Arche-Writing

In order to come to arche-writing as taught Jacques Derrida, we have to understand views on Plato’s Khora. Plato’s dialogue, the Timaeus is about creation of the universe and the creation of human beings. Khora is an empty placeless place from which everything that is drives. It is paired with the Good, its polar opposite. Khora is not same as good. Plato’s Khora is not a fullness of presence and light. But a dark bottomless abyss. Together with good , khora forms a procreative receptacle of all becoming and change.

Here, I suggest that the author is the Plato’s Demiurge who beautifully arranges the primordial matter into writing/ text. The author does not produce his text out of nothing. He is like the Demiurge of Plato who gives shape to pre-existing ideas and thoughts. Khora, therefore, provides us what maybe structural linguist, Ferdinard Saussure calls langue.

We have heard of apophatism in theology. It is called negative theology. We have neti neti theology in India. Is there a apophatism in writing? Is there any neti neti writing? Does writing have to represent hyperessence and hyperpresence? Does writing always have to be logocentric? Although, Khora is often thought to be a binary opposite of God who is thought to be fullness of presence, I prefer to take Khora as zone of possibility.

Apophatism of Khora may assist us to understand asemantic writings before they become developed and en-fleshed or loaded with meaning. We are at this moment in a highly developed writing and speaking stage. All our words, concepts are semantically laden. We are in a language Kataphasis.

Apophatism of Khora opens us the possibilities of thinking about writing that is primordial. It is arche-writing which is yet to reach a stage that we have reached today. We may be able to reach that stage if we are able to imagine that we can pass all our writing and speaking into a semantic blackhole that will squeeze out all the semantic layers attached to writing and speaking. We have unknowingly reached this stage as we use platforms of social network and our smart phone which leave our footprints which are then used by Big Data Analytics.

Arche-writing is anti-logocentric. It does not exhibit the full presence of meaning and as such remains beyond the logos/ the author/ the word/ the presence. There is no presence or identity but an endless chain of signifiers and relations of difference which are ever coming without really reaching their destination. Arche-writing remains beyond the binary of speech and writings. This binary is already semantically loaded. Derrida invites us to think of arche-writing as language that is already there. It has a pre-given yet malleable structure or genesis. To me arche-writing is post-logocentric writing and is very much at work in our digital world.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao