zeilen, manchmal (gegen Ende) in bestimmten Eigennamen. Die benennen nicht lle, doch sie sagen genug darüber aus, daß alle - männlich und weiblich - nur im Singular genannt werden könnten, im unersetzbaren Vokativ. Wie Sie sehen, hängt alles an der Frge der Singularität und der Zahl: kann man mehr als einen Freund, mehr als eine Freundin haben? Wieviele? Und wohin mit der Gleichheit, der Andersheit und der Gerechtigkeit in dieser Beziehung? Mit diesem "mehr als einer" und "mehr als eine" beginnt vielleicht die Politik. Die Sensibilität und die Ausdauer, die man für die Erkundung dieses Ortes der Aporien aufwendet, macht vielleicht bereit und empfänglich für die Freundschaft, so wie ich sie liebe. Sie gibt ihr mehr Gelegenheit, aber all das ist niemals eine Bedingung. Die Freundschaft stellt keine Bedingungen, sie erwartet keine Rückerstattung: Gleichheit ohne Reziprozität oder Symmetrie. Und überall, wo auch nur ein freundschaftlicher Gedanke sanft die Bruder-Autorität, und sei es die des idealisierten Bruders, befragen, verschieben, beunruhigen kann, ähnelt dieser freundschaftliche Gedanke, wenn er sich niederschreibt, vielleicht dem Gedanken einer Freundin; aber warum nicht, wenn die Schwester nicht mehr ein Sonderfall des Bruders ist?

Q: Die schönsten Seiten der Politiques de l'amitié sind meiner Ansicht nach die, die Sie Maurice Blanchot widmen. Aber doch scheint sein Begriff der Freundschaft - unteilbare und unumkehrbare Freundschaft, für die man, ohne Spuren zu hinterlassen, eine durchlässig-passive Antwort für die Nichtpräsenz des Unbekannten zuläßt, oder: Appell ans Sterben, zusammenfallend mit der Trennung - unmöglich, unhaltbar. Kann dieser Begriff Eingang in eine Politik der Freundschaft finden?

A: Nein, und da liegt das ganze Problem. Nein, wenn man die Politik - oder die Demokratie - auf ihre heute identifizierbaren oder unangezweifelten Formen begrenzt. Ich träume von einer Politik, die eine wirksame Politik bleibt, ohne der Möglichkeit dieser Freundschaft, so unwahrscheinlich sie auch immer sein mag, Gewalt anzutun, jenseits der wechselseitigen Genossenschaft, der nachbarlichen Nähe, der Identifizierung. Kurz, eine Politik, die dieser Freundschaft gegenüber nicht unrecht tut. Ist das bloß ein Traum? Vielleicht. Noch müßte man ihm einen Tag vorgeben: was unmöglich scheint, ist schon versprochen worden und bleibt also denkbar. Wir behalten es in denkender Erinnerung jedes mal, wenn wir lieben, wenn wir die Worte Liebe oder Freundschaft übertragen und weitergeben. Jedes Mal wenn wir sie machen, die Liebe und die Freundschaft. Am Ursprung der Politik hat vielleicht diese Bürgschaft gestanden, selbst wenn an diesem Punkt - inkommensurabel mit dem Geheimnis - eine Politik inadequat bleibt und bleiben muß.


Cardozo Law School interview: An Interview with Jacques Derrida

Famed philosopher and deconstructionist Jacques Derrida is a professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Socials in Paris and has visited Cardozo regularly for the past 10 years. He holds the title of Cardozo Distinguished Scholar and often lectures at the Law School as part of the Law & Humanism Speakers Series, which is co-sponsored with the New School University. When Professor Derrida visited in October, Michel Rosenfeld, Sydney L. Robins Professor of Human Rights, talked with him about his relationship to law and his thoughts on current international political events.

ROSENFELD: Thanks very much, Jacques Derrida, for agreeing to talk to us for publication in Cardozo Life.

I note that Cardozo and you have now had a relationship for 10 years. You first came here when we organized the "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice" conference, which still ranks as one of the greatest conferences that we have held here. At that time, you delivered a paper, "The Force of Law," which was subsequently published in Cardozo Law Review (vol. 11, 1990).

I want to ask you about your relationship to law. When did you start getting interested in law as a topic of inquiry?

DERRIDA: My interest in law as an academic discipline started very early, although I never studied law in the strict sense. I first became interested in the question of law as it pertains to literature . . . the legal constraints that have to do with the name of the author, the copyright, etc. Once, a long time ago, I gave a seminar at Yale on copyright-on the Droit d'Auteur (the rights of the author), and on the history of copyright. Of course they're superficially similar. At that time, I studied both the French and English history of copyright. I was particularly interested in the relationship in the 17th century between the King, the librarian (the "Librairie" we call it), and the owner of the copyright and the changes that then occurred with the French Revolution.

I also became interested in the affinity between literary work and the legal production of law. When a number of ethical and judicial questions impacted on deconstruction, I felt summoned to respond to such questions as I did at the "Possibility of Justice" conference, which for me was a very memorable, precious occasion to address legal scholars on the relationship between constructing law and justice. So, I have had this ongoing interest in law. However, I never acted on my dream to really study law.
Cardozo is for me the place where I can learn, where I can discuss what interests me in the law.

ROSENFELD: I think we at Cardozo are unique among law faculties in that we always have had a great deal of inter-disciplinary interests with training in philosophy, literature, political theory. Many of us had looked at deconstruction to see to what extent it could help us in our legal analysis and legal theory, so it was a particularly important occasion to have you come to talk to us.

DERRIDA: The hospitality at Cardozo has been precious to me. In the last 10 years, all the seminars I gave-and we have mentioned only the one-have brought me close to legal colleagues and have-I just realize-always dealt with the general question of responsibility. The seminars on the secret, on testimony, on hospitality, and now today's on forgiveness-all have to do with a question of responsibility of one person to another.

ROSENFELD: May I suggest that perhaps your own interest in explicit questions of law and justice may have derived from your deconstructive theory? It seems to me that there has been a growing interest in law, legal issues, and legal justice by philosophers in the last 15 or 20 years. Do you agree with that, and if you do, to what do you attribute this interest?

DERRIDA: I remember the first time I addressed the question of the law in a lecture on Kafka's "Before the Law." I made a distinction between the law in general and the law in the strict sense or legal justice-in French, le droit and la loi. In French when you speak of the law (la loi), you do not necessarily refer to legal issues.

Now to go back to your question. What we see in Western democracy today is the increasing importance of the legal authority on politics-sometimes in an abusive fashion, as is the case in Italy, France, and in this country too. We have a feeling that today the independence of justice is the crucial test for democracy. So a philosopher interested in ethics and/or politics must come back to the question of the law. With democracy becoming truly global, philosophers must be, can't escape, really, looking at law and justice.

ROSENFELD: Your relationship with Cardozo dates back a decade. Can you characterize this relationship that makes us so fortunate to see you every year? Do you have relationships with other law schools?

DERRIDA: It is me who is fortunate. First of all, my relationship with Cardozo is unique. Perhaps I don't have to mention that at Cardozo I find colleagues who are well-known legal scholars and are also interested in literature, in biblical scholarship, philosophy, and so on and so forth. So for me, these are very rich occasions for discussion. I have worked infrequently with other law schools. Once while I was teaching at Yale, which I did for 12 years, I was invited by a law school to discuss a paper that I had given on Kant. Then, just yesterday, I was invited by Larry Kramer at NYU Law School to organize a workshop. I have been teaching at NYU for 10 years, and this is the first time that I have had an invitation from the law school.

In France we tried to organize conferences, discussions, and debates with a few interested people from the faculty of law, but these efforts didn't succeed as far as I can tell. So Cardozo is for me the place where I can learn, where I can discuss what interests me in the law.

When I read what you write and what Arthur Jacobson writes, this is very important to me. Over the course of the 10 years, there has been growing familiarity and common premises. From my narrow point of view, things are changing at Cardozo and for the best.

ROSENFELD: I don't know if it is well known that you were born and grew up in Algeria as a member of the Jewish community. Could you tell us generally how that experience has influenced your intellectual development?

DERRIDA: Perhaps one of the many things which made me sensitive to law is that I belonged to a minority in a colonized country. The Jewish community in Algeria was there long before the French colonizers. So on one hand, Algerian Jews belonged to the colonized people, and on the other they assimilated with the French.

During the Nazi occupation, there were no German soldiers in Algeria. There was only the French and the Vichy regime, which produced and enforced laws that were terribly repressive. I was expelled from school. My family lost its citizenship, which is a legal event. Even when you're a child, you understand what it means to lose your citizenship. When you're in such a marginal and unsafe and shaky situation, you are more attentive to the question of legal authorization. You are a subject whose identity is threatened, as are your rights.
... the fact that Clinton allowed himself to be trapped suggests that he failed in his responsibility.

ROSENFELD: I know that you have visited South Africa and familiarized yourself with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the work that it has done. Can you tell us how you got interested in the subject of forgiveness and mercy?

DERRIDA: Last year I started a seminar on forgiveness and mercy, a subject which has several legal dimensions to it. Then, last summer I went to South Africa, at which time the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was just beginning to write its report. Discussion on the work of the Commission was everywhere. I gave a number of lectures on forgiveness and reconciliation and read a lot on the subject. I had the opportunity to meet many people who were on the Commission, and I was introduced to many aspects of the process: the way it was instituted, the way it became controversial (no one on either side totally agrees with it), the way this Commission had to solve problems which could have at any moment really destroyed relations between the A.N.C. and the white government. The Commission was really an agreement between the A.N.C. and the white government to resolve the situation through amnesty rather than revenge.

I became especially interested in the process they called "healing away," which was a form of political therapy. I became interested in how and to what extent such a political therapy was compatible with the idea of pure forgiveness. I had the opportunity to meet and hear from witnesses from both sides, as well as members of the Commission. So I learned a lot, and I learned about the history of South Africa.

In South Africa, as you know, there are 11 languages that are officially recognized by the Constitution. Anyone speaking before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission could choose to speak any one of the official languages. This presented a huge problem since the testimony was then translated into English, a Christian and Western language. For example, I was told that the word "forgiveness" has no strict equivalent in a number of the officially recognized languages. So people challenged the use of just one particular language for the final translation. I became very interested in the linguistic issues presented by the Commission and the idea of a language of repentance. What does it mean when I say, "I beg your forgiveness" or you respond, "I forgive you"?

ROSENFELD: This is fascinating. So as an English-speaking person, I may understand the Commission's findings and testimony in a way that is totally or slightly different from the way one of the native language speakers may understand it.

DERRIDA: Exactly. It was primarily black people who were the victims in South Africa, but the A.N.C. had also to appear before the Commission. The black people were disappointed with the Commission because they were not interested in forgiveness-they wanted justice or, at the very least, to know what happened to their loved ones. They wanted to go on with the work of mourning. While the Commission was in session, the regular judicial courts continued to work. Although people were granted amnesty for political misdeeds, criminal offenses were not forgiven. So people appeared before the Commission and would often argue that since it was a political war and they were given and then acted on orders, they were not guilty.

ROSENFELD: Is it fair to say that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission allowed each person, for different personal reasons, the ability to have closure on this part of South African history?

DERRIDA: That's obviously the goal-closure. To put an end to what might be otherwise an endless process of revenge; to put an end to the mourning and to get on with the future. Mandela and his associates and his allies wanted South Africa to survive. They understood that if they wanted to live together-black and white-both groups had to share the work of mourning in order to share a common destiny.

ROSENFELD: You mentioned Nelson Mandela, and I wonder if you would comment on what you think his role has been in all of this. He was a prisoner, a victim of the apartheid regime, and then became the country's leader. Was it through example or through persuasion that he played his particular role? Was he a unique figure? Might this healing process not have been possible had there been a leader other than Nelson Mandela?

DERRIDA: This is a good question and I have no short answer. Of course, the individual Nelson Mandela played a major role. What would have happened without him, I don't know. But the fact is that this man, who had been in jail for 27 years, left jail without any visible resentment. It was he who decided that reconciliation should be the goal of the Commission. I read that at some point he disobeyed his own group, his own party, when he started negotiating with the government. He did this without the approval of his colleagues. He lent a strong individual signature to the proceedings.

ROSENFELD: Now may I bring you to a more mundane subject which is arousing a lot of interest, commentary, and debate in the United States. I refer here to the issues concerning President Clinton, impeachment, and the president's responsibility for his actions. As someone from a different country, a different culture, and looking at this philosophically rather than politically, do you have some insights into this American phenomenon?

DERRIDA: This would require a long time. However, let me give a couple of quick answers. The first is my spontaneous reaction-shared by many outside of the United States, particularly in France-one of outrage and disgust with the politicization of, and the attention from the press to, the sexual parts of the story. We found it to be not only outrageous, but so obviously orchestrated by the Independent Counsel and organized by a larger group of politicians. In Europe, we never thought that this kind of thing could happen in the United States.

Then, I would pay attention also to a more complicated issue: the question of perjury in the Paula Jones case. There, the question seems to be not simply one of sexual privacy but the idea of sexual harassment. Harassment really is about the dignity of the human person. Also, the fact that Clinton allowed himself to be trapped suggests that he failed in his responsibility.

Additionally, the fact that the president had to testify and confess not only in front of American citizens but in front of the world is indication of the new globalization, and our entering a new phase in international law and the rights of man.

ROSENFELD: Before we close, I want to ask you generally about your current work on forgiveness. Are you planning to write a book on the subject?

DERRIDA: You know, each time I give a seminar, in a certain way I write everything and there is material for a possible book. But I don't have enough time to revise or to write. I would love to if I have time, but I have no current plans to do so.

ROSENFELD: I want to thank you very much and let you know that the Cardozo Law Review would be eager to publish any of this material.

DERRIDA: Thank you, and let me take advantage of this situation to thank Cardozo formally and officially and sincerely for the hospitality. I am very grateful.

*This compilation © Peter Krapp 1994 - 2004


Jacques Derrida: The Sacrifice

Editions of the Difference
National theatre Lille Tourcoing Area North-Not of Calais

This text is the transcription of an intervention made by Jacques Derrida on October 20, 1991 with (the Metaphor) during a meeting entitled: The unstageable one, the secrecy, the night, the foreclosed one. It is published jointly by the review Lieux extremes.

Philosophy and the theatre are dependent in a turbulent affinity and insistente: don't these two experiments privilege a certain authority of the presence and visibility? Authority of the glance, authority of optics, authority of eidetic, the theôrein, the theoretic one. This privilège of the theory which one associates régulièrement, wrongly or rightly, philosophy, it is to see it, contemplate it, look at it. From the Platonic eidos to the object or modern objectivity, philosophy can be read - not only but easily - as a history of the visibility, interpretation of the visible one. Here is thus a destiny that philosophy divides since its origin, in a conflict way sometimes très, with arts of visible and with a certain theatre.

But if, since always the invisible one the visible one works, if for example the visibility of the visible one - what makes visible the visible thing - is not visible, then a certain night comes to dig of abyss the presentation even the visible one. It comes to leave place, in the representation of oneself, the repetition of oneself, with this word essentially invisible, come from the lower part of visible, like the Jew of Marie Tudor in the setting in scène of Daniel Mesguich, who, in the place of the prompter, came to blow to put fire at the visible one. It would thus be a question of leaving the place with invisible in the heart of visible, with the nonthérisable in the heart of theoretical, nontheatrical - as with the blow of theatre - in the heart of the theatre.

From this authority of the glance, of what it underlies, we could follow a series of analogies between theatre and philosophy. In this respect Daniel Mesguich proposes, as well in his book the eternal éphémère as in his theatre, of the places of resonance where to hear and think the relationship between the theatre and philosophy.

First of all, Mesguich is one of these paradoxical inventors who can make book, or of a book, a sc&egravene, "a theatrical volume"; and constantly () to recommend and in a complicated way the book. It plays an alliance of the theatre and book: against the image, a certain interpretation of the image. Its theatre is iconoclast in this direction, it plays against the image. Rather against the images which, in a media form, seize a certain public space today. Naturally the book about which it speaks is not a closed totality, but it is necessary already to be attentive so that this alliance of the theatre and the book can generate reversals of prospects, in the idea that we have relationship between theatre and philosophy.

In the eternal éphémère, Daniel Mesguich outlines and, there, of manière more easily locatable, two partial analogies between theatre and philosophy. The première, we can hear it dasn the trace of what I suggested at the beginning, i.e. of a certain authority of the glance:

The paradox is with the theatre by no means contingent, it is - the impurity of its ingredients there obliges - essential and necessary. If philosophy ets bein a thery of all the theories, it is also a theory of itself, says one. If the theatre is well a setting in scène of all the settings in scène, then it is also a setting in scène of itself.

Daniel Mesguich underlines this paradox which links the theatre and philosophy - all while losing them vertiginously - by which one and the other try to think and to represent themselves, of métaphoriser. Philosophy in and of philosophy, theatre in the theatre, theatre exhibant the theatre then concealing thus its own visbility, burning it and consuming it, so to speak.

The second of these analogies would relate to the compared orders of the philosopher and the man of theatre:

... the philosopher, the writer, the painter the sculptor, even the scenario writer leave a work. They can be allowed not to be "men of the siècle". The theatre which plays, if one neut, between journalism and the work which lasts, does not allow, or so much indirectly that that becomes negligible, of speaking "at tomorrow". Like the philosopher, the man of theatre is not the man of the siècle. But it is not, him, man of work. Because it is only listening of that of the others, there remains with orée of work: it is après and before it.

It would be necessary here to agree on the term of work, to hear the spacing that this word produces in itself according to whether it indicates the act of the implementation, to work it, or the opus which results from it, in remainder or falls down about it. Because one could be tempted to say the opposite: the philosopher is not as a such man of work, and on the other hand the man of theatre implements the work, which does not exist out of its setting in scène, i.e. implemented.

For my part, acting of theatre and philosophy, and a certain divorce whose repercussion will have perhaps been all the history of the Occident, its philosophy and its theatre, I would like "ici-maintenant métaphoriquement" to retain only one hearth, which a scène or an act of this long dramatic, I would like to make it because of the one of the thèses which gave me to think more in the book of Daniel Mesguich, namely the question of the sacrifice.

Since Nietzsche, at least, one often repeated that philosophy started with the end of a certain tragedy. As if Socrate and Plato had driven out Sophocle, Eschyle and Euripide, as they "had driven out the poète of the city". The philosophical speech would have killed the scène and energy even tragedy, it would have alleviated it, which returns to the mêeme. I cannot engage in this immense debate. I would like only at the same time to narrow it and complicate it around the reason for the sacrifice. With him, we will join for a share one of the titles of this meeting: "the night, the secrecy, the foreclosed one". The "foreclosed" term does not only indicate excluded, not dissociated, which is put at lécart, with the outside, or which cannot return, but also often sacrificed, the scapegoat, which one must put at death, expel or draw aside, like the absolute foreigner whom one must put outside so that the inside of the city, the conscience or ego identified in peace. It should be driven out the foreigner so that membership, identification and appropriation are possible.

In this direction, the sacrifice is constitutive of tragic space. And one could think that in his war with the theatre, the philosophical speech put an end to the tragedy, drove back in any case, thus inaugurating, like that was often said, the comedy or the novel. Or, thing more complicated but by no means excluded, sacrificed the sacrifice, i.e. made the economy of the sacrifice. To put an end to the sacrifice is however not très simple. One can put an end to the sacrifice by sacrificing the sacrifice, while making him undergo und change or an additional interiorization, and so that some can be tempted to think that the sacrificial structure remains nevertheless dominant in the speech more dominating of the philosophical tradition. Far philosophy put an end to the sacrifice, or precisely because it believed to put an end to it in the Greek tragedy, it would have done nothing but carry in it, in another form, the sacrificial structure.

However on this Mesguich point two thèses proposes. The première: The tragedy does not take place with the theatre but it is brought into play. It would have to be taken again the distinction that it makes between two kinds of events: one, like have-place, the other, like setting concerned. Daniel Mesguich writes this:

Tragos, goat, and ôidê, song.
Was the tragedy the beautiful song which accompanied the ritual sacrifice by a goat to the festivals of Dionysos, or the atrocious song of this goat at the time when the weapon transpierced it? Or the impure agreement of the two songs? Side of the Greeks it had only symbol there; side of the goat...
The tragedy, it is losque one, torture victim, really howls "NOT!", whereas others, spectators, hear only the mélodieux slope of "NOT!", dance on this "music", or applaud. The true tragedy never takes place with the theatre. At the theatre, the tragedy is brought into play.

The tragedy would not take place with the theatre, it would not be the thing of the theatre, the present of the theatre, in any case it would not be the event like have-place. The other thèse - and chacque thèse determines a type of theatre, a theatrical school - supports that there would be an enormous difference between the sacrifice and the theatre. This thèse theatrical, the blow of theatre of this thèse interests me because it opère a chiasmatic kind of inversion with philosophy. Previously, we regarded philosophy as the end of the tragic sacrifice; it would remain more sacrificial than it in general is said; now, on the contrary, it is the theatre thus interpreted, bringing into play the sacrifice, which achève the sacrifice itself. The sacrifice which one assigned with the theatre passes on the side of philosophy and the roles are thus reversed. Daniel Mesguich opens on this subject an interesting way in a titrated passage:

Even the lamb
The actor, offered, is not however a Christ who, filling "with her body the failures of the written law", achieves it, the achève finally, finishes it. With the theatre, it is infinitely temporarily that the body is involved in the faults of the writing: there for the actor it is finished, nobody does not die, it was for laughter, it will be necessary to return, incessament.
The theatre is "confrontation erotic" but nonfinal, nonsuicidal, nonchristic, "between the body of the Son and the law of Père". The actor not like expiatory victim, scapegoat, but as that which plays the victim; who plays, in front of everyone, with the law. That which monkey the goat. With the theatre, at the end, Isaac, Abraham and the lamb relèvent themselves and greet.

This suspense of the sacrifice, this setting concerned in the place of what takes place, supposes a strange institution, which at the same time ensures the setting concerned, puts itself concerned and désinstituionnalise, each time, each day, with each première. It is one of the differences with philosophy, at least with this philosophy which, since the XIXe siècle, defines the concept of Western University. The question of the institution, which is dissociable among all those that we have just seen, is also considered by Mesguich:

The theatre, like the University, holds a speech, proposes an interpretation but, with the difference of the University, is never held, does not leave it there, y adhère only provisiorement. For a certain University, it is the supreme crime.

Further, Mesguich will evoke a double constrainte, the double law which binds the setting concerned theatrical to the institution, and thus with the authorities. It is necessary á the time to be warned against the institution and to keep it; it is necessary to keep the memory but to give unceasingly concerned the erection which it constitutes. The institution has dependent part with the memory, with what is kept, it is a reserve of time, certainly, but also what fossilizes or reduces, is simplified, condensed, hardens and set up.

There is several manières to think the unstageable one of the theatre. It is initially the night, the visibility of the visible one. The visibility is night, the diaphanous one is not seen, it through what one sees, which burns the visible one. There is however another manière to think the unstageable one, not simply in the form of what, making possible the representation, is not presented, but as what is excluded, marginalized, censured, repressed or driven back forever. We should not forget that repressed (with the political direction) or censured (within the meaning of unconscious repression) only one topic displacement undergoes; the censure, with the direction psychoanalytic of the term, aneantit not the memory, it moves of a place in another, it puts in reserve, it métaphorise and métonymise but it does not destroy. However we could wonder whether there is not a radical destruction of the memory, a fire which would come to incinerate the memory without leaving traces. Then the unstageable one or the imprésentable any more what is excluded or prevents from being lá, simply would not be moved or is off-set, but what is imprésentable because absolutely flaring by fire.

In the eternal éphémère Mesguich proposes what it calls a spectacle of repression, with all the directions of the term, political repression as well as psychic, a spectacle which would not only come to raise this repression, but which would deliver a presentation, a connection or a representation of repression. That appears paradoxical and impossible, but it is a theatre of the paradox which it proposes to us. In the stage performance, the nonrepresentable one, the rreprésentable, because driven back, would come to remember. It is acted as a direction of a theatre of repression.

But if the art of the theatre were that of warping as much that that of devoilement [ thus of the truth like not-truth, or truth of the not-truth ]? And if it also éait with the spectacle of the repression which one invited the City?

Repression á work; the "quoted" term comes to stress that it is indeed a political stake in this monstration without monstration of repression. This setting in scène of repression is not a simple lifting of repression, a simple release, a setting á naked of what is imprésentable. It acts of a paradoxical presentation of the imprésentable "like such". "as such" phenomenologic must be affected here of an essential modification.

There is in the work of Mesguich an interpretation of theatrical temporality, i.e. present or of what règle not over the present, a call with a kind of theatrical moment which of some manière does not belong to temporality.

This report/ratio at time is described in various forms throughout the eternal éphémère. One is often tempted to think the theatre like art of what, undoubtedly prepared by the repetitions, takes place only once properly. That is to say at the same time a première and a derni&egravere time; what gives him this double at the same time morning face, Eastern or archaeological and autumnal, melancholic person, Westerner, twilight or eschatologic. One of the most provocative aspects of the theatre of Mesguich, it is - with counter-current of the doxa - to think that the theatre has as a gasoline a certain repetition. Not the repetition which prepares the première, but a repetition which divides, which digs and makes emerge the single present of the première time. The presentation not like representation of a modèle present elsewhere, like would be an image, but the presence a première and single time like repetition.

Far from weakening it, this structure of repetition intensifies on the contrary the experiment of irreplaceable the première time, of the single event which occurs each time on the plate a setting in scène implements and that occurs the theatrical act.

This strange experiment of the repetition is memory; however all appears new, inaugural to with it, inanticipable; almost as surprised and surprising as an event. It is the event as repetition which we must think of the theatre. How a present in its freshness, in its irreplaceable crudeness of "ici-maintenant", can be repetition? What has to be the time of the experiment and the time of the theatre so that that is possible? In a vocabulary borrowed from Levi-Strauss where the vintage sometimes gives to understand cruelty, Daniel Mesguich describes the things as follows:

The only believed thing, with the theatre, it is that it takes place in front of you; all the remainder, it is heated. The theatre returns the past at the present, and, at the same time, it makes hear all that, in what we held for the present, was repetition. The theatre tightens us, in what occurs for the première time, which was already occurred. And, of this gift, this tended present, this offer in tension, it makes a spectacle, vintage and already cooked...

And elsewhere in a titrated passage:

Cruelty does not exist
Never there is theatre if there are only one time. The theatre, always, is given in series - and that, even if the actors play only one representation of the piéce. In each representation its essential repetition vibrates. In any representation sing all the representations, its themselves passed and to come. Each one is running away, continuation and variations, resumption, creepage distance in front of that which it précède, derrière that which follows it. A theatrical demonstration and only one - orgy, crudeness: cruelty - would imply totality, plenitude, the irreversibility. A theatrical demonstration and only one would not be theatre: it would take place.

To think the theatre is then to avoid all the cooked speeches, i.e. nothing to sacrifice what makes our single and singulière presence, while presenting to it the memory, the otherness, the show, the répetition, the repetition which constitutes it and which die-presents it by representing it in advance. To think on the plate means this incredible space where the knowledge cannot decide on what is the present. Of what is present on the scène under its coat of visibility. Similar in that in Marie Tudor and Jane Talbot in the work of Victor Hugo, incompetents to distinguish as for the subject which they saw or believed to send to death.

All the pièce of Victor Hugo, as we could yesterday evening admire it in the setting in scène of Daniel Mesguich, is also the metaphor of the theatre itself. Like if the outside of the theatre, leréférent theatre - not what he says or shows of the Policy, the Religion, the History, the Love, etc. - was structured like a theatre and thus already a repetition, whose return in abyme on the plate does not prevent nor does not attenuate the tragic singularity of acute and single the première time.

The other manière to formulate the question of time to the theatre in the work of Mesguich is announced in a lexicon particular to through categories of furtive or urgency. All must quickly be made très with the theatre, the actor is in a hurry as if it flew, as if it etait in a situation of transgression and fraud; he is a robber, and that formed part of the time of theatre; the category of furtive or clandestine means that the essential moment of the theatre is not let integrate into general temporality, it is stolen in the time, and it is also a moment of presentation of the law and thus of the transgression of the law. It is one abnormal moment, which exposes the law like repression.

The impression should be always given press, urgency (...), one raised of tomb stones, an excavation of the mother tongue...
I always tend to think that the theatre is like instantaneous; perhaps this instantaneous is spread or analyzed in two hours or in four, it does not matter, but it does not have vériable duration, only effects of duration (...) That the actor plays quickly, that it seems in a hurry, indicates, as, there as it does not have the right to be, that the scène is not to him an authorized place, that it is there in fraud.

On the contrary philosophy would be, in this hypothèse: attention has patience of the teaching speech to the presentation, the identification, the institution, etc. For my part, I would plead rather pure a theatrical dimension in philosophy in order to scramble the opposition a little, was it chiasmatic, between theatre and philosophy. There is in the philosophical thought, in the pre-institutionelle philosophical thought, of the moments which resemble this furtive urgency, clandestine, unauthorized and insane, which puts philosophy in margin. I believe that there are blows of theatre in philosophy, moments which resemble so that Kierkegaard described when it said: "the moment of decision is a madness". These moments appartiennement indissociablement with the theatre and philosophy, philosophy in the theatre or the theatre in philosophy. There is no theatre but theatres, there are works which in comparison with repression, identification or belief in the theatre make work differemment . Just as one will be able to always interpret - and that remains infinitely suspended - the setting concerned of the sacrifice, the identification, the belief, repression or the preclusion, like sacrificial surenchères or identificatoires, sacrifices of the sacrifice, in the same way nothing will be able to never ensure us as these economies are not brought into play at the same time. Mesguich quotes in the eternal éphémère a très beautiful sentence of Mannoni with which I would like to conclude:

A mask of wolf does not frighten us with the way of the wolf, but with the way of the image of the wolf which we have in us

. And Mesguich to continue: In the theatre one believes neither one does not believe, one does not look at nor one never listens directly; one looks at or one listens to the child or the idiot in us who believes. Even if what Mannoni says is strong and true, a question remains. Nobody believes in the mask of the wolf. When we go to the theatre we are not easily deceived, we know that it is an illusion or a show. However the power of the emotion or the identification is due to the fact that if one does not believe in the wolf that there is derrière the mask, one believes in the interior psychical reality that this mask awakes in us and consequently the emotion is right to believe in what is thus really with-inside us. There is a kind of interiorization by the psychoanalytical speech of this credit which one brings to the theatre. But what is to believe? Here is the put question, it is put in scène or fire by the theatre.

The comment of Mesguich brings another dimension which however does not betray the psychoanalysis: one looks at neither one never listens directly, one does not believe nor does not believe and at this time, to look at the child or the idiot who believes in it, it is to jointly look at the identifying memory and absolute separation. One looks at the starting point and the division, at the same time like what one divides within the meaning of the participation and what dissociates. The suspension between the two aspects of the division remains absolutely indefinite and irreducible. What an act of faith in the theatre? Why is it necessary to believe in the theatre? It is needed. Why is it needed?

This article is translated from French to English by babelfish.altavista.com. Below is the original text in French taken from http://www.hydra.umn.edu/derrida/sac.html

La Métaphore (Revue) n.1 - printemps 1993.
Jacques Derrida: Le Sacrifice
Éditions de la Différence
Théâtre National Lille Tourcoing Région Nord-Pas de Calais

Ce texte est la transcription d'une intervention faite par Jacques Derrida le 20 octobre 1991 à (La Métaphore) au cours d'une rencontre intitulée: L'irreprésentable, le secret, la nuit, le forclos. Il est publié conjointement par la revue Lieux extremes.

La philosophie et le théâtre sont liés dans une affinité turbulente et insistente: ces deux expériences ne privilégient-elles pas une certaine autorité de la présence et de la visibilité? Autorité du regard, autorité de l'optique, autorité de l'eidétique, du theôrein, du théorétique. Ce privilège de la théorie auquel on associe régulièrement, à tort ou à raison, la philosophie, c'est le voir, le contempler, le regarder. Depuis l'eidos platonicien jusqu'à l'objet ou l'objectivité moderne, la philosophie peut être lue - non seulement mais facilement - comme une histoire de la visibilité, de l'interprétation du visible. Voilà donc une destinée que la philosophie partage depuis son origine, de façon parfois très conflictuelle, avec les arts du visible et avec un certain théâtre.

Mais si, depuis toujours l'invisible travaille le visible, si par exemple la visibilité du visible - ce qui rend visible la chose visible - n'est pas visible, alors une certaine nuit vient creuser d'abîme la présentation même du visible. Elle vient laisser place, dans la représentation de soi, dans la répétition de soi, à cette parole par essence invisible, venue du dessous du visible, comme le juif de Marie Tudor dans la mise en scène de Daniel Mesguich, qui, à la place du prompteur, venait souffler pour mettre le feu au visible. Il s'agirait donc de laisser la place à l'invisible au coeur du visible, au non thérisable au coeur du théorique, au non théâtral - comme au coup de théâtre - au coeur du théâtre.

A partir de cette autorité du regard, de ce qu'elle sous-tend, nous pourrions suivre une série d'analogies entre théâtre et philosophie. A cet égard Daniel Mesguich propose, tant dans son livre L'éternel éphémère que dans son théâtre, des lieux de résonance où entendre et penser les rapports entre le théâtre et la philosophie.

Tout d'abord, Mesguich est l'un de ces inventeurs paradoxaux qui sait faire du livre, ou d'un livre, une sc&egravene, "une volume théâtral"; et constamment (se) recommander et de façon compliquée le livre. Il joue une alliance du théâtre et du livre: contre l'image, contre une certaine interpretation de l'image. Son théâtre est iconoclaste en ce sens, il joue contre l'image. Plutôt contre les images qui, sous une forme médiatique, s'emparent aujourd'hui d'un certain espace public. Naturellement le livre dont il parle n'est pas une totalité close, mais il faut déjà être attentif à ce que cette alliance du théâtre et du livre peut engendrer de retournements de perspectives, dans l'idée que nous avons du rapport entre théâtre et philosophie.

Dans L'éternel éphémère, Daniel Mesguich esquisse et, là, de manière plus facilement repérable, deux analogies partielles entre théâtre et philosophie. La première, nous pouvons l'entendre dasn la trace de ce que je suggérais au début, c'est-à-dire d'une certaine autorité du regard:

Le paradoxe n'est au théâtre nullement contingent, il est - l'impureté de ses ingrédients y oblige - essentiel et nécessaire. Si la philosophie ets bein une thérie de toutes les théories, elle est aussi une théorie d'elle-même, dit-on. Si le théâtre est bien une mise en scène de toutes les mises en scène, alors il est aussi une mise en scène de lui-même.

Daniel Mesguich souligne ce paradoxe qui unit le théâtre et la philosophie - tout en les perdant vertigineusement - par lequel l'un et l'autre tentent de se penser et de se représenter eux-mêmes, de se métaphoriser. Philosophie dans et de la philosophie, théâtre dans le théâtre, théâtre exhibant le théâtre dérobant alors ainsi sa propre visbilité, la brûlant et la consommant, pour ainsi dire.

La seconde de ces analogies concernerait les ordres comparés du philosophe et de l'homme de théâtre:

... le philosophe, l'écrivain, le peintre le sculpteur, même le cinéaste laissent une oeuvre. Ils peuvent se permettre de ne pas être des "hommes du siècle". Le théâtre qui joue, si l'on neut, entre le journalisme et l'oeuvre qui dure, ne permet pas, ou tellement indirectement que cela devient négligeable, de parler "à demain". Comme le philosophe, l'homme de théâtre n'est pas l'homme du siècle. Mais il n'est pas, lui, homme de l'oeuvre. Parce qu'il n'est qu'écoute de celle des autres, il reste à l'orée de l'oeuvre: il est après et avant elle.

Il faudrait ici s'accorder sur le terme d'oeuvre, entendre l'écartement que ce mot produit en lui-même selon qu'il désigne l'acte de la mise en oeuvre, l'oeuvrer, ou l'opus qui en résulte, en reste ou en retombe. Car on pourrait être tenté de dire le contraire: le philosophe n'est pas en tant que tel un homme d'oeuvre, et en revanche l'homme de théâtre met en oeuvre l'oeuvre, qui n'existe pas hors de sa mise en scène, c'est-à-dire mise en oeuvre.

Pour ma part, s'agissant de théâtre et philosophie, et d'un certain divorce dont le retentissement aura peut-être été toute l'histoire de l'Occident, de sa philosophie et de son théâtre, je voudrais métaphoriquement "ici-maintenant" ne retenir qu'un foyer, qu'une scène ou un acte de cette longue dramatique, je voudrais le faire en raison de l'une des thèses qui m'a donné le plus à penser dans le livre de Daniel Mesguich, à savoir la question du sacrifice.

Depuis Nietzsche, au moins, on a souvent répété que la philosophie a commencé par la fin d'une certaine tragédie. Comme si Socrate et Platon avaient chassé Sophocle, Eschyle et Euripide, comme ils avaient "chassé le poète de la cité". Le discours philosophique aurait tué la scène et l'énergie même du tragique, il l'aurait apaisée, ce qui revient au mêeme. Je ne peux m'engager dans cet immense débat. Je voudrais seulement à la fois le rétrécir et le compliquer autour du motif du sacrifice. Avec lui, nous rejoindrons pour une part l'un des titres de cette rencontre: "la nuit, le secret, le forclos". Le terme "forclos" n'indique pas seulement l'exclu, le dissocié, ce qui est mis à lécart, au dehors, ou qui ne peut pas revenir, mais aussi souvent le sacrifié, le bouc émissaire, ce qu'on doit mettre à mort, expulser ou écarter, comme l'étranger absolu qu'on doit mettre dehors pour que le dedans de la cité, de la conscience ou du moi s'identifié en paix. Il faut chasser l'étranger pour qu'appartenance, identification et appropriation soient possibles.

En ce sens, le sacrifice est constitutif de l'espace tragique. Et on pourrait penser que dans sa guerre avec le théâtre, le discours philosophique a mis fin à la tragédie, l'a refoulée en tout cas, inaugurant ainsi, comme cela a souvent été dit, la comédie ou le roman. Ou bien, chose plus compliquée mais nullement exclue, sacrifié le sacrifice, c'est-à-dire fait l'économie du sacrifice. Mettre fin au sacrifice n'est pourtant pas très simple. On peut mettre fin au sacrifice en sacrifiant le sacrifice, en lui faisant subir und mutation ou une intériorisation supplémentaire, et si bien que certains peuvent être tentés de penser que la structure sacrificielle reste néanmoins dominante dans le discours le plus dominant de la tradition philosophique. Loin que la philosophie ait mis fin au sacrifice, ou justement parce qu'elle a cru y mettre fin dans la tragédie grecque, elle n'aurait fait que porter en elle, sous une autre forme, la structure sacrificielle.

Or sur ce point Mesguich propose deux thèses. La première: La tragédie n'a pas lieu au théâtre mais elle est mise en jeu. Il faudrait reprendre la distinction qu'il fait entre deux sortes d'événements: l'un, comme avoir-lieu, l'autre, comme mise en jeu. Daniel Mesguich écrit ceci:

Tragos,bouc, et ôidê, chant.
La tragédie était-elle le beau chant qui accompagnait le sacrifice rituel d'un bouc aux fêtes de Dionysos, ou le chant atroce de ce bouc au moment où l'arme le transperçait? Ou bien l'accord impur des deux chants? Du côté des Grecs il n'avait là que symbole; du côté du bouc...
La tragédie, c'est losque l'un, supplicié, hurle vraiment "NON!", alors que d'autres, spectateurs, n'entendent que le versant mélodieux du "NON!", dansent sur cette "musique", ou applaudissent. La véritable tragédie n'a jamais lieu au théâtre. Au théâtre, la tragédie est mise en jeu.

La tragédie n'aurait pas lieu au théâtre, elle ne serait pas la chose du théâtre, le présent du théâtre, en tout cas elle ne serait pas l'événement comme avoir-lieu. L'autre thèse - et chacque thèse détermine un type de théâtre, une école théâtrale - soutient qu'il y aurait une énorme différence entre le sacrifice et le théâtre. Cette thèse théâtrale, le coup de théâtre de cette thèse m'intéresse parce qu'elle opère une sorte de renversement chiasmatique avec la philosophie. Précédemment, nous considérions la philosophie comme la fin du sacrifice tragique; elle resterait plus sacrificielle qu'on ne le dit en général; maintenant, au contraire, c'est le théâtre ainsi interprété, mettant en jeu le sacrifice, qui achève le sacrifice lui-même. Le sacrifice qu'on assignait au théâtre passe du côté de la philosophie et les rôles sont ainsi renversés. Daniel Mesguich ouvre à ce sujet une voie intéressante dans un passage titré:

Même l'agneau
L'acteur, offert, n'est pas un Christ pourtant qui, comblant "avec son corps les manquements de la loi" écrite, l'accomplit, l'achève enfin, la termine. Au théâtre, c'est infiniment provisoirement que le corps s'immisce dans les failles de l'écriture: pour l'acteur ce n'est pas fini, personne ne meurt, c'était pour de rire, il va falloir y revenir, incessament.
Le théâtre est "affrontement érotique" mais non définitif, non suicidaire, non christique, "entre le corps du Fils et la loi du Père". L'acteur non comme victime expiatoire, bouc émissaire, mais comme celui qui joue la victime; qui joue, devant tout le monde, avec la loi. Celui qui singe le bouc. Au théâtre, à la fin, Isaac, Abraham et l'agneau se relèvent et saluent.

Ce suspens du sacrifice, cette mise en jeu à la place de ce qui a lieu, suppose une étrange institution, qui à la fois assure la mise en jeu, se met elle-même en jeu et se désinstituionnalise, chaque fois, chaque jour, à chaque première. C'est l'une des différences avec la philosophie, du moins avec cette philosophie qui, depuis le XIXe siècle, définit le concept d'Université occidentale. La question de l'institution, qui est dissociable de toutes celles que nous venons d'apercevoir, est aussi envisagée par Mesguich:

Le théâtre, comme l'Université, tient un discours, propose une interprétation mais, à la difference de l'Université, ne se tient jamais, ne s'en tient pas là, n'y adhère que provisiorement. Pour une certaine Université, c'est le crime suprême.

Plus loin, Mesguich évoquera une double constrainte, la double loi qui lie la mise en jeu théâtrale à l'institution, et donc aux pouvoirs publics. Il faut á la fois se mettre en garde contre l'institution et la garder; il faut garder la mémoire mais remettre sans cesse en jeu l'érection qu'elle constitue. L'institution a partie liée avec la mémoire, avec ce qui se garde, elle est une retenue du temps, certes, mais aussi ce qui se fossilise ou se réduit, se simplifie, se condense, se durcit et s'érige.

Il y a plusieurs manières de penser l'irreprésentable au théâtre. C'est d'abord la nuit, la visibilité du visible. La visibilité est nocturne, le diaphane ne se voit pas, ce au travers de quoi l'on voit, ce qui brûle le visible. Il y a toutefois une autre manière de penser l'irreprésentable, non pas simplement comme ce qui, rendant possible la représentation, ne se présente pas, mais comme ce qui est à jamais exclu, marginalisé, censuré, réprimé ou refoulé. Nous ne devons pas oublier que le réprimé (au sens politique) ou le censuré (au sens du refoulement inconscient) subit seulement un déplacement topique; la censure, au sens psychoanalytique du terme, n'aneantit pas la mémoire, elle déplace d'un lieu dans un autre, elle met en réserve, elle métaphorise et métonymise mais elle ne détruit pas. Or nous pourrions nous demander s'il n'existe pas une destruction radicale de la mémoire, un feu qui viendrait incinérer la mémoire sans laisser de traces. Alors l'irreprésentable ou l'imprésentable ne serait plus ce qui est exclu ou empêche d'être lá, simplement déplacé ou déporté, mais ce qui est imprésentable parce qu'absolument brûlé par le feu.

Dans L'éternel éphémère Mesguich propose ce qu'il appelle un spectacle du refoulement, à tous les sens du terme, refoulement politique aussi bien que psychique, un spectacle qui ne viendrait pas seulement lever ce refoulement, mais qui livrerait une présentation, une mise en présence ou une représentation du refoulement. Cela paraît paradoxal et impossible, mais c'est un théâtre du paradoxe qu'il nous propose. Dans la représentation théâtrale, le non représentable, l'rreprésentable, parce que refoulé, viendrait se rappeler. Il s'agit en un sens d'un théâtre du refoulement.

Mais si l'art du théâtre était autant celui du voilement que celui du devoilement [donc de la vérité comme de la non-vérité, ou de la vérité de la non-vérité]? Et si c'éait aussi au spectacle du refoulement que l'on conviait la Cité?

Refoulement á l'oeuvre; le terme "cité" vient souligner qu'il s'agit bien d'un enjeu politique dans cette monstration sans monstration du refoulement. Cette mise en scène du refoulement n'est pas une simple levée du refoulement, une simple libération, une mise á nu de ce qui est imprésentable. Il s'agit d'une présentation paradoxale de l'imprésentable "comme tel". Le "comme tel" phénoménologique doit être ici affecté d'une modification essentielle.

Il y a dans le travail de Mesguich une interprétation de la temporalité théâtrale, c'est-à-dire du présent ou de ce qui ne se règle pas sur le présent, un appel à une sorte d'instant théâtral qui d'une certaine manière n'appartient pas à la temporalité.

Ce rapport au temps est décrit sous diverses formes tout au long de L'éternel éphémère. On est souvent tenté de penser le théâtre comme l'art de ce qui, sans doute préparé par les répétitions, n'a proprement lieu qu'une seule fois. Soit en même temps une première et une dernière fois; ce qui lui donne ce double visage à la fois matinal, oriental ou archéologique et automnal, mélancolique, occidental, crépusculaire ou eschatologique. L'un des aspects les plus provocants du théâtre de Mesguich, c'est - à contre-courant de la doxa - de penser que le théâtre a pour essence une certaine répétition. Non pas la répétition qui prépare la première, mais une répétition qui divise, qui creuse et fait surgir l'unique présent de la première fois. La présentation non pas comme réprésentation d'une modèle présent ailleurs, comme le serait une image, mais la présence une première et unique fois comme répétition.

Loin de l'affaiblir, cette structure de répétition intensifie au contraire l'expérience de l'irremplaçable première fois, de l'unique événement qui se produit chaque fois que sur le plateau une mise en scène met en oeuvre et que se produit l'acte théâtral.

Cette étrange expérience de la répétition est mémoire; cependant tout y paraît nouveau, inaugural, inanticipable; presque aussi surpris et surprenant qu'un événement. C'est l'événement comme répétition que nous devons penser au théâtre. Comment un présent dans sa fraicheur, dans sa crudité irremplaçable d'"ici-maintenant", peut-il être répétition? Que doit être le temps de l'expérience et le temps du théâtre pour que cela soit possible? Dans une vocabulaire emprunté à Levi-Strauss où le cru donne parfois à entendre la cruauté, Daniel Mesguich décrit les choses ainsi:

La seule chose crue, au théâtre, c'est qu'il a lieu devant vous; tout le reste, c'est du réchauffé. Le théâtre rend le passé au présent, et, du même coup, il fait entendre tout ce qui, dans ce que nous tenions pour le présent, était répétition. Le théâtre nous tend, dans ce qui advient pour la première fois, ce qui était déjà advenu. Et, de ce don, de ce présent tendu, de cette offre en tension, il fait un spectacle, cru et déjà cuit...

Et ailleurs dans un passage titré:

La cruauté n'existe pas
Jamais il n'y a théâtre s'il ne se produit qu'une fois. Le théâtre, toujours, se donne en séries - et cela, même si les acteurs ne jouent qu'une seule représentation de la piéce. En chaque représentation vibre sa répétition essentielle. En toute représentation chantent toutes les représentations, ses elles-mêmes passées et à venir. Chacune est fugue, suite et variations, reprise, ligne de fuite devant celle qui la précède, derrière celle qui la suit. Une manifestation théâtrale et une seule - bacchanale, crudité: cruauté - impliquerait la totalité, la plénitude, l'irréversibilité. Une manifestation théâtrale et une seule ne serait pas du théâtre: elle aurait lieu.

Penser le théâtre c'est alors éviter tous les discours cuits, c'est-à-dire ne rien sacrifier de ce qui fait notre unique et singulière présence, tout en y présentant la mémoire, l'altérité, le simulacre, la répetition, la répétition qui la constitue et qui la dé-présente en la représentant d'avance. Penser sur le plateau signifie cet incroyable espace où le savoir ne peut décider de ce qu'est le présent. De ce qui est présent sur la scène sous son manteau de visibilité. Pareil en cela à Marie Tudor et à Jane Talbot dans l'oeuvre de Victor Hugo, incapables de discerner quant au sujet qu'elles ont vu ou cru envoyer à la mort.

Toute la pièce de Victor Hugo, comme nous avons pu l'admirer hier soir dans la mise en scène de Daniel Mesguich, est aussi la métaphore du théâtre lui-même. Comme si le dehors du théâtre, leréférent du théâtre - non pas ce qu'il dit ou montre de la Politique, de la Religion, de l'Histoire, de l'Amour, etc. - était structuré comme un théâtre et donc déjà une répétition, dont le retour en abyme sur le plateau n'empêche ni n'atténue la singularité tragique de l'aiguë et unique première fois.

L'autre manière de formuler la question du temps au théâtre dans le travail de Mesguich s'annonce dans un lexique particulier au travers des catégories du furtif ou de l'urgence. Tout doit se faire très vite au théâtre, l'acteur est pressé comme s'il volait, comme s'il etait dans une situation de transgression et de fraude; il est un voleur, et cela fait partie du temps de théâtre; la catégorie du furtif ou du clandestin signifie que l'instant essentiel du théâtre ne se laisse pas intégrer à la temporalité générale, il est volé au temps, et c'est aussi un moment de présentation de la loi et donc de la transgression de la loi. C'est un moment anormal, qui expose la loi comme refoulement.

Il faut donner l'impression toujours de la presse, de l'urgence (...), une soulevée de pierres tombales, une fouille de la langue maternelle...
J'ai toujours tendance à penser que le théâtre est comme un instantané; cet instantané se déploie ou s'analyse peut-être en deux heures ou en quatre, peu importe, mais il n'a pas de durée vériable, seulement des effets de durée. (...) Que l'acteur joue vite, qu'il semble pressé, indique, aussi, qu'il n'a pas le droit d'être là, que la scène ne lui est pas un lieu autorisé, qu'il y est en fraude.

Au contraire la philosophie serait, dans cette hypothèse: attention patiente du discours pédagogique à la présentation, à l'identification, à l'institution, etc. Pour ma part, je plaiderais plutôt pur une dimension théâtrale dans la philosophie afin de brouiller un peu l'opposition, fût-elle chiasmatique, entre théâtre et philosophie. Il y a dans la pensée philosophique, dans la pensée philosophique pré-institutionelle , des instants qui ressemblent à cette urgence furtive, clandestine, non autorisée et folle, qui mettent la philosophie en marge. Je crois qu'il y a des coups de théâtre en philosophie, des instants qui ressemblent à ce que Kierkegaard décrivait quand il disait: "l'instant de decision est une folie". Ces instants-là appartiennement indissociablement au théâtre et à la philosophie, à la philosophie dans le théâtre ou au théâtre dans la philosophie. Il n'y a pas de théâtre mais des théâtres, il y a des oeuvres qui au regard du refoulement, de l'identification ou de la croyance au théâtre font oeuvre differemment . De même qu'on pourra toujours interpréter - et cela reste infiniment suspendu - la mise en jeu du sacrifice, de l'identification, de la croyance, du refoulement ou de la forclusion, comme des surenchères sacrificielles ou identificatoires, des sacrifices du sacrifice, de même rien ne pourra jamais nous assurer que ces économies ne sont pas en même temps mises en jeu. Mesguich cite dans L'éternel éphémère une très belle phrase de Mannoni avec laquelle je voudrais conclure:

Un masque de loup ne nous fait pas peur à la façon du loup, mais à la façon de l'image du loup que nous avons en nous

. Et Mesguich de poursuivre: Au théâtre on ne croit ni on ne croit pas, on ne regarde ni on n'écoute jamais directement; on regarde ou on écoute l'enfant ou l'idiot en nous qui croit. Même si ce que dit Mannoni est fort et vrai, une question demeure. Personne ne croit au masque du loup. Quand nous allons au théâtre nous ne sommes pas dupes, nous savons que c'est une illusion ou un simulacre. Or la puissance de l'émotion ou de l'identification tient au fait que si l'on ne croit pas au loup qu'il y a derrière le masque, on croit à la réalité psychique intérieure que ce masque réveille en nous et par conséquent l'émotion a raison de croire à ce qui est ainsi réellement au-dedans de nous. Il y a une sorte d'intériorisation par le discours psychanalytique de ce crédit que l'on apporte au théâtre. Mais qu'est-ce que croire? Voilà la question posée, elle est mise en scène ou en feu par le théâtre.

Le commentaire de Mesguich apporte une autre dimension qui ne trahit pourtant pas la psychanalyse: on ne regarde ni on n'écoute jamais directement, on ne croit ni ne croit pas et à ce moment-là, regarder l'enfant ou l'idiot qui y croit, c'est regarder conjointement la mémoire identificatrice et la séparation absolue. On re-garde le point de départ et le partage, à la fois comme ce que l'on partage au sens de la participation et ce qui se dissocie. La suspension entre les deux aspects du partage reste absolument indéfinie et irréductible. Qu'est-ce qu'un acte de foi dans le théâtre? Pourquoi faut-il croire au théâtre? Il le faut. Pourquoi le faut-il?