(3)The pedagogical implications of Derrida's writing have not been "realized" yet. For now, "Derrida" is still (appropriately) in the "margins". A "second, marginalized text" thus runs as it stands still. Perhaps the "endnotes" are the unconscious of this paper. As Nietzsche tells us: "Some of us are born posthumously". Derrida only died last year. For now, we create "specters of Derrida". Deconstruction is usually associated with the writings of Jacques Derrida, the father of Deconstruction and probably the most influential figure in all of postmodern thought. Deconstruction/Derrida does concern itself/himself with demonstrating the impossibility of absolute coherent articulation; words do not mirror an objective, essentialist reality. We do not control reality through linguistic manipulation; we describe an aesthetic picture of numerous realities which may also be seen as our contingent semiotic encounters with various sign systems. Deconstruction reveals that language, narrative, and all of life are beyond the Aristotelian beginning-middle-end paradigm. As conduits and producers of language, we relate to well-crafted aesthetic/literary descriptions with their necessary attenuations and exclusions. We have the ability to survive due to our collective belief in what Nietzsche calls "Necessary Fictions": culturally created "truths" or metaphysical "certainties". We cannot recognize/identify all of the variables/perspectives/possibilities/influences that direct our conscious thought. We have "traces" of reality; we work/play with these aesthetic tool/agents (or rather, they play with us). There are infinite/innumerable permutations of linguistic/semiotic communication. One might even say that there is an overabundance of "truths." Our choices are necessarily arbitrary. We do not know what is influencing/motivating our behavior. Our consciousness of reality/influences is very limited, relative to the vast unperceived history/power of what Freud/Psychoanalysis terms "the Unconscious. Derrida speaks/writes about this vast given network we as individuals are born into:
The somewhere where you always start is overdetermined by historical, political, philosophical and phantasmatic structures that in principle can never be controlled or made explicit. The starting point is in a way radically contingent and that it be thus contingent is a necessity. (Bennington, DERRIDABASE, 22) Foucault calls this phenomenon of language "semantic slippage." Words always say more than the author consciously intends. Ironic and contingent events describe our lives/selves.
"Language speaks man," as Heidegger put it. We are all born into a community of language users and the language's characteristics and our idiosyncratic interactions with that language define/describe who we are. As Richard Rorty points out, this understanding of language takes us beyond the binaries of consciously causal human agency and fated determinism. We "receive" the language and we become conduits of the language. Questions concerning "origins" are irreducible, irresoluable, and (yet) necessary. : "Origins" are necessary aesthetic tropes.
Deconstruction demonstrates how language is a collection of signs that define one another through differences. There are no signifieds or essentialist/final meanings for any word/sign/name (or person).
In the system of differences that language is, every signifier functions by referring to other signifiers, without one ever arriving at a signified. Look up the signified of an unknown signifier in the dictionary and you find more signifiers, never any signifieds. ... [A] signified is only a signifier placed in a certain position by other signifiers: there is no signified or meaning, but only 'effects' of them. (Bennington, DERRIDABASE, 33-34)
Words are defined in the dictionary by collections of other words. Synonyms are not definitions. To attempt to "define" a single word leads us to defining each individual word that makes up the "definition" and thus we are presented with a maze of signs/words that has no center. The word/sign is "destined" to "float"; the "floating signifier" has no definite signified to arrive at/on; words are defined by their difference from other words; this "play of differences" never ends; it never stops. There are no static, singular, univocal etymological origins to the words we use. There are various histories, histories written with words, and thus we see how deconstruction might "perform itself." There are always multiple causes/origins/meanings to words and to individuals and to events. We deconstruct words. We deconstruct events/history. We deconstruct individual people. Deconstruction is affirmative.
We "begin" to see the connections between the phenomena of language and what Richard Rorty calls "the contingency of self-hood." And, we recall Nietzsche: "What is Truth? a mobile army of metaphors ..." ("Truth And Lie in an Extra-moral Sense"), and "Truth is a lie without which a certain species could not live" (THE WILL TO POWER).
From this postmodern perspective, we live according to narrative and myth. And in terms of educational perspectives, we are recipients of various "modern mythmakers" or "paradigm shifters." These "world historical" individuals are brilliant creators within the "mobile army of metaphors"; they shape our thoughts by shaping our language. Among those figures whose thinking is relevant to this project are Freud, Chomsky, Gardner, and Bettelheim.