Critical Analysis of Derrida’s Writing and Difference

Jacque Derrida is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher noted for his concepts of deconstruction and binary divide of texts. For him reading a text, an exegesis would be to find out the occurrences privilege and marginalization. I would like to critically interpret his seminal work: ‘Writing and Difference.’ My writing of Derrida is not chronological.

According to Derrida, the beginning of Writing is the closure of the book and the opening of meaning. ‘To write is to have the passion of Origin’. God replaces God and the Book replaces the Book. The return to the book is an elliptical essence. The tools of writing are perversion and subversion. Here Derrida is attempting to deconstruct the LOGOS-the WORD as it is present since Judaism and Christianity and also the ancient Greek Philosophers. Beyond syntax, grammar, discourse posits the book to be lying in the cradle of anarchy. The book has to indulge in a democratic dialogism. Again Derrida goes on to say that the center of the BOOK has to be deconstructed. Signify the center, rupture it methodologically and insert a play of meanings. I would like to call the play of meanings with the center has performationism. Derrida questions the religiosity of God being a center of meaning. A presence of meaning leaves a trace and Derrida calls it as what is inherent and present in the not-said sign. Every signified of a meaning whether be it transcendental, ontological, epistemological or axiological has primarily a Signifier. A Christian apologetic view would be God is God: the signifier and the signified. From an ontological view point: being would be a reference to consciousness and its contents. From an epistemological view point, a sign becomes a causative totality of proven inference and invests meaning as a unity. From an axiological viewpoint, the sign as a chain of meaning is normative.

In another chapter it is said: ‘we need to interpret interpretations more than interpret things. A structure of language, the unity of a sign is an organization of a center. According to Derrida, the history of metaphysics is history of metaphors and metonymies. Let’s look at John 1:1 ‘in the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with GOD and the WORD was GOD’. The word works here as a metaphor and as a metonymy. A Christian world view acknowledges an inherent presence. For Derrida speech is privileged into the signifier WORD and the signified GOD. Derrida argues that the absence of a transcendental signified extends the domain to a play of signification. To pun Derrida: ‘A laughing God is playing with the Universe.’ The concept of transcendence can be extended to the ontological realm of the bodily experience. For example copulation can be a signifier and orgasm can be the signified. The argument of Derrida that there is no privileged transcendental signified is a misnomer. From an ontological position, emotions like hate, love, lusty, greed and covetousness are all signified from signifiers, and the starting point would be the EGO. Derrida again reiterates that the word Signifier must be abandoned as a metaphysical concept. This could be an erroneous argument. For example Ontological structures like love and hate have the signified in them.

Here Derrida mentions the work of the structural anthropologist Levi Strauss. He observes the distinction between nature and culture. Nature and Culture work on a scheme of binary divide. Levi Strauss uses the example of bricolage, which in literature means creation from a diverse range of sources. Derrida uses the example of MANA, a Polynesian word, a magical one which means power. He mentions that the word MANA has a symbolic structure beyond the syntax. Rupturing the symbolic presence can be a play with the center. Incest has been a taboo since time immemorial and that is linked with the binary chain of the culture as opposed to nature. Derrida is not clear about whether incest should be deconstructed.

Derrida refers to the allegory of Hegel-the Master and Slave dialectic. Hegel’s allegory refers to two types of consciousness, one that of the Master and other that of the slave. The slave is subservient to the Master and the Master is dependent on the slave. Derrida uses this allegory to maintain the inadequacy of speech to maintain the sovereign. Every form of writing leaves the structure of trace within in it. We can use the allegory of the Master and the Slave and juxtapose it with the psychological structures of the ID and the EGO. The body of writing emanates from the ID and the form of writing from the EGO. Again Derrida uses the Hegelian concept of Aufhebung (German) which is equivocal in meaning. Aufhebung in one sense means to preserve and in another sense means to abolish. Let’s use Derrida’s concept of the trace. When God said: ‘let there be light’: the concept of darkness is inherent in it. A trace leaves an imprint of what is not said but what exists in writing.

In the Theater of Cruelty, Derrida mentions that the theatre must be an experience of the Body. Western theater has been stripped of the force of essence. Theater must make use of a liberated life. Theater should be the privileged site for the destruction of life. The theater of cruelty outs God from the stage. Theater should be released from the stage. Derrida means that the themes of transgression, blasphemy, lust, covetousness, murder should be become centers of meaning that deconstruct the binary codes of the Super Ego. Theater should not be conceived with passive spectators enjoying a stereotyped play but become an active presence forcing spectators to think, reason and annihilate what is logos as a context and perspective. Theater should be a spectacle of becoming.

In Force and Signification, Derrida comments that excess is the very possibility of writing. The book arouses the enticement of meaning. The Writer is an idiom. The revelatory power of literary language is free speech unburdened. My question to Derrida is, from a being of past, how can we possess a new being. How is the History of the metaphor possible? Again Derrida uses the Nietzsche’s concept of the Apollonian and the Dionysian in writing. The Apollonian melody and the Dionysian rhythm and beat become self indulgent metaphors for writing.

In Cogito and the History of Madness, Derrida touches on the themes of Psychiatry. Philosophy demeans folly, madness and dementia. Derrida refers to Foucault’s analysis of bringing out the trajectory in the architecture of madness. Madness is a discourse in psychiatry, a cruel and violent discourse. Foucault connects madness with alienation. Derrida is critical about Foucault because he uses the philosophical and linguistic structure of sanity to explain the exegesis of the mad. Madness is institutionalized into medicine and it occupies a repressive structure.
Here, Derrida talks of Edmond Jabes and the question of the Jewish race. A race is born out the book. Words choose the poet. There should be disembarkation from the obedience of the law to a self proclaimed autonomy. Was breaking of the Tablets by Moses a blasphemy? The difference between speech and writing is Sin. How can Jews exist without eschatology? Metaphor or the animality of the letter is a primary and equivocal, a signifier becoming life. Metaphysics rejects the historicity and temporality of man. Derrida asks the question: how to account for the metaphysics and transcendence in the ontology of man. All metaphysics has a privileged center-light and a marginalized periphery-darkness. It is interesting to note how Derrida questions his own authenticity as an identity of being a Jew. Derrida becomes transgressional when he encounters the text of Judaism. Light and God are reduced to Signs and de-centered. Derrida has highlighted the suffering and the exile of the Jews. Can we avoid metaphysics, transcendence and eschatology? Being to becoming is the phenomenology of occupying a metaphysical structure in the ontology of consciousness.

Different Types Of Herbal Remedies For Depression For Vata, Pitta And Kapha Depressions

Ayurveda is the ancient form of treatment and medication which originated in India. It generally helps to treat diseases using the natural remedies along with meditation and exercises. This natural treatment is not only famous in the Asian countries but many Western countries have also adopted the medication owing to its effectiveness. It is seen that Ayurveda has been successful in curing several acute diseases. It also works wonders in the treatment of depression. When people go for conventional methods and treatment of depression through psychiatry, they face many side effects which harm the other facets of life. Moreover, it is seen that conventional medication cannot fully cure depression rather it just offers a temporary relief to the patient. Ayurveda on the contrary offers an effective and natural method of treating depression. It also prevents the re-occurrence of the disease to a great extent. Thus, experts always recommend natural remedies for depression rather than the conventional ones.

What Are The Causes Of Depression?

As per Ayurveda, there are mainly two reasons for depression:

  • Due to imbalance in the three types of doshas.
  • When a person is unaware of his or her inner self.

Mostly, depressions occur due to the imbalance of Kapha, which in turn, leads to the imbalance of other two doshas: Pitta and Vata. Owing to the loss of balances in the doshas which are the basic elements of human body, there is feeling of hopelessness and negativity. This causes the nervous system to function abnormally which results in depression.

The Ayurvedic Treatment for Depression:

The Ayurvedic treatments always vary from person to person and cannot be generalized. They depend on the constitution of the body and mind of an individual. Treatment for depression also depends on these two factors. It is also determined by the type of doshas which are suffering from imbalances. The treatment has been classified on the basis of the following:

Remedies for Pitta Depression:

  • Dietary changes need to be included in your daily life so that the Pitta element of your body is pacified. You must not intake any rich or spicy food like red meat, fish, vinegar, cheese and tobacco. Include foods in your diet that help you to cool down like sweets, dairy products, cool drinks, etc. It is best if a person can maintain vegetarian diet.
  • Yoga and meditation are great for faster recovery.
  • Do avoid the sun as much as possible.
  • Try to intake herbs like coconut, aloe, sandalwood, shatavari and mint.
  • Always bath using cool water. Try to avoid taking hot water showers or bath.
  • Practicing of Panchakarma is also great for the body and mind.

Remedies For Vata Depression:

  • You must always go to bed early and sleep for sufficient time at night.
  • Mild exercise and yoga routine is great.
  • Changes in the diet are also essential. Intake food which are heavy, warm and gives strength. Do avoid the intake of fruits, salads and food products containing caffeine. Restrict the consumption of spicy food, milk, nuts and dairy products. Eat food like pasta, rice, and soup which are heavy and warm.
  • The use of herbs like cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and Gotu kola is great in this type of depression.
  • It is also good to get a daily massage of the whole body. However, if you do not have much time go for the head and foot massage daily.

Remedies For Kapha Depression:

  • Avoid the sun.
  • Mild exercises and meditation is always recommended.
  • Use herbs like ginger tea, turmeric and pepper in your food.
  • In the dietary changes, you must restrict using fat elements, oils, meat, sweets, desserts, and food items which are not warm. You must eat spicy food and soups in your daily diet. It is also good to intake honey in small amounts daily which help to pacify the Kapha.

Along with the above-mentioned remedies, expert physicians can also suggest you effective Ayurvedic medicine for depression which ensures great results in the long run.