Monday, November 01, 2004

Response to request to continue discussion on deconstruction...

Someone at the last discussion noted that we spend an awful lot of time talking about race and joking about it or even watching episodes of Dave Chappelle or Mr. Show (maybe wrangling with how we perceive race or our belief system around it is our MONSTER). Therefore, it might be a cool idea to come up with some questions around our ideas of race… like why is it such a hot topic? To us?… I don’t know… this may be too personal.
It may be me, but I’ve been running into a lot of talk and sentiment lately (outside of this group), that looking at and analyzing culture or cultural studies, looking at topics such as race, pop-culture, is really a bunch of hogwash or tired and overly politically correct academic exercises. Maybe we should have started off with questions like these. I mean they are sort of remedial when it comes to philosophy but I think they can spark some discussion.

What is the point of engaging in philosophical queries at all?
Why should we question?
Why should semiotic studies exist?
Should I just drone on?

I know I haven’t been able to put a good argument for any this, but maybe it’s because I have been focusing on things like ROI.
Let me know what you think…
Also, I apologize for not facilitating the discussion more last time. I was more interested in providing a topic for discussion rather than a lecture. On hindsight perhaps deconstruction was not the best topic as it seemed that many of us did not completely buy into the idea or complete value of deconstruction.
From my own learnings and listening to the group – I have gathered this,
Deconstruction may not be valuable as an applied study because of the esoteric nature of some of the writings and musings of the ‘traditional’ deconstructionists. However, Derrida and his followers do bring up a good point: Once you label something you (may be) limiting your understanding of the thing.

…of course a Constructivist could argue… you can’t apply knowledge to a problem or issue unless you’ve identified the key factors/ players etc.
In layman’s Alice in Wonderland-like terms: You can’t do anything with something unless you know what that something is.

While Derrida labels anything we can’t understand as monsters, he does encourage us to embrace the uncertainty instead of shying away from it. I do think that we can take Derrida’s message as a warning that we don’t want to become to in love with a school of thought that everything we think or feel or interpret is driven by this… you’ve all met someone who was a freak about Jung… well, I didn’t mean to offend you if you were.
Just my two cents.


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