“This is an experiment of acting as if you were dead…
But what does it mean to be dead, when you are not totally dead? It means that you look at things the way they are as such, you look at the object as such. To perceive the object as such implies that you perceive the object as it is or as it is supposed to be when you are not there. To see the bottle as such means to see the bottle as it would be without me. If I were dead the bottle would remain the same as it is, the colour, the same consistency, and so on.
So, to relate to an object as such means to relate to it as if you were dead. That’s the condition of truth, the condition of perception, the condition of objectivity, at least in their most conventional sense.”
— Jacques Derrida, As If I Were Dead.
aw iris! it doesn’t make you a better or shittier MA student if you have read derrida… i read derrida and watched a documentary about him in second year at this philosophy conference i went to with will and understood NOTHING, and it sure as hell did not make me a better undergrad student. will’s brain was having a party while i was looking around, jaw agape, at how over my head all of it was. at the end that crazy trent philosophy prof… no wait she was a cultural studies prof, that’s what made it even better! zsuzsa barross! she totally tore apart the man who was lecturing about derrida and after what felt like an hour long debate he admitted his entire lecture was wrong and she was right and it looked like he would cry. i hadn’t understood a thing the entire time but at least that part was somewhat entertaining/heartbreaking.
it was only in my last (fifth) year that molly blyth talked about derrida in post colonial theory (which, might i add, is listed as a second year undergrad course) that i vaguely began to comprehend and enjoy him. when i tell her this over wine at her place at the end of the session, that she is the first professor to really put derrida in a context in which i concretely understood, she casually says in her lovely way that it must be because she was the only one of my profs who had met the man and made him laugh with her criticisms
as if molly blyth could be any more awesome.