Monthly September 2016


Amidst waves and tides, I guess I like to remind myself of the lives of great writers – of how their times and destinies played like cat and mouse. Word, highest listener that you are (and you too, intruder my reader), only you can hear my words and their improvised truth ; only in the rarity of my contact with you does the incessant flow of my indecision find the serenity of an eternal, particular form. Yes, eternal. Yes, particular.
It is obvious : we have all had one and the same mistress. I look up to them, the writers, because the more I know that I find my peace in you, Word, the more I realise how complementarily straining and confusing everything else is to me. Just like it was to them. The heights of their creations, so high that these could only be involuntary to them, could only contrast more harshly with the misery of their conditions, the remote reaches of a distracting phase of life, or the persisting traits and habits, over the years, of what remained, unquestionably, and like all of us, nothing else but just another bunch of mediocre beings.
But, just like them I can’t resign ; boredom is pain just like putting his finger in the fire is to another. Evidently, priorities don’t come always in the same order in this world, and even if this seems to the least indirect, one must reiterate that concerns of Ideas and aesthetics too can be matters of survival for some. Enough to kill them ; enough to justify their existence.
Chikungunya bit me a few weeks back, and I may remember that one night when, of my (rare) attempts at birthing a few lines, this one literally hurt my fingers. Impossibility to type, impossibility of the tupos, that is, no impression, no figure, no impact. Now, don’t be surprised if Derrida and his obsession of the trace once spoke to me. An impression nonetheless this whole event left, cause a few more days of rhythmic discordances between my bones and my muscles later, and my body was back to its habitual cheerfulness to be stretched, pulling like a donkey my mind where it desired, and it is indeed only my deeper contagion that re-emerged by difference. Word, you bit me first but I must now come to realise that you are yet another pharmakon : cure containing some of the poison, or vice versa ; through you I try to do more than language, more than writing and thinking, such as : going out ‘in the world’, creating things, getting your word out … and even reading, some time ! Yet all those ‘more than language’ that I do only call me back for how much it is just you that I need, impossible partner that you offer to be : impossible just with you, impossible without you.
Two years ago, a bit more even by now, I found in a couple of almost contemporary writers from my lands, the version of you, word, which seemed the most harmonious to my ears. They, too, faced their own waves and tides, and responded to them : personal seas, but also the hypnotic oceans of human lives and of the history of thoughts. And, weighing, with them, the highs and bottoms of this heavy equation, this heritage, impossible yet accepted once again, to continue to think, that is, still to attempt to give a new, particular form to truth, something in me made me side with a touch of optimism, or a positive thinking that hoped to be performative.

The avenir is the realm of the written, and the written takes place in the avenir, because the written ignores itself ; the written permits new meanings by permeating through its medium… but also beyond its medium, when the philosopher-poet understands that language is everything but formal restriction.

Part of my avenir from back then is now, simply speaking, my past, yet I never stop to weigh together the projected hopes and calculations of back then, and what in fact happened ever since. Derrida says avenir precisely because there is not only the future, locked between the two equally erroneous beliefs of absolute foretelling, or of thorough unpredictability. The truth is in between, and indeed for example these two years have showed me that I would be able to dig deeper into certain wrong paths by then only timidly initiated, while other developments proved that some of my wildest dreams actually had to be wilder even. The key of the avenir : learning to trust beyond the reasonable, tuning in to the fine wavelength of my inner voice, accepting to go with the unjustifiable confidence.
Naturally, to receive this, someone must first understand that by writing, I, after Derrida, don’t just mean the scripted human language, but more fundamentally the trace, or more fundamentally even, an energy of creation defining itself only across time, or in other words never able to set its identity at any particular moment of time. Expanding the term of the written to creativity, to recall that any creative event, in return, walks blindly, tentative like an improvisation, like a piece of writing.
Amidst waves and tides, I have lived the peaks neighbouring the lows, and seen redemption operating equally on the memories we want to forget, and the dreams we hope will come true. Word, I am unfaithful to you, but at the end of the day, (at the end of the month !) it is only to you that I can return. Only you that I can praise and pray, hoping, through my chants, that more of us, all of us, will hear their own call, and accept that you, just you, are the muse they too awaited.


Us, Foreigners : The Reconstruction of Foreignness 9 May 2014
Beyond The I’s : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics 9 May 2014
An Addressee’s Resolution 9 May 2014
De l’Infini : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics

And what if we brought the foreigner back from (outside) the margins? One cannot deny that our understanding of foreignness is narrowed down to a political, if not an administrative understanding of spaces. It is this false simplicity that we shall try to contradict in this essay, by opening an exploration of the theme of foreignness. A brief discussion of certain figures of foreignness in history will set the scene, before focusing back on the foreigner proper, and her existential condition. Transcending the individual, we shall extrapolate a series of arguments by Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida to reconstruct a series of cultural motifs common to all societies, in order to discover their genesis in or around concerns of foreignness. And we shall finally go back to the basics to unveil the kind of metaphysics the foreigner may be able to invent.

General Introduction
Book I
Foreigner, There : History of a Political Capture
Book II
Foreigner, Here : Existentialist Foreignness
Book III
Us, Foreigners : The Reconstruction of Foreignness
Book IV
Beyond The I’s : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics
An Addressee’s Resolution

Us, Foreigners : The Reconstruction of Foreignness
Book III from
De l’Infini : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics

If Derrida attempted deconstruction, we should aim at organising an exercise of reconstruction. The point, here, will not be to take certain concepts and to create imbalance in one of their popular or even scholarly definitions. Rather, this exercise will be willingly oriented, with the preliminary setting of a particular horizon to reach, of a particular conceptual connection to establish. Finding foreignness within culture, ethics, language and philosophy, it is asserting that culture, ethics, language and philosophy are each bereft of a possibility without the historical and existential phenomenon of foreignness.

Introduction Part 1
Language and Reconstruction Hospitality : Ethics meets Culture
Part 2 Part 3
Language and the Written : The Tool of Foreignness Philosophy : The Desire of Foreignness

Beyond The I’s : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics
Book IV from
De l’Infini : A Foreigner’s Metaphysics

Just like the best philosophers, the foreigner is not satisfied with the terrain of description, be it reflective or external through what her position offers to show. The foreigner re-enters history, and becomes aware of the plasticity of the destiny of humanity. We cannot be content with the foreigner’s descriptions : we must, finally, turn to the foreigner’s prescriptions. Existentially and otherwise, the foreigner explores the first-hand evidence of the waltz of cultures, of the coming and going of epochs, values, norms and hopes. The foreigner has a sharp idea of what ‘difference’ may mean, and this concept comes to reshape her worldview altogether. At this level, speaking in methodological or practical terms could continue to help her formulating and sharing her discoveries, but another channel may be opted for, in order to reach deeper layers of historical influence. Metaphysics may be such a channel.

Introduction Part 1
Metaphysics For Today The Space of a Foreigner
Part 2 Part 3
The Time of a Foreigner The Knowledge of a Foreigner

An Addressee's Resolution
An Addressee’s Resolution
9 May 2014

Figure of the parabola – from the outside all the way back to the outside. We started our exploration with a shy approach, from the outside of what is undeniably a largely unknown history. And we end at the highly abstract and speculative level of metaphysical propositions – but again, a meta physics, if at all, insisting to remain outside the margins. This is so because metaphysics must not be abandoned ; because the human can truly find original and valuable insights on the most fundamental aspects of reality, and that philosophy must, in fact, provide this kind of reflection today. But indeed, a provision for metaphysics is conceivable only inasmuch it resists the reductive frames of its history in western thought, called totalisation or thematisation with Levinas, and logocentrism or metaphysics of presence with Derrida. The indebtedness to Levinas, the heritage carried by Derrida, the continuation of this lineage, are visible through the entirety of this reflection. The anxious, obsessive fear of Levinas, to always be on the edge of falling back into a discourse of totalisation, of the Said, is shared here too. But the risk must be accepted, and the challenge, taken. . . .