Attempting to deal with Derrida is an arduous task. Despite his clear direction at times, his expressions delve into, or at least very close to, nonsense, or contradictions inherent to language, but where you need to make up for it with his particular sense. To properly make something out of Derrida, I imagine it’s best to do as much as possible with the moments of clarity.
Derrida’s earliest major piece regards Husserl’s philosophy, in particular the problem of Genesis. Husserl’s major claim is that he wants to restart philosophy with a proper ground, a new beginning based on the self-evidence of the phenomenologically reduced experience. This were to be the start of philosophy and a more so a start for a philosophically informed science. Derrida understood this notion very well, and as with many good philosophers, they used the starting point of another philosopher to overthrow that very philosopher. I believe Derrida did just that, he radicalized Husserl, and made the acts of the Husserlian philosophy into what they truly were. Husserl never did put an emphasize of what it meant for an act to be descriptive, and how it would truly work in regards to what it is he tried to describe, and all the difficulties that would arise in such an endeavor, and much worse, the infinitude of such an endeavor. These are among other things what Derrida elucidates in his preface to The Problem of Genesis in Husserl’s Philosophy. “How can philosophy, if it is engendered by something other than itself, lay claim to an originary autonomy?”, he asks. How does philosophy look outside of itself to create itself? Of course there are answers we could give based on a study of Husserl, but for a moment let’s suspend these thoughts to see what Derrida is attempting to do.
I sense many misconceptions of Husserl in the way Derrida writes, unfortunately. At least they are misconceptions to my mind. In the preface again, Derrida speaks naively of being, and having the originary philosophy reveal being, which is never really the case in Husserl. What is presented in Husserl is never anything metaphysical, to my mind, or from what I know of Husserl, but it is simply what it is, in its self-evident nature. What we do with it beyond that point is all subject to bracketing, which is something Derrida also writes, but still uses words like “reality” and “being” with a fair amount of liberty. The same goes with “dialectic”, which seem to have little meaning in regards to Husserl, since there is no dialectical process going on in Husserl’s philosophy. Derrida is clearly coming at Husserl from a very strange angle. But Derrida conjures dialectics through the following relationship, “it unites in one single act the originary transcendental subjectivity and the transcendent ‘sense of being’ that it constitutes, with, on the other hand, that absolute which is of a piece with every originarity.” So in reality it seems more like we are talking about a synthesis, ignoring what it is he says in its content and just looking at the conjunction. First of all, how does the transcendental subjectivity constitute a sense of being? What could this possibly be mean? In Husserl we do not need a sense of being to know what is being presented to us, but if we have to call something “being”, it would be this very transcendental subjectivity of Husserl, if we are to follow phenomenological traditional thinking. I cannot give a sense to “that absolute which is of a piece with every originarity”, however, unless he simply means that every originary sense of being, that is every experience of the egological kind (that is experience of the self, in the reduced sense of late Husserl), is absolute in the sense that it is independent and self-sufficient. But in Husserl there is no difference between the former and the latter of this supposed “dialectic”, so what guides Derrida in saying this? Again, I have a sneaking suspicion that Derrida is confused about something, and it is turning me off to this whole project.
Again, further difficulties arise with the next line (p. xxix in the preface):
In a word, the question we will put to Husserl could become the following: Is it possible to ground, in its ontological possibility and (at the same time) in its sense, an absolute dialectic of dialectic and nondialectic? In this dialectic, philosophy and being would blend together the one in the other, without definitively alienating themselves one in the other.
First of all, what is absolute in dialectical relationships? Secondly, Husserl never tried to ground anything ontologically. To think being is to no longer think phenomenology, I would say, at least not in accordance with Husserl. So what makes this a good question to “put to Husserl”? Derrida is thus far quite upsetting to read.
Derrida still attempts to criticize the Husserlian doctrine, but it seems he is basing them mostly on misunderstandings:
For example, in order to be totally intelligible, the transcendental reduction, reversal, and recommencement of the naive attitude must cancel or remove from its effective existence the whole history that has made its way toward it; the transcendental reduction, to live up to its phenomenological value, to appear to itself as the act of a transcendental freedom, must suspend everything which could have seemed to have “motivated” it. But the paradox is that in order to be intelligible in its very “demotivation” and to give itself as intentional originarity, it is, in its very actuality, reduction “of” something which was and still is effectively “already there.”
So the problem with this is a fundamental misunderstanding of Husserl, and the reasons will be laid out. Obviously it is hard to cut through the density of Derrida’s writing, but if you know Husserl, things appear somewhat clearer. Basically what is said here is that Husserl, in his attempt to remove “improper” claims to knowledge, reduced knowledge-claims to their essences, which would be the direct experience, subjective experience, this is all that could be seen as self-evident and thus proper knowledge. When Derrida thinks he is making anyone stumble in his reference to a preceding world in which the phenomenological reduction, in reality he is just showcasing his poor understanding of the Husserlian philosophy’s goal. The goal is not to ground existence or reality, Husserl does not say things such as “phenomenology is the study of being as it is in itself,” as far as I can remember, but this is what an argument that Derrida is taking issue with would sound like. Husserl does the opposite, in fact, and there is not “dialectic” between existence and non-existence, positive experience and negation of those experiences, or whatever else. What is at stake in Husserl is PROPER knowledge, justified knowledge, knowledge of the kind we can hold for certain. So when Husserl performs a phenomenological reduction, he does not suspend his belief in a preceding world, he suspends the preceding world’s philosophizing claim to hold proper and genuine knowledge. To not understand this nuance of Husserl is to not understand him at all, in my mind. I hope for my own sake that this is not something which Derrida continues to hold on to, or maybe, even more likely, that I am misunderstanding Derrida. It just seems to me that Derrida is under the impression that originarity has to do with metaphysical or some kind of origin of a natural kind. It is solely and entirely the origin for genuine knowledge that is in question here.
Further on he goes: “the genetic interpretation of Husserl’s thought which would attach itself only to the creative or ‘radical’ aspect of genesis would disperse it in an infinite multiplicity of absolute beginnings that are neither temporal nor atemporal nor historical nor suprahistorical. This interpretation suppresses what every genesis constantly implies and what it refers to as to one of its foundations: the essential rootedness in the continuity of being, in time, in the world.” (p. xxxii) For something to be neither temporal nor atemporal is a simple logical error, something Derrida partakes in often. It’s an attack on the notion of bivalence without justification. Going further into it, what would it mean for the beginning to be an infinite multiplicity? Clearly there is no such beginning in Husserl, since the beginning does not come from the phenomenological reduction itself, but the decision to perform it and view life through a phenomenological lens. The best criticism of such a position would be that there is no phenomenological experience that constitutes the beginning, and it would be correct, but this is not exactly what Derrida is saying here. Derrida is, it seems, claiming that each phenomenological experience is of their own a beginning, an originary experience of being (which is nonsensical, as has been explained already). In this sense there would be an infinite multiplicity of beginnings, but the beginning is in reality One, and it is the directionality towards the phenomenological description as a mode of thought, as an intentional object, as a descriptive task to be performed. Still there is an adherence in Derrida to something more metaphysical, without properly being warranted or justified. It is unfortunately unclear whether or not Derrida is describing a misconception of Husserl or if he is partaking in one, since it seems when he explains the issues with how others interpret Husserl and when he himself takes a position, they both falter in some fundamental way, only Derrida with a bit more subtlety. Derrida speaks of a antepredicative world, and this is where the notion of origin arises within. This is something Husserl is aware of, he clearly writes about the prepredicative world, but this world has no value to a search for knowledge, which still is the intention of Husserl, not to ground us metaphysically in the pre-predicative. There is no antepredicative notion that is not predicative, that is the problem with this kind of talk in itself. It’s in itself a contradiction to speak of the silent world, to some extent, unless you first build a proper system of reference, the possibility of which is highly uncertain.
Derrida’s search for a Husserl to follow, and his expressing that it is very difficult to synthesize Husserl, since a lot of what he does seem to change. But even in this effort, I am unclear on where it is Husserl changes so radically that he cannot be synthesized more or less with ease, nor why it is necessary to do so. Husserl does not necessarily need to be reduced to an origin, or one system, however. We can either agree with certain notions of his or we can dismiss them. There is no sense in holding a thinker together in this sense, I say this even knowing that I have the tendency to do so. In Husserl’s case it takes a different kind of genius to keep all the nuance in mind to be able to clearly differentiate the different Husserls. In my mind the directionality of Husserl is clear, and very consistent, in the same way Deleuze is, in that they express the same notion throughout their life with very few nuances, but mostly with the same directionality. What changes is the various applications and implementations of their system of thought, and what different concepts that can be created through this initial directionality.
This will be another work of pure repetition on my end, since I will belabor endlessly about the fact that knowledge and existence are two separate categories of thought. Epistemology and metaphysics are not the same. “But the attempts [the attempts at phenomenological reductions] are unfaithful to him to the degree that these reductions end in a pure and simple expelling of existence, in the methodological destruction of empirical facticity.” (p. xxxviii) Again, I have to question this, since in Husserl there is never, that I know of, an attempt to grasp existence as such. There is never talk of existence, there is talk about presentations and what can be known, about self-evident qualities, about experience, egology, etc. There are no metaphysical determinations in Husserl’s philosophy, because his goal is epistemological, he wants to know. So there is nothing unfaithful to Husserl in expelling the notion of existence, the opposite is in fact true. While we can invoke the notion of existence like Derrida does, in the sense that no originary sense of phenomenology can be thought in any other way as existing, I would say the interesting thing about Husserl is that this is a superfluous movement. In reality, we cannot deny the existence of that which presents itself to us as self-evidently there, making any determination of existence purely formal and dependent on that which fills up this concept. All those things which we put into existence are things apprehended through experience, they are one and the same, at least in the Husserl of the Logical Investigations. “All that exists can be experienced,” is the phrase, I believe. It denotes the epistemological notion of existence as that which is available to us and knowable by us, as opposed to the antepredicative brute world that Husserl is clearly aware of, but not interested in.
Surely these naive misunderstandings cannot really be ascribed to Derrida. His research of Husserl is chronological, to an extent, and every change is described on a historical level, in a way, the move from the “disappointed mathematician” to the transcendental egologist.
If we really get down to it, what is meant by Derrida’s “Genesis”? Because so far I’ve made ungrounded assumptions of what it is Derrida means. The Genesis is used in a more concrete sense than I first imagined it, as I keep on reading. It’s not only the genesis for knowledge or a genesis into the world as such, the latter of which is the naive position I’ve been criticizing. There is no One genesis in this book. There is a genesis of concepts, one for intentionality, one for synthesis and unity of the multiplicity. But I still can’t make sense of what it is Derrida means by the term “genesis”, or why it is problematic in Husserl’s philosophy.
Derrida nonetheless goes through Husserl’s philosophy in a competent way, he shows the crucial relationship between concrete and abstract, particular and general; importantly that there cannot be a generalization without a set of particulars. This is of note because our use of abstractions can only have a sense with its relation to a set of particulars with similarity. Concepts, as intentionality, is always about something, even the abstract concepts: they are related to their concrete multiplicities, and serve as a kind of totality of them. Of course this is quite easily attacked, Merleau-Ponty for example argued against this quite effectively, and showed that there was in fact no such thing as a general “red”, only the redness of each object we perceive as red. The redness of our jacket, the redness of that car, etc. This may be true in general, that there is no red that is not particular, but there is something going on that allows us to identify redness, and that, I think, is what Husserl elucidates with his notions on generality and its relation to the particulars. So in that sense you could easily fault the more direct notion of particularity in that it makes it impossible to direct the assent or dissent of redness unless you had some kind of identifier of that quality. The identifier could perhaps be a comparison with past particularities, but clearly this is not what we do when we recognize a quality, we do not play past experiences in our mind and compare the current one to them, it is more immediate and readily accessible. Of course there is room for more arguments here, but this text might have more to do with Derrida’s Husserl. Let’s see if we can do something with this.
Derrida chronicles the movement of Husserl quite well. How intentionality goes from being psychical to being phenomenological, the problems that lead up to Husserl making that development. Intentionality must be that which is originary for objects to arise, if we are to properly understand what it is that gets created. Totalities appear already as identifiers of a multiplicity of phenomenological experiences, they all refer to and link back to one intentional object. This is one important aspect of Husserl’s phenomenology you have to bear in mind, that objects are not immediate, but always implied to some extent.
In the Logical Investigations Derrida tells us, which is also clear from volume 1, that Husserl breaks off from the psychologism of The Philosophy of Arithmetic to replace it with Logicism, with a logical normative science. A science of sciences, that which orders and sees over other sciences, that which tries to unite them and provide a sort of completed picture of things. Derrida does not mention another important aspect of this work, however, which is the notion that before any science of whatever kind, there is already a logical order of things at work. This is what prevents psychology from being a proper science to Husserl, because before any of their descriptions, we already have the logical-phenomenological experiences to deal with. To say that we are a subject experiencing the world is to go one step beyond – a disingenuous step – what we naturally experience and logically apprehend. Before there is a subject, there is experience and logic, and that which determines subjectivity is already existing, logic, and thus phenomenology later on, predates any science of the subject. Psychology gets things backwards, you could say, in this sense, according to Husserl.
Derrida does provide some new information to me, since I have not been able to get all the texts of Husserl yet, which I appreciate. Husserl’s writing on time, for instance, is something I have not studied. But, which is beautiful, Derrida’s account of Husserl’s notion of time is very much in line with Husserl in general. That is truly the beauty of a consistent thinker. Again, all transcendental notions, like objective time, are suspended and made pointless, subsided by the rigidity of a concrete lived time, a subjective time. “It is not clear how an originarily atemporal experience, identical to itself in an absolute and flawless present, can afterward receive a temporal determination from the outside.” (p. 59)
The future and past would further, in Derrida’s account of Husserl’s account, be hopelessly confused, in that the future and past would both be based on imagined scenarios, where a sign of the past would be a sign of a past event and non-accessible existence, and the future would be a baseless projection. It is only the present which cannot be imagined or construed falsely, at least no in the sense that the future and the past can be. We have to identify the degree of confusion that could be ascribed to each temporal direction (ibid.). It is unclear if the present truly is as straight forward as we think it is, as Donald Davidson it was not, we could easily be mistaken in perceptive matters (of the present).
“The ‘eidos’ of lived time is itself temporal, constituted in a temporality. It appears static only if it is uncoupled from the temporality where it is founded.” (p. 60) Here Derrida prematurely appeals to the noema-noesis relationship, where time is seen as noematic as related to a noetic experience. This basically means that time apprehends something statically as a noema, as constituted object, through the noesis, the constituting conscious act.
At first I was worried about Derrida’s ascribing ontological traits to Husserl’s philosophy, but as I go through the writings of Derrida, more and more signs arise that Derrida actually does ascribe a lot of ontology to what Husserl does. “Are not the empirical or ontological geneses both essentially implied in the analyses of lived experience?” (p. 61) Is this for pedagogical purposes? Or does it imply Derrida thinks they should intuitively be considered both implicative in experience? In either case it’s ridiculous to claim to know what somebody means in this sense, especially with someone like Derrida, so perhaps there is no real point in this exercise.
There are so many things Derrida says that you could break down with a simply “why is that?” I am not sure at all what justifies many of his statements. But some statements hold up as justified through Husserl: “Subjectivity is time that itself is temporalizing itself. Time is subjectivity fulfilling itself as subjectivity.” (p. 66) This denotes the freedom and acts that constitute our notions of time in the concrete sense.
Quickly things fall back into demands for ontological grounds, however: “In order for the immanent consciousness of time not to be a subjectivist illusion, in order for the essence of time not to be a concept, for them both to be consciousness and essence of an actual time, they must be linked by an originary synthesis to time and to being constituted a priori.” (p. 69) Why is this? What does Derrida here mean by “essence of an actual time”? And what is it to link consciousness and ‘actual time’? Is not what Husserl tries to do to avoid this notion of ‘actual time’ for something more solid? I will have to acquire this book and research this myself, but it seems very un-Husserl-like to talk of things like ‘actual time’. Actual in this sense seem to denote that real substrate that underlies our subjective illusions or appearances, something that Husserl, to my knowledge, always opposed. Have I missed something crucial in Husserl, or is Derrida adding these requirements of his own will? Transcendentality in Husserl never seemed to take this form, in my mind, the discussions of transcendental egos and such are never put as something that is not immanent expressly. I have a hard time understanding where Derrida is coming from.
He seems to still want to fault Husserl for a psychologism, even in the Ideas, when bracketing and the epoché really starts to form. But when Husserl writes:
Because the reader already knows that the interest that dominates these meditations regard a new eidetics, he surely should expect that the world as a fact is struck by the disconnect, but by no means the world as eidos, likewise neither any of the spheres of essences. The disconnection of the world does not mean for example that the series of numbers and the arithmetic that adheres to this is disconnected. This road we however do not fall in line with, neither in this direction is our goal, that we could also characterize as to win a new, in its uniqueness heretofore never delimited sphere of being, which in likeness with each genuine region constitutes a region of individual being.
Derrida takes this to mean that Husserl is still within a mindset that consciousness is still consciousness within a natural world, thus an empirical psychology. But if the world that we use in epistemological purposes is eidetic, thus reduced to the experiences of consciousness, not in a world, but a consciousness as constituting the experienceable world, as the world reduced to the assemblage of experiences, how is this so? What idea of the world is Derrida using here to make Husserl seem to perform a relation between consciousness and world? Because clearly, if you read carefully in Husserl, the “sphere of being” has strange implications, but is secondary, if not tertiary or even completely irrelevant, to the notion of reduction of natural attitudes in favor of a phenomenological analysis of consciousness.
The problem Derrida finds in Husserl is the same problem I seem to find in him, the pedagogical efforts. Husserl’s genesis in the relation between a natural world and a reduced phenomenological description of experience, is simply there to carry with him the people still stuck within the natural attitude. There is no “beginning” in the natural world, as such, it is a reference to an attitude of human beings, a naivety, etc. This needs to be understood, and should be clear from Husserl’s writing, since never does he speak of the natural world as being originary, it is simply there as that which we in attempting to genuinely ground knowledge, have to no longer utilize. It is not a negation, there is no dialectic involved, there is simply a reference to an attitude that needs to be cut away, reduced, delimited, delineated and so on.
Derrida must understand this to some extent, so it is unsure if he is confused or simply moves along a line of progressive understanding in a chronological reading of Husserl. He shows signs of understanding when he says: “The noematic objectivity replaces real objectivity. In the same way, the time of the world, which is harmonized with immanent time through the intermediary of ‘temporal objectivities,’ is not real time but noematic time originarily in correlation with a noetic time.” (p. 79)
“But could what is a nonintentionality be only a product? That’s impossible, and in contradiction with the fundamental principles of phenomenology?” Noetic experience is direct and actual, it is also the most genuine and full experience you can have. It is immediate, whereas the intentional objects that arise out of these sections of real immediate experience are secondary and products of this first hand experience. This is the fundamental principle of phenomenology as Husserl has developed it from the Logical Investiations. Derrida is once again showing some kind of confusion in his attempt to criticize Husserl. The distinction between noema and noesis is not clear, by any means, but it is clear enough to avoid this misguided question. “What is going to be the status of the moments of lived experience which are ‘real’ but not intentional? Where, when, and through what will they be constituted?” (p. 86) Do they need constitution? Is this not a misguided question? Why do we need to look for an origin or genesis? The question is irrelevant for phenomenology, but it could nonetheless be answered through phenomenology. To look for the origin phenomenologically would be to look for the moment where actual direct experience first arise, and it would be to finally close the circle of phenomenology, but it is entirely unnecessary, since the goal is not a genesis, but a secure ground for knowledge. Even if it might be true that we are subjects within a material world, whose experience is explainable through scientific descriptions and explanations, it would do nothing to reduce phenomenological experience. Husserl’s decision to attach himself to these notions are again their self-evident nature, and their genuine presentation to us, their automatic presentation, their innate and incorrigible appearance. To look for their origin is to assume there is something constituting the immediate experience. There might very well be such a constituting event, but it would be ridiculous to assume it is something we can know before the deepest of studies of it, and it would be premature to assume it does anything to weaken phenomenology.
This is the first argument that I found truly compelling from Derrida, though, and that does serve as a proper problem. The question is not too out of line, “What is it that constitutes immediate experience?” But is this not a question that would be scientific in nature? “What is the origin of the universe?” and so on. If we put this question at the forefront of philosophical research or epistemological efforts, we have already lost our ability to create a method. And perhaps this is Derrida’s ultimate goal. But to ask the question without the possibility of answering it, without a method of which to use to understand the meaning of such a question, is senseless. The core of Husserl’s philosophy lies in this: whether it is constituted or not, whether it stems from a consciousness as seen by psychology or neurobiology, whether it is a consciousness given to us by God (obviously I do not believe this), it is irrelevant, because what is presented to us is there in its full form regardless of what traits we happen to ascribe to it. Derrida never truly leaves the natural attitude when he poses this question, and in that he makes his entire enterprise shaky and again, senseless. We could follow Hume in this also, and simply claim that in an atomistic view of consciousness, this immediate experience is what constitutes the bottom level of any methodology whatsoever. To look for a further primordiality is to assume too much. If there is distinction between constituting and constituted, then the constituting blocks of which the constituted are built, cannot be themselves made up of building blocks endlessly. I believe Hume does have some very compelling arguments along these lines, but they are also based in empiricism, or perception alone. Derrida seems to be looking elsewhere, towards something wholly transcendental. But what justifies this other than the ability to ask for a further ground for the ground already offered by Husserl? I do not see it as justified as of now, but it is compelling nonetheless.
“Is not neutralization originarily a ‘disappointment,’ that is to say, the moment when the ‘I’ ‘removes itself” from facticity, without however denying its existence? Does not the predicative judgment presuppose a certain negation of the sensuous antepredicative, subsumed under one or several concepts?” (p. 117)
“Without the possibility of negation or disappointment, intention or intentionality would not be possible.”
Derrida is infuriating, since he does not explain statements like these. In what way would negation at all take place in moving from antepredication to predication. It’s simply a change in form, it is not a dialectic. What is Derrida getting at? What am I missing? Is it right for me to view this as absolute nonsense? One activity does not exclude the other, atemporality does not exclude temporality, since atemporal experience can clearly be viewed temporally. A simple sensuous experience is atemporal, it might have duration, but it is not immediately retentional or protentional, or past and future, it is merely present. This present is retained, what is retained becomes a retentional experience, thus there is a difference between present experience directed towards an object and retentional experience of the same object. “Same” in this sense simply denoting a similarity in direction, a pointedness, etc.
It might be the case that Derrida confuses contrasts with contradictions. Experience is not always immediate in the sense that would make mutual exclusion a necessity. Life as temporal can include what we’d otherwise consider to be mutually exclusive experience without acting as a kind of mediative negation (whatever that means). It’s not even certain that there is mediation between these different types of experiences, the atemporal and temporal, for instance. What provides their difference could simply be a simply adjustment in perspective, a change in focal point. Extreme points by no means exclude each other by any sense of necessity, and they certainly do not lead automatically to a dialecticism. What is Derrida trying to get at?
The same goes for active and passive experience, which I am unsure whether or not is a properly Husserlian way to put it. They do not exclude each other, but the important aspect of Husserl’s philosophy is how they interact with each other and how the active experience is constituted by the passive, and how they are synthesized and assimilated and intermixed. This is an immense oversight from Derrida, it seems, which spoils my possible enjoyment of this current book. He seems confused, and perhaps for good reason, Husserl often confuses me, but he does not seem even sure of the rigidity of which he uses his own terms. The flailing around with the term “Genesis” is still something that threatens to undermine his whole project. His search for an ontological ground and confusion of it in regard to a philosopher’s work whose main goal was not an ontological but epistemological ground is certainly quite tragic. But this cynical view I am positing seems to mostly show that I surely have to be still caught in some kind of misunderstanding, but it does not stem from an unwillingness to see greatness in this work, it is due to the inability to have terms be clear and consistently utilized.
There are many things I am still unclear about. The term transcendence in Husserl has always been puzzling to me. The “transcendental ego” was never clear to me. When Husserl describes historical teleology as the movement of philosophy in his Crisis, it likewise confused be greatly, it seemed to broaden phenomenology to a cultural level. It was not enough for him to on a personal level restart our epistemological efforts, but it was necessary to understand it from the beginning of a phenomenologically grasped history. In this sense, when Derrida takes issue with the genesis of Husserl’s epistemology, I can see the confusion. There is a great deal of confusion in Husserl’s various attempts to basically do the same thing. His directionality was always the same, but he perpetually failed and restarted. I am still yet at a point where I think this confusion spoils phenomenology, and I believe its core direction is genuine. The only thing which binds us to a world is our experience, and the experience is what should be adhered to, all else is nonsense. How we do this, or whether it is possible or not, is another question. But if we deny the possibility of this, we deny any further philosophizing, and we might as well stop writing.
I’ll end as Derrida does, with a quote from Husserl:
I did not know that it might be so hard to die. And yet I have tried so hard right through my life to take out all futility . . . ! Right up to the moment when I am so penetrated with the feeling that I am responsible for a task, to the moment when, in the Vienna and Prague lectures, then in my article (Die Krisis), I have exteriorized myself with such complete spontaneity and where I have realized a weak start – it is at that moment that I have to interrupt things and leave my task incomplete. Just when I am getting to the end and when everything is finished for me. I know that I must start everything again from the beginning. . .
Derrida does not, in most cases, spew nonsense. I think he gets confused at times, as we all do, but his direction is clear. I take issue with his ontological focus, when nowhere that is the main focus of Husserl. This text could be summed up with just that. Perhaps that is also what it should have been summed up as. To take out all futility. . . to avoid the otiose. That could be my goal, as well. . .
Is philosophy futile?