Short thought on Christ, Derrida, and Aristotle

by jdavidcharles

I was reading some of The Sandman, thinking of how Sandman is not simply “dream” but dreaming when it occurred to me that Christ does not simply deconstruct but is deconstructing. That is to say that Christ does not simply deconstruct sacred/secular, male/female, or rich/poor binaries but is this deconstruction itself. Another way to put it—Christ does not deconstruct things outside of himself, but rather is between them, in their absence. Derrida speaks of deconstruction as justice itself—by directing the “gaze” of deconstruction at something you imply for one, your care and love for it, and two, your desire to see it be what it ought. Christ is the act of deconstructing in this sense, the decomposition of the divine and human precisely because he loves the divine and human (or saint/sinner, etc).

The Pharisees have to be deconstructed as “the good” and the poor and widowed as “sinners” in order that in the absence of polarity, in the very wake of destruction, they may be found to already be in Christ. The space between is rightly an actual void too, what we could call the authentic sinner, the authentic last, the authentic death. In the embracing of this authentic void (death, my sinfulness, etc.) the sinner is revealed to be a saint, the first, the new man in that he is in between, in the void. This strikes me as Aristotelian in its ethical stance, the balanced soul, i.e. one must “break up” the brashness/coward distinction in order that courage might exist. The Aristotelian “mean” is the wake of destruction left by deconstruction itself .

Christ is not “in” this void, the mean, but is the act of voiding itself. It is in this way I can say I no longer ex-ist but it is Christ who ex-ists in me. I cannot be filled unless I am first emptied; he who ascends is the very one who descends. In short, I mean:

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.

–Tao, 11