Religion Outside the Boundaries of Mere Reason: Towards a Theology of Terror

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Social Studies of Bard College by Zachary Wright Heller

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York April 2010

…for my family

§1. Introduction: The War On Terror..............................................................................................2 Part One: Kant.................................................................................................................................6 §2. The Republic – Rational Liberty......................................................................................8 §3. Self Identity – The Transcendental Unity of Apperception.............................................10 §4. God and Immortality – The Regulative Ideals................................................................14 §5 Pure Practical Reason.......................................................................................................16 §6. Rational Religion – God is Humanism............................................................................30 §7. Conclusion to Part One: Secular State/Rational Religion/Perpetual Peace/Waging War...39 Part Two: Derrida..........................................................................................................................44 §8. Deconstruction - Authority Power Presence....................................................................46 §9. Death - the Ultratranscendental Condition of Subjectivity..............................................59 §10. Finitude – The Constitutive Condition of Temporality.................................................93 §11. Autoimmunity – The Ontological Condition of the Living.........................................106 §12. Mortality and Desirability – A God That Never Was..................................................113 §13. The Return of the Religious.........................................................................................123 §14. Conclusion to Part Two: From The Enlightenment To Come to Standing UN Army....150 Part Three: What Is Left to Come................................................................................................156 §15. The Weakness of God – A God Deconstructed?.........................................................158 §16. A God to Be Desired....................................................................................................172 §17. Gethsemane: Concluding Exegesis on the Agony...............................................................181 Works Cited.................................................................................................................................188 Works Cited

§1. Introduction: The War On Terror.
On November 5, 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan, an American born Major in the U.S. Army and a psychiatrist shot dead 13 people and wounded 30 others. Christmas, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the youngest of 16 from one of the wealthiest Nigerian families sewed explosives into his underwear and attempted to blow up a plane. They were both Muslims who were at some point “radicalized” to terrorist violence. Both have been linked to what the Government and media call an extremist religious leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen now presumed to be in Yemen. Barack Obama, has issued the unprecedented order for him to be killed. There have been several other attacks on the United States Government explicitly. First, Andrew Joseph Stack III flew a small airplane into an IRS building in Texas killing one person on Feburary 18, 2010. Second, John Patrick Bedell wounded two police officers outside the Pentagon before being killed himself, on March 4, 2010. The day after Stack committed suicide by flying his plane into a government building and killing an IRS employee, the Wall Street Journal ran the headline, “Tax Protester Crashes Plane into IRS Office” (Gold). The papers called Bedell “mentally ill” (Cone and Donald) describing his “erratic journey” (Flaherty, Vargas, and Ruane), or his “troubled path” (Serrano, Quinones, and Connell.). While Stack and Bedell were considered mentally ill, or had been pushed over the edge, Abdulmutallab had a “Radical Turn” which was explicitly called a terror attack (Childress). Hasan had a “Terror Link Ignored” (Meek, Goldsmith, and Hutchinson) and the headline in the Wall Street Journal “Major Hasan and Holy War” (Gerecht). The incongruence in media reporting is undeniable, the sheer

amount of reporting done on the two Muslim men was multiple times more than the others points to a fascination with not only attacks but attacks done by Muslims.1 Moreover, there have been attacks on innocent civilians entirely within the scope of the law who have been murdered for political and religiously motivated reasons. Scott Roeder walked in on a Sunday morning at his Lutheran Church on may 31, 2009, and murdered Dr. George Tiller because he performed abortions. The New York times refers to him as an “abortion opponent” (NYT July 29, 2009) or an “abortion foe” (Washington Post June 10, 2009). There is no mention in really any analysis that he underwent a “radicalization,” much less a terrorist. It is actually taken for granted, almost, that the murder of an abortion doctor is the logical action to do if you are defending the lives of the unborn. It would not be out of line to say that he considered himself a devout Christian and was doing the Good work. He murdered an abortion doctor, not only to prevent the doctor from performing another abortion, but to scare doctors who still do and women who want them. But he is not a terrorist, he was charged with murder. What is the difference between terrorism and murder, or between terrorism and revolution, between terrorism and insanity? Legal definitions are hazy and subject to multiple conflicting jurisdictions. We can reconstruct the most commonplace definition of terror from the mass media accounts given above, at least to “mainstream” white America. Can we say, for example, Terrorism is a violent attack on innocent civilians based on furthering a political goal based on a radical ideology? If that was the case, then Stack, Roeder and Bedell would all be terrorists. Is terrorism a violent attack on innocent civilians based on furthering a political goal based on a radical religious ideology? If that was the case then Roeder would be a terrorist, but by most accounts he is not, he is a murderer. There is homegrown terrorism, but it is qualified— homegrown. Terrorism is an attack from the outside on the inside. Therefore the face of terrorism
1 For example hardly scientific, but suggestive, Nidal Malik Hasan received 850 hits on Lexis-Nexis, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab 999, John Bedell 167, and Andrew Joseph Stack 210

is an African, Middle-easterner, or South East Asian. Terrorism is not white, unless a white person converts to Islam. Terrorism is not Christian—Christians are not terrorists. It comes from the Middle East, and from Muslims. Terrorism refers to many things, but when we think terrorism we think Islamic terrorism. Islamic is not a qualifier in the same way homegrown is. We assume terrorism is Islamic in the same way that we assume that God is all-powerful. At the Naval Academy in 2005, President Bush declared, “The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. […]This is an enemy without conscience, and they cannot be appeased. If we're not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle” (Navy). Terrorists hate humanity. If they hate humanity what are they fighting for? If they hate our freedom, why are they calling for their own? If we seek to preserve our freedom and security, why do we torture, detain indefinitely, and get ourselves into murky hard-to-justify wars? There is no ready hand answer to these questions. These questions will guide us not into answers, but into more primary questions. The mainstream narrative about the nature and scope of terrorism hardly offers any coherent explanation, but toward what end? I argue in this paper that the experience of terrorism can be articulated two ways (there are surely more): first, in Kant’s attempt to provide a rational basis of ethics on a practical moral belief of God. Second, in Jacque Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction that realizes the failure of this groundwork. I argue in the end, despite the fact that Derrida deconstructs Kantian ethics, he repeats an affirmation of the Kantian subject as an isolated, autonomous individual with a subjective will. The debate over the status of deconstructive ethics, and the implications in his work of key religious concepts like God an Mechanism, explicitly acknowledges the failure of Kantian ethics which is at the same time a realization of the failure of Western Philosophy and the western philosophical tradition of reason to provide an ethical basis.

This project is divided into three parts. The first part deals wholly as a reconstruction of Kant’s moral Philosophy. I will discuss the nature of morality in terms of Reason. I will give Kant’s articulation of moral religion, which is ultimately a faith in Humanism. The second part on Derrida will give an overview of deconstruction before specifically talking about Derrida’s conception of Death and finitude as a condition of existence. I will discuss his notion of autoimmunity and his description of the nature of religion accordingly. Finally I will discuss Derrida’s ethical notions in terms of the Enlightenment to come. I argue, in the final part, rather than accepting the failure of Kantian ethics and affirming a vague notion of enlightenment, democracy, justice, or whatever, to-come, from the perspective of an isolated subject, we should refigure what our conception of the subject is itself, without relying on it to be an individual, stable, unique self. In this way we can frame morality in terms of selfless duty. Selfless action is the duty to the moral law which was never inside “me” – the moral law is not “in” a subject—it is produced by the selfless subject in the autoimmune confrontation of faith.

Part One: Kant

We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. Barack Obama Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We stand for a different choice -made long ago, on the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. We stand for a different choice -- made long ago, on the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. George W. Bush


§2. The Republic – Rational Liberty According to George Bush, America in its revolution and constitution chose liberty as its foundational principle, in contrast to a radical ideology of violence. America chose rational selfinterest enlightened freedom under a republican constitution. According to Kant’s essay “Toward Perpetual Peace” in 1795, a republican constitution is the first prerequisite for what he imagines as a possible practical end to war. A republican constitution which enshrines the values of freedom and equality is never foundational of a State bent on terror, or self-serving violent extraction of land or resources. A State with a republican constitution would never sign peace treaties with the intent of breaking them and it would always view its citizens as human beings, “who [are] now more than machines, in keeping with [their] dignity” (WE 22). Instead, it is the type of state which has the rational interest of each of its citizens as its goal. It seeks to promote and preserve freedom, in the sense that Kant illustrated in his essay on enlightenment. The state derives its authority from the cultivation of autonomy in its population. In 1776, a slave owner penned these words on the side of indignant Truth, against the oppressive evil of British tyranny:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed…

These ubiquitous words serve as the cornerstone of American authority, the vision and promise of our forefathers for the betterment and enlightenment of posterity. These bold words appear to be the embodiment of the first “definitive article” for perpetual peace that the “constitution in every state shall be republican” (Towards Perpetual Peace [PP] 322). The practical preconditions to perpetual peace require republican constitutions universally. Kant knows that this in itself is a bold condition. By what means could every state to become grounded on a republican constitution? But first, what makes a republican constitution?

6 Kant writes that it is founded on the principles of “freedom of the members of a society (as individuals), second on principles of the dependence of all upon a single common legislation (as subjects), and third on the law of their equality (as citizens of a state)” (PP 322). It is important that these are all secular concepts, as Kant explained in his essay on enlightenment, that a religious constitution would be an insult to humanity because it would prevent progress. Kant claims that it must have these principles have the “purity of its origin…having arisen from the pure source of the concept of right” (PP 323). The constitution is a foundational document; it is in itself the origin of a nation, of a people and land. For perpetual peace to be possible the constitution must have its origin based in the pure concept of right. Kant claims individual freedom, rule of law, and equality as principles, but how do we know that these are based on pure right, that is right abstracted from any empirical determination—right articulated transcendentally? That is, what does freedom, rule of law, and equality mean in transcendental terms? He says first that “Rightful (hence external) freedom” is not “the warrant to do whatever one wants provided one does no wrong to anyone” because this is the definition of the word warrant and leaves us with a tautology—“one does no wrong to anyone (one may do what one wants) provided one does no wrong to anyone” (PP 323). Kant limits freedom here to what is rightful and external—both at the same time and interchangeably. Rightful and external relate to freedom which is guaranteed in its practical use. It is rightful freedom because it is guaranteed and therefore is considered the privilege of the citizen, not because they are a citizen but because they are a rational human being. Freedom is therefore not a mere privilege, but the prerogative of human beings. External freedom is freedom which conditions how the human being is able to engage with the public world around them. Every rational being has internal freedom which serves as the foundation of this external freedom. But theoretical or transcendental freedom is a

7 precondition to rightful external freedom, but is not to be confused with it. Rightful freedom is the externalization of transcendental freedom in the empirical world, it is the practical use of freedom in relation to desire and duty. Kant writes that “my external (rightful) freedom is, instead to be defined as follows: it is the warrant to obey no other external laws than those to which I could have given my consent” (PP 323 [emphasis original]). We can really only understand the implications of this articulation of external rightful freedom as an empirical application of how Kant develops practical freedom in the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Rightful freedom must arise from the pure source of the concept of right. Kant’s footnote does not go far enough. It is necessary to rely on other works for the transcendental foundation. §3. Self Identity – The Transcendental Unity of Apperception Before we go further, who or what is the thing here making a rational choice? What is the subjective human being? Is it a sort of Cartesian self—that is absolutely certain of its own identity within a boiler room, but entirely at a loss towards the rest of the world?2 The self, that self which thinks all its thoughts and remains the same, is this not the most self-evident? I am me, I have always been me, yet I am different than who I was a moment ago or years ago due to growing and degrading overtime in both my body and mind, but I have a conception of myself that maintains itself throughout and despite my own alterations. I am different than who I was as a child, but I am still me. Descartes articulates the traditional conception of self-identity, selfhood, or ipseity, by wholly abstracting from the material conditions which change in order to reveal the overriding unchanging self that remains continuiously in that self which remains the same in the act of thought. This is entrenched in the tradition of the binary between the immortal 2 “[I] thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which,

that it may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing; so that "I," that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am, is wholly distinct from the body, and is even more easily known than the latter, and is such, that although the latter were not, it would still continue to be all that it is” (Discourse on Method Pt. 4).

8 soul imprisoned in the mortal body—the truth of me that is in the body is the truth of the immortal soul. But things are not so simple according to Kant. Traditional logic seeks to locate the identity of the self-in-itself, which becomes immortal and without empirical determination. This leads to solipsistic skepticism because it is then impossible to know that anything exists outside the self, one can only be certain of themselves because they can only know that they are the only ones thinking. How could we know that other thinking beings that are also self-identical as well? This self, the thinking agent, and agent which has agency and choice related to empirical moral decisions, exists empirically yet is grounded transcendentally. We do not know ipseity initself but only the empirical representation of ourselves to ourselves. The self or ego (in a nontechnical sense) must be grounded on reason. Reason makes itself empirical in the world; logos must be incarnated and born into a flesh which dies. Human beings, as rational animals, maintain their unique identity that contains the unity of all experience within a single subject only in the empirical world, but this has to be grounded transcendentally Kant calls this determination of self identity, of the subjective preconditions to self identity as a stable subject the “transcendental unity of apperception.” Kant claims that without an underlying a priori unity of consciousness we would not be able to perceive the empirical world in space and time, because our thoughts do not consist of disparate representations halfhazardly linked together, they are presented according to a fundamental unity that presides over every experience. We perceive a empirical reality as a wholeness. Yet we are inseparable from this empirical wholeness. Kant writes, “The consciousness of oneself in accordance with the determinations of our state in internal perception is merely empirical, forever variable” (CPR 232, A107).We experience things in space and time—we actually only perceive ourselves empirically—our self perception is therefore conditioned by empirical determinations, we

9 change throughout our lives. But, although we change we are the ones who change, we perceive our own transformations throughout. How do we represent to ourselves our own identity in empirical wholeness? The relationship between sensual intuitions and our knowledge of representations is always preconditioned by categories of the understanding which determine sensual appearances according to a priori rules. The “Copernican Revolution” of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, as Aloisia Moser explained was that instead of the model of human thought whereby our mind conformed to a greater or lesser degree to the truth of given objects, objects are given as representations which must conform to the a priori structure of our minds (Lecture, Bard College, 9 April 2010). Therefore there is only “one experience which all perceptions are representations as in throughgoing and lawlike connection, just as there is only one space and time, in which all forms of appearance and all relation of being or non-being take place” (CPR 234, A110). Therefore the transcendental unity of apperception is situated as a similar transcendental a priori structure like space and time. We can only have knowledge of ourselves through empirical determinations which can take place only in space and time and through a transcendental unity of apperception, which are both transcendentally ideal—they do not make any claim to knowledge of the transcendental object—but are empirically real because first, representations must be given in space and time, and second we can only experience those representations in accordance to an a priori unity that cognition subjects to them. The transcendental unity of apperception is the “rational faculty of our cognition,” universal and always present in human actions, fallen into the earth, in a human body which is animal. Human beings, who are in part transcendental and rational, and in part empirical and sensual, do not therefore possess a sort of universal self-consciousness that is shared, but an individually determining identity that remains the same throughout their life. Reason is the

10 ground for this, it is “present to all the actions of human beings in the conditions of time, and it is one and the same, but it is not itself in time, and never enters into a new state in which it previously was not” (CPR 545, A556/B584). Human beings possess reason which is relegated only to its empirical use, but that reason is not itself empirical and is itself not subject to empirical determinations, because reason is by its very nature a priori, necessary and universal— transcendent. The transcendent reason which human beings partake in partially is the precondition to the determination—“reason is determining, but not determinable” (CPR 545, A556/B584 [emphasis original])—of the self which maintains its subjective empirical identity through a priori synthesis. Contra traditional conceptions of selfhood grounded in a transcendentally real immortal soul which is the source of the rational, human beings experience self-identity because our reason grounds the transcendental preconditions for the empirical experience of self-identity. Self-identity exists for us only in empirical existence. It arises from the relationship between the “spontaneity” of sensible of intuition which produces a manifold of appearances out of the noumenon, and which then are transformed by the “necessary rules” of the categories of understanding into empirical representations which may be thought as a singular experience over the course of the empirical life of a subject. “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind” (CPR 193-194, A51/B75). The spontaneity of sensible intuition presents a manifold of pure appearances in space and time, but this manifold is an unintelligible stream of data without the rules of understanding to form the raw data into representations that can be thought. The manifold of appearances in the intuition is like the stream of bits of information floating in the mysterious body of the internet. The internet is nothing but a stream of pure data, of code—a stream of symbols and numbers entirely meaningless without a means to transform that data according to a rule to produce an image, a website, a document. Reason in

11 this analogy underwrites both the raw datum of the internet and the computer used to access it, reason underlies both sensible intuition and conceptual understanding, but both of these formulated transcendentally according to reason relate only to experience in the total unifying, singular experience of a subject’s life. §4. God and Immortality – The Regulative Ideals The regulative Ideals of reason, immortality and the existence of God, cannot be proven a priori according to speculative philosophy. This is because their content is a metaphysical knowledge beyond human experience. It is impossible to know rationally, through empirical experience, either that God exists or that our soul is immortal but will live on in a future life. Furthermore, it is impossible to prove these transcendnetally. We cannot assert the existence of God a priori according to the ontological proof because the proof conflates the function of the copula is in “God is that greater than which nothing can be conceived” as a logical predicate with the synthetic predicate of existence. There is a substantive difference between asserting the being of something in a logical syllogism, and the real being of something. First, in order for us to claim that something is in reality, it must exist empirically, because our knowledge is limited to experience. “Being is obviously not a real predicate,” in this instance, Kant argues because it functions as a logical (analytic) claim (CPR 567, A598/B626). The predicate necessary being is already contained in the concept of God, but since nothing is added to the concept as in a synthetic judgment, it “contains nothing more than the merely possible” (CPR 567, A599/B627). Being is not a synthetic predicate as an empirically real entity, but a analytic logical possibility that cannot be given a priori synthetically as a condition of experience. It is impossible to assert a priori that the soul, or the self-identity of the subject, is immortal because that identity is given only under the conditions of experience as a transcendental production of reason in the empirical conditions of space and time. Descartes and

12 others following in his tradition only assert the “logical exposition of thinking in general” which “is falsely held to be a metaphysical determination of the object” (CPR 447, B409). In this way, existence is posited as a synthetic predicate as something transcendentally real. But, it is impossible to assert synthetic judgments about transcendental objects because the basis of a synthetic judgment is the function of reason to unify experience transcendentally only in terms of its empirical reality. Our knowledge of the unity of consciousness is therefore restricted to experience, and we cannot infer that unity survives death because it is only given in the time of life. While these propositions are a misdirection of speculative reason, they provide a boon for practical reason. The Ideals of reason cannot be asserted speculatively, but they are to be given as practical regulative rules, “directing the understanding to a certain goal respecting which lines of direction of all its rules converge at one point, which although it is only an idea (focus imaginarius)…nonetheless still serves to obtain for these concepts the greatest unity alongside the greatest extension” (CPR 591, A 644/B672). The Ideal of God posits the possible theoretical completeness and perfection of reason, as something universal, eternal, all-knowing, and Good. Therefore, because the ultimate interest of reason is architectonic unity, the regulative Ideals, “brining it as far as possible into connection with the principle of thoroughgoing unity” (CPR 603, A666/B694 [emphasis original]). Moreover, the regulative Ideals provide the precondition to thinking of the highest good which underlies morality. Kant argues that despite their speculative inapplicability that pure reason contains in its practical moral use the “principles of the possibility of experience, namely of those actions in conformity with moral precepts which could be encountered in the history of humankind” (678, A807/B835 [emphasis original]). Kant is careful here to mention not the reality of the existence of moral action, but its possibility. This is because he never claimed that

13 God or immortality was not possibly real, only impossible to prove or assert their reality. The regulative Ideals must be possible insofar as they provide the universal and necessary condition to practical philosophy:
thus only in the ideal of the highest original good can pure reason find the ground of the practically necessary connection of both elements of the highest derived good, namely of an intelligible, i.e., moral world. Now since we must necessarily represent ourselves through reason as belonging to such a world, although the senses do not present us with anything except a world of appearances, we must assume the moral world to be a consequence of our conduct in the sensible world; and since the latter does not offer such a connection to us, we must assume the former to be a world that is future for us. Thus God and a future life are two presuppositions that are not to be separated from the obligation that pure reason imposes on us in accordance with the principles of that very same reason (CPR 680, A811/B849 [emphasis original]).

§5 Pure Practical Reason Kant’s project turns to ethics in order to provide an a priori ground for morals that does not rely on a supersensible moral author, God, without relying on a sensual or empirical value like happiness, or the pleasure derived from desire. For Kant, morality is nothing but the application of pure reason in its practical use. Insofar as we are regarded as moral agents in the empirical world, we derive the foundation of this morality from the principle of the highest good, or “happiness in exact proportion with the morality of rational beings” in its purity (CPR 681, A814/B842). Speculative reason gives us the assurance that we must assume a moral law and along with it the highest good. Kant tells us, “we must renounce the objective reality of the supersensible use of the categories in speculation and yet can attribute this reality to them in respect to the objects of pure practical reason” (Critique of Practical Reason [CPrR] 5). But, how are we to transcendentally explain how it is necessarily possible to apply this principle in reality? We must understand the problem of morality through the difference between the human being’s empirical animal nature, and rational transcendental nature.

14 §5A. The Nature of Sensual Beings (desire)– Unconscious Willing (pleasure) Our sensuous nature makes us a slave to our desires, yet our moral rational nature allows us to make choices independently of sensual determinations given. We may for instance, choose to forgo an immediate satisfaction for a larger satisfaction later, for example, if instead of going out for lunch every day, I save my money in order to go on vacation. That example however leaves us powerless to determine the transcendental nature of our rational power of choice. Because all of the objects are thought in terms of desire and pleasure and are therefore contingent on subjective empirical determinations. What is this sensual faculty of desire that is given in the empirical self-consciousness? Kant writes, “Life is the faculty of a being by which it acts according to the laws of the faculty of desire. The faculty of desire is the faculty such a being has of causing through its ideas, the reality of the objects of those ideas” (CPrR 9). We can only think of life as it exists empirically. Life in this formulation is a universal that applies to all living beings, which is an articulation of any animal life that does not necessarily possess reason. Empirical life desires, but desire is not merely the longing for an object that one does not have. Desire in this formulation mirrors the transcendental unity of apperception. Sensual desire (which is the empirical nature of life) does not simply long for an object that it does not have, which is the commonplace understanding. Transcendentally speaking, desire--bare empirical animal existence--is that which produces the reality of objects as representations according to transcendental concepts in the living being. Desire produces the real subjectively. Empirical reality is not an objective determination, because that would imply that objects of subjective experience in some way correspond to an object that stands outside it, objectively or transcendentally. Kant’s major claim, like human consciousness that he describes in the transcendental unity of apperception, is that life does not have cognition of objects in relation to a transcendentally real object, but that objects which life experiences are representation formed by subjective cognition according to a priori or objective

15 rules. We do not know the thing in itself because empirical objects are made to accord with the rules of thinking of a subject; thinking does not encounter objects which it then forms rules about. The transcendental faculty of desire in life is subjective by nature because it not only produces the reality of things, but it takes empirical things as its object. “Pleasure itself does not consist in the relation of my representations to their object” Kant writes, “it consists rather in the relation of my representations to the subject, insofar as theses representations determine the subject to actualize the object” (Lectures on the Philosophical Doctrine of Religion [LPDR] 396) Therefore, “pleasure is the idea of the agreement of an object or an action with the subjective conditions of life, i.e., with the faculty through which an idea causes the reality of its object (or the direction of the energies of a subject to such an action as will produce the object)” (CPrR 910 [emphasis original]). Desire attains satisfaction when the empirical objects produced subjectively according to a priori rules correspond with actualization of the subjective or empirical conditions of life itself, i.e. food, shelter, sex. Desire is only satisfied by things which are subjective and empirical, that which occurs in space and time. Desire is not a passive faculty, like intuition, but is the totality of subjective action of a living being—this is in distinction to a rational being, or a human being which is both. Desire is therefore equivalent to subjective will as the production of real and willing to sustain reality. It is the active energy of the empirical will which can exist only if the conditions of its empirical reality are met. Perhaps we can view this in a biological conception of life, in which living organisms exist only insofar as they obtain the material conditions of sustenance that allows them to maintain their energy or force of will, via consumption of resources and reproduction. An animal as a living being has this subjective desire as the condition for its entire existence. It exists only in relation to the empirical objects that desire produces, and attaining

16 that which is necessary for its subjective empirical existence. We can say that animals have cognition but not consciousness, because their cognition is unable to go outside the realm of empirical determination. Animal and organic life function only according to the natural law which determines the necessities of its subjective cognition. Their desire is unconscious activity. §5B. The Nature of Rational Beings (duty) – Autonomous Willing (reverence) In order to transcendentally provide the groundwork for moral action, which is purely rational willing, Kant makes a strategic break from his methodology in speculative philosophy that seeks to transcendentally ground the type of experience that human beings as such have, being both rational and empirical, to articulate transcendentally the grounds of practical philosophy “not merely for men, but for all rational beings as such—not merely subject to contingent and necessary conditions and exceptions, but with absolute necessity” (Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals [GW] 76). While the regulative Ideals are necessary for reason, but human beings can only have knowledge empirically of their possibility, the “thought experiment” of a rational being gives Kant access to the absolute necessity that is required for a transcendental ground. The formulation of a rational being evades the subjective constraints of human beings whose will is a combination of desire and reason, to be able to explain what a purely rational will would look like in its transcendental necessity, which human beings possess as an empirical possibility. The practical law of reason, or an objective maxim, cannot apply solely to human beings, but by extension, it must be valid objectively for all beings which are rational. Kant justifies this method of determining the transcendental conditions of an objective, universally valid, practical law, in the theoretical rational being which has a purely rational will, by arguing that since reason is universal we have every right to assume that the nature of the reason in the so called rational being is the same as the reason we possess in part, “and therefore we would really

17 know them” (CPrR 13). Rather than speculating about beings which we have no knowledge of their existence which would provide no expansion of human knowledge, we are actually interrogating the very same nature of our own reason in its purity, which expands our knowledge. A rational being acts with a will which is solely in accordance with reason. Willing, according to the formulation of the interest of desire in pleasure, is the process through which the subject produces reality in accordance with a priori concepts, which produces for itself a real object in to the subjective conditions of the will (life). A practical principle which determines the means of an action for the end that will produces is called a maxim “when the condition is regard by the subject as valid only for [their] own will” (CPrR 17). Pleasure requires that the maxim effect the activity of the subject in order to produce the object that corresponds to the subjective conditions of its desire (wills). Therefore we do not simply “obtain” the object of our desire via a maxim, because the object that we obtain is not a thing-in-itself but a representation produced by a priori rules in the understanding. We can only desire things that the maxim of our will can as a means bring about the object as an end in experience. Therefore, we can only desire things which we can have possible knowledge of—empirical objects. A purely rational will, however, does not will in accordance with desire, which is limited to things which are empirically real. It wills in accordance with the rule of practical reason, given as a practical necessity by reason, yet given as merely a possibility of speculative reason, “the practical rule is always a product of reason, because it prescribes action as a means to an effect which is its purpose” (CPrR 18). A rational will, even though it is subjective, is able to formulate objective maxims, “or practical laws, when the condition is recognized to be objective, i.e., as valid for the will of every rational being” (CPrR 17). The interest of reason is the agreement of a subjective action with the objective conditions of a rational will. This obviously cannot be

18 pleasure, because that is only valid for a particular subjective will, not every will in general. It is the highest good, or, “happiness in exact proportion with the morality of a rational being” (CPR 681, A814/B842). This objectively valid condition for all rational beings cannot be felt as pleasure because it is not a product of desire and is not dependent on the subjective condition of the will. But, this means that the effect produced by the action of the will (the ideal of the highest good) in accordance with the objective maxim of practical reason, can never be verified in experience to have really occurred. How can we verify that the objective maxim is actually in accordance with the moral law? Kant argues, therefore, that we can never look to the consequences of actions in order to determine if it is morally valid. Objectively then, “it is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will” (GW 61 [emphasis original]). The good will is not good because of the effects or consequences of the will, but because it is “good through its willing alone—that is, good in itself” moreover, not any good, but the highest good possible (GW 62). Subjectively, a rational being, wills in accordance with duty when the action is done not out of self-interest, the interest of subjective desire and happiness, but done “for the sake of duty” itself (GW 65 [emphasis original]). One does not determine if an action is done out of duty by evaluating if real consequences of the means of the maxim to attain the end (whatever it is) in experience, but:
has moral worth, not in the purpose to be attained by it, but in the maxim in accordance with which it is decided upon; it depends therefore, not on the realization of the object of the action but solely on the principle of volition in accordance with which, irrespective of all objects of the faculty of desire, the action has been performed (GW 67-68[emphasis original]).

From the standpoint of duty then we are able to evaluate an action as moral based on the purity of its subjective intentions, “found nowhere but in the principle of the will” (GW 68 [emphasis original]). The principle of the will, the intention of the will, betrays no empirical clues to outside observers, because it is a purely subjective intention.

19 The a posteriori realization of desire is the possibility to act out of pleasure for empirical objects or actions. In contrast, “duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the law” (GW 68 [emphasis original]). Duty provides the key for the a priori justification for moral actions. Unlike the will of desire which obtains empirical verification of its effect in the consequences of its subjective maxim, the purely rational will acts out of reverence [Achtung] which determines its interest a priori according to an Idea of the law. The Idea of the law is not given a priori, rather what Kant calls a reverence, which cannot be understood as a feeling, which is a sensual affect of subjective representation. Desire gives one a feeling of pleasure, but reverence? Reverence structurally seems to correspond in the faculty of reason to the function of inclination the faculty of desire. When desire wills it wills according to a subjective inclination. When reason wills it wills according to an objective reverence. It is structurally impossible to will out of reverence and inclination at the same time. This concept is hazy, and Kant gives few clues to resolve it. For now, it is unimportant, because Kant’s transcendental justification of morality relies on the will of a rational being, which can only will out of reverence. In the next section, I will try to analyze the implications of human desire which is both rational and empirical, and how a human being could represent a priori reverence of the law empirically. But for now, I will continue the transcendental justification for morality which is based on the idea of a solely rational being. Kant posts as a principle of duty the categorical imperative, first negatively. “I ought never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law” (GW 70 [emphasis original]). The categorical imperative serves as a maxim whereby the subject can will a maxim in accordance with the universal law that elicits a priori reverence. Therefore, the universal law serves as the determining feature of the subjective will, and a subjective maxim is capable of being objective at the same time. This is not yet an a priori justification. The only way to pursue such a transcendental proof of the categorical imperative is

20 if we view it in terms of a purely rational being who “has the power to act in accordance with [their] idea of the laws” (GW 80 [emphasis original]). A rational being wills only in accordance with reason therefore such actions are “recognized to be objectively necessary are also subjectively necessary—that is to say, the will is then a power to chose only that which reason independently of inclination recognizes to be practically necessary, that is, to be good” (GW 80 [emphasis original]). We must show that the categorical imperative is possible on the basis that it is derived from reason from itself a priori. First, insofar as this is the will of a rational being, we have to view such a will as an objective end that is an end in itself. The ground for this end is the free will or volition of the willing subject. If that willing subject is purely rational, then it has for its foundation reason alone, and would therefore be something “whose existence has in itself an absolute value, something which as an end in itself could be a ground of determinative laws” (GW 95 [emphasis original]). This is because fundamentally, “rational nature exists as an end in itself” (GW 96 [emphasis original]). Therefore the way in which we act must be in such a way that we never treat rational beings—people—as a mere means to an end, but have reverence for their absolute value as something which is “holy” (GW 107 [emphasis original]). Now insofar as we recognize rational beings as ends-in-themselves, we must make this end an objective end which, “constitute the supreme limiting condition of all subjective ends” (GW 98). This objective end must spring forth subjectively in the form of a maxim. The subject must make as its object the universal law. The subject must will something objective—the subject must will the universal law towards which they have the utmost reverence and duty towards. This can only spring forth from the “Idea of the will of every rational being as a will which makes universal law” (GW 98 [emphasis original]). This is the formulation of autonomy. The self, subjectively, creates for themselves and binds themselves to the universal law.

21 Therefore the universal law can only be articulated in the form of a subject. The universal law can only be willed, and a will is always the action of a subject. Such a will is a subjective will that has only the universal law at stake, acts only out of reverence for duty, and therefore renounces all subjective interest indicative of desire (GW 99 [emphasis original]). Because the will is a productive faculty because of the nature of reason—the will subjectively creates the objective reality of the moral law. Reason is willing, that is the self legislation of the reality of the moral law. Therefore for a rational being, in the famously impossible formulation of Hegel, what is rational is actual, not only is the moral law transcendentally real, but subjectively real in the good will, a rational will, that is the actual willing of morality. Therefore, Kant has shown a priori that morality is not only possible but necessary for rational beings. §5C. The Nature of Human Beings - Self-Conscious Willing Subject According to Kant, a groundwork for morality is not merely a possibility, but it’s a possibility that is absolutely necessary. The a priori necessity for a rational being to will the universal law is the precondition for human beings to be able to act in a moral manner. But human beings are not purely rational beings, human desire is always co-mingled with reason, but because reason impels human beings to be moral, we regulate our actions according to a different standard than base subjective necessity, Kant writes, “reason, in practice, has to do with a subject and especially with [their] faculty of desire” (CPrR 18). The human will is determined both by desire and reason; desire and reason combine in the will. The human will at the same time as it is subjective has an objective capacity because it is determined by the subjective inclinations of desire and the objective interest of reason. While the will of a rational being can be completely determined as good a priori because it is able to limit itself morally by subjectively legislating the reality of the moral law by the rational will which it necessarily abides because it is one and the same. The subjective rational will and the objectively rational conditions of morality collapse

22 into one another—insofar as reality is determined by the will, which is a subjective production of reality in accordance with a priori concepts, and the will acts only in the interest of reason, which is out of reverence for the law, then the action of the will, will always be in accordance with reason, or the moral law. But the human being is an empirical-transcendental duplicity. This means that the will is never purely rational because it is exposed to the subjective conditions of desire, therefore objectively necessary moral actions for rational beings are “subjectively contingent” for human beings, and “the determination of such a will in accordance with objective laws is necessitation” (GW 80 [emphasis original]). What is necessitation? A rational being does not require necessitation because it is already perfectly good, “Hence for the divine will, and in general for a holy will, there are no imperatives: ‘I ought’ is here out of place, because ‘I will’ is already ahead of it self necessarily in harmony in the law” (GW 81 [emphasis original]). Therefore an imperative properly applies only to human beings who require something outside their own mutually co-determined empirico-rational will in order to express “the relation of objective laws of willing to the subjective imperfection” of the rational being which is also determined by desire (GW 81). We must be able to prove that this imperative exists as a necessary and universal possibility for practical action, in order for a human being to be capable of acting out of duty. Duty requires not the interest in the object of an action of a will, but with an interest to the pure intention of the will. It must be possible for human beings to divorce themselves—subjectively—from desire which produces pleasure, in accordance with reason which produces reverence. A will which is autonomous is a purely rational will and it is therefore a good will. An autonomous will requires no outside necessitation in order for its actions to be in accord with reason. Such a will is necessarily holy because it is absolutely good. But human beings cannot derive their own necessitation from such a holy will, if they were then

23 they would not be acting autonomously—legislating the law of their own reality—and therefore the holy will can never be a standard for human action. Kant writes:
a will whose maxims necessarily accord with the laws of autonomy is a holy, or absolutely good , will. The dependence of a will not absolutely good on the principle of autonomy (that is moral necessitation) is obligation. Obligation can thus have no reference to a holy being. The objective necessity to act from obligation is called duty (GW 107).

Human beings have an obligation not to the absolutely good, but to the moral law itself. Human beings have no obligation proper to God. Obligation, necessitation, must be self-created. Duty is action out of Achtung: it is this reverence, respect, caution, attention for the law, that is a priori, something which reason cannot prove but which is incessantly suggested to us by reason. Achtung! Watch out! Achtung, respect. This respect is not a feeling, it is not subjective. It is an a priori attention—or perhaps properly an a priori attestation in our subject that calls out outside our subject though reason, calls us to attest –to bear witness to the law. But we do not attest to something outside of ourselves, our reverence is w(holy) subjective. We must bear witness to ourselves as we are ourselves a rational being. We must attest to our rational nature, which calls for reverence—our rational nature which contains the moral law to which we attest. Our obligation is no obligation for anything outside of ourselves. We have no duty for any other person. But we have a duty insofar as we attest to our reason, which commands to us a that we must bear with caution our empirical desires. Morality does not arise from a moral feeling, but from the part of ourselves that is beyond feeling in reason. Because we are rational animals, we are members of the sensible world and the intelligible world. Our reason attests to this, it reveals this truth too us, that there is a sensible world, but reason gives us the knowledge of this world and leaves it at that, reason demands that we are unable to say anything further that that such a thing is. But we are called to say that this intelligible world, the noumenon, is the foundation for the sensual world, the phenomenon. Insofar as we exist as a subject according to the transcendental unity of apperception, as an

24 empirically determined self, only with knowledge of how we appear to ourselves, and without knowledge of who we are in-ourselves, “beyond this character of [ourselves] as a subject made up, as it is, of mere appearances [we] must suppose there to be something else which is its ground—namely, [our] Ego as this may be constituted in itself” (GW 119). Kant therefore assumes that there is a transcendental Ego that is the self as a member of the intellectual world. We do not know what this Ego is, or how it works, we only know that it is. But we can therefore assume that it is “a will which contains the supreme condition of the former will, so far as reason is concerned” (GW 122). Kant writes that this is “roughly” like the operation of cognition, “in which concepts of the understand which by themselves signify nothing but the form of the law in general, are added to intuitions of the sensible world and so make synthetic a priori propositions possible on which all of our knowledge of nature is based” (GW 122). Therefore, Kant argues, the categorical imperative is ‘roughly’ analogous in practical philosophy to the concepts of understanding in speculative philosophy. The categorical imperative therefore is the possibility for the subject is able to attest to themselves as a rational being. Our obligation formulated as duty is an obligation to ourselves; it is the obligation that we have to our rational selves, our transcendental Ego, without the interests of desire, or at the expense of the interests of our sensual selves. We are transcendentally-empirically duplicitous. But there is something holy in us, something holy in every human being—because every human being is in part a rational being, even if they act against it, even if they merely obey their sensual interests and desires, i.e. evil. We have an obligation no to a holy being above us, but our own holiness within us. We are to subjectively— that is empirically—attest to our rational side in accordance with a rule that determines our action. The categorical imperative is the means to this end-in-itself. This is the means by which,

25 “what belongs to mere appearance is necessarily subordinated by reason to the character of the thing in itself” (GW 129 [emphasis original]). Morality is our ability to attest to our true selves. This is a necessary possibility. It is necessary because human beings possess reason. Reason is necessarily an end-in-itself. It is a possibility insofar as human beings posses only a rational will in part. It is a necessary possibility or a possibility that finds its truth in necessitation because the pure will of reason issues forth as an obligation from within the subject themselves, an obligation to their rational self. The subject empirically experiences this obligation in the form of empirically self-less action, whereby the subject renounces their subjective interests in the object of their desires and out of reverence for their rational nature, acts in accordance with duty—out of the interest of the rational self which is concerned only with the intention of the action, that the action was willed without sensual desire for the self’s subjective conditions of existence, and was willed in obedience to the self’s own rational nature, with no object outside the self, or beyond the self,--the only object being reverence for the self in disinterested empirically self-less action. In the same way that he in his essay on enlightenment claimed that we must have the courage to use our own reason—that the enlightened prince will let his people argue all they want as long as they obey!—Kantian morality transforms this injunction to obey an outside force that we may Attest! to our inner holiness. This is finally the meaning of freedom in the human individual. Freedom is not a license to do as one pleases, but freedom is the condition for rational moral actions. We are given the freedom to choose to follow the obligation of reason, or not to. We are given freedom to bear witness to the supreme goodness of our rational self. Freedom therefore consists not in the license of the individual to do as they please, but in the individual’s ability to legislate the conditions of their own objective reality. We are free insofar as in reality we have no obligation to anything outside ourselves. The subject produces reality in the will. The

26 will always a subjective action, willing is empirical. Freedom is the possibility for us to actively will subjectively that the objective conditions of morality. This means that out of reverence for ourselves—that is our subjective willing bearing witness to our rational self—we hold in reverence all human beings universally, as rational beings, and therefore the obligation to the self is necessarily transformed to a universal obligation to humanity—we attest to human dignity universally. In this way (empirical) reverence for the (rational) self is (empirically) self-less action. §6. Rational Religion – God is Humanism Rational morality is only possible insofar as people are capable of becoming enlightened —of having the courage to use their own reason. If people do not have the tools to use their reason, then they will be unable to act according to a rational morality because it depends on autonomous self-legislation of what is universally good. In contrast from God on high who dictated the tablets of the laws to Humanity through Moses: God Herself became human (humanity is elevated to the status that God once occupied)—not in order to discard the law— giving humans free license—but in order to fulfill the law God sacrificed Herself for the sake of humanity, and Humanity finds the law not in God, but in reason—as the creator of its own law for the sake of which God died. Kant is concerned with the freedom of religion as a condition to enlightenment, because it is the condition to the freedom to exercise one’s reason and to be a moral being. We live in a secular age, contaminated by the atheism that grew out of this thought, but Kant is not arguing that we should abolish the church or that we necessarily must turn away from religion—humanity still needs religion, in fact it is dependent on religious concepts, immortality and God, in order to articulate a rational morality. The difference is that when religion dictates reason, both religion and reason suffer. Reason must be free from religion in

27 order to assert its own legitimacy, reason’s own self-legislation, so that religion can become rational. Returning to Kant’s essay “Towards Perpetual Peace” which I began this chapter with, the first definitive article of perpetual peace, a republican constitution, Kant explains as, “freedom of the members of a society (as individuals), second on principles of the dependence of all upon a single common legislation (as subjects), and third on the law of their equality (as citizens of a state)” (PP 322 [emphasis original]). Now we can understand the meaning of the term’s freedom, dependence, and equality in the wake of Kant’s practical philosophy. The republican constitution embodies the principles which would allow the material conditions of practical philosophy, or moral freedom. “My external freedom,” Kant writes, “is the warrant to obey no other external laws than those which I could have given my consent” and “external equality within a state is that relation of citizens in which no one can rightfully bind another to something without also being subject to a law by which he in turn can be bound in some way by the other” (PP 323 [emphasis original]). That is, the state guarantees me not necessarily a positive freedom—the state has the ability to do all sorts of things that I could disagree with or I find unpleasant—but the state cannot encroach upon the sacred principle of individual autonomy, the state must at all costs never infringe on the possibility for moral freedom in the self legislation of the universal law. The state is to operate under the material preconditions for individual autonomy. Freedom is ultimately the principle that as long as the law does not impair prevent my ability to consent to it, then I am required to obey. It would be impossible to expect someone to obey a law which banned breathing in public, or more seriously, as Kant intimates in his essay on enlightenment that a state cannot hold a law that governs the beliefs or thoughts of its citizens. There can be no law restricting my ability to practice religion, or my freedom of speech. As long as I obey the law, even if I speak out against it, or even if I do not believe in it,

28 then the state has no right to infringe on my beliefs. Equality is essentially the idea of that the government will enforce contractual obligations between private individuals, which is again enforcing the freedom of individuals to bind themselves to laws arising from themselves and not the state, yet which hold equal validity as obligations before the state. Therefore between freedom and equality, our dependence on the state is legitimate insofar as the state in no way infringes on the possibility of autonomy—self-legislation of universal application. Moreover, this necessarily, like Kant’s essay on enlightenment explained, means freedom of religion. The state must be formally secular. Even if there is an official state religion, the state has no right to impose those religious beliefs on its subjects—that is, to force its subjects to hold those beliefs, or to legislate on the basis of those religious beliefs insofar as they are not dependent on reason. Freedom of religion does not imply a freedom from religion that is the dream of secular atheists who view all religious practice as an imposition. Freedom of religion, the ability of an individual to choose their own religious belief is a twofold: first, it is the condition of exercising reason because reason is not determined by religious dogma before hand and is allowed to determine itself according to its own laws, and second, freedom of religion is holds that it is up to the individual to choose for themselves “to do what they find necessary for the sake of their salvation…and to prevent any one of them from forcibly hindering others from working to the best of their ability to determine and promote their salvation” (“An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment” [WE] 20). Freedom of religion is the critical intersection where legislation infringes on the possible autonomy of the citizen, and such conditions make it impossible for morality. Just because Kant seeks a rational basis for morality does not mean that religion no longer has any value. Kant is not an atheist, but a rational moralist, a transcendental idealist. For practical morality to exist there is necessarily a faith in God and immortality, but this faith in

29 God and immortality is not the foundation of morality, rather it is at once an assumption of the moral subject and what necessarily follows from rational morality. Kant articulates a moral theism, he writes:
Moral theism is of course critical….asserts absolutely that it is impossible for speculative reason to demonstrate the existence of such a being with apodictic certainty, and he has a faith beyond all doubt on practical grounds. The foundation on which he builds his faith is unshakable….faith in God built on this foundation is as certain as a mathematical demonstration. This foundation is morals the whole system of duties, which is cognized a priori with apodictic certainty through pure reason. This absolutely necessary morality of actions flows from the idea of a freely acting rational being and from the nature of actions themselves. Hence nothing firmer or more certain can be thought in any science than our obligation to moral actions. Reason would have to cease to be if it could in any way deny this obligation … it is only through setting [our] end in them that [we] [become] a human being, and without them [we] would be an animal or a monster (LPDR 356 [emphasis original]).

Kant never backs down from his claim in the first Critique that he must limit knowledge in order to make room for faith: the problem becomes articulating both the foundation for faith rationally, and what a rational faith looks like. Kant claims in the first critique that Reason has as its interest the architectonic drive for the necessity of unity. This is articulated as a possibility of absolute self-complete perfection in God and the enduring perfection of the self in immortality. The practical necessity of these two is found “only in this ideal of the highest original good” (CPR 680, A811/B840 [emphasis original]), “happiness in exact proportion with the morality of a rational being” (CPR 681, A814/B842 ). This serves as the “ground of the practically necessary connection of both elements [God and immortality] of the highest derived good, namely of an intelligible, i.e. moral world” (CPR 680, A811/B840 [emphasis original]). For the actions of our will to have moral value, our actions must have an absolute value which is rewarded as the highest happiness in the moral world, which is objective happiness that is not contingent on subjective pleasure and therefore is irrespective of the consequences of our actions in the empirical world. This seems to be an unstable foundation. The only real argument Kant gives for God and immortality, even the moral law itself, is that they are “insistently recommended to us by our

30 reason” (CPR 674, A799/B827), and at best we have study of nature “in accordance with the analogy with [a supreme] intelligence” (CPR 619, A698/B726 [emphasis original]). Kant therefore establishes God and immortality as Ideas which cannot be confirmed in experience, but without which we would not be capable of moral action. Therefore what is an Ideal in experience, in terms of cognition, as the highest possibility, but with uttermost necessity for morality in action. In the second Critique Kant writes, “The interest of [Reason’s] speculative use consists in the cognition of the object up to the highest a priori principles; that is of its practical use consists in the determination of the will with respect to the final and complete end” (CPrR [Trans. Gregor] 236 [emphasis original]). The a priori conditions of the possibility of reason in both is speculative use (cognition) and practical use (will) must not contradict one another—for this Kant declares the primacy of practical reason over speculative reason. Practical reason employs a priori principles in the will—God and immortality—that would contradict pure reason which says we cannot have certain knowledge of such principles. But, if practical reason does not establish a priori knowledge claims about these principles as fact, but only possibility, they do not necessarily contradict pure reason. Rather, we find that “these same propositions [God and immortality] belong inseparably to the practical interest of pure reason” (CPrR [Trans. Gregor] 237 [emphasis original]). Therefore, pure reason must be subordinate to practical reason insofar as the ultimate interest of pure reason is, as he already claimed in the first Critique, “the interest of humanity which is subordinate to no higher one” (CPR 673, A798/B826). Thus, if the interest of humanity, which is moral, is dependent on the practical propositions of God and Immortality, not as ends-in-themselves—objects of reverence in themselves—but as the necessary means to the interest of humanity (the highest good) which is an end-in-itself. God and immortality in the practical use serve as conduits to individual autonomy and reverence for the rational self which possess the moral law.

31 Rational religion then requires an increasingly complicated series of gestures. First, reason must be freed from religion in order to assert its supreme legitimacy. Second, speculative reason must deny all proofs of the existence of God or immortality, but asserts them as the highest possible extension of reason. Third, practical reason sub-ordinates speculative reason3 and asserts the necessity of God and immortality as preconditions to autonomy, that is for the subject to will the subordination of its sensual self by its rational self according to a universal maxim. Fourth, God and immortality are taken up by reason as objects, and articulated according to practical reason—in rational religion—which is a rational faith in God, rational because this faith serves the interest of humanity, “religion is a duty of the human being to[themselves]” (Metaphysics of Morals [MM] 564). Kant rightly claims, “on its own behalf morality in no way needs religion…but is rather self-sufficient by virtue of pure practical reason” (Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason [RwBMR] 57). But insofar as practical philosophy is the philosophy of the will, of the will that wills its end as an end-in-itself, as reason which is an end-in-itself, morality has a “necessary reference to such an end, not as the ground of its maims but as a necessary consequence” (RwBMR 58).To think in these terms we must not think in terms of willing we must think of willing as determining thought. . God serves not as the groundwork of moral action, which is reserved for autonomy in the categorical imperative, but is the goal or conclusion of action; if a rational will was to will, it would be the will of God. Therefore, “Morality thus inevitably leads to religion, and through religion it extends itself” (RwBMR 59). Religion is not a science in its own right, but is dependent on practical philosophy and is in
3 Which is also to say that cognition is subordinate to the will—the implication of this is that cognition is merely a facet of the will, which is what is implied in Kant’s conception of desire(see §5A. The Nature of Sensual Beings (desire)– Unconscious Willing (pleasure))as the productive faculty of reality. It is the will ultimately that produces the reality of cognition, because the will actually exists –transcendentally as Ego, and empirically as self-identical subject) only a willing subject has a cognition—cognition is actually the process of willing—this is one of the most profound implications of Kant’s philosophy, which finally implicitly contains and anticipates Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power, or Freud’s conception of the self.

32 reality simply the continuation of practical philosophy in its own terms. If that is so, then what is the purpose of not simply the Church but any churches? So far we have analyzed willing the existence of God as a necessary condition to morality, but what then is the status of faith? For Kant faith is never a feeling, just like his articulation of reverence for the law is not. Religious faith is somehow grounded on this transcendental reverence, the beholding of the rational, bearing witness to oneself as rational, that is a priori. Therefore Kant writes in a letter, “I, therefore, seek in the Gospel not the ground of my faith but its fortification; and in the moral spirit of the Gospels” (qtd. in “Translators Preface to Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason” 50). Now Kant draws the distinction between revealed faith (or ecclesiastical historical faith) and pure faith which is rationally religious. Revealed faith is what is documented in the scriptures, and also the empirical faith which constitutes a subjective feeling of reverence before God. There is a certain necessity for revealed faith, “because of the natural need of all human beings to demand for even the highest concepts and grounds of reason something that the senses can hold on to, some confirmation from experience or the like…some historical ecclesiastical faith or other, usually already at hand must be used” (RwBMR 142 [emphasis original]). We are given documentation in the scriptures something which confirms our faith, but it can only confirm our faith insofar as our faith is pure, i.e. grounded on practical morality. We are able to bring together empirical faith and moral faith if we understand revealed faith to have both its source and key to interpretation in purely rational faith, “we require an interpretation of the revelation we happen to have….in a sense that harmonizes with the universal practical rules of a pure religion of reason” (RwBMR 142). Kant therefore opens up a whole range of exegetical power, putting the primacy of interpretation hinging on the ability to confirm the documents of revelation with practical philosophy, “we do not wish to claim that the meaning we give to the

33 symbols of a popular faith, or even to the holy books, is exactly as intended by them, but leave this issue open and only assume the possibility that their authors may be so understood” (RwBMR 143 [emphasis original]). But this reconciliation of revealed faith and practical faith is not total. Because despite the fact that morality always leads to religion, despite the fact that faith is never in God Herself, but a faith in God for the ends of Humanity, Kant is unwilling (not unable!) to deny sheer power of revelation as an empirical encounter. A religion within the boundaries of mere reason is not “derived from reason alone but is also based on the teachings of history and revelation, and considers only the harmony of pure practical reason with these” (MM 599 [emphasis original]). This however leads us into a problem, that is religion is contaminated with the empirical, it is not wholly transcendental, “religion is not pure; it is rather religion applied to history handed down to us” (MM 600 [emphasis original]). Insofar as Kant’s moral philosophy is correct, that truly moral action can only be done without any sort of inclinations towards sensual or empirical results or happiness, then it should be unnecessary for any type of historical revelation to exist, in fact it is an affront to reason and morality itself. But even if historical faith is impure, it serves Kant claims, as a “vehicle” of moral religion (RwBMR 147, 149). Moral religion then, in a triple gesture (a triptych—the altarpiece of its sanctuary), is attached to historical revelation as the source of any religious feeling which has its transcendental foundation in reverence for the law; purges itself of historical revelation and articulates itself in terms of rational purity; and then, hijacks the very vehicle of its dissemination by then re-reading and reinterpreting its history according to pure practical reason. A trinity: God (moral law) revealed to humanity through the laws (Judaism), God (moral law) becoming human fulfilling the obligation to the letters of the law (Moral Religion), and finally the Spirit of Humanity reading itself back into the Laws.

34 The historical unfolding of Christianity is wrought with error and distraction according to the moral law, but its core, within the limits of reason alone, allows the reverence for the divine which is at the same time the awe before the moral law. Kant repeats the subordination of speculative knowledge to practical knowledge in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, in the positive action of historical faith as practical faith, which “constitutes the condition, namely the maxim of action, must come first: the maxim of knowledge or theoretical faith must only bring about the consolidation and completion of that maxim of action” (149 [emphasis original]). Therefore again the will to God carries primacy over the lack of determinative knowledge of God, and in fact the will to God precedes the ability to articulate the moral law, but only because the moral law is already contained in historical revelation, yet to be freed. Does this mean that historical revelation is a necessary precondition to the realization of the moral law and reason? Would that not make reason dependent on the empirical conditions of revelation? Would that not historicize religion, making it contingent? We will have to take Kant at his word for now, that this is “a remarkable antinomy of human reason with itself” (RwBMR 147). And, the claim that “the antinomy is therefore only apparent: for only through a misunderstanding does it regard the very same idea, only taken in different relations, as two different principles” (RwBMR 150). That is, whatever we call historical faith, when we call it by faith, is actually, must actually be, moral faith. Kant achieves an almost total secularization of religion, distinguishing true moral religion from speculation in the purity of its moral principle that is the rule that it advocates that one should live by, not by any theological skirmish, or any ritual rite. One either does not believe, or believes because one reveres God in the same way that one reveres the moral law. However, either way, really, belief in God is an afterthought, if not a problem itself. Kant, in effect, erects in his architectonic a new God, a secular God in the moral law, “but where do we get the concept

35 of God as the highest good? Solely from the Idea of moral perfection, which reason traces a priori” (GW 408). That is, in the very architecture of the human race, does humanity set itself before itself as God.

§7. Conclusion to Part One: Secular State/Rational Religion/Perpetual Peace/Waging War
Moral religion is the necessary conclusion of practical reason. A moral religion can only take place insofar as it exists in a state where the freedom of religion is offered, a state that is on the path to enlightenment because it allows it citizens to cultivate their reason. In fact, the state ultimately, is the highest embodiment of practical reason if it is founded under the conditions that accord with reason. There is a natural analogy that Kant draws between the state which can guarantee perpetual peace, and the state in a supersensible world (the Kingdom of God, thought Kant does not use those terms), in terms of the guarantees of a republican constitution: freedom and equality, “the validity of these innate an inalienable rights belonging necessarily to humanity is confirmed and enhanced by the principle of rightful relations of a human being even to higher beings (if [they] think of them), inasmuch as [they] represent [themselves], in accord with the very same principles, as also a citizen in a supersensible world” (PP 323). The concept of perpetual peace itself, as a practical empirical application of reason, naturally suggests the principles of theological end of days—or paraouisa. But we do not live in perpetual peace. Not every nation in the world has a republican constitution. Therefore war exists. Kant writes, in the Critique of Judgment published five years before his essay on perpetual peace, “War itself, if it is carried on with order and with sacred respect for the rights of citizens, has something sublime in it” and, “on the other hand, a long peace generally brings about a predominate commercial spirit and, along with it, low selfishness cowardice, and effeminacy, and debases the disposition of the people” ([CJ]102).

36 But there is a tension in Kant’s philosophy, because in Perpetual Peace he claims under the cosmopolitan right to hospitality, which is the third condition for perpetual peace, is both necessary for commerce and make stronger through commerce, which undermines the possibility for war, “by means of their mutual self interest. It is the spirit of commerce, which cannot coexist with war and which sooner or later takes hold of every nation” (PP 336-337 [emphasis original]). But commerce can also be violent, as European colonialism is a testament to. Kant claims that European nations in their colonization of the world acted as inhospitable despite the fact that they were civilized, because the mode of their commerce was oppression and slavery (PP 329). So commence leads to degradation in a long peace and war carries in it a certain sublimity when it is in accord with human rights. Perhaps we can resolve this tension by understanding the fact that we do not live in perpetual peace, because the conditions for it have not been met. Perpetual peace is an embodiment of the implementation of practical reason—of the moral faith in humanity. Therefore insofar as we are not yet there, there are certain nations who do embody those goals, and other nations that do not yet. Kant writes of the necessary federative union of states in a league of nations under the second definitive article of perpetual peace, and says ultimately, hope rests in the power of a single state embodying the values of practical philosophy:
if good fortune should ordain that a powerful and enlightened people can for itself into a republic (which by its nature must be inclined to perpetual peace), this would provide a focal point of federative union for other states, to attach themselves to it and so to secure a condition of freedom of states conformably with the idea of the right of nations; and by further alliances of this kind, it would gradually extend further and further (PP 327).

However, it must also be admitted that not every state will simply wish to join such a federation. There will be states that wage war on reason, but they are doomed to fail. Because a state acting out of practical reason, according to the values of a republican constitution, does not go to war for selfish means—it goes to war in order to actualize perpetual peace. Kant offers this sort of resolution in the third Critique, that war itself can lead to the preconditions for moral states:

Though war is an undersigned enterprise of men (stirred up by their unbridled passions), yet is its [perhaps] a deep-hidden an designed enterprise of supreme wisdom for preparing, if not for establishing, conformity to law amid the freedom of states, and with this a unity of a morally grounded system of those states (CJ 283).

Or, as President Obama said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, referring to the universal faith of love, the faith of progress in human nature, the faith in the inherent dignity of every human being, “For if we lose that faith -- if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace -- then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.” Insofar as decisions of war are intimately and necessarily bound up with the conditions of this faith then war is in some sense justified, as long as it is not an end-in-itself, but a means to the end-in-itself, the conditions of moral freedom, or practical philosophy. In this sense we can view the state analogously to the will of the individual on a collective scale. If the state represents a collection of wills, as a republic, then the state embodies the general will of a people. Because the general will in this sense must be the general will according to the principles of reason; that is, a will in accordance with moral faith. The will of the state is, therefore, the actualization of practical reason, if it is a rational state. In this sense, Kant is not too far off from Hegel’s claim in the Philosophy of Right, that the modern state is “the actualization of freedom. It is the absolute purpose of reason that freedom should be actualized…the state is the march of God in the world; its ground or cause is the power of reason realizing itself as will” (136). Furthermore, Hegel claims, the state is “the embodiment of freedom, not according to subjective liking, but to the conception of the will, the will, that is, in its universal and divine character” (138). Now the difference between Hegel and Kant that must be noted is that Hegel believes that practical reason, as will, is something which is historically conditioned, but which therefore becomes necessarily real in the world. Whereas Kant, on the contrary, argues only that it is necessary that morality be possible in the world, and

38 that we can never know for certain if it is ever actualized. If the purely rational will did exist, then its will would be the production of reality as that which is rational, and that which is rational would be real, which is Hegel’s claim (Spirit becoming substance realizing itself in various forms in history). It is unimportant to address the warrants for the actuality of the rational will in Hegel’s terms which require not the logic of the synthetic a priori but dialectical sublimation. Regardless, they add a certain character that I believe can offer a possible resolution between the tensions described above: both the tension of perpetual peace and war, and the tension between revealed historical religion and rational faith. First we must view the two as intrinsically linked. Second, we must keep in mind, that Kant does not hold Hegel’s view that reason (freedom) necessarily embodies and unfolds itself in history. But this gives us another direction. Reason is a priori, it exists universally and “for all time” –although that is a crude way to put it. Reason properly does not exist in time, because it supersedes the nature of the sensual world which where we employ it. Human beings are rational and sensual, but our rational capability gives us the power to subordinate our sensual desires to the rational law. We have an innate reverence, and an innate holiness, in our rational Ego. For Kant the subject is almost radically atomistic. The only connection that we have as subjects to one another is that we share in common reason, which is universal, and has universal principles. We only actualize our reason when we will as subjects (forever atomistic) what we will rationally, that our subjective law should be in accordance with the universal law. In this way first recognize our own inherent dignity and virtue, and second, we recognize the dignity and virtue of all human beings—in a Kingdom of Ends. It is out of this reverence for the self (the ego which is universal—yet wholly particular) that we are able to have access to others that we may revere as also possessing reason. This is a possibility. This remains not a fanciful possibility, but an actual possibility. If it cannot be seen in the world or in history, it should be. We remain in the

39 conditions of empirical existence, we do not know if we can actualize the rational will, we do not know if we are ever good, but we do know an intrinsic faith that calls us to attest to our inherent rationality, our inherent dignity, and our inherent possibility to will good. President Obama testified to this, “we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place” (“Nobel”). We have this inherent faith, a faith which is a hope for the future which is forever an indeterminate possibility. We are not yet republican, have not yet met the conditions of perpetual peace. Perhaps this is because we have not yet found rational religion—the proper articulation of our hope. We therefore do not yet have a rational faith, but the intrinsic dignity of its possible existence. This is therefore not a call to inaction. It is not a call for non violence. It is the possibility that through certain violence, we hope, in accord with rational ends, in accord with the rational principles of a moral faith that give us this assurance of hope that what we do may in fact bring about the conditions of perpetual peace—yet to come.

Part Two: Derrida

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. […] Infidels claim that the rule in the Library is not “sense’ but “non-sense,” and that “rationality” (even humble, pure coherence) is an almost miraculous exception. They speak, I know, of “the feverish Library, whose random volumes constantly threaten to transmogrify into others, so that they affirm all things, deny all things, and confound and confuse all things, like some mad and hallucinating deity.” These words, which not only proclaim disorder but exemplify it as well, prove, as all can see, the infidels’ deplorable taste and desperate ignorance. For while the Library contains all verbal structures, all the variations allowed by the twenty-five orthographic symbols, it includes not a single absolute piece of nonsense. It would be pointless to observe that the finest volume of all the many hexagons that I myself administer is titled Combined Thunder, while another is titled The Plaster Cramp, and another, Axaxaxas mlö. Those phrase, at first apparently incoherent, are undoubtedly susceptible to cryptographic or allegorical “reading”; that reading, that justification of the words’ order and existence, is itself verbal and, ex hypothesi, alredy contained somewhere in the Library. There is no combination of characters one can make—dhcmrlchtdj, for example—that the divine Library has not forseen and that in one or more of its secret tongues does not hide a terrible significance. There is no syllable one can speak that is not filled with tenderness and terror, that is not, in one of those languages, the mighty name of a god. Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

§8. Deconstruction - Authority Power Presence Derrida’s early writing elevates writing to an a priori condition of human experience, and breaks down the separation between the text on the page and the text of existence—showing that these two are mutually dependent. Derrida claims that we can only understand our historical situation, our relationship to structures of power, our relationship to religion, ethics, politics, the family, even our own identity as human subjects as conditioned by how systems of writing are realized. The operative question is who has access to writing, which means who has access to subjectivity, agency in the moral or political sense. Whoever writes, is written about, or can read in whatever way that is constructed, determines the nature of valid meaningful subjectivity:
The fact that access to the written sign assures the sacred power of keeping existence operative within the trace and of knowing the general structure of the universal that all clergies, exercising political power or not, were constituted at the same time as writing and by the disposition of graphic power; that strategy, ballistics, diplomacy, agriculture, fiscality, and penal law are linked in their history and in their structure to the constitution of writing … --always analogous in the most diverse cultures and that it communicated in a complex but regulated manner with the distribution of political power as with familial structure; that that the possibility of capitalization and of politico-administrative organization had always passed through he hands of scribes who laid down the terms of many wars and whose function was always irreducible, whoever the contending parties might be; that through discrepancies, inequalities of development, the play of permanencies, of delays, of diffusions, etc., the solidarity among ideological, religious, scientific-technical systems, and the systems of writing where were therefore more and other than "means of communication' or vehicles of the signified, remains indestructible; that the very sense of power and effectiveness in general, which could appear as such, as meaning and mastery (by idealization), only with so-called "symbolic" power, was always linked with the disposition of writing; that economy, monetary, or premonetary, and graphic calculation were co-originary , that there could be no law without the possibility of the trace … This common root, which is not a root but the concealment of the origin and which is not common because it does not amount to the same thing except with the unmonotonous insistence of difference, this unnamable movement of difference-itself, that I have strategically nicknamed trace, reserve, or differance, could be called writing only within the historical closure, that is to say within the limits of science and philosophy (OG 92-93[ emphasis mine])

This long quote will serve as the rubric for analysis hereafter. We must set the groundwork for understanding what Derrida means in the final articulation of difference-itself. Derrida’s invocation of power is the how we understand any moral system, or any moral authority. Morality depends on the authority and use of power, how ought I act? That is, it implies agency, which is type of power, in what way should I exercise the power of my action? Morality is

therefore dependent on the subjective power of the individual. It is not only a question of what ought I do, but of what ought I do for the kind of person that I am. All societies, all Law, all writing, exists as a form of systematic heirachziation. The king does not relate to the law in the same way a subject does. Neither does man relate to the law in the same way as a woman, or as a slave, or a child. One’s agency is predetermined by the extent of power that one has access to. Kant articulates these terms precisely, when he writes in his Prize winning essay, that Enlightenment is the courage to use reason publicly. Enlightenment is dangerous to the powers that be, because it submits all problems to authority to reason. §8A. Architectonics of Daedalus Authority and therefore morality and duty are always understood according to location in a hierarchy. Location is symbolic, but it occupies a very real physical space. Authority is architectural, which is why Kant’s Critique is architectonic. First, etymologically, architecture derives from the Greek prefix archi, that which comes first, has principle authority, and tecton, derived from technics, for a builder or a craftsman. As Heidegger’s analysis shows, in “Building Dwelling Thinking,” “Techne thus conceived has been concealed in the techtonics of architecture since ancient times” (157). Technics is not merely technical building, but the technique which is an art and knowledge to create something. Technics is relates to poeisis, a bringing forth, that is crucial to language. Architecture is the first form of technics, the first form of poetry, humanity’s bringing forth of a building according to a poetic manipulation of given nature. A building carries with it the authority of the power of technics and poetics that brought it forth in the world. Not only is the building in general a form of authority, but we relate to buildings in terms of their authority in synecdoche—“The White House” is not merely a white house, but stands for the power of the executive power. Buildings are constructed according to their authority, and they are designed

internally in reference to the authority that they carry. A Cathedral is a Christianized Roman Basilica, or the main roman administrative building. The Cardinal, or Bishop, is seated at the head of the building, filling the position (figuratively and literally for Christian Rome) of the roman administrator. Status is determined by location which is always the location in a building or from a building. Someone who lives in the Penthouse has a different status than the occupant of the basement, in our culture, for example. The person who has a country house is entirely different than someone who lives in the country. Kant’s project is architectural insofar as he seeks to create the edifice of pure reason, a rational testament to reason, with a foundation on itself (in the “Transcendental Aesthetic”), and the articulation of its structure and limits in the rest. The architectonic of reason serves to give reason sole authority, and therefore to universalize duty according to a universal human subjectivity that he articulates as the categorical imperative in another architectonic work, the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Power is embodied in building, which is a process of real construction, and the reality of synecdoche as an a priori structure of cognition. In “Building Dwelling Thinking” Heidegger seeks to move away from the architectural metaphor of construction and creating buildings to determine that thinking has its root in dwelling and building .Heidegger claims “the fundamental character of dwelling is this sparing and preserving” (BDT 147 [emphasis original]). This is in the human beings relationship with the fourfold—the sky, the earth, the gods, and themselves as mortal, in an act of opening or a clearing of space that preserves the fundamental unity or oneness of the fourfold: “Mortals are in the fourfold by dwelling” where they “save the earth,” “receive the sky,” “await the divinities,” and “initiate their own nature—being capable of death as death” (BDT 148 [emphasis original]). Humans must save the earth as they await the divinities; they must preserve and spare that which is holy. By thinking they clear a path for the divinities to arrive. Heidegger does not

make any effort to abandon theological terminology. His thinking here seems to go back to the injunction in the bible that humans were put on earth to take care of and to watch over God’s creation. More than that, according to Heidegger, the essence of building-dwelling-thinking, is not merely a sparing but a preservation of what is holy, to keep that which is holy safeguarded— off limits from contamination and technological ruination. Building in this respect is an act of mortal survival, not in a merely animalistic sense, but a thinking of mortality in reference to death as death—to what Heidegger calls “being-towards-death” in Being and Time, and only in this framework can we conceive of preserving the presence of the holy, in our time of survival. Building dwelling thinking therefore relates intimately to language, such a building is a poetic act which reveals the essence of the thing and would clear up a space or an “interval” in the poetic act of bringing forth and letting be for the preserving of the holy or a site for the arrival of the Gods. Heidegger writes, “Being comes to language. Language is the house of being. In its home [hu]man[s] dwell” (“Letter on ‘Humanism’” [LH] 96). §8B. Arche-writing - Inchoate Inchoation Derrida however uses notion of architecture, primarily as a locus for understanding how we relate to deconstruction and therefore of writing. He writes, “Deconstruction is not simply— as its name seems to indicate—the technique of a reversed construction when it is able to conceive for itself the idea of construction” in a sort of ‘Absolute Knowledge’ (“Architecture Where the Desire May Live” [A] 321). He writes that architectural thinking can be deconstructive only if it is “as an attempt to visualize that which establishes the authority of the architectural concatenation in philosophy” (A 321). Therefore architecture can never be thought of outside the determinations of power that are implicit in its structure, and therefore in the structure of a building—a site of dwelling and thinking. Deconstruction is liked to architecture insofar as both are concerned with the relationship of space, which is deconstructions relationship to writing, “what connects deconstruction with writing: its spatiality, thinking in

terms of a path, of the opening up of a way which—without knowing where it will lead to inscribes its traces” (A 321). But this space of writing, the trace which we follow as the path of our thinking is not an architectural building in the normative sense, “this writing is truly like a labyrinth since it has neither since it has neither beginning nor end. One is always on the move. The opposition between time and space, between the time of speech and the space of the temple or the house has no longer any sense. One lives in writing. Writing is a way of living” (A 321). Arche-writing refers to the most fundamental and primary work of writing, the arche— the primary, the first contained in the word archi-tecture . Writing in this sense, in an attempt to understand it as originary, can never be done, because it is impossible to locate any determinate beginning of writing. This is why the trace guides us through a labyrinth of thought. The labyrinth is thought in contrast to an ordinary building, perhaps even like the Architectonic of Reason in the first Critique. But moreover, it is thought in contrast to the tower of Babel, an attempt to conquer the sky, “this taking up of a position in the sky means giving oneself a name and from this power, the power of the name, from the height of the metalanguage, to dominate the other tribes, the other languages, to colonize them. But God descends and spoils the enterprise by uttering one word ‘Babel’, and this word is name which resembles a noun meaning confusion” (A 322). Derrida writes that this intervention on the part of God is the precondition to deconstruction—the fact that architectural domination failed, “he condemns [hu]mankind to the diversity of languages. Therefore they would have to renounce their plan of domination by means of a language which would be more universal” (A 322). This more universal language is the metaphysical language of God. God destroyed the tower of Babel because it was an affront to His Might and Majesty, humanity was encroaching on His Right—“then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Gen 11:6), which means that humanity will become like the Gods. A more universal language is one not capable of building a tower to heaven, but of articulating

universal obedience to the one God. God destroys the tower of Babel, making it impossible for humanity to build themselves a city that will echo throughout time in permanence, as the builders claim to build “so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth"(Gen 11:4). After being expelled from the Garden humanity attempted to attain immortality though the architecture of naming, but this too was spoiled, and naming was therefore confined to confusion among local particularities. God speaks the universal language of Authority, of which humanity has access to only on the condition of recognizing God’s Absolute Authority, manifested in the writing of God of the Commandments. Arche-writing is therefore the spacing in the architectural project in the Tower of Babel that marks its failure to attain a universal architecture—of a universal naming—Derrida describes as the possibility of deconstruction, “represents the failure or the limitation imposed on a universal language in order to foil the plan for political and linguistic domination of the world says something about the impossibly of mastering the diversity of languages , about the impossibility of there being a universal translation” (A 322). We are in that sense given over to the language of poetics. Heidegger describes in Being and Time poetical discourse as the ultimate end in itself of Dasein, that is the most authentic way of relating to itself which a relation to language, “In ‘poetical’ discourse, the communication of the existential possibilities of one’s state-of-mind can become an aim in itself, and this amounts to a disclosing of existence” (BT 205). Heidegger writes in his later work on Holderlin, “…poetically man dwells…”, “In the familiar appearances, the poet calls the alien as that to which the invisible imparts itself in order to remain what it is—unknown…copies and imitations are already mere variations on the genuine image which, as a sight or spectacle, lets the invisible be seen and so imagines the invisible in something alien to it” ([PMD] 223). Because the poem is an imitation of a genuine

image it imagines the truth that is foreign to it, it does so in order to preserve the truth of the invisible—the truth of the unknown. The poem shows us what is distinctively uncanny about ordinary things. The poem reveals the extraordinary and unknown in what we take for granted. It shows us an everyday appearance that betrays itself as unique and therefore the unknown truth of it is revealed. Instead of confusing the appearance with truth, the poem confounds our ordinary understanding of appearances to reveal their inherent strangeness. In such a way, “the invisible one preserves his presence” (PMD 224). The truth of the invisible, of the not-yet, is preserved in the visible creation—the words already there, that is the dwelling place of language. This invisible one has the distinctive characteristic of that which is holy that which we seek to preserve and safeguard on the earth by dwelling in language, by building a dwelling place where the holy can find peace in our thought. For Derrida, this thought of poetry which is a clearing away and a building of a path for thought takes place only within a labyrinthine structure, “architecture will always remain labyrinthine. The issue is not to give up one point of view for the sake of another, which would be the only one and absolute, but to see a diversity of possible points of view” (A 322). Our thinking is a dwelling in building of a labyrinth. We find ourselves in the space of a labyrinth by following the traces of thought which are made manifest in writing. Moreover, the space of this labyrinth (which we may call the history of philosophy, the history of Being, the history of dasein, the history of the trace, the being of human beings) is made up over the course of time, as the inscriptions which are left that produce ourselves in our own time, and which we retrace back as history. But while Heidegger seeks to return thought to its origin, or at least return to the origin of thought in the question of Being, Derrida finds no such evidence for an originary mode of thought. It is impossible for the origin to make itself present, much less for us to preserve the

presence of this originary thought of being. This would assume an original authority from which being springs forth, an absolute authority, or the authority of God. Derrida therefore distances the notion of authority or authorship from the site of writing, the product of the trace. Taking the Myth of the Tower of Babel as a signpost, humans are incapable of accessing the authority of the name, to build a site of dwelling that reaches the heavens and carries with it the universal authority over all of being. We do not possess a common universal speech, but a multiplicity and diversity of languages. Therefore the origin of language, of arche-writing, of archi-tecture, is not the primordial unity of oneness that must be safeguarded and protected as what presents the presence of the holy, but is in disunion, multiplicity, divergence, and difference. Therefore what is common in writing is not the universal attempt to reveal the truth of Being but that we access our so called truth of being through difference which is reduced to universality. Difference therefore occupies a paradoxical position a priori. It is not a universal in the sense of something which brings forth the truth of identity, but it is universal in that there is no origin to derive identity from. Difference is an a priori that undermines the notion of an origin because, rather than following the trace of a thought to its proper and legitimate origin in relation to being (Heidegger) as in the foundation of a structure, difference follows the trace in the labyrinth of thinking that admits no origin, and no purity of thought. Difference is not what preserves the presence of the trace, but what makes the trace possible as a presence of the absence of an origin. And therefore instead of something that must be preserved, or safeguarded in its presence, the trace and difference come before that thinking, as something which is in itself indestructible—not because it is, or is present as anything, but because it is the condition of being and presence both.

§8C. Disjunctive Kinematics of Différance Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction finds the “indestructible” in writing—in the trace which writing systematizes according to thought that seeks to render authority, for example in the written law—in authorship as vehicle of power. This relationship to Law and writing is the relationship to writing and the indestructible trace, or the relationship to law and Justice—of writing and the undeconstructible, Derrida writes:
Justice in itself, if such a thing exist, outside or beyond law, is not deconstructible. No more than deconstruction itself, if such a thing exist. Deconstruction is justice. It is perhaps because law (which I will therefore consistently try to distinguish from justice) is constructible, in a sense that goes beyond the opposition between convention and nature, it is possible insofar as it goes beyond this opposition that it is constructible—and so deconstructible, and better yet, that it makes deconstruction possible, or at least the exercise of a deconstruction that, fundamentally, always proceeds to questions of law and to the subject of law” (“Force of Law” FL 243).

Deconstruction is justice in the sense that it seeks to do justice to the text. If power is deployed by authority in terms of a monopoly on writing, in writing the law, and controls legitimate discourse through the means of scribes, then deconstruction in the end is the possibility of doing justice to a text, philosophical, literary, or the text of Dasein weaves in historical existence—of which all other writing is an artifact. An artifact of what? The trace. Systematic writing, writing as a system, embodies authority in constructing its system as the absolute presence of authority in the text or law. Writing has authority only insofar as it contains the presence of the authority of the lawgiver. Such authority only exists as presence of systematic unity. This is a fundamentally architectonic project. Hence, the precarious danger of reason, unable to ground itself in Kant’s Transcendental Philosophy, that needs an architectonic effort to save it. Deconstruction exists only insofar as buildings are imperfectly constructed, which determines their deconstructiblity. The written law has absolute authority because its presence survives the individual’s death, the individual with the authority to legislate, or the individual who is autonomous. The written word is therefore the presence of the law, a presence which carries with it the force of

authority. But we cannot understand writing as absolute presence, because if it was it would not be deconstructible. The written word is the systematization of the trace as presence. It is what survives in time as authority. Law and writing are only possible because of the structure of the trace, which is a temporal structure of survival—systematizing death. Derrida does not so much reduce what Heidegger calls language to writing, but he places primacy on the act of writing as the specific site of power that humans exercise over language and therefore over the earth in our technological domination of it, over people in slavery and subordination, and over the Gods in a sort of naive humanism. Writing is not merely writing, but the very way in which we access our being or that our being is determined by something outside of us. Writing creates the world that we inhabit; the world that we live in is one that is inscribed in cognition according to a representational schematic a priori to use Kant’s language. Humans use writing in order to take control of the world that they occupy, or what Heidegger characterizes as technological thinking ,”a reactive attempt to rescue thinking and preserve its autonomy over against acting and doing” (“Letter on Humanism” 96). Technological thinking is inscribed within the history of philosophy and therefore the history of our interpretation of being. However, instead of following Heidegger’s gesture to escape technological thinking altogether which passes over into an ostentatious romanticism, Derrida wants to deconstruct these abodes of thinking, the structures which determine in what way we engage with our being—with each other, with the world (mitsein)—in order to determine in what way and how dynamics of power are made manifest in our current lives, in what way we are dominated by unthinking, unphilosophical uses of language that constitute what are considered laws. These laws are juridical —laws of the state, and normative, laws which determine how we should be, how e act, dress, who we are allowed to desire sexually, fraternally, how we engage with structures like the family and the Church, how we write in fiction.

Deconstruction therefore operates in understanding how difference is articulated in the world. Technology, juridical and normative laws, all seek to impose a manner of sameness on the structure of being which manifests itself as difference. Technology seeks to order being in terms of use value, which is also the primary function of laws, to render use value to being of an individual so that they maintain their usefulness for society or the state at large. All of these function as prescriptive act of writing. The word pre-scription implies within it the concept of writing, a writing which is predetermined, which sets a precedent. Prescription has two senses, the prescription of the laws, as something written beforehand which determine the normative order of a community and the later adaptation of prescription by a doctor in order to return the body to a normative state of health. In both the task of writing is implied already beforehand. But writing is made possible only on the level of the trace. Prescriptions utilize the trace in such a way to articulate power. The prescription of the law does not occur before writing, but as an act of writing, as a determination of how writing should function according to structures of power and in order though writing to establish the prescriptive authority of the law in the authorship of commandments. In the same way the prescription for a treatment of the body takes place only after the body is sick, only insofar as the body is capable of dying is a prescription possible in medical science. Prescription is always ethical in the first case, and regulative in the second. But in the same way that the prescribed law in the form of writing never actualizes justice, the prescription for health is not necessarily a guarantee. Derrida reads in Plato’s conception of the pharmakon, in Disseminations, analogoulys to his discussion of writing. Derrida reads in the pharmakon the relationship between a prescriptive cure and the essence of writing, Derrida argues in Dissemination, “Writing is no more valuable, says Plato, as a remedy than as a poison” ([D] 99). This is because a cure necessarily goes against the natural process of life—of a person succumbing to sickness and death. A cure to

sickness seeks to reverse the natural course of life, it is therefore a poison to life in general, life as something which is inherently susceptible to disease (D 100). In the same sense Plato views writing as contrary to truth , to the essence of being revealed in the language of philosophical discourse as speech. Speech has a greater access to truth because writing is merely an imitation of speech, an attempt to capture the presence of speech under a symbol that lasts on a page. Writing and the pharmakon “do violence to the natural autonomous organization of the mnēmē , in which phusis and psuchē are not opposed” (D 105). Writing in this sense is something that does violence to the purity of a memory, where the soul and nature are revealed in their truth. Writing therefore confuses the origin of truth for a representation of it “not simply a recourse to memory but within such recourse, the substitution of the mnemonic device for live memory, of the prosthesis for the organ; the perversion that consists of replacing a limb by a thing….for the active reanimation of knowledge, for its reproduction in the present” (D 108). Writing therefore serves as a prosthetic form of memory; we write that we may forget. The problem for Plato is then that this undoes the division between outside/inside, living/nonliving, that “separates not only speech from writing but also memory as an unveiling (re-)producing a presence from rememoration as the mere repetition of a monument; truth as distinct from its sign” (D 108-109). If writing has precedence, if writing prescribes, then the possibility of understanding Truth in its primordial sense, without any sort of empirical determinations, is impossible. Writing therefore acts as a supplement:
the supplement of a supplement, the signifier, the representative of a representative. (A series whose first term or rather whose first structure does not yet—but we will do it later —have to be kicked up and its irreducibility made apparent.) The structre and history of phonetic writing have of course played a decisive role in the determination of writing as the doubling of a sign, the sign of a sign. The signifier of a phonic signifier. While the phonic signifier would remain in the animate proximity, in the living presence of the mnēmē or psuchē, the graphic signifier, which reproduces or imitates it, goes one degree further away, falls outside of life, entrains life out of itself and puts it to sleep in the type of its double (D 109-110).

But the pharmakon is not only writing. “If the written word is scorned, it is not as a pharmakon coming to corrupt memory and truth. It is because logos is a more effective pharmakon…before such a determination, we are in the ambivalent, indeterminate space of the pharmakon, of that which in logos remains potency, potentiality, and is not yet the transparent language of knowledge” (D 115). Plato understands the truth of logos, of reason, in the purity of the selfidentical eidos, the idea, or the form, “that which can always be repeated as the same” (D 123). Because writing institutes an economy of simulacra, it is unable to access the truth of the logos that it is able to discern in the idea—something that is always the same and refers to itself, as its own foundation. There are two pharmakons, one of death, of reproduction and representation, of writing, and of life, “the edios, truth, law, epistēmē, dialectics, philosophy—all these are other names that must be opposed to the pharmakon of the Sophists and to the bewitching fear of death” (D 124). Therefore the site of the pharmakon, the prescription that is in one sense death, is also the site whereby philosophy can operate its curative power in logos. “Philosophy thus opposes to its other this transmutation of the drug into a remedy, of the poison into a counterpoison. Such an operation would not be possible if the pharmako-logos did not already harbor within itself that complicity of contrary values, and if the pharmakon in general were not prior to any decisionmaking, that which, presenting itself as poison, may turn out to be a cure” (D 125). Therefore Derrida locates in this ambiguous reading of the pharmakon the structure of difference which precedes any writing or logos in general, that which precedes and produces the oppositions that philosophy seeks to cure, “I is rather the prior medium in which differentiation in general is produced, along with the opposition between the eidos and its other” (D 126). Derrida argues that the pharmakon anticipates and is analogous to Kant’s “transcendental imagination” which is site in the a priori structure of human cognition that produces the subject as an individual self-

identical subject, in the whole of its experiences, in the transcendental unity of apperception (D 126).4 Therefore we see in the structure of the pharmakon, in the prescription, the priority of difference which precedes any inscription prescriptive or otherwise, “the pharmakon is the movement, the locus, and the play: (the production of) difference. It is the différance of difference. It holds in reserve, in its undecided shadow and vigil, the opposites and the differends that the process of discrimination will come to carve out” (D 127). The prescription which seeks to save life may cause death if used in the wrong instance. Or that which may end life may also save it. Life and death are therefore bound by this logic of the pharmakon and are inseparably entwined. The play of difference is maintained in the structure of the trace which produces according to a pharmacological logic, the binary oppositions of philosophy and along with that first of all the opposition between life and death. §9. Death - the Ultratranscendental Condition of Subjectivity
I think nothing but death, I think about it all the time, ten seconds don't go by without the imminence of the thing being there. I never stop analyzing the phenomenon of 'survival' as the structure of surviving, it's really the only thing that interests me, but precisely insofar as I do not believe that one lives on post mortem. And at bottom it is what commands everything--what I do, what I am, what I write, what I say…instead of cooling and disintensifying experience, intensifies it. I don't believe there can be full enjoyment. If it were full it would not be an enjoyment, therefore demultiplying it does not mean a loss of intensity (A Taste for the Secret 80).

In order to understand the structure of the trace and the notion of the play of difference, we need to elucidate the relationship in Derrida’s philosophy between the transcendental and the empirical. For Derrida, existence is as it is only because it is finite. That is, we exist only insofar as we are mortal beings. The structure of experience as mortal depends on what Martin Hägglund refers to as the ultratranscendental status of temporality, which he describes as the constitutive condition of experience as fundamentally mortal. First, I will analyze the notion of the ultratranscendental compared to the Kantian transcendental.
4 See above, §

Martin Hägglund’s attempts Derrida’s “rewriting of [Kant’s] transcendental aesthetic.” His claim relies on reading deconstruction as an “ultratranscendental description” of the conditions of (im)possible experience. What is the ultratranscendental, and in what ways does this differ from Kant’s experience? Derrida’s “ultratranscendental” works by an ultraorthodox reading of Kant. Whereas Kant takes the transcendental as the foundation of the possibility of empirical knowledge, Derrida sees the transcendental and empirical constantly undermining one another because the transcendental has part of its basis in the empirical so the empirical is a condition of possible transcendence. This is because transcendental knowledge only relates to possible experience, and there is no way to understand the transcendental in its own terms. Whereas Kant wishes to maintain strict structural divisions that can be pure (transcendental/empirical, noumenon/phenomenon, Ideal/real), Derrida shows that they always contaminate one another. Derrida’s ultratranscendental maintains the side of transcendence that implies contamination over the Kantian purity of the noumenal. Geoffrey Bennington analyzes Derrida’s ultratranscendental, in the shadow of Kant’s “Aesthetic,” “if one says that finitude is in some sense the condition of transcendence, one makes it into the condition of possibility of transcendence, and one thus puts it into a transcendental position with respect to transcendence” (278). The conditional “if…in some sense” relates directly back to taking Kant at his word in his transcendental project. The transcendental method in the “Aesthetic” is only possible on the basis that it abstracts from experience the pure forms of sensation. The pure forms of intuition are only possible on the basis that there is an experience to abstract from in the first place. What the “Aesthetic” proves, in part is the empirical reality of time as finitude. That is, in order to argue that finitude transcendentally exists a priori in the form of time, it must exist empirically, and,

therefore, we could not utilize the transcendental method if we were not subject to finitude— finitude is thus a condition of transcendence and transcends transcendence. It is impossible for any transcendent to maintain itself as transcendence. The status of transcendence, for Derrida, is something that is always in flux, and that betrays the distinctions between empirical/transcendental, real/ideal, and phenomenon/noumenon that Kant went to great lengths to maintain. Bennington continues, “the ultra-transcendental thus produced puts into question the very structure of transcendence, which it pulls back down onto a feature that transcendence would like to consider as empirical” (278). I will later describe this structure according to Derrida’s conception of autoimmunity. However, the key of the argument of the ultratranscendenal status of temporality is that it renders the constitutive condition of existence according to the rubric of finitude, we only experience the world on the level of absolute unrecoverable mortality. What is this mortality? And what is the basis of this thought? If Derrida’s thought is always an encounter with the abject prospect of death, of the time of our life as purely unique, transient, from what tradition does he draw this? It will be helpful to elucidate previous conceptions of death to give a fuller meaning to Derrida’s claim. §9A. Death – Constitutive Violence For both accounts of philosophical death above, death does not so much have to do with the act of dying, of no longer being present in the world, but of how one dies and therefore the question of how one lives. The philosophical death hinges on the question of how one lives a virtuous life. Philosophy is therefore in some sense the practice of ethics. For Kant this means that practical philosophy is held above speculative philosophy, ethics has its rightful place in priority over theoretical speculation. Living philosophically for Kant is immediately entwined with the question of life after death, which is why he asserts immortality as a regulative ideal in

order to maintain the practicality of ethics. This is a more technical and subtitle variation of Plato’s assertion that the soul is immortal. While Kant does not assert the veracity of the claim theoretically like Plato does, he nonetheless holds on to it insofar as it can be confirmed by practical reason in the notion of the highest good. Heidegger moves away from this direction, and from the assumption of immortality. For Heidegger, like Derrida, death strikes us as the absolute end of consciousness, the end of any pretentions to self identity. Therefore living philosophically for Heidegger is a mode of being towards death in an authentic way, which reckons with death as death and not as some preliminary transition stage to another life. Derrida finds that this conception of death, of a death which we cannot run away from or attempt to surmount is the most pressing question of philosophy, and indeed the question which gives any value or meaning to philosophy as a living, mortal, community. Mortality no longer presents a problem to be resolved as it does for Plato, Christianity, and Kant. For Kant, if we think of ourselves as merely mortal, then there is no basis for the highest good—empirical reality will always be unjust, the highest good demands that absolute justice is rendered to each in determination of their worth. But if we are merely mortal, if we allow ourselves to think of ourselves as only mortal, then we are unable to subordinate our empirical nature to our immortal rational essence, and therefore ethics become impossible. Thus, for Heidegger, in the wake of this mortal absolution does not locate ethics as something outside the fundamental question of philosophy, or something exterior to ontology. Kant, following the Greeks, uses the division of philosophy in, physics, ethics, and logic (GW 55). And Kant places primacy on the power of speculative philosophy to ground reason on itself, which is precondition to rational practical philosophy which subordinates speculative philosophy, in the same way that the stairs to the front door subordinate the foundation.

We do not have a proper ground for what we commonly consider reason or ethics, according to Heidegger, and therefore philosophy is at its end. We lack proper authority for our actions, and for thought, “in the realm of thinking there are no authoritative assertions. The only measure for thinking is the manner which is itself to be thought” (“Only a God Can Save Us” 114-115). Without authority, thought opens itself up to the question of Being, this question is the proper opening to philosophy, but it is philosophy which lacks the authority to create ethical prescriptions. We cannot heal the world, except if we are first to be healed, but in order for that to happen we must chart the path for the arrival of the Gods which may heal us; that is, we must think the question of Being. Derrida writes, in the wake of this dismal categorization, in Writing and Difference:
that philosophy died one day, within history, or that it has always fed on its own agony, on the violent way it opens history by opposing itself to nonphilosophy, which is its past and its concern, its death and wellspring; that beyond the death, or dying nature, of philosophy, perhaps even because of it, thought still has a future….these are unanswerable questions…nevertheless, these should be the only questions today capable of founding the community, within the world, of those who are still called philosophers (WD 79).

Derrida calls this “A community of the question…A community of decision, of initiative, of absolute initiality, but also a threatened community, in which the question has not yet found the language it has decided to seek, is not yet sure of its own possibility within the community. A community of the question about the possibility of the question” (WD 80). Several things occur here. First, we need to take note of the imperative should, “these should be the only questions capable of founding the community.” Is should here used in a prescriptive sense, or is it something else? ‘Should’ refers to our sense of duty, our duty to philosophy insofar as we should continue to philosophize, or to think about the question of philosophy. But, does this make a normative claim on how that community can operate? Or does should have a subtler meaning, part-cure part-poison, that does not lay out a definitive plan to get something, but opens up its possibility? Derrida writes:

The liberty of the question (double genitive) must be stated and protected. A founded dwelling, a realized tradition of the question remaining a question. If this commandment has an ethical meaning, it is not in that it belongs to the domain of the ethical, but in that it ultimately authorizes every ethical law in general. There is no stated law, no commandment, that is not addressed to a freedom of speech. There is therefore neither law nor commandment which does not confirm and enclose—that is, does not dissimulate by presupposing it—the possibility of the question…the purity of the question can only be indicated or recalled through the difference of a hermeneutical effort (WD 80 [italics original, bold mine]

Again, Derrida uses the injunction must in addition to should. Not only should a community be founded on the possibility of the question, but it must be founded on the possibility of the question. This movement from should to must makes it definitively non prescriptive, the possibility of the question is an a priori determination that comes before any ethical obligation. This must is prior to any ethical determinations, because all ethics must presuppose the freedom of speech; that is, they presuppose freedom, and this freedom is opened up and made possible by the liberty of the question. That is the freedom of the question of being to be left indeterminate and the freedom for the question to be thought which marks the possibility of the question itself, and the possibility of freedom of speech, and the possibility of ethics and law. Thus, to found a community on the possibility of the question would situate a philosophical discourse well within Heidegger’s call to build a place where thinking can dwell, to “build out of dwelling, and think for the sake of dwelling” (BDT 159). The question of the death of philosophy, which is also the question of being, is what initiates a founded form of dwelling for a community of philosopher. However, Derrida takes a sharp turn away from Heidegger, despite his indebtedness to Heidegger’s thought. Whereas Heidegger sees in the absence of the Gods the renewed effort to make a space for the Gods to arrive, to safeguard and protect that which is holy in a dwelling that is thinking that is building a shelter for the Gods who are not here. Derrida locates a constitutive violence in our relationship to this absent other (God), this other that we seek to bring forth as present for our salvation. Heidegger seeks peace in this dwelling-place that provides shelter and preserves the presence of the holy.

But, this opening is violent. Heidegger already says in Being and Time that dasein finds the truth of its Being as an entity, “in spite of this entity’s own tendency to cover things up. Existential analysis, therefore, constantly has the character of doing violence, whether to the claims of the everyday interpretation, or to its complacency and its tranquillized obviousness” (BT 359 [emphasis original]). Even if this interpretation is ontological and therefore under Heidegger’s carefully thought later thinking, the question of violence is inseparable from the question of Being, because asking the question of Being is itself a violence that seeks to clear away non-essential and covered over forms of being. Heidegger speaks of peace after his sword has already been drawn. Because there is no stable transcendental identity to refer to, the written sign is always a self referential multiplier of différance, the sign does not refer to any Truth behind it, no absolute meaning, but meaning that is produced by contextual modifiers, meaning is produced by difference, “By the movement of its drift/derivation the emancipation of the sign constitutes in return the desire of presence” (OG 69). The sign differs meaning in relation to the subject which thinks about the sign as containing a possible meaning. The subject therefore desires that the meaning of the sign be made present, that the subject is able to know its meaning. This desire exists only insofar as that meaning is deferred from the present, as it is not made present, because if the meaning of the sign was present then there would be no desire to have it. Thus, the subject desires to understand itself—the appearance of itself to itself as a sign—the subject desires an identity which is not given to it a priori, it is an identity that is given to it by a priori deference (différance), that always holds off and keeps a space between the subject and it is own meaning. Différance itself is not something that the subject chooses to do out of its own free will, which would obviously imply a subject with a stable starting point for agency. The subject is not produced as an agent, by its own agency, as Kant would like to have it. The desire of presence

which is the desire of a subject, is made possible by the movement of différance, “That becoming —or that drift/derivation—does not befall the subject which would choose it or would passively let itself be drawn along by it” (OG 69). Différance does not merely happen to the subject, différance creates the subject in its relationship to finitude that is its own mortality. The subject relates to its own death, realizes that it is a mortal being. Death is the movement of différance itself that makes presence and absence possible in the first place. Because the subject dies, the subject has a relationship to its own death and, therefore, is preceded by différance which marks the possibility of the presence of the subject, and at the same time its absence, “As the subject’s relationship with its own death, this becoming is the constitution of subjectivity” (OG 69). This movement that inspires the desire for presence is therefore possible only because the subject dies; indeed, subjectivity itself is made possible by the a priori relationship to death that is made possible through différance. Différance as death is therefore the condition of life in general, according to “the economy of death” (OG 69 [emphasis original]). Death is the law of our dwelling. We can dwell in our environment, only insofar as we are mortal, and we are capable of dying. This economy of death is not a merely natural law, it is a necessary violence. On all sides, being which we access though language is undergoing violence and death, “Peace, like silence, is the strange vocation of a language called outside itself by itself. But since finite silence is also the medium of violence, language can only indefinitely tend toward justice by acknowledging and practicing the violence within it. Violence against violence. Economy of violence” (WD 117 [emphasis original]). Peace in this instance is thought of as something structurally impossible under the conditions of différance. The subject is never at peace, there was never a moment when peace did arrive. In the same way, silence, is a discourse that still must communicate but without speech. Because all peace and silence is finite, there is always an end to peace and always a break of silence, both of

which are produced in their oppositions (peace/war, silence/speech) by différance which marks their death. Therefore, going back to what Heidegger said in Being and Time, there is a necessary; that is, unavoidable violence constitutive of all discourse, insofar as we engage in discourse. Some types of violence are worse than others, so it is not a question of what is violent or nonviolent, but what is more or less violent, and striving for the better violence. Language is inherently violent because it is constitutive of the whole series of signs of signs that both disclose and cover up meaning. For us to achieve meaning or do justice to langugage will be a necessarily violent act, within this economy of violence, insofar as we seek to bring forth the essence of its Being, we will have to cut through the signs which cover it up. “The philosopher ([hu]man) must speak and write within this war of light, a war in which [they] always already knows [themselves] to be engaged: a war which [they] [know] is inescapable, except by denying discourse, that is, by risking the worst violence” (WD 117 [emphasis original]). §9B. Autoimmunity How do we situate ethics within this economy of death, and this economy of violence? Does Derrida argue an ethics of lesser violence? Are we to avoid the worst violence? The philosopher is unable to get outside of the state of war and an economy of violence—What would the worst violence mean? Denying discourse would undermine the existence of the philosopher itself. The philosopher exists only in the space of discourse opened up by the freedom of the question. To deny discourse is to destroy that space, and to annihilate the freedom of speech which guarantees the possibility of the question, is to destroy the precondition to ethics; that is, an assumption of freedom. We are able to enjoy our freedom only in a violent struggle—a struggle made manifest by the presence of another. The presence of the other is possible again according to the logic of différance, just in the same way that the other must also be absent. Any other we address that is alive, will die, and so is already caught up in the

economy of death that makes their subjectivity possible, as well as my own. The economy of death produces the subject, and the economy of violence regulates how subjects interact with one another. Derrida writes, “There is no ethics without the presence of the other but also, and consequently, without absence, dissimulation, detour, différance, writing” (OG 140). Thus an economy of violence is the location where we might draw an ethics, because the rule of this economy is the unshakable rule of finitude and death that makes up any human being engaged in discourse, preceded by différance. But it is not an ethics proper, for it does not tell us what to do other than that we must engage in the necessary violence of discourse with others if we are to avoid the worst violence by destroying discourse—or absolute silence, the true death of philosophy if not of humanity. Therefore this presence of the other that we find only in the economy of violence, where we know that we will do violence against the other, and that the other will do violence against us, merely in our being-together (mitsein). This is not an ethics at all because it does not have any real moral determination. It is merely the injunction to engage, to be. Either the subject is and is violent in one way or another, or there is no subject at all. Insofar as this violence constitutes the subject then it is wholly unavoidable, and therefore not subject to a moral claim, we cannot have a duty to something that is outside our control. We are bound to a degree by the violence that différance inaugurates as the history of our being, of our being mortal, vulnerable to death by the violence of nature which made our bodies finite, and the violence of others, in that trace that we rightly call the mark of Cain where even our brother (sister) delivers our death in murder. The trace of Cain, if I can put it that way, as perhaps mythic origin of the economy of violence preserved in the trace that we find in Genesis—the beginning—that regulates relationships between the self and others, is neither moral nor immoral, it is, “the origin of morality as of immorality. The nonethical opening of ethics. A violent opening” (OG 140).

Therefore, going back to the idea of instituting a community of philosophers, a dwelling place for thought, we cannot envision such a community as a shelter from violence, or as a place of peace that Heidegger envisions. It is instead a place of the lesser violence, which must remain the lesser violence unless it does not exist—which would risk the worst violence, the annihilation of language, which is to deprive humanity of their essential relation to Being, which is to risk absolute death of the human being. Derrida describes violence as inherent in both morality and immorality, because violence is inherent in the structure of différance as finitude and death of human beings. Derrida therefore describes a general structure of violence, an a priori, violence that comes before any questions of ethics, and remains solely within the questions of philosophy. This general violence is a condition of everything, and of every form of life. Derrida first uses the term autoimmunity to describe this violence in his influential essay “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone,” first given as an address in the Mediterranean island of Capri in 1996 at a conference with Gianni Vattimo, Maurizo Ferrias, Hans-Georg Gadamer, among a few others.5 Derrida proposed the topic of the conference: Religion. Derrida develops the concept of autoimmunity in later works, notably, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason (2005), and in the section “”Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides” which is published alongside a parallel interview with Jürgan Habermas in Philosophy in a Time of Terror (2003). Derrida introduces the term autoimmunity late in his philosophy, almost thirty years after he uses the term deconstruction in Of Grammatology. Autoimmunity though fills a similar role in deconstructive thinking as the terms deconstruction, différance, trace, economy of violence/death do—and Derrida uses a multiplicity of terms strategically in order to avoid falling back into a metaphysics of hierarchical concepts. The term

5 The texts of the conference are published in Derrida, Jacques, and Gianni Vattimo. Religion. Cultural memory in
the present. (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1998).

autoimmune is useful one to describe movement of différance that deconstruction traces. First, the term autoimmune has an analogous history to prescription, in that its initial meaning was juridical and then appropriated by medicinal or biological science. J. Hilis Miller notes the relationship between immunity and community, and the legal basis of the word:
the stem mun in immune system is the same as the mun in community. It comes from the Latin munis, meaning the obligation owed to the group, as the price of my citizenship, and also as a gift to the community. Immune was originally a social term applying to those, for instance the clergy, who were in one way or another exempt from the ordinary citizen’s obligations. They were immune, indemnified, just as those who took sanctuary in a church were immune from arrest or just as legislators in some democracies today are immune from prosecution for som crimes. Biologists appropriated an entire social and political vocabulary, including the notion of aliens to the community or foreign invaders who must be repelled, to name the operation of the body’s immune system and the catastrophe of autoimmunity…In auto immunity something goes wrong with the immune system. It starts creating antibodies that attack the body’s own cells… Derrida takes this already metaphorical system of terms back from biology and applies it again to the social body, the body of the community and its members (269).

Miller’s analysis is extremely helpful for understanding the context of the term autoimmunity. And shows why autoimmunity is so strategically useful as a term when deconstructing notions like religion, or “the return of the religious,” and religious fundamentalism, in conflict with technological and secular powers. Autoimmunity contains within it legal, ecclesiastical, biological, and social within the space of constitutive violence. §9B(1). Munus – Obligation, Fortification, The Road to Community Immunity in the legal sense is an exemption from an obligation. Munus refers to 1. A public office in the sense of performing ones civic duty to the office; 2. A duty, a burden, tribute; 3. A work as in a book written; 4. Munere A present or a gift,;munerabundus “that which gives or brings presents,” or munusculum a small gift, intermunus a gift on lone, a gift only for a time (Lewis and Short”), munerigerulus, a “bearer of presents”, munerarius, a property of a gift, or a property of gladiatorial exhibitions; 5. munus: A public show or spectacle in the form of entertainment, munerator, “the giver of a gladiatorial exhibition”; 6. Also the munera was a

service held in honor of the dead—a duty or obligation to the dead to put on a public spectacle or games.6 The word munus therefore implies a social obligation, or an obligation to a gift to the community, specifically a gift that can be rendered public. Munus in this sense is found in the word common, community, from Latin communis, what is common to all, general, public; or communion from communio, involving mutual participation, as in the Communion of the Church, or the Eucharist, the sacrament of communion, where the believer partakes in the body of Jesus which is also the body of the Church. Communitas is a friendly community, the sense of fellowship. To enter into communion is to become a part of church community where one is accepted as a member under God. Excommunication is to be banned from the church, to be denied the ability to take communion. Communio means to secure or strengthen something, to protect it. Comunitio, is an abstract concept to make a way, to build a road, to prepare the path, and also a fortification. Munio means to fortify or defend, to build a wall, to protect, to secure, to guard, to shelter, to strengthen, to support. Munire viam, is to make a way, to prepare a path, in the sense of securing the conditions for something to come We get our word “munitions,” from munio which has an archaic meaning to be granted a right or a privilege in the same sense as immunity. It also means a defense in the way that munio does, as defending, fortifying, especially in terms of a structure like a wall or a fortress—this is contained in its current meaning, of military hardware but it loses its meaning of privilege as in immunity, and defense as in munio, and contains only the power of violence in “ammunition.” We also say that something can be used as ammunition against us. In this way, ammunition preserves the meaning of munio that means to forge a path for something that may come. More often than not though, we provide the ammunition that our enemies use to shoot us or we shoot ourselves in the foot.
6 All Latin definitions come from Lewis And Short Latin Dictonary.

The meaning of ammunition is the inverse of munio, to protect or strengthen the self, and is instead that which helps our enemy, and paves the way for our fault, or demise. For me to give ammunition to be used against me, I provide someone else the resources to defeat me, I secure for my opponent my own defeat. Community holds things in common, one partakes in the community though communion. The community also has this sense of a fortification or defense from outsiders, a community provides an internal security for those who are apart of it. It is also a way, the community provides not merely a social network, but provides or prepares the path for the individual. This sense is retained in the nature of the Eucharist, to partake in the community of Christ is to let Christ be the guide, “The way and the truth and the light” (Jn. 14:6). Moreover the community not only provides a way but a sanctuary, a sense of security. To join the communion of the Church is to “put on the armor of light” (Rom 13:12) To take communion is to join a community that serves as a site for preparing a way to truth, it is to build a road but also to be protected along the way. Also implied in munus is communication, communico, which means to divide something with another giving or receiving, and also to join together with an equal part or to unite, it is to receive something that is shared with another, to partake in a part of a whole which is shared (this is the sense of communion), in this way it also means to share, or to communicate. Communication is only possible if something is both shared, but not completely. We are able to communicate with another because we share a common language, but only if what is communicated is something that we do not necessarily have and is given over to us. If we already knew everything that another would tell us, then there would be no communication. Communication thus entails a reference to something universally shared, for example language, and also something that is private or is not shared universally and openly. Communication is

public, although there is communication that takes place in private, or even internal private communication with ourselves, communication regardless entails a necessary making public and making common. Commuto means to change completely, as in a transformation, but also the exchange with others as in economy. In addition, commuto refers to discourse or communication, to exchange words with one another. In this sense, communico implies both something held in common, and something held privately, something that stays the same, and something which changes or is exchanged. Something is divided and shared, and reciprocally put together in a unity. Communication implies a necessary capability for division and therefore mutability that allows something to be exchanged from one person to another, or communicated. In order for something to be communicated, I must be able to transform my internal private thoughts into common communicable signs, that which is communicated must retain some of its meaning, but it must also, in order to be communicated, be able to mutate and change—to perhaps lose its meaning. This is reflected in our use of the word common, that which is ordinary, undistinguishable, not sacred or holy; that is, contained in class distinction between the commoner—that is someone who is not noble, undistinguished. Commoner has a pejorative sense that goes along with the masses—of unrefined taste, and baseness. The community, being in common, risks sharing too much which leads to contamination of purity, miscegenation, defilement. That is, it leads to perversion, straying from the proper way, there is the misogynistic term “a common woman” for a prostitute, or a common criminal; that is, a petty and unremarkable sinner. The community therefore has a somewhat paradoxical status. On the one hand it is solidarity with others, bound by a common goal, friendship. The community serves to make a path or forge a way in order to achieve the goals which bring members to the community. An

individual participates in a community insofar as they partake in a share of something general, greater than themselves. Community requires a duty to maintain the standards held in common. This duty is a communion; it is a gift that we are required to give to the community and which is shared. Duty to the community is a public gift, a gift for the community. It is a public gift in the sense of a performance or spectacle. To partake in the community is to perform ones function as a duty given over to the community, or in public. Therefore duty is always bound up with the spectacle, with rites. In the old sense this meant providing gladiatorial games after a death, and for the Church this means providing the Eucharist to believers. This is ceremony. We still have this meaning today, for example, the wedding reception—on the formal legal occasion of two persons entering into matrimonial unity (ostensibly for procreation and continuing the community) they host a party for guests, to be received by members of the community, who in turn give gifts to the couple. The community serves as a fortification and a protection from outsiders. It provides sanctuary. The community provides a way to the presenting of the holy, a way for the holy to make itself present, and to give itself over as a present, and it safeguards this holy gift in its fortification. On the other hand, when something is made common to all, it falls into disrespect, it loses its value in that it is unique and distinguished; it becomes cheap. Commonality is a vulgar, and obscures the particularities that make someone or something special. Within the very idea of community, that which serves as a protection or a barrier to what is vile, is itself the everyday baseness of the ordinary, which threatens the foundations of the community from within the walls of its shelter. When the holy is held in common, it risks losing its holiness, and becoming a mere idol. While there are distinguished members of the community, people of high standing, there are also commoners, and common criminals. There is common speech, which is considered ungrammatical, derivative, loses its original meaning. What is common becomes contaminated,

and purity of the holy is desecrated. Most dangerously, this treat to the community is not from outside it, the danger is created by the community, in holding things in common. This danger from within does not need to penetrate the protective barriers of the community because it lies on the very same path that the community forges. Thus, what is held pure and protected from outside, is contaminated from within. Contamino is to bring into contact with, to touch, which implies a corruption from mixture, it is a stain or effacement. The community seeks to secure the purity of the holy, of what is uncontaminated; incontaminablis, that which cannot be defiled. Community seeks purity, but in making itself common risks contamination. Community gives itself the ammunition for its contamination, to transform the community from within into something that it was not, to destroy what it held holy. This is a contamination of the same, a contamination without mixture. The purity of the holy when held in common is vulnerable to impurity. As soon as the holy is held in common it is no longer safe. Therefore the community must protect itself from itself by purging: excommunication, expulsion, exile, banishment. However, anathamatize all you will, it will not safeguard the purity of the holy because it only targets the symptom of corruption and not the source. The community in coming together to bring the holy to presence and to keep watch over it produces the very conditions which make it vulnerable to contamination. Without community there is no contamination, but there is also no communication, and there is nothing holy. Therefore, a community by nature is vulnerable on two fronts: from the outside, and from within. The vulnerability to the outside is what brings people together by bonds which they hold in common to protect these bonds from those who do not hold them and who might seek to destroy them. But in fortifying itself from the outside it produces the threat to itself from within.

The community is formed by members who all share a part, which put together produces the unity of that which is shared, and inversely, the community gives a piece of itself to each of its members to share. If the whole of community is thought where each member has claim to a part of something that is greater than an individual member, but taken together forms a whole, then it would be possible to preserve the purity of the whole if a part of it became corrupted, by removing the corrupted part. But this is not the case. The threat of contamination is a product of the same, from within, in an inexorable (in-exorcize-able) auto-contamination. The whole that the community partakes in, in communion or in communication, is always more than the sum of its parts, the whole has a meaning which exceeds not only the individual, but all of the individuals put together in a sort of analytic logic (1+1+1+1 = 4). Instead, perhaps, the community operates according to (an a priori) synthetic logic, which takes place not in merely adding two, three, a billion individuals together in a protective force multiplier (the two of us together are twice as safe as I am alone, for instance), but the power of the community is produced in the bond of communion; I do not merely relate to another member of the community on some private interpersonal basis, but in a public way—I relate to the other not as they are as another, but, I relate to the other insofar as they have a relationship to the community—to something greater and outside themselves—in the same way that I relate to the community as something greater and outside myself. I relate to the other not on the basis of our private relationship with one another, but we relate to one another as individuals through our shared individual relationship to the whole. This is how we relate to communion in Christ, we seek unity not in being together because we hold certain beliefs in common, we are unified by our differences as members of the Church, or the body of Christ, in the same way that a body is more than the sum of the function of its organs:
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a

man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Rom. 12:4).

Communion is the basis of community. That is where one participates as a member in something that is greater than the sum of the parts, therefore from the outset, one relates not to other members, but solely to the whole. This is how we can understand Christ’s claim that he did not come to bring peace, but to create division, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three” (Lk. 12:51-52). We can therefore only take participate in the communion as long as we are in a way, set against one another, in a parallel passage in Matthew, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, / a daughter against her mother, / a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - /a man's enemies will be the members of his own household'” (10:34-36). We are thus originally set apart from one another, and the work of the community, what it means to take communion, specifically does not refer to bringing us together on an interpersonal basis, “"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:37-39). Communion, as the foundation of community, is only in the relationship to Christ alone, at the expense of all others. We relate to one another only as we are members of the community, in our relationship with that which is greater than me, which binds me to others who relate to the same thing. We are at least two individuals in this sense: we are the same insofar as we hold in common the whole that exceeds all the parts, and we are different because our relationship to that whole is unique. The community in this synthetic production is analogous to Kantian reverence for the

law—a community that is a Kingdom of ends. I do not relate to the other on an individual basis, I relate first to the Law, out of reverence for something that exceeds myself, and then I relate to others on this basis according to their internal worth and dignity that they share because they also act out of reverence for the law. When we relate differently to the same whole, we produce in the common, a whole which is more than the parts, because the whole cannot be expressed by the parts put together—that would be meaningless. A teacher, a prophet, and a banker put together do not make a community. Only when we teach, we when prophesize, when we make commerce in relation to something that we hold in common, do the parts form a body or a community. But, in doing so, we also produce the conditions of contamination from within, from the members themselves. If a community cannot be made analytically, after it is created synthetically, the members can revert to relating to one another as individuals, and not as members of a body. After the community has been established in working together, differently, toward something held in common, that is initiation, individuals are brought together and in being brought together they can relate to one another on a private basis, at the expense of the public. Therefore, if the community was initiated by the individuals relating to each other publically by having a relationship to the same, it creates the possibility within the community, for the members to engage in private relationships—a merely common understanding of what is shared. They therefore relate to each other by what they privately hold in common, not in the public relationship to a common way. This is the auto-contamination of the community. It is implicit form the very beginning in the structure of community as a community is formed. It is impossible to root out such auto-contamination, because there was never a time when it was not occurring. The community, as community is always vulnerable.

§9B(2). Immunity -- Juridical and Ecclesiastical Immunio, carries with it the notion of protection or fortification found in munus and community. Immunis, is to be free or exempt from a public service; that is, one is not required to adhere to the public duty explicit in munus. One is granted an exemption from the law. In that sense, one does not share or partake in the community, but by the same token, one is not kicked out of the community, or excommunicated. Immunity is a privilege, or a right granted from the source of authority within the community, the source of law which exempts the individual or groups of individuals from the law or certain parts of the law that would normally be their duty. One is granted immunity and allowed to be exempted from duty, while at the same time to remain within the community. Imunitas means a freedom from a burden or a charge against one. This means that the individual is protected, made immune, from the power of the law that would normally punish it for disobeying, or not fulfilling its duty. Someone can be granted immunity for a crime that they did, in the sense of a pardon, where the crime that they committed is no longer recognized as a crime, it is forgiven. But immunity implies more forcefully, something which is intrinsic or possessed by an individual or group because of their privilege. Immunity is thus already inscribed within the concept of a community, of something which by its very nature is bound to contaminate the thing which it protects and which it holds in common. There is no immunity without a community. A community cannot grant immunity unless it is already immundus: dirty, impure. Therefore immunity in a certain sense can protect the privileged from the auto-contamination of the community. Immunity sets up two standards of law within the community. This is the separation between ecclesiastical law and civil law. Both remain within the larger community, yet ecclesiastical law is outside the secular community. The secular community derives its authority from the supreme holiness of the Church. Not only are Kings installed by popes, but even civil matters, for instance marriage, derives its authority from God. Marriage is a civil legal union, more than anything in many cases, the legal binding of

property and income of two separate individuals into one. This however is a sacrament, administered by the Church. The state provides the material legal basis of contract right, but the Church makes marriage more than a simple contractual union of assets between individuals, into holy matrimony—again a type of synthetic production of community. While civilly the married interact with one another on private terms, sharing their wealth, but publically they relate not to one another individually, but they relate to one another’s individual relationship to the bond itself, or matrimonial duty. I do not have a duty to my spouse, it is said, but to the institution of marriage. Ecclesiastical immunity is the doctrine that the Church in many ways is exempt from civil law, or that persons and property of the Church have a different status than laity. It has its foundation in the concept of privilegium canonis, first articulated in the Synod of Rome, 862 or 863, that made excommunication ipso facto for a person wounding a bishop (Catholic Encyclopedia. This was further elaborated in the Second Council of Lateran in 1139 which has two parts. First, anathematizes anyone who is violent to a priest automatically, and a bishop should be killed “mortis urgent periculo” if they absolve it. Second, it establishes the Church as a sanctuary for any lay person who is inside it, they are thereby given immunity, and anyone who attacks them will be excommunicated (Second Council of Lateran Canon 15). Next, the Church established the privilegium fori, in that members of the Church were not to be subjected to civil courts but to be tried before bishops, even for civil crimes. This did not necessarily go over with civil authorities. One of the most notable battles of jurisdiction was between Henry II and Thomas Becket, where Henry wanted to tax the revenues of Church property held by Becket, and attempted to declare jurisdiction of secular court over the Church. After they were unable to agree on stipulations formulated in the Constitutions of Clarendon, Thomas Becket continued to excommunicate followers of the King, and the feud ended in 1170

when Becket was assassinated, declared a martyr and a saint. The Church was unable to maintain the privilegium fori for long. However, in light of the Churches recent Furthermore, there is the privilegium immunitatius, which gives an exemption to the Church and the clergy from public obligations. Clergy were declared immune from certain taxation, military service, public office, and so on to a greater or lesser degree. Immunity as a concept is still in place. There is the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, which means that one cannot take a country or head of state cannot be prosecuted is held up in the United States, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which prevents an individual from suing a foreign state in United States courts. We also have diplomatic immunity. A diplomat of a foreign country is considered immune from the laws of the country that they are visiting in order to facilitate free passage. This immunity serves so that even when countries are engaged in outright hostility, that there can still be some mechanism for a possible diplomatic resolution of things. A foreign diplomat thus cannot be subject to trial or imprisonment so that a warring state would imprison a diplomat and thus prevent a peaceful resolution. From the legal concepts of immunity, we can understand that immunity exists not only to protect the individual, or to shield an individual from the consequences of the law, but in order to preserve the law or the community itself. Immunity functions as a general protective measure from within the community to counteract auto-contamination. If the law is established as a relationship to justice—to the justice which exceeds the letter of the law—then the law admits in its inception that it is an imperfect form of justice. The holiness of the moral law which brings the community together out of subjective reverence is contaminated in the institution of juridical law that binds the community together as subjects in common. Thus while the notion of equality is a noble insistence of justice, legal equality at the same time reduces the entire population to

similarity, to a vulgar commonality where the individual has no room for distinction, or for their distinct relationship (which can only be subjective) to the moral law. If we are made equal by the laws of the state, we do not really posses the notion of equality of which we have reverence, which is an equality that stems from a mutual autonomy— from a maxim that the subject gives to themselves, not something that is given in the form of statutes, constitutions, or codes. We subjectively legislate the law of equality which recognizes the inherent dignity of rational beings, not because we relate to them insofar as we share rationality, but because rational beings are able to relate to the moral law rationally out of reverence—we relate in our common relationship to reverence. We can never be truly equal if we are merely equal before the law, but only if we both are able to create the law for ourselves. But because the law establishes equality before the juridical law already, the holiness of the concept of equality is therefore contaminated, it is not a pure self legislating maxim, but an equality that is made ready to hand. The auto-contamination of the law is corrected by granting immunity from the law which is stained. Immunity thus is less of a freedom from duty, or being relieved of the law, but being relieved from an impure duty in order to preserve or bring to presence, to build a way and clear a path, for pure duty of the moral law which is holy, the law that brings the community together that we must protect. So insofar as the community from its inception in striving to work towards the holy, and to secure the holy and keep it safe, contaminates itself in its formation by no longer relating to the holy but to a semblance of the holy, to a text or an idol in its place. It is threatened from within in the absence of the holy that formed the community to protect it from outsiders, to protect the only from contamination by creating a fortress, from the very presence of the holy that made the community possible it at once recedes into absence as soon as communication takes place, as soon as the members of the community relate to one another and not to one

another’s relationship to the holy. Immunity then serves to protect the community as a whole which is greater from itself, from its own munitions that reduce the whole to its constituent parts. By building in immunity one is allowed the freedom from the community to clear a path for the holy in its absence. In this way the holy is kept sacred, because in the end, it is holiness which is to be kept immune from the auto-contamination of the community. The community may contaminate itself and therefore the holy which it keeps within it, but the holy is not reduced to the community, it far exceeds it—the holy exists without a community, but a community never exists without the holy. Therefore in order to keep the holy sacred, the holy must be made immune. For the holy to be immune, it must be possible for someone in the community to relate to the holy which is more than the community. The individual must be given immunity to protect the immunity of the holy; that is to prevent the holy from being reduced to the community. Thus, Church officials are granted degrees of immunity. Not because they seeks to be free from obligation, but because they need the freedom to commune with the higher obligation that is the source of authority and foundation of the community. In the same way diplomats are granted immunity from the normal process of the law expected in a foreign country to obey its laws. The laws are suspended in the name of a higher duty to protect the state from its own inclinations to prosecute an apparent enemy. Immunity keeps the space for diplomatic peace open precisely when it is most needed in the times of utter war. Without that immunity it would be impossible to attain a diplomatic peace, because every diplomat would be imprisoned by their enemies. Without that possibility for peace, the possibility for anything better than a pyrrhic victory is all but denied. Immunity forestalls the death of the community, it is what allows the community to continue to live. Immunity grants an exception to the law of auto-contamination; it provides a space for the possibility of the holy which is the possibility for the community to exist at all. In

this way the space of immunity secures the holy from contamination of the community and allows the community to continue living in auto-contamination. Without the space of immunity, the community would die. The community exists only in the absence of the holy, and without any access to the holy—the possibility for it to present itself, then what is holy is not merely absent, not merely replaced by an idol in its stead , but the holy would impure, the holy that is absent would no longer be holy but desecrated, stripped of the sacred, de-sacrified. Immunity provides the space for the holy in order to sacrifice the sacred. In immunity, the holy, within the community, as it exists under the conditions of being reduced to the common, in the form of law through auto-contamination, is sacrificed for the sake of the sacred, of the holiness that is beyond the community, of justice that is above the law. This immunity is dependent on the inherent vulnerability of the community. It does not immunize the community from its internal vulnerability, from its production of auto-contamination. Instead, immunity is what allows the community to keep on living as vulnerable. Immunity protects the community from the worst threat, the worst violence that is within itself, that if left without immunity would destroy the possibility for the conditions of community to be. Without the holy, without something greater than the community to relate to, in an exceptional way—a way that is exempt from duty to the community, which is a duty to contamination—the community would cease to be, it would annihilate itself from within, because what forms a community is the relationship to the holy. Immunity allows the conditions for that possibility to take place, because it is outside the conditions of community which render that relationship impossible. A community that grants immunity has the possibility to survive. Community without immunity is death. §9B(3). Autoimmunity – Scientific and Biological Immunity as a concept is easily translated from the juridical realm to the medical realm. Kant’s epistemology of representational cognition in accordance with a priori rules provides a

justification for the empirical sciences, insofar as human cognition determines its proper sphere within the domain of empirical nature. The regulative use of reason allows experimental empirical science based on providing hypothesis, observational fact, and formulating general theories or laws of nature, though experimentation and observation we are able to determine the origin of a natural effect as if there was a chain of causality As long as we realize that we only have knowledge empirical laws that have no transcendental meaning, then the experimental method is free game. Therefore Kant’s representational schema does not necessarily make possible empirical science, but makes scientific knowledge explicit. This posits the scientist as a self-identical subject in an objective relationship to their perception of the external appearance of the natural world. Hegel claims in the Phenomenology, “Reason in the role of observer thus turns to this wisdom, turns to Spirit, to the Notion existing as a universality or to purpose existing as purpose; and henceforth the object before its own essence” (207). He is here essentially recounting Kant’s argument but placing it within the framework of his dialectic of Spirit. Reason as it observes something does not understand the thing in itself, but creates a scientific idea of the thing which conforms to the notion that reason already possesses. Reason thus understands the concept of the thing, as a universal principle, as a general law which describes any particular according to a teleological principle of cause and effect. The internal movement is found to be the pure purpose of reason itself. Reason finds itself confirmed in the scientific method by reconciling external objects with its own inner principle. Immunity, according to this standpoint, is simply the ability for the self-identical organism to defend itself from something outside the subject that threatens to kill it. Immunity safeguards the self-identical the organism from a foreign attack that would threaten the security of the organism’s subjectivity. In other words, the organism protects itself from the threat of

death from external invasion which compromises the ability of the organism to maintain itself as itself. The health of the organism relies on its ability to determine its own identity from that which is alien. Disease comes from without, and the immune system maintains the organism as a constitutive self identity within. The body contains some sort of natural mechanism of immunity from disease, in many circumstances, the body cures itself. Disease is an obligation that the body is bound to, but the body possess an immune system which frees it from disease, and prevents death. The body is still vulnerable to disease, but it continues living on as long as it can. Immunity is not invulnerability, immunity does not prevent the body from contracting disease, it merely kills the disease before the disease kills the body. Paul Ehrlich was the first to describe what we now call an autoimmune disease. Ehrlich’s work on immunology caused him to coin the concept “horror autotoxics” that is the first articulation of autoimmunity. The organism has a necessary regulative function that prevents the immune response from targeting itself. This regulative feature, according to Ehrlich’s formulation, is an internal horror from self- or auto- intoxication. Therefore, the immune system functions not only to distinguish the self from other, but produces biological self identity in the same way that the transcendental imagination produces the self identity of the thinking subject.7 The transcendental unity of apperception a priori determines the totality of the experience of the subject as a stable series of empirical representations that occur in space and time. The subject appears to itself as a self-identical subject because it is itself an object of experience in space and time. The schmatism and the system of categories of understanding function as regulative rules that determine the difference between the identity of the subject as it appears to itself in the totality of its existence, and the subjective experience of this singular point of consciousness as an immune subject different than objects outside itself in the world. The subject intrinsically
7 See §

protects its empirical appearance as a life, in space and time, in order to continue living as object in the world. It distinguishes itself subjectively as a self-identical object by producing itself as an immune subject. The horror of autointoxication corresponds to the a priori necessary for the subject to realize its self ideality distinguished from other objects in an immunological boundary. If the self did not distinguish subjectively itself from others, then the security of self would break down and it would be unable to recognize itself in the first place. Because intrinsically the subject seeks to maintain itself living being, it has a priori a system of immunity that defends itself by fighting invasion from without. The subjectivity of the organism is constituted by its vulnerability to outside forces. This means a priori the organism understands its subjectivity in relationship to its vulnerability in a reactive immunity from foreign pathogens. This necessitates an a priori relationship to the self that seeks to immunize itself out of a fear of reactive self destruction. It recognizes its vulnerability to that which is without a priori because the mechanism of its own defense risks reacting to itself and destroying itself if it did not distinguish itself from others. This horror is therefore constitutive of individual subjectivity; because subjective self-identity requires that subject recognize itself as its own object from the horror of reacting to itself as a foreign object which, rather than protecting itself, would destroy it. The transcendental unity of apperception posits the subject in relation to its experience of itself as a temporal existence. The subject determines itself a priori as a temporal empirical object in relationship to other empirical objects. Insofar as this is presented as an internal unity of experience, the subject maintains its identity as an immune self. In order for there to be an empirical unity of experience, the subject must defend itself and that unity which makes up its self identity. Because the subject must naturally recognize itself as a living temporal object that must protect itself, its subjectivity is initiated by a constitutive violence that threatens the

existence of the subject from the beginning as a finite object. This constitutive violence is, in the recognition of the vulnerability of the organism’s self identity, a necessary reactive violence to foreign threats which is an internal violence of the subject against foreign microorganisms that make their way within. Threatened by the other from within, the organism reacts to the other in violence. This violence necessarily must discriminate from that which is alien and that which is self, because immunity functions to protect the self, it must defend itself not only from outside violence, but it must also have a mechanism of securing itself from itself. This mechanism is not only implicit in subjectivity but is in itself constitutive of the self and other. Violence is constitutive of the temporal self, because the self recognizes itself in the drive to continue the existence of the self; that is, the existence of an empirically immune self, or a self which must protect itself. The drive to continue to exist exists only insofar as the self constitutively recognizes itself as something threatened by the violence of time. Ehrlich’s horror autotoxics is the first study of an autoimmune response. But for Ehrlich, horror autotoxicus is an a priori facet of the immune system, meaning that an autoimmune disease would be necessarily impossible: the body does not produce autoantibodies; an autoimmune disease is impossible. Ehrlich was wrong in this respect. It was not until the 1940s that autoimmunity was recognized as a distinctive possibility as a disorder by studying among other observations, the bodies rejection of tissue grafts and immunodeficiency (Silverstein 280). Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines autoimmunity as “1. In immunology, the condition in which one’s own tissues are subject to deleterious effects of the immune system, as in autoallergy and in autoimmune disease specific humoral or cell-mediated immune response against the body’s own tissues…2. Literally, the condition in which the “self” is exempt” (172). Autoimmunity is the failure of horror autotoxicus. The organism does not fear autointoxication because it is unable to recognize the difference between itself and the other.

Horror autotoxicus in the immune response is the constitutive condition of the organism’s biological self-identity in contrast to what is outside itself. But if the self does not recognize itself as itself, then fearlessly self-tolerance gives way to autointoxication. More recently however, not only have autoimmune disorders been proven, but autoimmunity in general is no longer thought of as a disorder, but is a part of the normal functioning of the immune system. This means, according to Albert Tauber, that the self/non self binary is no longer tenable. If autoimmunity is a natural process essential to the function of the immune system in general which serves to protect the individual, then far from horror autotoxiucs, self-identity is not simply constituted by an immune response to something foreign:
‘Ideal’ immunity was the agent of the self, and although there might be inconsistencies in behavior regarding that mandate, the basic structure of immunology demanded articulation of a model of identification and the protection of organismal identity. However, autoimmunity is now regarded as a normal physiological function of the immune system, not so much in the Jernian sense, but rather because immunocytes and their products survey and contribute to normal body economy. From the clearing away of senescent, damaged or dead cells to surveillance for malignancies, the immune system has a robust immune profile of activity directed at host elements, normal and abnormal. This understanding of immunity has served as a springboard of criticism directed at the polarization between self and non-self (227).

J. Miller is right to recognize that autoimmunity as a disorder is “catastrophe” when autoimmune violence is destructive to the self. However, he is wrong to recognize autoimmunity as simply a disorder where the self confuses itself for another and destroys itself. Autoimmunity can realize the catastrophe of self destruction only insofar as autoimmunity has its foundation in defensive immunity. The catastrophe of autoimmunity then is not the failure of the self to distinguish itself from others; the real catastrophe of autoimmunity is that it throws our conception of the selfidentical subject, and therefore self-identity in crisis. If self identity is determined by the a priori subjective determination of self and other in the constitutive violence that determines the self as an appearance to itself as a vulnerable object in time in relationship to others that threaten its self integrity, then the distinction between the empirical biological self and non self dissolves as soon as immune self does not a priori

recognize itself as something that must defend itself from its own protective violence. Conversely, the constitutive violence of empirical subjectivity in the recognition of the self as a vulnerable temporal object is not solely in relation to its vulnerability to outside attack, but also, the self recognizes itself as a temporal and vulnerable object in the to the possibility of inflicting violence against itself. Subjectivity is born from a totalizing constitutive violence that does not universally recognize itself to itself in the perception of the appearance itself as a self identical object, but which at the same time it seeks to secure the identity of itself as a distinct object immune from itself so that it might survive attacks from the outside by preventing its violence from being directed towards itself, it also, in order to secure the continuation of itself, that is to maintain its self identity in time, it must also engage in a constitutive autoimmune violence, that can only occur as long as the self is able to subjectively negate its own subjective identity, in order to defend its subjectivity, so that its immune violence will not only attack what is foreign, but will recognize the self as something foreign to itself and target the self as something other. Self identity, then, cannot be determined by the identity of the subjectivity of the self who thinks (the subjective experience of the I of I think) with the subjective cognition of the self as object of its subjectivity ( the I of I am). The transcendental unity of apperception, or the unity of objective existence in empirical reality with the subjective unity of the experience of that reality, cannot consist merely on the basis that the subjective perception of the thinking self corresponds to the subjective production of the appearance of an empirical representation of the self to itself as the object of experience, because the objective self represented in subjective cognition does not maintain its own self identity. The I of I am does not recognize itself only as itself, but actually, necessarily, does not recognize itself, confuses itself with something foreign. Immunity, which is the reactive violence of the organism to defend itself from attacks by the other, acts only the basis of an innate fear of attacking the self, so that it can determine or thereby produce the

difference between self and other. But without autoimmunity, immunity would not function. Therefore for the sake of immunity the self, in order to defend the self from itself, it must not only prevent foreign attacks by rendering a degree of self tolerance to its own weapons, but it must also attack the self to keep it healthy, and therefore it must also be able to undermine its self-tolerance by determining the self as something foreign. Subjectivity at once establishes itself in the cognitive recognition of the self as its object, but also by not recognizing itself as the object of its own production. Subjectivity then constitutes itself by undermining what it creates, in order to protect what it creates and provide for the conditions of its continued empirical existence. Subjectivity is the product of the inherent vulnerability of the subject not only to outside attack, but its own defensive violence. The organism does not distinguish between self and other insofar as its immune system, its protective mechanism, not only reacts violently to what is foreign, but actually strategically reacts violently to itself by conceiving itself as other, thus collapsing the distinction of self and other founded on an inherent horror of inflicting self-harm. It is therefore not intrinsically afraid of harming itself to distinguish the target of its violence from itself, so that defensive reactive violence against the other does not simply result in self-tolerance. Rather, it defends itself not only from others by maintaining an order of self tolerance to its reactive violence, but also it defends itself from itself through an order of protective self violence, reacting to itself as another. The distinction between a biological self and non-self falls apart as soon we understand autoimmunity as a constitutive element of the immunity. This natural or protective autoimmunity implies that there is no simple self/other binary that the immune response initiates. On the contrary, the immune system recognizes the self and the not-self, developing self-tolerance to its defensive reactions, while at the same time refuses to distinguish between the self and not-self to make the self a target of its defensive reaction. We are therefore required to redefine the idea of

the subjectivity “immune self,” insofar as immunity, or self identity, does not defend the self only by attacking the alien other maintaining the boundary between self and not-self, but initiates self-differentiation so that the self defends itself by violating this boundary and attacking itself. §10. Finitude – The Constitutive Condition of Temporality We will be able to understand how autoimmunity undermines Kantian subjectivity if we recognize the relationship that this subject has to temporality. Derrida’s analysis undermines the Kantian conditions of subjectivity by maintaining our temporal relationship to finitude as the constitutive condition of existence, and that which predicates our ability to experience anything in the world, as something which is temporal, i.e. finite. Hägglund asserts Derrida rewrites Kant’s “Transcendental Aesthetic,” because like Kant, he uses the problem of temporality as the clue to describing a rigorous structure of all possibilities of human experience. Kant tries to provide a description of the ontological reality that we find ourselves in to figure out how and how much we can understand empirical finite objects, but he bases his system on an unjustified allegiance to transcendental purity. Derrida goes further, because humans do not experience the thing-in-itself (perfection, Good, immortality) it is not a possibility. Derrida argues that time is ultratranscendentally real. Time and finitude are not something that can be relegated only to appearances, but they call into question the entire structure of the transcendental insofar as it shields itself from corruption or contamination with or by the empirical. Temporality is the most general ontological precondition, Hägglund claims, “there cannot even in principle be anything that is exempt from temporal finitude” (3). We need to understand the ultratranscendental claim on temporality as the product of a deconstruction of classical and Kantian conceptions of temporality that in the end attempt to separate temporal and non-temporal in order to preserve the absolute identity founded on presence. Derrida’s

conception of temporally upsets any absolute and any identity founded on binary distinctions making claims to purity according to a logic of autoimmunity. Derrida argues first that it is impossible for something to be outside the structures of temporality. This is ultratranscendental finitude as general condition of being. Second, Kant’s “Transcendental Aesthetic” and transcendental philosophy as a whole serves as a mechanism to hide, and therefore transfer the non-temporal Transcendental Object to a domain outside possible knowledge strategically to preserve a moral ideal. Time is not something that finite beings exist within, Derrida argues, but there is nothing outside finitude. The problem with classical conceptions of time is that they ultimately require the ability to track down a singular origin of time with an entity beyond time that gives a foundation for the possibility of identity, sameness, or continuity of the present. This is required because the structure of time understood as succession undermines the identity (sameness) of beings which exist in the present insofar as each successive now would negate the previous one. Presence is possible only because there is something always present that is not negated because it is outside time and that manages to bind successive moments into a totality. The continuity of time for Derrida does not rely on maintaining identity, but rather is a product of différance. Identity is therefore dependent on difference as a process which produces of relationships in the interval that separates one from another in a kind of autoimmune reaction, not in the reduction of differences to sameness. The traditional understanding of time as succession of ‘nows’ is put forward coherently by Aristotle in the Physics. Aristotle describes the now as something which divides itself and which binds itself throughout its divisions in a unity. The movement of time is finitude insofar as we conceptualize time according the presence of a schematic of successively presenting ‘nows’. The ‘now’, Aristole remarks, is the duration or interval between a countable beginning and an

end. This is conceived as a kind of line, where the interval spans two points marking the beginning and end of counting. Finitude is the divisibility of the present interval, and the necessity for human beings to have a determinate beginning (birth) and end (death) in time. Yet between the arche and telos of this time line, the interval between exists as a space between two ‘nows’ that is infinitely divisible into smaller quantities of time. We understand things that are present insofar as they maintain their self-sameness in the interval despite its divisibility. Derrida argues, the ‘now’ which is an interval is finite and divisible in itself, that undermines the selfidentity of that which is present. “An interval must separate the present from what it is not in order for the present to be itself,” Derrida writes. For the present to be present it must be separated by itself by the space of an interval, “but this interval that constitutes it as present must, by the same token, divide the present in and of itself” (“Différance” [D] 13). The infinite space between each interval that can be infinitely divided means that every interval, every now, is both a beginning and always ending, already beginning again, and so forth. This goes beyond Aristotle because it argues not only does the now divide time into intervals in order to form the present, but that the now divides the present itself along with everything in it which is represented in its presence or as sameness. Because the interval constitutes time, and everything that is, is in time, it divides “everything that is thought on the basis of the present…every being, and singularly substance or the subject” (D 13). Therefore the interval contains all being and beings within a finite space, the space of finitude. The language of interval and spacing is important because it means that space and time cannot be separated as is traditionally assumed. Space and time are inexorably linked in the space-time of the interval, “in constituting itself, in dividing itself dynamically, this interval is what might be called spacing, the becoming-space of time or the becoming time of space (temporization)” (D 13 [emphasis original]). Derrida conception of the becoming-space of time

and the becoming time of space can be viewed as a radicalization of Heidegger’s conception of the temporalization space. For Heidegger, our conception of space is grounded on our temporal constitution. We exist in space only insofar as our existence is determined by time. Insofar as space and time are linked, we can only conceive of a space that is present in time, but it is time that allows the presenting of space to be possible:
The temporality of factical Being-in-the-world is what primordially makes the disclosure of space possible; and in each case spatial Dasein has—out of a “yonder” which has been discovered—allotted itself a “here” which is the character of Dasein…Time itself does not get linked to a location; but temporality is the condition for the possibility that dating may be bound up with the spatially-local in such a way that this may be binding for everyone as a measure. Time does not first get coupled with space; but ‘space’ which one might suppose to be coupled with it, is encounted only on the basis of the temporality which concerns itself with time” (BT 470).

However, although Heidegger criticizes Kant’s primacy of time over space in terms of establishing both as forms of intuition rather than the ontological conditions of being in general, Heidegger nonetheless advocates the dependence of space on time, that is again a repetition of the primacy of time over space. For Derrida though, space and time are co-constitutive. Space and time must be linked in this way for Derrida because he understands both as a function of différance behind any continuity or purity as temporality. Neither space nor time can be isolated in some sort of unperturbed purity, space does not exist without time, nor time without space. Instead of grounding being merely on temporality, Derrida understands temporality as a condition of Being grounded on constitutive différance. This establishes not the identity of things in the presence in space and time, but a relationship between space and time founded on différance that perpetually undermines identity opposed to one which would establish identity concretely. While Kant argues that space and time are transcendental a priori forms of the intuition, and are therefore immune from contamination, the spacing of time, space-time, divides this structure of transcendence on itself, conflating the empirical with the transcendental.

Derrida describes the paradox of a transcendentally pure identity of time in Speech and Phenomena according to an auto-affection of the same that is in fact constituted by the other. We can understand auto-affection as a function of constitutive autoimmunity. He describes the process by which a now must preserve itself while dividing itself and therefore “affect itself without recourse to anything empirical but with a new primordial actuality in which it would become a non-now, a past now—this process is indeed a pure auto-affection in which the same is the same only in being affected by the other, only by becoming the other of the same” ([SP] 85). Insofar as the present seeks to secure itself as presence, that is to immunize itself from the ravages of time, it must at the same time—in order to assert this identity, divide itself between the ‘now’ that becomes present and the ‘now’ which is now past. The present now can have continuity in terms of presence and sameness only if it relates to itself as an other. Each successive now divides itself, and leave behind itself as past, the past now which was itself present. The now makes itself other, but at the same time, in the same time, it relates to this other as itself in the present. In fact, it can only be the present now if it relates to itself as other because the present cannot be present without a past to refer to and a future to anticipate. Derrida points out the absurdity that this movement is purely self-relational, or pure difference. Pure auto-affection, for it to be pure, must not admit contamination from the empirical. Time could only relate to itself as itself in its absolute purity of presence, but this is impossible insofar as the succession of time has to relate a posteriori to a past that has already occurred. How does pure auto-affection not simply become tautological? Auto-affection, if it is pure, occurs on the transcendental register, which means what it is, what it affects and what it is affected by are impossible to describe as a thing. In describing time as auto-affective we are not so much describing time as a thing that affects itself, but the movement or process of autoaffection. First, temporal auto-affection is a movement insofar as it is understood spatially, going

back to Aristotle’s definition of time as a form of measurement. The ruler and the clock are inseparable. A ball rolls across a table, or the earth turns, or the planets revolve around the sun, all movement is movement in space because of the auto-affective movement of time. The motion of a circle is pure auto-affection because it will always return to itself. But time as an autoaffective process constitutes the precondition to movement. As a process time relates to itself not as something it returns to in a circle, but something that divides itself on a line, it does not return to itself but moves into the future that it has never been, into itself as a completely different other. Time must affect itself not merely return to itself. If time was to simply return, it would not change time. There would only be one singular moment, the absolute eternity of the present. We know that this is not the case. The ‘now’ in time must change into an entirely different future now. Therefore to return to itself as past, and maintain this past in the present to assert the continuity of the present with past time, time must first become other to itself. It cannot maintain itself in absolute self-same presence. That which is self-same, in order to divide on itself, must like an autoimmune reaction, in the autoimmunity of the interval, forget that it is itself, take itself for another, and attack that other of itself in order to assert the succession of the present ‘now.’ This new present, maintains itself as itself in immunity, and now relates to this past that it negated in a violently constitutive relationship with the present. The mistake of metaphysics of presence, Kant included, is to start with identity and to prove that differences come from and return to an eternally present identity. Transcendentally speaking, the same returns to itself by becoming other to itself, but the self which it returns to is not the same as the self which returns. How can something different return to itself as the same? Classical temporality posits an absolute presence above and outside time as the foundation of time, because anything always the same could not be in time. Derrida however refuses to view time at all in terms of presence, in terms of the ‘now’, or its self-identity, but rather, emerging

from division and difference, from the auto-affection dependent on the other and therefore in its very condition impure, or autoimmune. “The living present springs forth out of its nonidentity with itself and form the possibility of a retentional trace. It is always already a trace” (SP 85). The living present emerges from the trace which retains the past in time as something different from the present time. The living present of the trace is what is thought of in Kant’s transcendental unity of apperception, or self-consciousness. Insofar as I exist in time, I relate to myself as a self which is maintained despite the incongruencies of the temporal movement, I am the same self I was a moment ago—But I can only make this claim because I am not the same as I was a moment ago, I exist now in a different time than then, yet I relate to that different time as the same self because my other self in the past is contained in the present. Derrida says “the self of the living present is primordially a trace” (SP 85). The trace mirrors the auto-affection of time in constituting a living self. That is, the trace is what is left over from the autoimmune reaction. Insofar as time is a succession, the present now is a product of the autoimmune process where the present confuses itself as other, divides itself into present and past, and reacts to the self by violently attacking itself that it takes to be non self. The autoimmunity of time is what makes possible for the present to make itself other, and thereby affect itself. But the present does not retain itself as the past. The present now, by means of an autoimmune attack, substantively negated the past, and preserves that past presence only as an absence or the trace of an erasure. The self in the present now is not so much related to temporality, but emerges from the autoimmune movement of temporality that maintains itself as the non presence or erasure of presence in the trace. Kant takes the trace of a presence to be a symptom of the absolute presence of the noumenon. Self and time are intimately connected as Kant rightly noted in his preference for time as internal consciousness which must mediate special relations. But the mediation of

relations in the intuition is never in relation to an empirical object, but produces the sensual affect that will become a representation, out of the noumenon, an ever present transcendental object. Instead, according to Derrida, the trace is not an insistence on the absolute presence of a transcendental behind all of our representations which correspond to a self-identical subject, but the trace itself constitutes the subject, not as self identical, but as residual difference, not as selfpresent identity, but a deferral to the future. Maurizio Ferrias, writing in A Taste for the Secret, after a long interview with Derrida, explains Derrida’s conception of the trace, in terms of the identity formulated in Kant’s articulation of space and time. Adhering to a strict reading of the arguments in the “Transcendental Aesthetic” particularly where Kant says that we have to envision time according to a line of our inner intuition that we trace in our outer intuition of space, he argues, that Derrida’s conception of the trace is the very ‘time line’ that Kant argues is a product of our thinking of time in terms of space, that is, we can never think of time purely without also considering as the movement of time between the space of an interval. Rather, than the self identical subject being able to conceive of pure space and time as a line, this line preceeds the subject as the trace: the subject is therefore produced by the trace.:
in the first Critique, in one of the many passages (A 33/B 49-50) where Kant confirms the correspondence of time and space as forms of sensibility, as attested by the fact that we have to represent time, which as such is invisible, as a line traced in space. Now, if the outer and figurative form of time is represented by a line, this line does not supervene after consciousness but rather constitutes it, being the unity of consciousness in the concept of the line; the schemata, as forms of time, result from this fundamental configuration of the line. Kant, in fact, does not limit himself to saying that we represent time through space (B 154), and that this representibility is not an ideality but rather a form of intuition; he also says that to know a line in space I have to trace it (on paper or in thought, on the outer or inner tablet) and, above all (B 137 - 8), that this line is the unity of consciousness in the concept of the line (the instituting of the two tables, inner and outer, at the first tracing)…on the one hand (against Husserl) the trace is more originary than phenomenological originality; on the other, the trace is not produced by the cogito but produces it. This is Kant’s position (and after having spoken of the tracing of the transcendental imagination, in a passage, §24 of the deduction in B, that includes two references to the line of time) that we know ourselves only as phenomenon. It seems that Kant has turned the tabula rasa upside down, or turned it inside out like a glove. The tabula is not now the mind but the world, on which the mind, unifying, traces cognitions in the manner of a geometrical projection. As in Copernicus the

apparently objective motions of the fixed stars and the sun are mere appearances due to the projection of our motion in the heavens. The schematism would be an act of inscription that institutes the tabula and its content at the same time -- the minds and the world and the cosmological totality of the perceived. Tracing the phantasm one institutes presence (136-7).

The trace is therefore not indicative of an absolute present, rather the trace is the precondition to presence insofar as presence is understood as finite. Our understanding of presence is conditioned absolutely by the mortality of the subject. Metaphysical conceptions of time link time to a notion of absolute presence which is supposed to ground the system entirely. In this way, Kant is able to go from a basis of reason in speculative knowledge to a Groundwork of practical ethical knowledge that is transformed into moral action or the pure will. The primary difference is on the level of what we think the subject is, and what constitutes the subject in experience. Even according to Kant we can never know who we are in ourselves, but Kant not only maintains that there is a Transcendental Ego, but that there is a necessary possible identity between our Transcendental Ego, that is our rational selves, and the self that appears to us in experience, in consciousness, through practical philosophy or moral action. Moral action depends on this possibility of identify between our rational and sensual selves. The trace thus mirrors the auto-affection of time, it is a product of the conditions of autoimmunity. That is, it is not a product of transcendental consciousness, but through an empirical process of contamination and affect. It is mistaken as transcendental, as that which we cannot know, because the trace by its nature in being present erases presence, it is present as erasure, and for Kant, that erasure which is presented as absence is reduced to the Transcendental something that we cannot speculate into, “The trace is not a presence but the simulacrum of a presence that dislocates itself, displaces itself, refers itself, it properly has not site—erasure belongs to its structure” (D 24). The structure is therefore the sort of “abode of being” that Heidegger speaks about, the structure or building which serves as the dwelling place of thinking.

Purity in this sense is absolutely impossible, because it is impossible to escape the structure that we find ourselves in, our being that is over determined by the nature of writing that comes before us. The trace is erasure because it retains the erasure of differences, not as identity but in displacement for the future. Therefore the temporal auto-affective structure of time relates not only to itself purely, but to the production of itself as a trace of itself, of its self-as-other in the trace. The living self springs forth from the trace as its product. The living self, that is subjectivity, is a product of autoimmunity. Now for Kant, the subjective will, produces the reality of the present. The subjective will is grounded in the transcendental unity of apperception, which finds its source in the pure a priori forms of intuition, space and time. The will wills its reality, according to the cognitive process of the intuition transforming the noumenal object into sensory affections, and the understanding creates out of these sensory affections, according to a priori rules representations of empirical objects in space and time. The self knows itself as selfidentical because it is always present to itself in its unity of experience. According to Derrida’s analysis, the self is never present to itself as itself, because, in order for time to exist there can be no such thing as pure presence. Rather, present consists in the succession of time according to a destructive autoimmunity. The trace is the residue of this continual autoimmune reaction. Insofar as the present seeks to maintain itself as presence, it must secure itself and protect itself as an immune purity. But, presence is not maintained, we experience the present in the succession of time. The present gives way to its own infinite divisibility. It divides itself, because it is not pure, because it is not founded on a transcendental authority. The present is inherently unstable; it is functionally never able to recognize itself for what it is, because the present always divides itself into something other. As it divides itself into this other, because the present has its security at stake—to maintain itself as presence—it targets itself as another and destroys itself. Insofar as it

destroys itself as other, it maintains itself in autoimmunity. The trace by reacting to itself as other marks the erasure of the past that is contained in the present. Time exists only insofar as the trace maintains itself in this destructive auto-affection. The trace establishes the interval of time that separates the present from the past, that interval is a constitutive immunity that seeks to maintain itself as an interval, as constitutive difference. The constitutive immunity of the interval which is the work of difference produces the past now as another and reacts to it as autoimmune. The trace survives because of the constitutive violence of difference. Out of this violence the trace produces the subjectivity of the present as that which is maintained in the interval or spacing of difference. Subjectivity is never pure in itself, but it relates to itself in an autoimmune manner. The self-identity of subjectivity is an autoimmune identity that constitutes itself only insofar as it produces itself as difference, reacts to itself as another, and maintains itself as the erasure of itself. The presence of the self in subjectivity is present only on the condition of its absence. The self is limited to this mortal structure insofar as it survives not as something present but immunizes itself always as a deferral. Immunity corresponds to the possibility of maintaining self identity, and autoimmunity to self-differentiation. If the possibility of immunity is dependent on autoimmunity, then self identity (which maintains the unity of the self in distinction to everything else) is dependent on a parallel process of self-differentiation (which undermines the unity of the self and takes it for something other). If the basis of Kantian subjectivity is in the possibility of the identity of the thinking subject with itself as the object of its production, and if the object of the thinking subject basis the possibility of maintaining own vulnerable self identity throughout its experience on self-differentiation that makes the self alien to itself, then by empirically recognizing itself as another, then the threat of this other that the self produces of itself in the very process of

immunity, violently ruptures Kantian subjectivity because the object does not correspond to the subject. How can we conceptualize subjectivity taking into account autoimmunity? What is the status of Kantian subjectivity? Kantian subjectivity itself must be taken as autoimmune. Therefore we must be able to reread Kantian subjectivity according to its own internal logic of autoimmune reversals. First Kantian subjectivity explicitly posits the possibility for subjectivity of the individual, the scientific observer, to be in an objective relationship to the totality of appearances that now make up the subject of study. By making explicit experimental analysis for the a posteriori deduction of empirical rules of causality based on the observation of the objects of empirical study, transcendental Kantian subjectivity deduces empirically (a posteriori) that the empirical object of its transcendental cognition is not identical to itself, and therefore incongruous to transcendental subjectivity. Kant therefore gives us, in a sort of autoimmune violence against the transcendental method, where our knowledge of the empirical nonidentity of the object casts doubt on the possibility of a transcendental identity of the subject that makes explicit the possibility for the objective knowledge that undermines its possibility. This raises a series of important questions. Does this mean that it is impossible to have a transcendental basis for empirical knowledge? Do not our empirical observations cast us into eternal doubt of their own validity insofar as they make explicit a resistance, and a reactive violence, that contaminates the purity of the transcendental foundation of our very own knowledge of their empirical possibility? Following this, do we therefore have no transcendental basis of our own subjectivity, our own empirical possibility? Without this transcendental basis of subjectivity, Kant’s whole project of ethics will fall apart, because the a priori self-legislating ground for subjective moral action, is at the same time condition of its transcendental impossibility because there is no basis for the unity of the subject, and therefore of subjective agency. Is it possible to provide another

ground? Would a ground that is not transcendental, a ground which is not self grounding, be viable? Objectively, for Kant, no. But perhaps, against the deontological spirit, we take into account the objective conclusion of Kant’s thought for the objective basis of it, we might be able to rearticulate Kant in the terms of his own, unintended, self-destructive consequences. Can we reframe subjectivity in a way that is not dependent on maintaining self identity? And what would the implications of this be for ethics, beyond the impossibility of Kant’s own practical philosophy? §11. Autoimmunity – The Ontological Condition of the Living For Kant, the regulative ideal of God is the ground for the conclusion of reason because reason is to have a purely practical interest based on a theoretical foundation. Kant is unable throughout his work to divorce the ethical-practical implications of his ontological theory. This is because ethical questions for him depend on what our epistemological limitations are. Kant believes we can only be ethical insofar as we have a proper ground for our ethics, that we are able to know absolutely what the Good is, even if it is impossible for us to be or it has never happened in experience. The regulative ideal becomes the foundation for practical morality because it is not an a priori condition to possible experience. The problem of philosophy and therefore the work of ontological investigation is to figure out what causes the difference between what is and what ought to be. What is, is given empirically. What ought to be is given as transcendentally ideal. Therefore ontologically Kant lays the groundwork for ethical subjectivity in the “Aesthetic” by giving space and time to be both transcendentally ideal and empirically real. Insofar as we experience space and time as it is, as we do, then it ought to be transcendentally a pure form of intuition. For Kant this cannot be an incommensurable difference —ultimately we must believe that things should be as they ought to be, which is true identity.

Hägglund argues that the mistake of the regulative ideal is to continue to posit eternal absolute presence as the ought, the desirable ideal which existence, temporality, lacks. To rewrite the “Transcendental Aesthetic” means to rework temporality as the condition of possible experience in such a way that it does not rely on a regulative ideal or an ethical posture like Kant’s philosophy necessarily does. Temporality precedes any ethical position, maximum, or maxim, and precedes the fantasy of identity in itself therefore ontological descriptions are not conflated with ethical prescriptions. The trace, the non-presence of difference, shows the nature of the being that makes such things possible in the first place, in the best and worst ways, according to a structure of finite temporality. The ideal cannot be separated from temporal conditions which condition that we think of a thing a bad or lacking and could be better or completed. The ideal relies on thinking of existence as a lack of perfection; therefore transcendental identity depends on empirical difference. Ethics in such a case can never be pure because the ethical maximum is conditioned by a negative relation to the empirical, to the erasure of the empirical. Identity is no longer thought of as that which sustains itself according to an absolute presence, that which can be in-itself, but identity is preserved in the structure of the trace, in the relationships that are possible between differences. Identity is only possible because of a retained erasure of an original difference. Traditionally philosophy traces the division of time back to a beginning, back to an original non-temporal presence, and in that we locate the unfolding of time in difference which works towards in the ethical life to regaining perfection in the end of time, when the body dies and the soul ascends to heaven. The thread that philosophy traces however is the trace of difference, which is why Kant admits that it is impossible to define the noumenon that stands at the beginning of time, we just have to assume that time functions as-if there was an origin. This really means that there is no origin, that the origin reproduces itself and erases itself

in the passages of time. The knowledge of a trace of the erasure becomes conflated with epistemological identity of presence. The identity presented in the trace is not an identity in a transcendental sense. Identity is neither found in the correspondence between objects in empirical existence with a transcendental ideal, nor the certainty of objects of perception as they are, as phenomenon. In both respects identity is untenable because there is no ideal to correspond to. Kant determined the first was impossible because we are never able to have an idea of what things are in themselves to correspond to, because we are only able to know how things appear to us. The second requires phenomenon to identify with themselves in the temporal process of time in an ideal which is wholly determined by empirical conditions, like physical laws, which are ideal only insofar as our mode of perception is consistent with the generalized observations of things. As soon as scientific observation observes in experience something inconsistent with the ideal model, the ideal model falls apart completely and a new model must replace it. Derrida is not describing physics, but ontological conditions for us to experience something like physics. We can only know what something is, insofar as we are able to know anything about it, as it is different from something else, and as it is different from itself, according to the structure of temporality. This structure does not let us fall back on an absolute, on a transcendental presence or perfection, but undermines all absolutes, perfections, and presents. Derrida takes the argument further than Kant by asserting that there can be nothing other than what is conditioned by the limitations of space-time. Despite his attempt (or success) to reconcile Idealism with Empiricism, Kant maintains the classical metaphysical distinctions between the transcendental and empirical that Idealism and Empiricism each privileged relatively. In order to do so, he had to limit our transcendental knowledge only to that which relates to possible empirical experience, yet he maintained the necessary existence of the

noumenon even if it is an unknowable and futile endeavor. Thus Kantian temporality exists as a rational transcendental structure that relates only to empirical experience. It has no relation to transcendental experience. Transcendental experience however is the experience of the ethical, of pure happiness, which is unattainable in life. There simply is no thing-in-itself in Derrida’s temporality because temporality is the precondition to transcendental-empirical experience from the outset. There can be no noumneal that is subject to the general condition of temporality because it would undermine the very condition of the noumenal world. If the noumenon could be accounted for as temporal, then we would be able to understand it according to our representational schema. However our representational schema depends on the noumenon to preserve the thing-in-itself insofar as it is not a representation and all that appears to us is. If temporality comes first, then we have something other than mere representations and a thing in itself, but we relate to primordial differences via the trace. That is, there never was, is, or can be a pure happiness, or ethical moment in any way—there is nothing outside time either a priori or as an ideal that would provide a basis for that claim. Derrida refuses Kant’s attempt to maintain the purity of the thing-in-itself beyond the distinct forms of pure empirical intuitions of space and time. First, according to Kant’s work, not only are space and time “transcendentally ideal and empirically real” they are also intrinsically distinct. The transcendental aesthetic serves as the foundation for which the rest of the architectonic of pure reason would stand. Space serves as the a priori principle for the intuition of outer sense, and time as the principle for inner sense. These two, Kant without much elucidation assumes are intrinsically linked: no object of appearance can exist without occupying both space and time. Yet, they remain irreducibly linked. Space is the objective condition of extension and motion of things, but such things are not appearances and are not apprehended

unless they are also subsumed under the subjective condition of continuity and succession in time. Time corresponds to the subject which apprehends an object in space. The conditions of subjectivity and objectivity are thus established. Internal time consciousness relates to external objects. For Derrida, the division between space and time is miss given. The subject object distinction undoes itself because it is impossible to maintain a clear distinction from the start. It is not that the object is given in outer sense and the subject in inner sense, but that the subject and object are both only given by the trace. Temporality requires space-time inextricably bound in the trace, “shorthand for the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space” to explain the survival of the present (Hägglund Radical Atheism [RA] 18). Above I discussed the ontological foundations for the trace in the transcendental structure of space time, but as was seen the transcendental must relate to the empirical in a constitutive way. The trace actually relates to things in space-time, to objects which survive in time, for a time. An object is present because it survives total erasure for a moment. Survival attempts to fight time by hijacking space, making an inscription or leaving remains that remain despite temporal succession (RA 18) (the becoming-space of time). Yet, the attempt is recognized as futile. A trace of the past can only be read after its inscription. The remains of the past do not guarantee identity, but change. The written words of an author do not correspond to the thoughts she had at the moment of writing anymore than the bones of a dinosaur correspond to the living creature, or architectural ruins to a city. The trace of the past shows how a thing has necessarily changed, not that it has stayed the same. But because we are given this structure of difference and change we can reconstruct identity, presently, as what is taken for granted as the same. The identity of a thing consists in the knowledge that it is not what it once was, “The synthesis is always a trace of the past that is left for the future. Thus, it can never be in itself but

is essentially exposed to that which may erase it” (RA 18). The trace, on one hand, allows the continuity of time preserved in space, as an artifact; but, on the other, the trace makes identity and absolute presence impossible since the space that contains the trace can only be read after the inscription which leaves it vulnerable. We can only read a work of an author after it has been written, or walk into a building after it has been built. But the space which contains the thing, which allows for us to understand the thing as an identity relating to something that it has changed from in the past, also means that it is conditioned to change in space. An inscription can and must fade. Buildings will crumble. Great works will be lost. At the point at which we experience something, anything, we experience only the trace of that which has changed from what it was initially and is vulnerable to change or destruction in the future. The structure of erasure which belongs to the trace is a structure of vulnerability that identity can and will be upset by the changes of the future. The trace preserves the present not as-it-is but as a vulnerability in transcendence to the dependence on the empirical. Thus, it is the “deepest source of autoimmunity” the autoimmunity which describes the ultratranscendental conflation between the empirical and the transcendental (RA 19). It harbors the inherent fragility of itself in the event that it managed to survive—a tenuous remainder of its own destruction, a reminder of its destructibility. Since temporality determines the conditions of possible experience, there is only experience of that which is autoimmune. According to Hägglund, it is important not to mistake Derrida’s use of “must” and “can” as prescriptive norms, but as conditions which have already been accepted insofar as any of us experience anything; it prefigures choice. Autoimmunity, Hägglund says:
[indicates] the ultratranscendental status of [Derrida’s] argument. The autoimmunity of finitude is not merely an empirical condition that we cannot avoid because of the limitations imposed by our historical situation, nor is it merely a transcendental condition that we cannot avoid because of our human constitution; it is an ultratranscendental condition that even ideally speaking must not and ought not to be avoided, because if it

were avoided, there would only be absolute death. Autoimmunity opens the space and time for all kinds of violence, but without autoimmunity there would be nothing: ‘Without autoimmunity, with absolute immunity, nothing would ever happen’ (RA 31-32).

Hägglund now confronts the obligation of Kant’s system to ethics in the difference between the is and the ought. For Kant, what things ought to be are always an ideal that relates to what they are not and lack in being. Hägglund explains the relationship between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’ not in an ethical relationship that returns the lack of the present to the fullness of presence, but in ontological terms, that everything that ought to be is conditioned by everything that is in an autoimmune relationship, which means that they codetermine and contaminate one another. Is this a justification for nihilism or inaction? Or like Voltare’s ridicule of Leibniz conclusion that everything that is is as it ought to be? Rigorously, it is neither, because what ought to be is neither perfect nor grounded in perfection, what ought to be, what we desire when we say something should be otherwise is actually grounded in our experience of empirical reality. Autoimmunity describes the auto-affection of time in reality. The interval which divides itself into another of itself in order to relate to itself as the same is the same as the trace which retains a present in its vulnerability to erasure. Therefore, the divided interval attacks itself— which is what is meant by affects itself—the interval that succeeds attacks and attempts to erase the interval which precedes in order to maintain its identity as an interval. The identity as an interval is this auto-affective self inflicted violence that can never be fully recuperated. The same is the violence of internal difference attempting to force differences into identity. The same properly never maintains itself because it is constituted by the movement of violence and not in the presence of peace. Time as autoimmune is the necessary condition of human existence as a finite mortal being. Human being relates to transcendental reason only in the way that something mortal relates to the conditions of survival, not as something part mortal part immortal relates to the immortal.

To deny autoimmunity on an ontological level would entail a denial of life itself insofar as life is only possible because it is autoimmune. This denial of life is fundamental to the tradition, from Plato’s philosophy as training for death, to the Christian tradition that death frees us from Sin, to Kant’s privilege of so-called universal and immortal rational soul over the body as a regulative mode. But that denial of life is not founded in a transcendentally ideal perfection, outside time, before time, which we attain after our mortality delivers us over to immortality, it is conceived of in purely in mortal terms and a corresponding constructed negative lack transformed into an ideal. The conditions of that ideal do not relate to immortality or anything outside of life, but to the structure of autoimmune survival, of an inherent self violence and erasure that maintains itself because it is futural and open to the future in its vulnerability for the future to change or destroy it. As soon as we deny the inherent vulnerability in time, we negate the possibility for time to exist at all. We negate the possibility for ourselves to exist empirically which is the only way we can be so that we even could conceptualize something transcendental or ideal. That is, we can only have ideals insofar as existence is autoimmune, and insofar as those ideals are always already contaminated by the empirical. §12. Mortality and Desirability – A God That Never Was Who or what do I love when I love my God? Not God, but mortal life. Traditional atheism, despite denying the existence of God, still imagines God and immortality are the most desirable. We desire the original perfection of unity that which we lack in a world of difference, change, destructibility, and so on. Accordingly, atheism claims we are unable to attain our highest desires. From the onset western philosophy has identified that which they desire as what they do not possess. We desire what we do not have, throughout the history of philosophy this is conflated with immortality, persistence, and absolute presence beyond being of the Good. In

ancient cosmology this lines up with the nature of the super-luminary, beyond the moon, or as Plato would say, above the dived line, where there is no change, where the perfect Forms reside in Reality. From Plato, carried by Christianity, to Hegel the certainty of philosophical wisdom is associated with death as the denial of desire. Philosophical desire for knowledge or wisdom is framed in opposition to the desires of the living body from sex to sustenance. Everyday desire, desires of the flesh, is considered a perverted or less authentic form of what we really want in Reality and Truth—that we do not have on earth. The world in this sense a transitory and corrupt form of Perfection as Plato claims we are “prisoners of shadows” (Republic Bk. 7), or in the words of Paul “Now we see but a poor reflection” (1 Cor. 13). Plato writes in the Symposium that the original force of desire, of even non-sexual desire, stems from Love, one of the two fundamental forces of the universe. While we once were whole and unified and since we have been split by the Gods because humankind aspired to take them over, but because we are therefore split, we are imperfect, and desire unity in other people.8 We desire relationships with others because we are incomplete ourselves and this is made possible by love (31). Moreover, he continues, “love is the desire of generation in the beautiful” and “the beautiful is congruous with what is immortal and divine” (50). Love, beauty, generation, is not simple procreation. We may have children out of a desire for immortality in order to narcissistically reproduce ourselves in the world, but our desire for immortality is different and above our desire for children. Love aspires to the Beautiful which is an immortal Form. Therefore, “of necessity Love must also be the desire of immortality” (51).

8 Plato gives an interesting creation myth where Humanity originally had four arms and legs, was literally “double.” It is in this sense the inverse of the story of Adam and Eve. Where as in Genesis, Eve was created out of Adam and man and woman become one in sex, Plato claims that we were of both sexes and then split down the middle, therefore man and woman recreate that unity in sex (procreative). Plato then goes on to give an interesting account of non-heterosexual desire (27-30; 189a-192b).

For Plato, this desire of necessity, for Truth, corresponds to a Reality which is beyond mere appearance. We must rid ourselves of sensual earthly desire in order to attain an approximation of what we truly desire, namely Truth. We are unable to attain what we desire, according to Plato, because we are bound to the prison of appearances. For Christianity we are unable to attain what we desire because we choose to bind ourselves to the body of Sin. Paul writes that it was though t the Sin of Adam that death entered into the word and the original unity was torn apart. However, Christ offers the gift of life, as a recompense to the original sin of Adam, “just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21). Christ offers the death of death which is the determinate end of earthly desires and the beginning of absolute unity, parouisa, and knowledge of God. Not only did Christ die so that we might not, but Christ was resurrected so that we may be as well. Because God became mortal, “we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainty also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin…the death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Romans 6:5-10). Therefore Christ functions as the vehicle through which humanity might attain perfection—with the death of the body (desires of the body) and subsequent eternal life. With the so-called Enlightenment humanity gave itself the power to dare to think, to free itself from the baggage of the Church and untested convictions. Thinkers can no longer simply believe in God, God must be tested as a rational hypothesis; there must be a reason to believe in the first place. In a way, this is a radical renunciation of religious faith. The upshot for religion, as Kant argues, however, is to limit reason to make room for faith. It is impossible to prove the

existence of God according to determinate principles. Yet, insofar as God does not exist as a real being according to such attributes, God is the Ideal of logical perfection as a totality providing the unity necessary to regulate the system as a whole. Hägglund claims more than the impossibility of the existence of God as a transcendentally immune being that denies autoimmunity, which Kant, along with traditional Atheism claim easily. He moves between the ontological register to the libidinal in order to claim the denial of autoimmunity is undesirable. Because God, immortality, and the Good are undesirable in themselves, the stakes of an ethical prescriptive appropriation towards the Good negate existence. The structure of possible experience must answer to the nature of human desire. This is because an ultratranscendental account of human experience determines what is desirable on the conditions of possible experience as it is, not in relation to what that experience ought to have because it lacks it. Therefore what is desirable must and ought to be found in experience, not as a lack but as what is already there vulnerable to death. Generally, the claim is that life is desirable but it is only desirable because life requires death. Death, which corresponds to autoimmune temporality in mortality, is the most desirable and the least desirable because death is both the condition for life to exist at all, but it also means that life is vulnerable to erasure. We cannot separate these two poles, and claim that the most desirable would be a death of death, and end to death. An end to death would end the conditions of life, which is death in its least desirability. The problem that Kant seeks to expose, famously, is the nature of the desire that seeks to know that which is beyond reason, this haphazard desire to go beyond the confines of mortal life into speculation of immortal which knows no death. For Kant, along with most who follow after him, the simple assumption is that “Reason is driven by a propensity of its nature to go beyond its use in experience, to venture to the outermost bounds of all cognition by means of mere ideas

in a pure use, and to find peace only in the completion of its circle in a self-subsisting systematic whole” (CPR A797/B825). But, reason can never find peace in the antimonies—they cannot be resolved. It finds only perpetual warfare, not what it desires which is peace. We desire to find reason in the universe because that perfection that we lack in reality we are able to conceptualize ideally. It is not possible to know perfection, Kant asserts, yet it is possible to imagine it, and it is desirable to do so insofar as it would augment our relationship to what we can know in such a way that is more perfect. If Kant closes the option to desire perfection he maintains a necessary opening towards perfectibility nevertheless. If reason desires perfection which cannot be satisfied, then Kant must be able to diagnose why perfection is impossible and can perfect reason in that way. Since reason is unable to arrive at God and immortality, through no fault of its own, it must abandon all efforts to those ends, but it can do so only with those ends in mind, because reasonably they are the greatest. Instead of perfection we are given fortuitously the possibility of perfectibility by limiting our knowledge of what we can know we are able to expand theoretically completely what we do know. This is only possible as long as reason is constrained by the sad fact that regulative Ideals remain ideal. Kant does not dispute the fact that we desire perfection, God, immortality and the like. They are the most desirable because of the logical perfection which makes them impossible to know as fact, the perfection of everything we do not find perfect here, the perfection that our imagination can reason into a system that describes what perfection ought to be if it is not what we are. But this leads to the incursion of theology into the domain of philosophy and asserts vapid truths of metaphysical entities which are impossible to verify. We are left debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. We desire perfection and we have found it--impossibly speculative. His account of the nature of appearances and the thing-in-itself answers to this. It is only because he desires perfection that he must relegate it to

empirical impossibility and transcendental ideality in the same way the “Aesthetic” establishes as empirically real a priori forms of intuition. That is, even if the absolute Ideal of God cannot be proven on a priori grounds, the structural relationship of God to the transcendental and empirical parallels exactly the position of transcendental forms of intuition as in-between ideality and reality. The forms of intuition are that which transform the noumenon to the phenomenon in order to produce the sensual affect of appearances, the regulative Ideal provides a maxim whereby our action in time can correspond to an a-temporal universal ethical standard. Hägglund argues that Derrida’s conception of desire accounts for Kant’s mistake. Because Kant mischaracterized the nature of desire he misconstrued the nature of experience as he misunderstood the activity of reason. Thus not only does Derrida prove Kant wrong, but in a sort of transcendental way he describes the nature of a reason which could be led astray, both in the way Kant diagnoses, and the way Kant prescribes. First, the desire for God and immortality is not actually a desire for perfection, for a self enclosed circle in eternity. It is actually the desire for mortal life to continue on—as mortal, “the struggle for health and the hope for salvation have never been driven by a desire to be immortal but by a desire to live on as mortal” (RA 132). Thus when we read the message of the scriptures, the ability of God or Jesus to transform the state of human affairs, to heal sickness, to end war, even in the final conclusion to end all suffering and the “death of death” we do not here have a desire to be eternal, immortal, and perfect, but to live on as healthy as long as possible. If we do not desire God, immortality, or perfection when we claim we do, then those ideas in their own terms either negate themselves or negate existence. If an absolute presence cannot be in time, and if time is the condition of possible experience, then an absolute presence outside time would preclude experience from possibly taking place because it would be a purely static self-sameness that would not admit any autoimmunity and therefore no life. Not only is absolute presence an

impossible ideal, but the very idea taken seriously would be pure lifelessness, the impossibility of possibility. It is strictly impossible for us to desire something which is contrary to the nature of temporality that marks all beings with an essential vulnerability and corruptibility. The autoimmunity of temporality means that there is a double bind in the nature of desire, “whatever is desirable cannot be dissociated from the undesirable fact that it will be lost” (RA 110). This means that because we love life as mortal we find ourselves in despair that it will end. We love what we have but only with the knowledge that it will not be forever. Hägglund claims “this logic of desire follows from thinking the spacing of time as a constitutive condition. The spacing of time opens the possibility of alteration at every juncture and makes nonassurance intrinsic to every relation” (RA 115). The spacing of time gives no absolute guarantees that the system will continue or perpetuate itself. But this is also what gives way to possibility itself and for there to be some sort of appearance of a system at all. We love life, but we hate that it will not last, we want to retain life and time with others, but that which we want to retain is the way it is only because it will die. Second, Derrida demonstrates that the religious ideal, along with the Kantian one, reify the desire for survival, the desire for mortal life, in order to compensate for the despair that is inherent in mourning, the despair that follows the loss of a loved one. The desire for immortality and God is actually a desire for mortal survival, but traditionally, immortality and God have been placed outside the register of human desire, pure and without interest in themselves without desire, because they are already complete. While this is done in order to protect the absolute from falsehood and appearance, it is a wholly arbitrary and illusory world that is invented to satisfy a misconception that falsehood and appearance relate to things-in--themselves.

Thus, instead of affirming life as that which contains death within it as its precondition, one falls into the trap of denying life in favor of an ideal world that has no death. One thus characterizes the desire for survival as a tangible permanence immune from the corruptibility of life. However this move goes against the structure of desire and constitutes a form of abject death. There is a substantive difference between the death that mortality entails as a precondition to life and the absolute death which is signified in a real satisfaction of the desire for immortality. Hägglund affirms that it is strictly impossible to desire immortal life or God because if we were to it would negate existence itself. Because autoimmune temporality is the precondition to existence and we cannot desire anything that is not given in some way through an empirical relationship, we are unable to desire God and immortality because they preclude autoimmunity in their absolute security. This is why the religious and Kantian ideal fail to actually conform to their own logic, because what they claim to desire cannot conform to the structure of possible experience. If autoimmunity is the precondition to life, then life can only live on as autoimmune, as fragile. Hägglund argues this in terms of the double bind inherent in life:
This necessary intertwinement of life and death spells out the autoimmunity of mortality as a general condition and undercuts the Idea of immortality. On the one hand, life is opposed to death because to live is to be mortal, to resist and defer death. On the other hand, life is internally bound to what it opposes because mortality is inextricably linked to death. The defense of life is thus attacked from within. There can be no cure for such autoimmunity since life is essentially mortal. From the definition of life as essentially mortal, it follows that immortality is death. To live is to be mortal, which means that the opposite of being mortal—to be immortal—is to be dead. If one can no longer die, one is already dead (RA 48).

Not just the possible existence of immortality, but the thought that immortality even if it is impossible would still be undesirable. Immortality therefore negates its own premises. It is not possible to conceptualize immortality or God as logical perfection, because the logic of perfection is incompatible with the autoimmune structure of temporality and existence that continually undermines presence. Because temporality means autoimmunity, everything is subject to change, disruption, corruption, and destruction, immortality would entail a pure

immunization. Hägglund writes, “The idea of God is thus the idea that there can be something that is immune from destructibility” but this is contrary to the logic of desire which asserts we can only desire “what is mortal in its essence” (RA 111). Hägglund explains Derrida’s passage in “Force of Law” on the love of ruins to mean that it is impossible to love God because God “does not exhibit the mortality that makes something desirable. The absolute being of God is not only unattainable but undesirable, since it would annul that mortality that is integral to whatever one desires” (RA 111 [emphasis original]). One cannot love that which cannot die. For Hägglund, God has been dead all along. There was never a time when God was, as an existent, as a legitimate object of belief. God is dead; God remains dead. In order to make this argument, would Hägglund explain the undesirability of God either by the ontological conditions that limit desire or the ontological priority of desire. Is it an issue of precedence? The first would imply Derrida accomplishes a Kantian critique in the sense of drawing boundaries and limiting the interest and use of reason according to the ontologically constitutive condition of temporality along the lines of autoimmunity. Hägglund writes in this respect that what we claim to desire (salvation by God, immortal life, perpetual peace) is actually impossible to desire, and such inauthentic desire has an altogether different motivation, “the desire for salvation is rather a desire for survival that is essentially autoimmune, since the death that it defends against is internal to what is defended” (RA 130). Because temporality limits the interest of reason to what is autoimmune, it is not possible to desire absolute immunity. We desire survival which is autoimmune and not eternal life. But, survival as a concept can only exist insofar as something is susceptible to death, one can only survive thus defend against death if one is able to die. Mortality if it is a possibility can only be a necessity. That which is able to die does die, must die, if it is to desire survival. Hägglund reasserts the claim that it is simply not possible to desire absolute immunity (salvation, etc.) and that this is the project of radical

atheism, to go beyond mere denial into explaining alternate causality, “A radical atheism cannot simply denounce messianic hope as an illusion. Rather, it must show that messianic hope does not stem from a hope for immortality (the possibility of infinity of eternity) but from a hope for survival (the negative infinity of time” (RA 136). Our authentic desire, the hope for survival, is transformed into a desire for immortality, radical atheism must describe how the hope for a future life is rooted in the hope for survival. Hägglund seems to be calling for a genealogy of desire which would have to answer to this transformation. But he does not necessarily explain, or perhaps he assumes it is implied in Derrida’s work, how and when the hope for survival turned into a hope for immune salvation. The bulk of the work is targeted in denouncing those who continue to maintain a desire for God, the Good, etc. despite denying their existence, on the grounds that they are not the true inheritors of deconstruction. So, what Hägglund’s argument really hinges on is understanding desire as a constitutive condition. It is not merely that God does not exist, but that it is impossible to desire God. Moreover, God is undesirable. Thus, if Hägglund is able to argue that God is undesirable because the Idea would undermine the ontological-temporal (autoimmune) conditions of existence. God is undesirable because the idea of God as immunity means absolute death because it contradicts the desire for survival of life which is autoimmune. Survival entails death, but also life. Absolute immunity—only death. The question of salvation thus gains importance, because it is a question of fulfillment of desire, the possibility for our desires to be fulfilled. Immortality and God say that our desires cannot be fulfilled now but are promised. The traditional atheistic argument concedes the impossibly of fulfillment but only because God is not real. In the first case, if the unfulfillment of desire is ontological in nature that would mean we are missing a form of being that would complete us. We desire that type of being which we do not have and thus are unable to possess. But Hägglund argues the opposite, our desire is unfilled

“not because of ontological lack, but because desired enjoyment is temporal” (RA 157). We can never be completely satisfied because the things that satisfy us are transient and leave us. We can only be satisfied for a time, but it necessarily can never last. We are now in a position to analyze what Derrida calls the “return of the religious.” §13. The Return of the Religious In Part One I attempted to describe the source of the United State’s ideological commitment to spreading the secular values of freedom and democracy in foreign mostly Islamic countries by means of violence according to Immanuel Kant’s system of philosophy. While Kant’s philosophy was at the very emergence of the secular world, his articulation of freedom, republicanism, international law, and religion, is indicative of a foundation of current political discourse and public values. I tried to present his system of philosophy as the rational justification for not only the rhetoric that the United States uses in confronting international terrorist organizations, particularly religious ones. But, as it should be apparent by now, Kant’s Transcendental Philosophy ultimately fails to achieve its goal of providing a purely rational ground for practical (moral) action. Regardless if his philosophy has met the rigor of deconstruction, the conflict between religious extremism and the secular state definitive takes place within the moral framework Kant proposed, especially in terms of how the West comports itself as the bastion of freedom and secular hope. Kant’s articulation of moral religion moreover left us not with a faith in God, but with an unshakable faith in the dignity of Humanity. While this helps frame how the secular West views the purpose and nature of religious belief, it hardly gets us any ground insofar as we want to understand the nature of a religious faith that will lead an individual to the undeniably tragic acts of massive scale murder-suicide. Kantian rational religion claims that we should believe in God as a means to affirm the holiness of Humanity. However, not only is this a far cry from most traditional accounts of Christianity, which privileges the singular worship of God alone, but it is fundamentally incompatible if not

incomprehensible framework to determine the nature of religious belief in Islam, a word which by definition means submission to God alone. Submission to God is hardly unique to Islam, the devotional subjugation of the self for a higher supernatural or metaphysical entity is characteristic of most religious beliefs. Kant’s formulation of rational Christianity, rather than placing faith in the divine power of God, in an act of what must be humanistic hubris, elevates humanity as a singular entity worthy of divine reverence. Kant’s, as he even admits, is hardly religion. Keeping Hägglund’s analysis that the promise of immortality and God is fundamentally undesirable in mind, we need to dig deeper than whether, in actuality, someone believes in God when they say they do, to analyze the structure not of God (the analysis in §21 will suffice as a deconstruction of God understood traditionally), but of the structure of the act of faith, for whatever one has faith in. The guiding dictum of this analysis, to misquote Nietzsche, is that humanity would rather believe in nothing than not believe at all. We therefore need to understand how and in what way the structure of faith is a universal aspect of human experience, regardless of the content. §13A. The Two Sources of Religion – Belief and Holiness Derrida’s analysis of religion begins with the Kantian division between moral and historical religions that Derrida claims in “Faith and Knowledge” can “even today, albeit provisionally, […] could help us structure a problematic” ([FK] 49 [emphasis original]). The problem that Derrida seeks to identify is the source of religion. Kant posits two radically different types of religion. On the one hand, historical revelation is concerned primarily with subjective feeling, and in Kant’s view this is a lesser form of religion that at best serves the purposes of moral religion. On the other, Kant posits moral religion which is the pure faith of morality—ostensibly, and to a certain degree Kant goes this far, moral faith would be possible for any religious framework—as long as it upheld the principles of practical reason. However,

Derrida links Kant’s moral maxim of the categorical imperative with Christian universality. Derrida argues that Kant’s moral religion is only possible from the soil of the Christianity, perhaps as “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit” (Lk. 6:44). “the unconditional universality of the categorical imperative is evangelical…when it addresses us, it either speaks the idiom of the Christian—or is silent” (FK 50 [emphasis original]). If indissociable, this would mean the only rational religion could be Christian, He links the idea of an evangelical moral project with the larger movements of globalization that characterize modernity and contemporary geopolitics. The Christian religion, or at least its abstracted heritage is the one and only religion capable of fulfilling the prerequisites of pure moral religion, or a religion within the limits of reason alone. It can do so only under the rational morality which fits into Kant’s system of practical philosophy. Derrida writes “what binds the idea of pure morality indissolubly to Christian revelation…[is] the logic of a simple principle…: in order to conduct oneself in a moral manner, one must act as though God did not exist or no longer concerned himself with our salvation” (FK 50 [emphasis original]). The abyss of the Kantian thesis is that not only are we forbidden any real knowledge of the divine, but in spite of it, and for the same reason, one is able to act according to moral principles. Between denying the existence of God and denying the interest of God in human affairs we are left categorically in a state of utter abandonment, which is at the same time abandonment to utter freedom. Kant announces the death of God as the condition of secular modernity, as the condition of the values of Enlightenment: reason, freedom, democracy, and scientific pursuit. The Christian evangelical mission becomes inversely a globalizing (colonial) secularism. Instead of spreading the universal gospel of Christianity, the moral law becomes a way to spread global capitalism. Derrida claims that the return of the religious could be contained in “Judaism and Islam…the last two monotheisms to revolt against everything that,

in the Christianizing of our world, signifies the death of God, death in God…alienating themselves from a Europe that signifies the death of God, by recalling at all costs that “monotheism” signifies no less faith in the One, and in the living One, than belief in a single God” (FK 51 [emphasis original]). The secular enlightenment is the starting point for our understanding of the current political world, which is really what we are concerned with. Our social structure, at least in the west, but by the very same movement which contains “globalization” and colonial exploitation, is determined by an inheritance from the Enlightenment. The modern democratic nation-state is by definition secular. Even if there is a state sanctioned religion, for the most part, the West treats that not as a moral imperative, but more in line with a national heritage and tradition in the same way that many European nations still have a powerless royalty. The secular nation-state, in the spirit of Kant, cherishes religious tolerance and freedom of thought as a fundamental right. Yet, there is a resurgence of religious violence from almost every faith, most notably for Derrida, but not restricted from Islam. The violence of certain forms of Islam, at least for the moment, allows insight into at least one type of violence, which confronts the secular state in a religious insurgency. In a very Kantian sense, metaphysics is the battle ground and the site of contention, at least abstractly if we are able to reasonably generalize. There are apparently two separate and violently incommensurable metaphysical systems; on the one hand the abstraction of rationality and Enlightenment, on the other the abstract figure of the irrational attempting to break down the walls which secure reason; the popular sovereignty of the State which exists in this world to the betterment of its citizens against a people who operate under mythical promise of life after death for those who martyr themselves. The Enlightenment was supposed to have conquered the

tutelage of religious irrationalism, modern society is progressive; they are in the dark ages. Why don’t they understand that they are committing radical evil? It is an abstract conflict between, on the one hand, reasonable abstraction which does not delve as a matter of faith into metaphysical speculation and concerns itself with the understanding of the world, with scientific rationality as a means to an end though calculative technological procedure, and on the other, the abstraction of the religious which is faith in abstraction itself—the evil of abstraction which is the force of radical uprooting, rooting out, and destruction of what is held dear. Derrida writes that “we would therefore like to link the question of religion to that of the evil of abstraction. To radical abstraction….the deracination of abstraction…of those sites of abstraction that are the machine, technics, technoscience” (FK 43 [emphasis original]). Abstraction is linked to the irrational, to that which seeks to undo and destroy the foundation of reason, which according to Kant is our only real hope, even if it is an “as-if.” And abstraction is also linked, just as much, to the abstraction of secular democracy, of scientific and technological mechanization. The abstract battleground between the two sides cannot be thought as strictly opposed or emerging from totally separate genealogies. It is an antinomy which wages war over how one uses and treats abstraction and reason itself. But it is impossible to view as a simple antinomy, that one side is the inverse and contradiction of the other, both of which stand on their own as irresolvable, and for which one must ultimately be privileged in the “as-if” which Derrida describes as the post-Kantian inheritance of “those who believed naively that an alternative opposed Religion, on the one side, and on the other, Reason, Enlightenment, Science, Criticism (Marxist Criticism, Nietzschean Genealogy, Freudian Psychoanalysis and their heritage), as though the one could not but put an end to the other?” (FK 45 [emphasis original]). This is a problem not merely between reason and religion, faith and knowledge, but the intersection and

common source of both, the common source which doubles itself violently against itself in how one conceptualizes the intellectual process of abstraction, how we interact with ideas, and how ideas interact with the world. Derrida seeks to show that this oppositional dualism is an unfounded construction of the Western tradition, always implicitly Christian and theological and that the task of deconstruction, if it can perform what it aims to, is to show that “beyond this opposition and its determinate heritage religion and [techno-scientific] reason have the same source […] [and] develop in tandem” (FK 66). Not only is there a common source, but neither reason nor religion (faith) have ever existed apart from one another, both develop from the same soil, so to say, and symbiotically, co-constitutive of one another throughout their entire development. It is actually a modern invention and work of revisionist historiography to conceive of them as separate. Kant and the Enlightenment’s secularization was an attempted disavowal of the theological baggage of reason, yet Kant accepted the ontotheological presuppositions (the thesis in the Antinomies) of reason, of Sovereign reason, of the power of reason uncritically, or at least not as critical as he thought. Additionally, this reveals within religious faith a repetition of itself which is not the same as itself, a double origin which is constitutive of the concept at the same time as it is internally contradictory. Instead of resolving the antinomies by choosing one side over the other, Derrida embraces the battle itself as a motivating factor, not one which holds reason back. How does Derrida arrive at this? First, primarily etymologically, Derrida claims that the Latin word religio contains within it two separate movements that are at once at odds but also establish each other:
1. the experience of belief, on the one hand (believing or credit, the fiduciary or the trustworthy in the act of faith, fidelity, the appeal to blind confidence, the testimonial that is always beyond proof, demonstrative reason, intuition); and 2. the experience of the unscathed, of sacredness or of holiness on the other? (FK 70).

The first movement: the first form of the religious is an act of pure faith, a preconditioned belief in something that one reasonably ought not to necessarily believe. This belief, giving credit, having faith in, is, to use the Kantian system as an example, something which precedes and determines cognition. It is a “sub-conscious” faith, which is not necessarily what we think of faith in terms of professing a confession to a specific faith or in terms of a dogma. This is a necessary faith in experience because it opens up the very possibility of experience, as its condition. It is the faith which allows us the expectation of getting up in the morning so that we are able to fall asleep. It serves as a general precursor to all experience in general and which also shapes ones understanding of experience according to the specific “doctrines” or structures which we might not even be aware of. We can take into account a sort of structural position that historical society imposes on us to impose on ourselves, or the always already primordial constitutive states of being that linguistically predate us and preconceive us in our very experience in the world. Insofar as we exist, insofar as we speak, we ascribe to a certain faith which might not have been our own choosing. Derrida uses the legal term fiduciary which is the right or obligation of one person to hold on to something on the condition that it will be transferred back again in the future which is the precursor to any economic transaction. How is it possibly reasonable that we can use a piece of plastic in order to exchange and obtain goods from other people? How is a piece of paper worth the amount it is printed on? It is not a hidden secret of economics that the monetary system works only as much as people have faith in it that they trust that their dollar today will be worth exactly the same tomorrow. The system works as long as everybody believes in it and everybody believes in it as long as it works, as long as we have to… One has faith in the other that the other will return on ones investment. In Paul’s language this is the belief in God that God gives to humanity the free gift of grace which

expedites all sin, on the condition of faith. If one takes the leap of faith, then you will be free. But to take that leap, one must believe that God has canceled our debts by offering the sacrifice of his only son Jesus Christ. It is an unconditional faith in conditionality, on a conditional return, economic or spiritual. It is faith that we will give ourselves up to this world without even thinking about it with the expectation that the world will return to us a certain sense of security and knowledge of our place, of ourselves, our very idea of our self and personality that we find and define in our actions and dealings in this world that we have faith in. Such a faith breaks down at its limit of nihilism, as Nietzsche said, “man would rather will nothingness than not will.” Is it too far to argue that one must believe in order to will? That one must have faith, at the very least a faith in nothingness, to will at all? The second movement: the second form of the religious is not necessarily a precondition of faith, but a lived experience, that what is usually contained in the idea of mystical revelation, or a uniquely personal experience of the sacred not as an idea of faith, but as a force which takes one over as in possession, speaking in tongues, prophesy; and to a similar extent, the affects of ritualistic behavior which open one’s mind to the sacred and holy, which allow a momentary sight into the unscathed and pure. The experience of God is not something that is merely blind faith, or blind trust, it is an experience that determines one’s own orientation towards the divine. Paul, on the road to Damascus, for example, did not believe that Christ was the Son of God, he actually persecuted Christians in the name of the Jews, but he felt divine as Jesus revealed himself to Paul as Lord. We can go back to the Kantian distinction between historical faiths and moral religion. For Derrida, faith is fundamentally an empirical experience, something that cannot simply be given a priori. For Kant this is merely historical faith, conditioned by an empirical feeling and revelation in the world of the holy and sacred. Kant calls this “only an inner feeling…we cannot

derive or convey the recognition of laws, and that they are moral, on the basis of any sort of feeling,, equally so and even less can we derive or convey on the basis of a feeling sure evidence of a direct divine influence: for the same effect can have more than one cause” (RwBMR 145 [emphasis original]). On the other, moral religion would be the faith in the unconditional, a belief beyond belief in a ground which would otherwise be groundless, a belief in “freedom universally...there cannot be any further cognition of the subjective ground or the cause of this adoption (although we cannot avoid asking about it), for otherwise we would have to adduce still another maxim into which the disposition would have to be incorporated, and this maxim must in turn have its ground” (RwBMR 74). But, Kant complicates this, or more likely conflates the two. As he says in the Groundwork, “Duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the law…only something which is conjoined with my will solely as a ground and never as an effect---something which does not serve my inclination, but outweighs it…can be an object of reverence and therewith a command” (GW 68 [emphasis original]). For Kant, the inner feeling of the divine is the spark of the moral law within, it is a symptom of the moral law, it is “but the effect of the moral law which fills the human being with heartfelt respect, and hence deserves to be considered also as a divine command” (RwBMR 145). The inner experience of the sacred and holy, of the moral law within, therefore serves as a precursor which “contains only the vehicle for the pure faith of religion (in which the true end lies)” it does not serve as a ground or a foundation of such a belief (RwBMR 149). Empirical experience of the holy is possible only insofar as the moral law is its foundation. That is, also, inversely as Derrida clams, that a truly moral religion can find itself only out of the historical revelation of Christianity, that contains the moral law within it implicitly. While Kant is right to note the link and intrinsic bond between the two, he is wrong to both privilege unconditional faith over and above empirical revelation as the sole legitimate

source of the religious first, and second to collapse them into one another, as moral religion emerges out of historical faith which acts as its vehicle. Derrida writes, contra Kant, “they can doubtless be associated with each other and certain of their possible co-implications analysed, but they should never be confused or reduced to one another” (FK 70). Derrida seeks to show not that the antinomy can be resolved by subordination to practical reason, but that the conflict itself is what makes up the concept. The relationship between the two is not one that requires the justification of one on the part of the other, but it is a relationship that is mutually referential and determinative. The bond which unites them is at the same time the very thing that necessitates their difference. “What is at issue,” Derrida claims, “is a indeed a persistent bond that bonds itself first and foremost to itself. What is at issue is indeed a reunion, a re-assembling, a recollecting. A resistance or a reaction to disjunction” (FK 74). Kant’s reconciliation of the two sources of the religious is not as vehemently antireligious like many, he seems to actually be attempting to save religion from itself. But this gesture, the fact that religion is in need of a savior, betrays that it already cannot withstand the rational secular and scientific critique (of which Kant himself is a prophet).Derrida calls the reaction to religion and the reaction of religion which Kant typifies in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, “sacrificial indemnification” which is what “strives to restore the unscathed that itself threatens. And it is the possibility of the two” (FK 66). This is the meaning behind Kant’s statement in the preface that he had to deny knowledge to make room for faith. He had to sacrifice certainty of the divine, in order to preserve the rational ordering of the universe according to empirical scientific principles, and also to preserve the holiness of the divine in the moral law. The problem is that Kant thought that the score was settled between faith and reason. But, there is a double bind: first, “either it address the absolute other as such, with an address that is understood, heard, and respected faithfully and responsibly” which is not only to

give total belief and credit to the other, but also for the other to accept it as such and as a true faith; or, insofar as this pure faith is practically impossible without first implementing an impure or historical faith as its vehicle, “it retorts, retaliates, compensates and indemnifies itself in the war of resentment and of reactivity” (FK 66 [emphasis original]). In order for the holy to remain holy, for God to maintain the name, it must be protected from false belief, and in order to believe one must have an experience of the holy, but an experience of the holy can never be a pure universalizable faith according to reason because it is always merely subjective and can never be actually determined to be an experience of the Holy. Thus, modernity’s reaction to God, the “death of God” from Hegel to Freud, is a reaction to the impossible indemnification of the divine. The divine can no longer be held safe and sound, secure and sacred; and because of that it must be denounced. It is the sacrifice of indemnity itself, that God will repay our debts through no fault of His own. Yet, this sacrifice of God’s indemnity comes again to preserve a vestige of what He once served, for Marx this means the critique of political economy and the revolution which promises true freedom, or the rationale behind the scientific community’s certainty of itself to describe empirical reality methodologically. The binary undoes itself automatically, “one of the two responses ought always to be able to contaminate the other” (FK 66). The fiduciary trust is in turn determined by the sacred, which in turn determines the faith of fiduciary trust. This process is what Derrida describes as autoimmunity and that will strike at the heart of scientific knowledge, political democracy and the possibility of religion. At bottom, this describes the autoimmunity of reason itself and its tendency to do violence against itself in order to assert the claim of reasonability.

§13B. Science and Religion - Autoimmune Community What science seeks to understand through observation is an empirical understanding that explains the processes of organic life. It does so in an abstract and objective manner, attempting to distance the methodology from the people who conduct it, and also from the life-maintaining impulse that seems at times to underlie it. Science sells itself as a boon to humanity; science gives gifts to human life which makes it easier, more enjoyable, and most importantly perhaps healthier. Yet, to me at least, it is easy to lose sight of that noble goal with the reality of the hydrogen bomb, laser guided missiles, and Predator Drones.9 The better methods we develop at healing ourselves; the better methods we develop to kill others. The question of life and death is hardly implicit in science, from close to miraculous cures of fatal diseases, to weapons that slowly melt flesh; it is clear that even in its technological products science has a very ambivalent relationship to life. This is where the so-called break from religion, science’s attack on life, and the religious response to defend it becomes very clear. A quick example: the Roman Catholic Church’s injunction to “choose life.” It is easy to get caught up in the interminable abortion debate, but they are getting at something much bigger. The Church is against any scientific control of the production of human life. It was only recently that they approved the use of condoms but only for married couples with the risk of transmitting AIDS. They are opposed to artificial insemination, human cloning, and embryonic research. The Church sees itself as safeguarding life from technological modification which would degrade life of its inherent dignity. Creation is God’s work, it is good, and we are presumptuous to think that we have any power to improve on God’s prerogative. We are reminded that the time of life is not under our control. No matter the advances of science, it is time which belongs to God; our time is borrowed, limited, our days are numbered
9 A quick internet search will reveal that the U.S. Government spent close to $30 billion from the National Institute of Health funding medical research, and that the Department of Defense spent close to $80 billion on weapons research.

but it is our life which matters. It is only because we die that life has any significance at all. It is not within our power to challenge that. It is not our right to ask of God that which is not ours. Derrida can easily be reading Ecclesiastes when he says, “life has absolute value only if it is worth more than life. And hence only in so far as it mourns, becoming itself in the labor of infinite mourning, in the indemnification of a spectrality without limit. It is sacred, holy, infinitely respectable only in the name of what is worth more than it” (FK 87 [emphasis original]). Life contains death not as its limit, not as its finitude, not as its horizon, but as its precondition. But, life is not limited to the individual, there is the life of a community which lives and dies together, which dances and grieves together, which mourns and celebrates together, and which is made out of these times. Insofar as communities are structurally constituted by a shared living, which is also a shared mourning, the community defines itself in terms of that which exceeds it. The work of grief, of infinite mourning for that loss which cannot be replaced, the loss of a particular and unique individual, which does not make up the community in their singularity even in their life, but the individual makes the community in the shared loss of death. Not because this death somehow reminds others of their own impending deaths, of the finitude of their own lives, of the nothingness that lies at the heart of their own being; community does not constitute itself through morbid narcissism. Death reminds the community that it stands for something greater than itself, of those which can no longer participate. That which is greater than the community, via death, is what makes the life of the community, which creates the bonds that allow a community to flourish. In this way, the turn towards the religious is inevitable if community is to exist at all, because community is made up by an infinite lack and a restless desire for recompense. All communities define themselves by that which is more than themselves. A community exists as it is vulnerable. A community exists only in this relationship to death. It is because

humans are individually vulnerable to death that they form communities; or, it is only because life is mortal that it seeks to survive by reproducing itself as a community. Eternity, immortality, is quite literally the absence of community. The community of God, of which we are members, is only a community as it exists on earth in awaiting the reclamation. In heaven, there is no community, because the community of believers on Earth attains immortality according to a final unity of God. A community is a community only because of the fact that individuals die. Community then both provides for the life of an individual, but at the same time requires their death in “a principle of sacrificial self-destruction running the principle of self protection…and this in view of some sort of invisible and spectral sur-vival” (FK 87). The community constitutes itself a group relationship to individual death, and maintains the life of an individual after their death in the community that they were a part of and that outlasts them. The community is an “auto-co-immunity” in that it requires death on the part of its members to make up the social life. Derrida argues that this relationship between the individual and the group, that the group sustains itself in the death of the individual is the source of a religious bond:
this self-contesting keeps the auto-immune community alive, which is to say, open to something other and more than itself: the other, the future, death, freedom, the coming or the love of the other, the space and time of a spectralizing messianity beyond all messianism. It is there that the possibility of religion persists: the religious bond” (FK 87 [emphasis original]).

Death is what reminds the community that there is always something else, always something unexpected, unknown, impossible, to come. It is true to say that it is impossible to think of one’s own death because it is beyond the limits of reason which is possible only as one lives. Death does not remind the community of an internal nothingness or meaninglessness, it is the call of the impossible from beyond, reminding that the community itself is this impossibility, that it has value because it is made possible through shared mourning which gives it a purpose greater than life or death. It can only be described as religious. The individual is sacred not because they have reason which is universal, non-sensious, and eternal; the dignity of the individual consists in the

fact that it is mortal life. Life is only precious insofar as it is mortal. Mortality is what is sacred and it is this mortal bond between individuals that sustains all community that is at its heart the source of religious faith, a faith which exists only insofar as there is a religious community. All religions have the relationship to mortal life as central meaning of faith. Religious conceptions of immortality, as Hägglund rightly argues, have mortal survival as their actual goal—on Earth not in Heaven—and this religious conception of immortality actualizes itself (in an almost Hegelian way—but not quite) in the foundation of religious institutions and communities the function to survive on Earth as mortal. If the fact that religious communities continue to exist is not a testament to this fact, the Catholic Church which has survived for almost 2000 years is its embodiment. That is, quite literally, we might say in figurative language as the body of Christ— not as the body which resurrected and ascended to Heaven to sit next to the Father in Eternal Glory, but in the very real—very mortal—living community of the Catholic Church, a community that since its beginning has always understood itself as vulnerable and has recognized this vulnerability throughout its history that it has survived in often the most violent ways possible in an effort to root out heretics, apostates, and “false” Christians by burning them to death. If the Church did not consider itself mortal and vulnerable, then it would have no drive to attempt to indemnify itself. That is, the Church is an example of the immunological processes of a living community, the necessary autoimmune responses that require it to target its own members for destruction in order to keep the community alive. Community therefore does not exist solely its relationship to individual death, but it necessitates the autoimmune death of its members to keep itself alive. This is a “normal” autoimmune response. It is a necessary constitutive violence. We might make moral claims against this violence or deplore it, but the intensity of that violence is surely one of the main factors that allow the community to survive—or to survive long enough that it no longer must

sacrifice its own. Autoimmunity is constitutive of the survival of the vulnerable community; it protects the community by destroying itself from the inside. To protect life, life which all religions teach is precious and sacred, communities are willing to destroy life. All communities are vulnerable and all communities are autoimmune. The real question is the degree to which this autoimmune violence manifests itself, which consist perhaps in a direct relationship to the degree to which the community is vulnerable. The more vulnerable a community is, the less secure it becomes, the more the degree of autoimmune violence intensifies—into what we might call an autoimmune disorder within the community. If community which is threatened the degree that that individual death no longer functions as source for the community’s life, but to the community itself witness its own destruction and death signals the community’s own nothingness and its possible nonexistence, then the community’s immune system becomes hyper-reactive in an autoimmune reaction that externalize this death through violence. Derrida continues that “this internal and immediate reactivity, at once immunitary and auto-immune, can alone account for what will be called the religious resurgence in its double and contradictory phenomenon” (FK 81). One sees this anytime a community is taken to the breaking point of existence, where it passes the threshold that not only an individual’s life but the life of the society is at stake. Martyrdom in early Christianity was a signal that the individual was willing to risk itself and die for a cause greater than itself to bodily assert the truth of the Church which was under constant persecution. Japanese kamikaze pilots emerged only towards the end of World War Two as an act of desperation. The return of the religious is the autoimmune flip side of the rational, scientific, liberal critique of religious fundamentalism. Insofar as scientific rationality transforms all of nature into a standing reserve of resources, this necessitates though global capitalism that possible territory be exploited. All too often this means taking natural resources from places and peoples that do

not have access to the technologies themselves. Nor do they benefit from the economic trade which is by and large done through massive international corporations with the explicit support and incestuous relationship with the United States military.10 It is silly to assume that Middle Eastern countries are simply backwards because they are religious despite their oil riches. The people have been denied those riches as the United States Government explicitly supports dictators and coups which are favorable to U.S. strategic economic interest. Derrida writes that religious violence, terrorism, suicide bombings, killing civilians is a “violence of sacrifice in the name of non-violence.” (FK 88). It is not that religious people are sociopathic, that they get off on killing people. In the end, the only goal is to secure the community even if it means killing themselves in order to kill others. It is a type of violence which is latent in the entire tradition of Western conceptions of reason, religion, science, and politics, as an autoimmune response that attempts to preserve itself as it kills itself and others. Insofar as the discussion of the religious resurgence, in Derrida’s writing, is primarily concerned with Islamic terrorism (but he does not and it should in no way be limited to this) he describes the “contradictory” position in its violent critique of the west in its utilization of western scientific products and procedures as weapons. In order to protect itself as a community from the universalizing imperialism of the west; that is, in their clear statements, from the oppression of their own people and exploitation of their own resources by puppet dictators and western corporations which is properly associated with western techno-scientific reason, with the imperial and universal nature of it, Islamic violence utilizes the machinery of the west to destroy it. To hijack an airplane, to build communities and recruit on the internet, to utilize mass media as a propaganda tool—all of these are in essence using the very same means that they are criticizing. The very same means that threaten their communities.
10 It is at least interesting to note that the current National Security Advisor, James Jones, after retiring from the Marine Corps a four star general, was president of 21st Century Energy affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of commerce, was on the board of directors of Boeing, and was on the board of directors of Chevron.

Moreover, he coins a “new archaic violence” which is a reaction to the tele-technoscientific violence of the west which reverts to “bare hands” in a show of what seems to be utter brutality. This signifies:
another figure of double origin—the foreseeable alliance of the worse effects of fanaticism, dogmatism or irrationalist obscurantism with hypercritical acumen and incisive analysis of the hegemonies and the models of the adversary (globalization, religion that does not speak its name, ethnocentrism putting on, as always, a show of “universalism,” market-driven science and technology, democratic rhetoric “humanitarian strategy” or “keeping the peace” by means of peace-keeping forces, while never counting the dead of Rawanda, for instance, in the same manner as those of the Unites States of America or of Europe). This archaic and ostensibly more savage radicalization of ‘religious’ violence claims, in the name of “religion,” to allow the living community to rediscover its roots, its place, its body and its idiom intact (unscathed, safe, pure, proper). Its spreads death and unleashes self-destruction in a desperate (auto-immune) gesture that attacks the blood of its own body: as though thereby to eradicate uprootedness and reappropriate the sacredness of life safe and sound. Double root, double uprootedness, double eradication (FK 89).

The return of the religious then, in its violence, is violence against the domain of the scientific, imperial, globalizing, rationality. It “normally follows two avenues that compete with each other […] both of them, however, can as easily oppose or support a “democratic” tradition: either the fervent return to national citizenship […] or, on the contrary, a protest that is universal, cosmopolitan, or ecumenical […] can only develop thought the networks it combats” (FK 92 [emphasis original]). On the one hand, we have for example, right wing Christian fundamentalists in the United States but who operate in a hyperbolized conflation of citizenship and religious duty, and on the other, Islamic fundamentalists who seek to destroy the globalizing force of the democratic state that is oppressive. Either way, the return of the religious, more than religious, and more than the so-called secular foundations of western governments, is objectively political insofar as the violence of the religious engages (and cannot help but to) a universal political framework—the movement of “secular democracy.”

§13C. Democracy—Autoimmune Sovereignty Democracy, and politics, to Derrida is inscribed within this very same auto-immune tradition of religion and science. Or perhaps deconstruction reveals in democracy the same tendencies and logics. In fact, though, Derrida basically begins his book Rogues, ostensibly as a discussion of Democracy and “rogue states” with a messianic invocation that ultimately lies at the heart of all deconstructive readings, “the call for a thinking of the event to come, of the democracy to come, of the reason to come. This call bears every hope, to be sure, although it remains, in itself without hope. Not hopeless in despair, but foreign to the teleology, the hopefulness, and the salut of salvation” ([R] xv [emphasis original]). Accordingly, it is impossible to talk about the return of the religious, of religious violence, of certain paradoxes between religion and science, of reason itself, without talking about politics—specifically without talking about democracy and how democracy as a force interacts with reason, religion, and science. We cannot really account for the development of science and religion without also talking about the implications of democracy as the secular political framework in the wake of the Enlightenment’s apparent rejection of religion. Democracy is at once a catholic (universalizing, globalizing) force and a reaction and rejection of so called dogmatic faith and tutelage. It is both in its very essence which is to give power to the people, that is, by taking turns in exercising political power and force. It replaces a unitary fount with the universal and popular which is to take into its own hands the administration of justice, the institution of law, and the use of force. Derrida sees a fundamental antimony between law and justice. It is impossible for the law to be just insofar as it inevitably will use force and violence which will deprive others of their turn, of their right to life. Structurally democracy establishes itself through a universal openness which gives it its power, but at the same time, and through these very means, allows and

necessitates the possibility of suspending that freedom in order to preserve the possibility of it. We can see this movement, for example, in the need to suspend certain rights, privacy, freedom, association, in order to allow the state to maintain itself, to protect itself from the evils and demons which it lets in. Derrida describes this logic again as auto-immune. It is actually impossible for a democracy to exist according to its own theory, because of this very autoimmunity, “one electoral law is thus always at the same time more and less democratic than another, it is the force of force, a weakness of force and the force of a weakness; which means that democracy protects itself and maintains itself precisely by limiting and threatening itself” (R 36). Inasmuch as democracy prides itself on openness and tolerance, it is unable to tolerate those that it deems undemocratic, foreigners for example, which might threaten its integrity. As soon as one is willing to let anybody in, that includes even ones enemies. Democracy thus invites terrorism, not only that, but it then terrorizes in order to protect itself from terrorism. Illegal detentions are necessary because “high value” targets must be captured and assessed or else they would be capable of doing more harm. Torture is legitimate insofar as it occurs in a “ticking time bomb” situation, one which would target and destroy the democracy itself. In doing so though, democracy actually targets itself, and proves its own impossibility and incommensurability in practice. The fundamental problem is the problem of freedom that is the construction of the autonomous, free self, engaging in a democratic form. Democracy derives its power from itself, from the demos, from the people’s own sovereignty, but democratic autoimmunity, follows the same autoimmunity of the self which is constructed in its ipesity, that is, in its selfhood, its mine-ness, that which is its own. Autoimmunity:
threaten[s] the I or the self, the ego or the autos, ipseity itself, compromising the immunity of the autos itself: it consists not only in compromising oneself but in compromising the self, the autos—and thus ipseity. It consists not only in committing suicide but in compromising sui- or self – referentiality, the self or sui of suicide itself.

Autoimmunity is more or less suicidal, but, more seriously still, it threatens always to rob suicide itself of its meaning and supposed integrity (R 45 [emphasis original]).

Autoimmunity thus reveals in democracy a certain emptiness of the concept which is what reveals it as practically impossible. There is no real demos in democracy, and the force used in the name of the people is never actually used by the people, and moreover it always possess the possibility and often realizes it of using force against the people. Derrida describes freedom in terms of sharing and sharing in terms of spacing. Democratic freedom is the ability to share one’s own space with another, with any other. But the problem comes down to another related aporia between equality according to worth and equality according to number. In democracy, all are considered of equal value before all, and because of this, in order to determine who has the right to rule, all equally count in voting. But here we have a division, on the one hand between the incalculable unconditional equality of human life, the sacredness of human life, and the necessary rational calculation of each. One must share power, this is the democratic function of governing in turn, but each are assumed to posses the same power the same freedom and ability to have power. But this logic belies the impossible, “in the injunction to share the incommensurable in a just, equitable, equal and measured fashion.” One must calculate the incalculable. This impossibility is what Derrida clings onto as a redemptive power in the lack at the heart of democracy, “If democracy does not exist and if it is true that, amorphous or polymorphous, it never will exist, is it not necessary to continue, and with all one’s heart, to force oneself to achieve it? Well, yes, it is necessary; one must, one ought, on cannot not strive toward it with all one’s force” (R 74 [emphasis original]). Derrida claims that this is “indeed a question of the essence of man as well as of chance or fortune, of the last chance or misfortune of his future” (R 75). The impossibility of democracy is what ties it to Derrida’s messianic leanings, of his conception of temporality in the event to come. It is, “not negatively impossible. It is

necessary to insist on this in thinking of the future , of a to-come that would be neither a chimera nor a regulative Idea nor a negative and simply impossible impossibility” (R 77). It is important to keep Derrida’s moral injunction separate from establishing democracy as an impossible Idea which must still be worked towards even as it is impossible, which is the Kantian vision of the regulative idea. That is a maxim to guide oneself by, which is in the end, to succumb to a calculative and conditional logic which undoes what Derrida finds redeeming in the impossible. Moreover, when Derrida speaks of the impossible he is not speaking of it in terms of that which cannot happen, but more like that which we never knew or even possibly imagined could happen but did. This is what the event to come means. Derrida understands temporality not in terms of a linearity form beginning to end, or from birth to death, but the strategy of deconstruction reveals in the past the possibility and actuality of the impossible and the event to come. The fact that the past exists at all is only because it exists in a perpetual state of undoing the present, of upsetting the status quo. The past exists as change, but real change is always incalculable, real change is always unexpected and can never be properly prepared for. It is always upsetting and always risky. But the future actually contains the possibility of the past, the possibility of a history, and the possibility of deconstructing history in order to reveal the future latent within it. Deconstruction reveals the inherent differences and incongruities of apparently stable and solid facts; it reveals what upsets that stability which is something that cannot be reduced to either. Insofar as this is temporality, it cannot be separated from life, or from the body. The problem that philosophers ran into was being unable to reconcile the unchanging, perfect, and rational, from the changing, flawed, and desirous. The body and the mind continue to remain separated even in the scientific discourse which seeks to “rationalize” or explain neurologically human desires and inclinations, or to compensate for them “instinctually” according to evolutionary endowments. But it is the very

fact that the body becomes frail and dies, the very fact that one has irrational desires, that one lusts, which constitutes our ability to imagine that we can transcend that. Deconstruction reveals reason itself to be conditioned by the unconditional urges of the body, and the impossible union between the two which is at the heart of belief, fundamentally undermining the Transcendental project. This impossibility is what actually makes the possible possible, because without it, if it was possible to reduce the world to scientific or transcendentally rational understanding, then there would be no future at all, no past at all, because everything would be predetermined, everything would be understood, everything would be past and have already happened with no possibility of interruption or disruption. A rupture can only take place insofar as it exceeds the limits of what is understood, that is to say, is impossible. And the impossible relies on belief, the belief in the impossible, and the groundless and empty concept that simply waits for what may come, impossible as it may be. The event in its very nature and possibility underlies the logic of the autoimmune, because it is what upsets itself and makes the self confront itself in its impossible otherness. Democracy is autoimmune, because it can never actually realize itself, democracy can never express itself as the power of the people, which is why in this autoimmunity Derrida calls for the democracy to-come. He takes Carl Schmitt’s idea that all political concepts are secularized theological ones to the furthest extent possible. Because, in the end, Democracy itself, politics itself, faith in deconstruction is nothing other than the messianic hope for an absent God, for a powerless omnipotence. The question of sovereignty, of force and justice, of democracy and law, is inextricably bound to the theological, or for Derrida the deconstruction of the ontotheologcial:
For wherever the name of god would allow us to think something else, for example a vulnerable nonsovereignty, on that suffers and is divisible, one that is moral even, capable of contradicting itself or of repenting (a thought that is neither impossible nor without example…perhaps even the story of a god who deconstructs himself in his ipesity) (R 157)

The discussion of the democracy to come is really a story which calls back to Derrida’s essay, Faith and Knowledge, and reveals it as such a deconstruction of God, of the ontotheologcial. The autoimmune logic Derrida deconstructs from fundamentalism and science belies the same absent hope, the same vacuous center, of a god who is not there, of a reason and a cause which does not assert itself, of a power which only proves its own impotence, and by these very means, that which contains possibility itself—the possibility of life, of meaning, of happiness, of death, of despair, of nihilism. Derrida resolves the antimonies of reason not by falling back to the presuppositions of an “as if” as Kant did. Kant’s gesture recognized the presence of an absence, but he ultimately asserted that it is still all alright anyway; we still do not need to have bodies because our proper roles lie in our reason. Derrida explains the problem of the “respect” for the moral law:
The problem draws all of its interest from the disturbing paradox that it inscribes in the heart of a morality incapable of giving an account of being inscribe in an affect or in a sensibility of what should not be inscribe there or should only enjoin the sacrifice of everything that would only obey this sensible inclination. It is well known that sacrifice and the sacrificial offering are at the heart of Kantian morality…the object of sacrifice there is always of the order of the sensuous motives….this concept of sacrificial offering…requires the whole apparatus of the “critical” distinctions..: sensible/intelligible, passivity/spontaneity… (On the Name 16)

This falls in line with the architectonic principle which Derrida claims is behind all of reason in Kant’s work. That is, “what motivates Kant in the antinomies to privilege the moment of the thesis over against an antithesis that threatens the systemic edifice and thus disturbs the architectonic desire or interest, most often so as to take into account,…divisibility, eventfulness, and conditionality” (R 120). Kant acknowledges the failure of reason in metaphysical speculation, but at the same time necessitates the regulative idea, the privileging of the thesis, the “as if” clause, in order to allow the possibility of practical philosophy. Without the regulative idea, without the “as if,” the systematic unity of theoretical and practical reason would fall apart because Kant acknowledges, perhaps only implicitly, that human reason is not strong enough to

sacrifice the inclinations, to subordinate the body to the mind. The mind must still function, this he explains in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, still according to the highest good posited as a conclusion of reason, as an interest still. Historical revelation, Kant acknowledges, must act as a vehicle for rational religion because people are unable fundamentally to merely subscribe to reason: they must feel God. But, even as Derrida posits the idea of democracy as a sort of ideal, it is not a regulative ideal, it does not function to unify body and mind, or to act as a vehicle which can bring the two together. Instead of relying on a regulative idea, or an “as if” fiction in the best interest of reason, Derrida falls back on the theme and strategy of deconstruction: the “first cause” or the absence of a first cause, the to come of the first cause, not to act as if it happened, but it happened already only because of the rupturing effects of the event. Explaining Hurssel, “It is reason that throws reason into crisis, in an autonomous and quasi-autoimmune fashion. It could be shown that the ultimate “reason,” in the sense of cause or foundations, the raison d’être of this transcendental phenomenological autoimmunity, is located in the very stricter of the present and of life” (R 127). The problem is that philosophers conceptualize reason as immune, as pure, as transcendental in a way that means it is off limits and not conditioned too by human life. Reason, through deconstruction, exposes the event for what it is, it makes itself and opens itself to us. Deconstructive reasoning exposes us and opens us up, shows us and reason itself as vulnerable which is the precondition to life, the precondition to affect, to emotion, to health even. Risky yes, but a necessary risk. The event:
must touch an exposed vulnerability, one without absolute immunity, without indemnity; it must touch this vulnerability in its finitude and in a nonhorizonal fashion, there where it is not yet or is already no longer possible to face or face up to the unforseeability of the other…it enables an exposure to the other…without autoimmunity, with absolute immunity, nothing would ever happen or arrive; we would no longer wait, await, or expect, no longer expect one another, expect any event” (R 152).

Deconstruction reveals this inherent vulnerability in all of our presupposed solid and stable structures; it erases the divided line and claims that we can only know an idea by our ability to feel it, our openness to be affected by it, our vulnerability to its touch. Our reason is in its very nature tied to the body and our conceptions of the body, our desires and our inclinations, our frailties and our deaths. Thus deconstruction relies on a messianic weakness, of powerlessness, of perpetual waiting and anticipation for the unknowable—not in any sort of noumenal sense, but in a temporal, real way that the unknowable is what makes up knowledge, which makes up the past; before it was past it was impossible to know. So, instead of an “as if” there is a to-come, instead of a prime mover or first cause, there is an emptiness or a space which cannot be filled, instead of God, there is an absent omnipotence, a weakness we know nothing of, except perhaps to use old names, except what we can deconstruct in those names, except the vulnerability of a god that we have deconstructed, which might not be a god at all.

§14. Conclusion to Part Two: From The Enlightenment To Come to Standing UN Army
While Derrida provides a descriptive analysis of the constitutive autoimmune economy of violence that makes up the possibility for community and the possibility for ethics itself, he does not simply fail to articulate a definitive ethics. In fact, in his interview “Autoimmune Suicide” in Philosophy in the Time of Terror, he provides a fairly clear statement of several political goals,

realistic or not. While he acknowledges the problems that European thought, politics, and science create, he has an unyielding essential faith in the essence of European thought as it has been articulated by the Enlightenment. In this way, Derrida speaks of the Enlightenment to come, according to a similar structure as democracy to come. Derrida places an unconditional faith in the notion of an enlightenment to come which will provide a new place for Europe to mediate between the religious wars of Christian-Secular America, and Islamic-Extremist Middle East. He writes that it is actually the duty of the west to help “free” Arab states from violent fundamentalism:
We must help what is called Islam and what is called "Arab" to free themselves from such violent dogmatisim. We must help those who are fighting heroically in this direction on the inside, whether we are talking about politics in the narrow sense of the term or else about an interpretation of the Koran. When I say that we must do this for what is called Islam and what is called "Arab," I obviously mean that we must not do any less when it comes to Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia! ([PTT]113).

So what does this mean to help liberate Islam from the inside? It means an unconditional commitment to the values of Enlighenment that Kant staked out in 1784, Kant writes, is the “emergence from [humanity’s] self-incurred minority” (“An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” [WE] 17 [emphasis original]. The motto of the enlightenment is the “courage to make use of your own understanding” (WE 17). Ultimately Kant claims that the cause of enlightenment needs to be embodied in a secular state that provides for the religious freedom of the citizens. Enlightenment does not mean that humanity turns away from God, but that humanity is allowed to take itself seriously. Kant’s essay on enlightenment for this historical reason is necessarily obsessed with the limits of religious authority, which he views as the major enemy to enlightenment. For this reason, it would be “absolutely impermissible to agree…to a permanent religious constitution not to be doubted publicly by anyone, and thereby, as it were, to nullify a period of time in the progress of humanity toward improvement and make it fruitless and hence detrimental to posterity…to renounce enlightenment…is to violate the sacred right of

humanity and trample it underfoot” (WE 20). It is proper to say that religious authority is the enemy of the enlightenment and not religion itself. It is the authority of religious figures, of religious institutions, which have more at stake in protecting their own vested interests than they do in the interests of enlightenment. Enlightenment necessitates a separation between civic and religious duty. One is required to obey in practice the laws of the land, yes, but there should not be laws requiring what one is allowed to say or think—such laws traditionally were the prerogative of religious authority. A ruler should make new laws for the improvement of the civil order, but the subjects should be able to determine the nature of their own salvation, it is the duty of a ruler to make sure that no one is prevented from seeking salvation in a way that harms no other (WE 20). While Derrida apparently refuses to make claims as grand as Kant’s, for instance, in his rejection of the Regulative ideals, insofar as the regulative ideal turns the subject who acts according to autonomy into a moral automaton; that is, there can be no true moral action if moral duty is prefigured by knowledge, in that case one not being moral but simply executing a moral algorithm, “Yet an action that simply obeys knowledge is but a calculable consequence, the deployment of a norm or program. It does not engage any decision or any responsibility worth of these names” (PTT 133). However, Derrida in this interview, admits, while “Risks becoming an alibi, it retains a certain dignity; I cannot swear that I will not day give in to it” (PTT 134). This is because, in the exact same language in Rogues, he argues, “Yet the regulative Idea remains, for lack of anything better, if we can say ‘lack of anything better’ with regard to a regulative Idea, a last resort. Although such a last resort or final recourse risks becoming an alibi, it retains a certain dignity. I cannot swear that I will not one day give in to it” (R 83). While Derrida died before he ever definitively gave into the regulative Ideal, it remains, behind the language of the event-to-come, behind any sort of deep temporal messianic, the Ideal—the ideal articulated

according to an original dignity that Derrida cannot shake off. Why is this, why when he would otherwise deny any claims to originality, any claims to any Ideal, any single structure that would serve as a guiding motive—is not that precisely what deconstruction seeks to break down? At the end, Derrida remains not only a Europeanist, insofar as he is almost exclusively engaged in a particular canon of a particular European tradition in order to deconstruct it and show its inner inconsistencies, he remains a Europhile, despite his claim that he argues for a “New figure of Europe and the United States[…] without any Eurocentrism” (PTT 116). No, he seeks to deconstruct the European tradition in order to provide for it some degree of salvation, that it may be salvaged in its deconstruction—it can be retained in the trace of its erasure. Derrida above all wants to retain the particularly French illusion of a secular space that is somehow above and beyond any religious tensions or possible religious violence, that he claims is absolutely unique to Europe and provides for Europe a space in the new world, in this Enlightenment, Democracy, or Justice to come:
Which is why I am speaking of a new figure of Europe […] make an essential contribution to the future of the international law we have been discussion […] "Europe," even if in quotation marks, because, in the long and patient deconstruction required for the transformation to-come, the experience Europe inaugurated at the time of the Enlightenment (Lumieres, Aufklarung, Illuminismo) in the relationship between the political and the theological, or rather, the religious, though still uneven, unfulfilled, relative, and complex, will have left in European political space absolutely original marks with regard to religious doctrine (notice I'm not saying with regard to religion or faith but with regard to the authority of religious doctrine over the political). Such marks can be found neither in the Arab world nor in the Muslim world, nor in the Far East, nor even, and here's the most sensitive point, in American democracy, in what in fact governs not the principles but the predominate reality of American political culture […] would have to operate not against something we would call the "United States" but against what today constitutes a certain American hegemony, one that actually dominates or marginalizes something in the U.S.'s own history, something that is related to that strange "Europe" of the more or less incomplete Enlightenment I was talking about (PTT 116).

Derrida is calling for the return of Europe to political and intellectual relevancy, in the wake of American hegemony in almost every fact of life. The world’s culture is dominated by American culture. American academic institutions by far out match their European counterparts. American military power remains the world’s hegemonic power broker. Derrida, I believe, then wants to

retain for Enlightened Europe a space at the table—between American Christian Hegemony, and Islamic rogue states, Europe provides a central ground for secular, rationalistic discussion, “I would like to hope that there will be, in "Europe" or in a certain modern tradition of Europe, at the cost of a deconstruction that is still finding its way, the possibility of another discourse and another politics, a way out of this double theologico-political program” (PTT 118). In the end, Derrida argues a somewhat strange political stance. He calls for both the creation of a European Union standing army, and a United Nations standing peacekeeping force. He articulates both of these according to a logic similar to Kant’s Perpetual Peace. In order to combat both unjust American Hegemony and extremist violence, “UN would have to have at its disposal an effective intervening force and thus no longer have to depend in order to carry out its decisions on rich and powerful, actually or virtually hegemonic, nation-states, which bend the law in accordance with their force and according to their interests” (PTT 114). The philosopher of deconstruction, who hardly ever takes a political position (we might think rightly) now articulates the need for a world-wide standing army. Despite his language on the “aporetic” nature of this dream, he is suggesting a concrete political action. Not any concrete political action, but the establishment of an entirely new and wide spread force of law, that is with the justification of violence—an international peacekeeping force is one that necessarily intervenes in war. I have no need to discuss the merits of a UN peacekeeping force, on its merits, or its practicality. I argue that this articulation, Derrida’s final articulation, is a reiteration of the Kantian vision of European Enlightenment, deconstruction maintains this faith in the Enlightenment in its very erasure. How is this to be true? J. Hilis Miller argues that Derrida refuses to admit himself to be a part of any community:
because every family, nation, or community is an artificial, deconstructible structure built precariously on some agreed-upon code. […] Every community, moreover, for Derrida, is inhabited by that self-destructive auto-immunity that he describes so eloquently […] Who would want to participate in something doomed to self destruct? […] Derrida, however, refuses to belong to any family or community because it is only in isolation

from such belonging that a responsible, responsive ethical relation to another person can take place (274).

That is, despite deconstructions attempts to “de-center” the subject, or to claim that the subject is a product of différance, ethics only emerges insofar as the subject isolates themselves as a singular unit of self consciousness, as a singular individual outside any communal relationships. In the end, différance does not produce a de-centered subject, a subjectless subject, or a subject of erasure, but différance produces the self enclosed atomic subject with free will, able to make moral decisions—that inevitably succumbs to the moral idea in the hermetic enclosure of the self. That is, as Miller argues, “affirming the fundamental and irremediable isolation of each Dasein. For Derrida, no isthmus, no bridge, no road, no communication or transfer, connects or can ever connect my enisled self to other selves. There is no world; there are only islands” (276). That is, in the end, Derrida has the exact same relationship to the self that Kant does insofar as the autonomous individual does not relate to other individuals in a community, but that they relate to their own inner subjectivity first and therefore relate to others insofar as they also maintain the same relationship. Derrida affirms, in deconstruction, a reiteration of Kantian autonomy that cannot avoid giving into the regulative ideal. This is because deconstruction maintains the subject as an autonomous point of consciousness, produced by an economy of violence in a world of difference. The subject does not relate to that economy as difference, but rather relates to it as an isolated individual irremediably cut off from others by that violence. Différance therefore creates the subject as a different subject, as an individual, as an autonomous being, rather than creating a subject that lacks a self, this lack of self constitutes an isolated self. Derrida therefore repeats the Kantian moral system, admits its impossibility, and maintains a faith in that impossibility, that ultimately is either ethical paralysis (insofar as it is impossible for us to actualize the moral ideal as moral) or a vague notion of European secularism. Derrida, in this respect, is Kant’s failure.

Part Three: What Is Left to Come

Almost two millennia and not a single new God! -Friedrich Nietzsche The leadership of mankind by Western man is now on the decline, not because Western culture has become poor materially or because its economic and military power has become weak. The period of the Western system has come to an end primarily because it is deprived of those lifegiving values which enabled it to be the leader of mankind. -Sayyid Qutb, “The Intellectual Founder of Al-Quiada”

§15. The Weakness of God – A God Deconstructed? What is left of God in this erasure? “The name is God is too important to important to leave in the hands of the special interest groups,” writes John Caputo in The Weakness of God ([WG] 2). He faces an interesting paradox. Religion, as it appears to atheist left wing intellectuals, has managed to have been successfully co-opted by the political right wing that uses it as a tool for organizing conservative social policy. Caputo wants to attempt to resolve the antinomy in which liberal atheists denounce religion as a mere vehicle for at best conservative social policy and at worst oppressive authoritarian violence. Moreover, the tendency is to extend the argument from religious institutions and individuals who exploit positions of power to criticizing either the ignorance or stupidity of the believer and reverting to denouncing all religious faith as absurdity. For Caputo, like Kant and Derrida, the actual existence of God is a non-issue because it is a question that is impossible to resolve. Instead Caputo wants to capture the aspects of religious faith whose weight is too great to simply ignore, which in the end is the power of the scriptures —their stories, structure, metaphor, and history. Following the great tradition of the history of theology, which must take as its starting point a methodology for interpretation of the holy scriptures11 Caputo draws the link between deconstructive reading and hermeneutical exegesis in order to reveal behind the “literal” readings of the wrath of an all powerful God that tends to take out His rage in human form on whoever seems to challenge the institutional power of the church (non-believers, believers-otherwise, women, children, the angry poor, and the countless other others) it is possible—preferable even to maintain the power of faith revealed in the scriptures
11 This is hermeneutics, the art of interpretation. Hermeneutical interpretation usually follows a certain rule in order to bring together the unity of an otherwise divergent text. It is a grossly important method for theology insofar as it allows the contradictions of the text to be resolved according to a rule that presents and preserves their fundamental coherence that would otherwise go unnoticed without a method of interpretation. Deconstructive hermeneutics privileges the primacy of interpretation itself against any sort of rule that would establish an authoritative reading.

without the power of God. In distinction to the Sovereign might of the pantokrator, the creator ex nihilo, able to reign sulpher on the wicked, Caputo speaks of the weak God, a good God—but a God who is vulnerable, a God who loved humanity so much that She became human Herself and died—once and for all. Instead of allowing deconstruction to remain hidden behind the curtain of literature and French departments, Caputo wants to engage the polemics of this endless battlefield of metaphysics. The battle lines in this debate are (always) already drawn. We can expect rightly that a deconstructive appropriation of the name of God will give us access to the sort of progressive platform that we would expect from an inclusive, open framework: a critique of patriarchy and heteronormativity, an inheritance of Marx’s critique of capitalism, anti-racism, to name a few. The locus of these blunt theoretical attacks is in the practical debates that by and large determine the politics of the Culture Wars: on abortion, homosexuality, immigration, global warming, evolution, American exceptionalism, Middle East peace, and so on. While The Weakness of God seeks to write a theology that accounts for such views, it must at the same time, by its internal reasoning, show how fundamentalist views are necessarily incompatible with such a theology. Caputo works as a theologian in the first respect in a systematization of beliefs. In the second, he acts as a deconstructionist, which seeks to show that systems as such are untenable. The crux of his argument depends on whether he can demonstrate that these two approaches are not only compatible but symbiotic and mutually beneficial. How does one form an unsystematic system, or the theology of “religion without religion” (WG 7)? In the end this is an exercise at the limits of deconstruction. Implicitly this project means the logical extension of deconstruction is a theology that might rightly be taken for atheistic. In this, he must write the story of a “God who deconstructs himself”.

The primary task, therefore, must not only demonstrate that the logic of deconstruction lurks behind religious language, but also that the language of deconstruction implies a religious logic. That task is not entirely without precedent. Derrida’s later and last writings refocus deconstruction less in terms of semiotics or phenomenology and more in classically ethical and political unconditional absolutes according to a history of religious discourse. The investigation into problems concerning secular nation-state sovereignty therefore can only be understood under the rubric of an ontotheological inheritance of the absolute Sovereignty of God. Hence, an understanding of violent religious fundamentalism and the secular response requires an inquiry into their common roots—faith and reason: the autoimmune relation between the unconditional (faith) and indemnification (of the Sacred). Therefore, after determining the autoimmune response of the religious the next step is to determine how far religion can go beyond a mere deconstruction and into the positive construction of a theology. That is, if deconstruction is successful in its description of the nature of religion, which shows the autoimmune structures that underlie religion are actually necessary, then we should be able to articulate a productive relationship to necessity—if the necessity of religion means we and the world are not bound to unchanging fate; we possess a certain free will, the world is not static, both are open to change and constantly transforming and for this reason are deconstructible. In what way are we able to have faith today, in light of autoimmunity, after God is deconstructed? The approach is thus two pronged, like a double helix, or a serpent wrapping itself around the branch of a tree. First, Caputo seeks to expose “bad” religion, and second, to establish the guidelines for “good” religion. It is important for Caputo, and us following him, to keep track of ethical prescriptions and deconstructive descriptions.12 This is because the problem for Caputo,
12 Keeping in mind of course that the project has a definitive proclivity towards a progressive politics, yet this interest—if Caputo is successful—should not undermine Caputo’s use of deconstruction insofar as he does not merely confuse terms and equate Derrida’s theoretical discussions on ethics with a normative system.

the problem for theology and some philosophy, asks how we understand the space between the difference of the way things are and the way that we think they should be. That is, how far can deconstruction properly inform us of the way we ought to be in light of the way things are? Even insofar as deconstruction claims that absolutes are entirely untenable and collapse upon themselves under their own weight, one still emphasizes Justice, for example as impossibility but always tinged with hope for what may come. Caputo does not answer this question by simply saying that deconstruction is an ethical system, or that we are able to attain an ethics from a deconstruction of religion, or ethics from a theology of a religion without religion. Instead we have to understand theology first as an extension of the methodology and nomenclature of deconstruction. First, the question of the existence of God is fundamentally unimportant for Caputo. The existence of God is concerned with the “ontic or ontological” that Caputo claims distracts us from the real question at hand because, as Kant affirmed, we merely engage in an endless debate that gets us nowhere, and more over it prevents our ability to simply first let God be God and approach with openness to the weak call of God, which means the ability to let God speak to us in Her terms—the language of deconstruction (WG 116). Therefore Caputo is not talking about God as an entity or a metaphysical thing like theology asserts. Instead, we might say, that the call of God—the Word—precedes the question of Its existence.13 Insofar as the religious by its very
13 Perhaps there is something of Heidegger’s ontological primacy of language of his later works and the task of Being and Time to dis-cover the precondition to possibility itself implicit here. The question of God’s existence was attempted to be resolved by and large according to the logic of a necessary existent being. In as much as— ontologically this is what Kant did—we do not require a necessary being in order to establish necessary preconditions to possibility in general, we are structurally unable to take God as a necessary being but as the language that precedes being and allows us to have an authentic interaction with our Being-there. God—the logos, the Word of God—functions not as a being but as the precondition to a possible understanding of Being. We could say God’s Word was in the world before we were. The Word was always there, “with God in the beginning” (New International Version, John 1.2). That the Word came before the beginning, that the language which expresses being—the language through which being is brought forth to being, the poetics of creation—bodes well for deconstruction. In such case, since God is not an entity that creates beings, the Being of beings, but an expression of being always already there, we do not relate to an entity and a singular beginning, but to the Word which precedes any origin, which comes before all beginning, which makes the possibility of beginning possible, and which makes the possibility of an absolute origin impossible.

nature undeniably is, is bound up with humanity at all times, the religious calls us and we necessarily must respond. Just as silence is a type of discourse, secularism, is a response to the call of God—there is no atheism without theism. Therefore, when Caputo speaks of God or theology, he does not do so in terms of something that is—we are not speaking of God in the substantial sense anymore, but rather “the name of God,” the word God, with all of the power of a word and none of a god, which Caputo argues then, “is an event, or rather that it harbors an event” (WG 2 [emphasis original]). God like all words harbors an event, words in their very nature are events rather than things. One cannot hold a word like you can hold a ball. Ball. A word refers to a thing, but not according to a precise structure of correspondence or logic of identity. A word according to deconstruction functions according to the play of signifiers, the space of difference through which we relate words to each other and thereby determine meaning. No word has a stable meaning. It has a meaning because it is open to change. A word therefore calls the event of its meaning, a word is the possibility for meaning, and openness to a meaning which has a history, but is not predetermined, a word is meaningful because it has the capacity for future meaning, it is open to possibility which is the risk of change—even destruction. Why is this word—God—different from all other words? The name of God is uniquely special because of the attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence, necessary existant, etc. that were applied to it as predicates. God is a special word because it evokes the power of its history on the one hand, and on the other, the true power of God’s history is covered up by magical tricks that are emphasized in strong theology. When we stop fantasizing about God in terms of absolute Being and Sovereign power, we begin to unlock the power of the word—of the event of God— that inspired such fantasies to begin with. Therefore the task of the theology of the event is to get to the root of illusions, not in order to dismiss them, prove the ridiculousness of such claims, or

the ignorance of the people who have faith; but, the theology of the event is an analysis of the weak force of the event underlying possibility of its fetishization in ontological power fantasies. Thus one does not affirm such possibilities, but possibility in general, in the absolutely general, absolutely empty (insofar as one thinks of the name like a container filled with predicates) name God, “theology is the hermeneutics of that event, its task being to release what is happening in that name, to set it free, to give it its own head, and thereby to head off the forces that would prevent this event” (WG 2 [emphasis original]). All theology is a hermeneutics of the event, insofar as every theology is an interpretation of the Word; however, some theology—strong theology which privileges God’s power— prevents us from experiencing the event as-it-is (yet-to-come); it prevents us from being open to the experience of the event, foreclosing possibility in-itself. This theology holds God back; that is, it binds God to being. Such theology is what Caputo calls “strong theology” which emphasizes the absolute power of God in His absolute Being. God is in that case the transcendent Being beyond being, in the sense of an Aristotelian unmoved mover or Platonic demiurge. Such a God is understood purely as power, the Sovereign power that underlies the world and creation and the power to destroy it. The power to intervene at will. The power to punish and the power to reward. God therefore is the absolute force of order, the logos of creation embodied in the order of the universe and the world. In this reading, the problem of Evil necessitates a whole series of complicated responses, in the end hinging on the justice of a vengeful God who punishes the sinners in eternal Hell and rewards the Just in heaven, to each their own according to their faith. Following Derrida’s deconstruction of religion, Caputo envisions a God without sovereignty, a God whose power is Its powerlessness. Caputo understands God’s transcendence insofar as we conceptualize God as some-thing that reigns above the order of things we in effect

reduce God to the order of things(-in-themselves). [His] transcendence would take place only in rank, but not in kind. Caputo wants to recapture the idea that God is the transcendent, insofar as it “is a matter of the transcendence of the event that transpires in the name of God” (WG 39 [emphasis original]) which is to say that “God is the call that provokes what is there, the specter that haunts what is there, the spirit that breathes over what is there” (WG 45 [emphasis original]). Transcendence in this way is not understood according to the traditional schema of western philosophy, first clearly articulated by Plato and given a definitive structure in Kant. The transcendent is taken as the static, unchanging, perfect, eternally present, (unknowable), Truth of the being of entities—it is that which really is, which our faulty impressions fail to adequately correspond to. Caputo refigures transcendence not as that which is beyond the order of things in the sense of the Truth of things in-themselves, but that which is beyond the order of things as an event—not in-itself, but yet-to-come—which disrupts that very order, a disruption which is entirely unpredictable and in that sense unknowable before the fact, but which is made known in the disruption. God does not provide the ground of the distinction between the Reality and appearance. The opposition between transcendent things-in-themselves and the appearance of things in the world is impossible to maintain according to the autoimmune logic of deconstruction. Therefore insofar as God is deconstructible, insofar as the name of God is autoimmune, God is the event that “disorders such orders, de-worlds such words, and subverts and polyverts such universes… systematically associated with the different, the marginal” (WG 34). “Disturbing the prestige of the present by means of an event,” God is privileged not as the perfection of presence but as the possibility of an unpredictable future, of a true thing to-come (WG 32). God is not an entity, but a call. God’s transcendence lies not in the fact that It is beyond being in absolute eternal unchanging perfection, but God is the event that precludes the

possibility of being to be insofar as being is transitory and conditioned by change, suffering, death, and—yes—evil. Caputo’s reading of Genesis claims that God did not create the stuff of the world (which would then be corrupted by human Sin)—there was already stuff there, the waters of the deep—but God is what provides significance and meaning to the world (WG 75) insofar as “creation is not a movement from non-being to being, but from being to the good, from the mute being to speech and categoriality” (WG 67). Caputo writes following the logic of the khora, “There is an element of irreducible indeterminacy and instability built right into creation, so that creation is going to be continually exposed to re-creation…there is a deep structural mutability…things are deconstructible because they are constructed from a mutable stuff to begin with” (WG 64). In this way God does not exercise the power of creation ex nihilo but provides the basis for possible meaning insofar as God is understood as the event of the advent, the possibility of the good (to-come!). Caputo here intrinsically links the possibility of meaning with the possibility of the good. The fact that God “said” that the world was good provides the basis for everything that we desire, everything that we call good, and everything that is desired of us—that we are called to do good:
The name of God is the name of everything that we love and desire, with a desire beyond desire, the name of our passion…But I go further, for such desire is still in the nominative mode, as if it were a matter of purely subjective agency on our part, of what we can do by means of our desire desiring. The name of God is also the name of everything that desires us, everything that puts us in the accusative, that desires what is best in us and desires what is best from us, that calls us out beyond ourselves, beyond our desire and our being, beckoning us beyond being to the good (WG 88).

Instead of taking recourse to God as the absolutely sovereign, God is the weak event of the good which is necessarily open to mutability and transformation; therefore, it is not a matter of corruption, but of a primordial state of flux. Moreover, structure of human desire and existence mirrors the structure of creation. Insofar as the world was always already there before it was “good”; that is, endowed with significance, meaning, possibility, we not only desire the good but we are preceded by another who desires the good from us, that we will be good. This fact is

confirmed on a base level biologically. A child is always the product of some sort of desire. That such a desire precedes the individual means that an individual desire is always already determined by the desire of another. Because we are preceded by others onticly, we have an ethical relationship to others ontologically. We not only desire the good, but the good is desired from us, co-constitutively. The possibility for desire and ethics is made possible by the weak force of God, the God that did not create things but gave things meaning. Caputo writes that it would be impossible for God to give things meaning if [He] had also created them. That would invalidate the meaning that God gives insofar as it would be a sort of regressive gift of narcissism. Because God would have absolute control of the thing, it would be impossible for God to give meaning in as much as the meaning of the gift is that it is taken up and given new meaning by another (WG 85). Rather, to give the gift of goodness, of meaning to the world, is to “make Godself vulnerable,” as there is always a vulnerability in giving away something (WG 85). The person that you give a gift to might not like it, they might even destroy it, but in order for one to give a gift one must give regardless—giving cannot hold back. There can only be a true gift of goodness, of meaning, if God is no longer in control of Its gift, if God gives up goodness to the world and acknowledges the possibility that goodness may be corrupted and fall into evil. This is not any fault on God or our part, but it is the nature of goodness and meaning, also the nature of the world. It would be impossible for the world to be good at all or to have any sort of meaning if it were also not possible for goodness to turn into evil, for meaning to turn into meaningless suffering. God is the possibility of the event which means transformation, but the event of creation in such a weakness is also mutually susceptible to the corruption of evil. It is open to risk, chance, and change. But an unconditional promise of goodness underlies the world. God’s goodness, the gift of goodness is properly unconditional because it is exposed to the risk of evil,

and makes itself vulnerable. “What is properly unconditional,” Caputo writes, “is a word given without conditions, with no fine print, no hidden or secret terms…the unconditional absolute action in creation is not the magical feat of producing being out of absolutely nothing…but the absolutely unconditional yes, good, very good” (WG 90 [emphasis original]). Suffering exists— God is not responsible—but in spite of such suffering, despite the tragic course of history the world is good regardless, there is always hope of redemption, of the event which is to-come, as long as we are able to keep hope alive. God, for this reason, corresponds to the structure of the event which has an unsettling temporal character. Caputo describes the event in terms of the “kingdom”; however, the kingdom does not relate to any otherworldly heaven, but that which contradicts and confounds the logic and economy of the world itself. The world and the kingdom are not two separate “places” but “two different orders of signification” (WG 107). The world has one meaning, it is a logic of calculation, and irreparable loss, but the kingdom contains a meaning that exceeds any possible calculation and risks the impossible statement that creation is good. The temporal character of the event is that which contradicts the calculative logic of the world which would like to predict and account for every possible event in the future. However the nature of the event, time, signification and meaning in the world hinges on the fact that it is simply impossible to predict the future. The future is always open—insofar as there is a future it exists as purely unpredictable possibility. Thus Caputo wants us to invest in the time of the kingdom, a “mad economics” which invests in the time of the now, it is a time “without anxiety, a time ruled by God, not by human care, is not a time without a future, not a time that is only present, for that would not be time at all but eternity…but a time without anxiety over the future…what has been lifted is …the weight of the future, or responsibility for mastering the unknown” (165). Caputo argues this mad

economics in distinction to the logic of mastery and calculation that is the order of our daily everyday lives determined for the most part according to a logic of technical management. This logic is both an extension of and justified by the ontotheological might of a strong God. Caputo criticizes the God of absolute Sovereignty and mastery as the inauthentic justification for readymade human violence and mastery:
The fantasy of power…is never far removed from religious violence, from the crown of power that religion places on its own head by imagining that it is the vicar of absolute power, that all power was handed over to it by an all-powerful God…this model of sovereignty is contagious. It spreads from rogued theology to blood in the streets. The sovereignty of God is readily extended to the sovereignty of men over other men, over women and animals, over all creation (WG 78-9).

Now we need to be careful to note that the fantasy of power and ontotheological mastery is not indicted as a determinate cause of real world violence and if we simply got rid of such a thought that violence would no longer be, or that we would live in peace. Instead, Caputo claims that it is a part of creation to experience irreparable loss, to undergo certain violence. The question is how we deal with such violence. According to a strong theology which justifies such violence as divine, we are to simply wait for the second coming when all violence will end. However, Caputo’s weak theology offers an attempt to reconceputalize violence in terms of a temporal/historical meaning. Because the structure of God is analogous to the temporal conditions of the event, the weakness of God enables redemption not in terms of eschatological salvation—in the end of history—but the redemption of history by the present in terms of forgiveness. We do not invest in the “now” of eternal presence, but the “now” which is constantly changing and becoming future. We will never be able to stop violence, to stop meaningless suffering, but we are able to forgive it, and in forgiveness to transform meaninglessness into significant meaning. Traditional theology tends to ascribe the suffering of the world as some sort of good that is inherent in God’s “mysterious” plan. Caputo argues that the world is good, that God is good,

but there is no plan, and it is delusional to think that meaningless suffering could in some way be the work of God’s goodness. Sometimes somethings are absolutely meaningless. But we are not thereby paralyzed by meaninglessness, evil, or suffering. We are able, in the present, to transform the past according to the schema of forgiveness which is a “double temporality” according to the structure “’forget it, it never happened” and “never forget” (WG 209). On the one hand, in forgiven time we must allow the offense to be forgotten, as if it didn’t happen, but on the other we must retain the event and never forget, to keep it in mind. If we were to simply forget that an event happened then it would not be forgiveness but an erasure of the past. In forgiven time we remember the event as forgiven, and therefore transform the past and give the offense new meaning. In this way we are able to “put the past in a new perspective, which frees or opens the future” (WG 228 [emphasis original]). It is therefore necessary for us to engage in a critical reading of the past and forgiven time in order for the event of God to happen. This does not make meaningless suffering good, but our acknowledgement and forgiveness of it opens us for the event of God and the coming of the good. If the time of forgiveness corresponds to an account of the past in the present, it opens up and allows the possibility of the future or the messianic promise in the present. This is an inversion of eschatology, because the time of the present—now—contains the possibility for redemption, “we are the ones for whom the past, the dead, were waiting” (WG 252 [emphasis original]). We are the possibility for the past to have a future, we represent the possibility for the deaths of the past to be retained and given meaning in history, as our work in the present lives their future. At the same time, we allow possibility itself, the messianic yet-to-come inscribed in the name of God. Our interaction with the past is what guarantees the possibility of the future. We “keep the future open—and release the burden of the past” (WG 180).

This requires, Caputo argues, that “deconstruction [undergo] a parallel translation into an ethico-politics and therefore into the name of God, into a working equivalence with speaking in the name of God” (274). Such an ethics are the ethics of the impossible, the impossible event that is revealed to us in the work of God, which is the work of creation and, in Jesus, the work of transformation and recreation, of redemption. Caputo reads the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament according to his theory of redemption that reads as transformation not eternal salvation. The New Testament provides evidence that God is the force that allows us to change, that we need not simply be stuck with the meaninglessness of the present, and that we must open ourselves to hope and faith in the possibility of the future. Remarkably, Caputo reads the story of Jesus raising Lazarus affirming not a hope for a future immortal life, but that our lives in the present are open to transformation. Caputo reads the story from the perspective of Lazarus’ sisters and Jesus himself who experience the pain of the irreversible loss of a brother and a friend. This story only has meaning insofar as we recognize “they wanted, not eternity beyond time, but a new time, one in which Lazarus lived again” (WG 241). The miracle of raising the dead is a metaphor for the time of life, the time of this life that is essential to Jesus’ message in distinction to an eternal time or immortality. Jesus raises the dead, gives Lazarus another life. Why would this story matter if the only framework for understanding death and salvation in Christianity is one that occurs only after death, in the “death of death”? The metaphysical image of eternal salvation has its root in the irreparable loss in the present and the desire for new time— for more time—in this life. We want to be saved from the time of the world that takes our time in the world away from us. Caputo argues we can only find salvation when we redeem the past, when we forgive the death that came to Lazarus untimely. By doing so we are able to transform death into a new life for Lazarus in our cherished memories. Death gives us the opportunity to

make sense of the life that was taken, we are able to give another life to the life that no longer is, and give a fuller meaning to that life in the wake of death. If this is an ethical injunction, which Caputo seems to argue it is, it is demonstrably a non-normative one. It does not tell us how we should live our lives. It does not give us a maxim to check our actions against. It does not tell us what is right or wrong. It tells us we have a responsibility to redeem the past, but such forgiveness is less of an ethical standard than a relationship to an alternate structure of time, an alternative structure of time that allows the possibility for time to continue, for the future to be possible as a future. Our ethical relationship to the other takes place between us and the infinite others who came before us first, as we relate to the past in the present. This lets us to relate to the present as a pure now without anxiety—a now in which we live and do not calculate or attempt to master a future. Our relationship to present as present means that we keep the future open—open for the event of God, goodness, and meaning, that constitutes the relationship between present and future—the precondition of absolute possibility that underlies the whole system. Without the possibility of God, without the possible meaning and goodness that God gave to the world, the structure of possibility collapses and we are confined either to the impossibility of existence, or the impossibility to escape a horrible existence. §16. A God to Be Desired Is there a meaningful difference between asserting what can and cannot be desired at all and claiming something is undesirable in-itself? What does it mean to claim that something initself is undesirable if deconstruction describes ontologically that-which-is can never be in-itself because it is autoimmune? The question perhaps is better stated, can there be temporality without desire, or desire without temporality? The answer is not given in terms of the priority of temporality over desire or vice versa but the co-constitutive nature of temporality and desire.

Desire is temporal, and temporality is desirable. Desire without temporality would undermine the nature of desire and be a desire for the eternal and the immune. Temporality without desire would be nothing at all, and only according to this logic can Hägglund to make the claims “there is no exemption to the law of survival” (RA 122) and “survival not a value in itself but condition of all values” (RA 164-165). Thus, Hägglund argues Derrida’s rewriting of the Transcendental Aesthetic without falling back on a normative ethics. Hägglund really wants to say God is undesirable, this is his polemic, the force of Radical Atheism, but the argument, as Adrian Johnston writes is that “Hägglund claims that humanity always has been atheist” (RA 149). This highlights the stakes for several questions: First, if Derrida describes temporality in such a way that God, Immortality, etc., are undesirable, why does he so often use religious terminology, the Messianic, for example, and likewise why does the question of God and the religious seem to haunt almost every aspect of his later works? Second, if Hägglund is right in his claims, is there any legitimate space to discuss God and the religious, not only in the context of deconstruction but on the whole? Third, do the seemingly irrefutable criticisms that Radical Atheism levies against religious, atheistic, and the perhaps bizarre religious appropriation of deconstruction, accommodate all conceptions of the divinity, specifically in the Christian Western conception of God? Finally, does Hägglunds reading of deconstruction not suggest that he himself is performing the architectonic task of building deconstruction from the ground up, laying its foundations and assembling the edifice, something which the very term deconstruction denounces? The clue to answering these questions can be found in the final pages of Rogues, subtitled two essays on reason, given as lectures by Derrida a few years before his death. The overriding question behind these essays is the apparent confrontation between “irrational” terrorists, predominately religious supported by what are called rogue states and the “rational” powers of

global (western) secular government. Derrida does nothing less than question the history and trajectory of Reason, the relationship between science and religion, sovereignty, violence, and politics. As expected his conclusions are less than determinate and raise more questions on the nature of responsibility and political engagement than he is willing to give answers. But in the final pages, he affirms straight out what he has been talking about all along in a discussion that centers mostly around questions concerning the status of democracy and nation state sovereignty. It is at bottom not merely a question concerning reason, but a question concerning God. I will quote the passage at length because it contains all of the essential elements of Derrida’s thought:
This reminds us that we must sometimes, in the name of reason, be suspicious of rationalizations….that the Enlightenment to come would have to enjoin us to reckon with the logic of the unconscious, and so with the idea, and the notice I’m not saying here the doctrine, arising out of a psychoanalytic revolution. Which, I might add, would have had no chance of emerging in history without, among other things, this poisoned medicine, this pharmakon of an inflexible and cruel autoimmunity that is sometimes called the “death drive” and does not limit the living being to its conscious and representative form. It is thus no doubt necessary, in the name of reason, to call into question and to limit a logic of nation-state sovereignty. It is no doubt necessary to erode not only its principle of indivisibility but its right to the exception, its right to suspend rights and law, along with the undeniable ontotheology that founds it, even in what are called democratic regimes… In speaking of an ontotheology of sovereignty, I am referring here, under the name of God, this One and Only God, to the determination of a sovereign, and thus indivisible, omnipotence. For wherever the name of God would allow us to think something else, for example a vulnerable nonsovereignty, one that suffers and is divisible, one that is mortal even, capable of contradicting itself or of repenting (a thought that is neither impossible nor without example), it would be a completely different story, perhaps even the story of a god who deconstructs himself in his ipseity. In any case, such a questioning of sovereignty is not simply some formal or academic necessity for a kind of speculation in political philosophy, or else a form of genealogical, or perhaps even deconstructive, vigilance. It is already under way. It is at work today; it is what’s coming, what’s happening. It is and it makes history through the anxiety-provoking turmoil we are currently undergoing. For it is often precisely in the name of the universality of human rights, or at least their perfectibility, as I suggested earlier, that the indivisible sovereignty of the nation-state is being more and more called into question, along with the immunity of sovereigns, be they heads of state or military leaders, and even the institution of the death penalty, the last defining attribute of state sovereignty (R 157-158 [emphasis original]).

Hägglund is absolutely correct asserting that Derrida here is in no way calling for any specific sort of prescriptive normative action, or an ethical injunction to combat sovereignty which is in the end only a form of inflexible and cruel autoimmunity. Derrida, as a person, might advocate

the abolition of the death penalty on his own ethical grounds, but those are not to be found in deconstruction or his philosophy. Derrida argues even under the rubric of human rights, we have little adequate ground in the deconstruction of human rights to advocate for them by abolishing sovereignty. He notes, “Nation-state sovereignty can even itself, in certain conditions, become an indispensable bulwark against certain international powers, certain ideological, religious, or capitalist, indeed linguistic hegemonies” (R 158). Derrida accomplishes not an ethical norm or maxim but “respectful attention paid to singularity” of each and every unique moment that cannot be subsumed or categorized under a universal rule or principle, “responsibility would consist in orienting oneself without any determinative knowledge of the rule” (R 158 [emphasis original]). Deconstruction provides a descriptive framework, and not a maxim. However, Hägglund grossly misinterprets the implications of this claim in an overreaching radical atheism. He quotes this passage in a strategically redacted form to claim that God “cannot be exempt from temporal finitude” (RA 142). While this claim seems to hold up, under Derrida’s characterization of a god which deconstructs himself, Hägglund again goes further, “the deconstruction of God is the deconstruction of the very idea of absolute immunity, which is the foundation of religion. There is nothing safe and sound, nothing holy and sacred, and the name of God is no exception. It is a name among other names and the common denominator for all names is that they spell out the mortality of whatever is named” (RA 145). While Hägglund is right to assert that the name of God is no exception to autoimmunity, he is wrong in his next two claims, in Derrida’s terms. First, the deconstruction of God is the deconstruction of the idea of absolute immunity; however, the foundation of religion is not founded solely on the idea of absolute immunity. Nor does the deconstruction of absolute immunity mean that religion is entirely undermined. “Faith and Knowledge” characterizes the confrontation between the apparently secularized west

(dependent on a logic of sovereignty derived from ontotheology) and the “return of the religious” in the form of violent extremism as a challenge to the west. In this essay Derrida makes it clear that religion has at its foundation at least two sources, fiduciary faith and the immune, sacred, safe, and holy. Derrida also is careful to be mindful that religion is not merely the institution of religion something that is sacred, sovereign, immune, but also consists of an elementary faith that must be analyzed in concert. At this point, the term religious is complicated between several competing and codeterminative factors. The name of God is not as important here except as a placeholder for the absolutely immune. The deconstruction of religion reveals that its autoimmunity both establishes religious institutions, lays the conditions for their downfall, and then attacks secularism. The faith which is a dual source of the religious is at the same time the source for the social bond and community. Faith itself is autoimmune, which Hägglund is correct in noting, that every faith in the other is always open to the possibility that one will be cut off by the other, hurt by the other, etc. But the relation to faith and immunity is, in Hägglund’s analysis correctly identified as conditioned by the specifically temporal conditions of autoimmunity. However he gets is entirely wrong. Derrida writes “this interruptive dis-junction enjoins a sort of incommensurable equality within absolute dissymmetry. The law of this untimeliness interrupts and makes history, it undoes all contemporarily and opens up the very space of faith. It designates disenchantment as the very source of the religious” (FK 99 [emphasis original]). The deconstruction of the idea of absolute immunity actually reveals the foundation of religion to be in the autoimmune structure of fiduciary faith. The space of faith is opened up by the very fact that trust can never be guaranteed, and that one must trust regardless, unconditionally, even though one will and does get burned. While Hägglund is correct to assert that the spacing of time “cannot be appropriated by religion” he misses the point that the spacing of time is the constitutive condition of religion

by means of faith. Faith and absolute immunity are always at odds, which is why religion is autoimmune, why religion is deconstructible; that is to say, why it exists. Second, the name of God is unlike any other name, and it is irresponsible of Hägglund to assume that all names can be simply reduced to the level of mortality. Just because naming conforms to a structure of survival does not make the name irrelevant, nor does it mean we should forgo a name or think that its meaning is no longer important. The question of the name, of a word, is important for Derrida. Speaking on the name democracy, Derrida quotes himself in Rogues, saying, “What remains or still resists in the deconstructed (or deconstructible) concept of democracy which guides us endlessly? Which orders us not only to engage a deconstruction but to keep the old name?” (R 89 [emphasis original]). This can clearly be equally applied to the name of God. Something that does “not exclude the possibility, even the right, of perhaps one day abandoning the inheritance or heritage of the name, of changing names. But always in the name of the name, thereby betraying the heritage in the name of the heritage” (R 89 [emphasis original]). So the question is what is contained in the name of God that guides us in its deconstructibility, and that by the same token, even as deconstructed must be retained. What power is behind the name, the power that it once referred to, the power that it contains now, that we must still use it? Now Hägglund would want to argue that this is exactly the point of Radical Atheism: to show that God is already deconstructed, that the deconstruction of God is a radically atheistic task because not only does God not exist, but that when we name God we really do not mean God when we use the name, but radical finitude. But this ignores the possibility of changing names, that the meaning contained in the name of God undergoes a transformation in its deconstructabiltiy, that the name of God has a heritage that preserves itself even as radical atheism claims the idea of God is undesirable. No, it would be a completely different story. Perhaps a certain idea of God, a part of a certain heritage, an ontotheological history that is the

effect of and a response to an autoimmune temporality which precedes and determines both ontology and theology, which marks their conjunction and thinking their disunion. Hägglund actually achieves more than he planned to, by describing the ontological conditions of temporality and the desirability of God, he mapped out how ontological preconditions determine our conception of the religious. But here we must separate the religious from strictly God, immortality, and the Good. Those are surely a part, but not the whole of religiosity. Moreover, the ontological preconditions which make the religious possible as an autoimmune confrontation between faith and the sacred make God desirable, not because God is absolutely immune, but because our desire for God is impossibly pure. Thus, the task of deconstruction does not give us an ethical imperative to recover that which we lost when we lost faith in God, Hägglund argues we never had faith in God, at least what he considers God according to the predicates Eternal, Good, omnipotent, savior, etc. But the essential question, insofar as he lays bare the ontological structures that determine this God is undesirable, this ontotheological spook, he does not appreciate the force of this argument which lays bare the ontological structures which precede ontotheology and which allow for religiosity, for faith above all. Hägglund is naive to assume that the whole of western philosophy and theology presents a merely ontotheological deity, absolutely immune from temporality and autoimmune corruption. Deconstruction does not impel us to recover God from either the secular sovereignty based on ontotheology, or to re-appropriate God from so called fundamentalists and extremists. Rather, it undermines both claims to absolute sovereignty along with the right to violence. It undermines the rationality of sovereign reason and locates irrationality undermining itself from within. The task is not ethical in any manner, but through and by deconstruction alternate sources of religion are located and alternate meanings encoded in the name, both obscured and persevered by an ontotheological heritage. We are not seeking to

uncover a pure origin, but perhaps to uncover something which has been lost—what is it in the name of God, in the spirit of the religious, in the desire for survival, in autoimmunity, that somehow keeps God alive—if only new gods can save us, or if we are charged to create new gods, what else is there in the desire for God that conforms to the structure of desirability? What predicates remain? What story does the god which deconstructs itself tell, and in what terms, structurally, ontologically? Western philosophy and its religious and theological implications, from Origen to Aquinas, Augustine to Kant, Hegel to Freud, has always conceived the notion of the death of God as the founding act of Christian belief. The death of Christ is the necessary precondition to the resurrection by which humanity has been redeemed. Hegel gives this as the full articulation of the development of Spirit in the last sentences of the Phenomenology of Spirit:
The goal, Absolute Knowing, or Spirit that knows itself as Spirit, has for its path the recollection of the Spirits as they are in themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their realm. Their preservation, regarded from the side of their free existence appearing in the form of contingency, is History; but regarded from the side of their comprehended organization, it is the Science of Knowing in the sphere of appearance; the two together, comprehended History, form alike the inwardizing and the Calvary of absolute Spirit, the actuality, truth, and certainty of his throne, without which he would be lifeless and alone. Only From the chalice of this realm of spirits Foams forth for Him his own infinitude (PS 493).

The passion of Christ is the guiding point of religious revelation. The death of Christ on the Mountain of Skulls is its actuality. The Calvary of Spirit is the foundation for the historical community as a teleological actuality within the history of the world. It is this autoimmune relationship to the death of God, that God must kill Herself in order to actualize Her Church in the world that serves as our relationship to each other and our faith. Even atheistic denunciations of God fail to overcome the Calvary. For Martin Hägglund, perhaps the most extreme proponent of a radical atheism that denies not only the existence of God but that we never desired this thing we imagine as God in the first place, radical atheism serves as the precondition to the Calvary under the name of autoimmune temporality. Autoimmune temporality reflects the constitutive

violence of community that is referred to symbolically as the death of God. We can only desire what is mortal, God, even as a fantasy of desire, is begotten to a woman, and is embodied as a human—embodied in a mortal body. God becomes mortal so that God may die. At the heart of Christianity is the desire for a mortal God—for a God who dies just like us. Radical atheism in this respect is the final conclusion of Christianity, as conceived of as Calvary. God is reduced to mortality, and in that respect, it reaffirms the subject’s individuality, and autonomous isolation. If God is not the foundation of subjectivity as something more than mortality, but God in Her very essence is mortal, then subjectivity is ultimately the mortal being isolated within the confines of their own death. Even a God that cannot be desired—this reduces us to our own mortality and the absolute point of our very subjectivity cut off from everybody else. If we are ontologically constituted by our mortal limits, then subjectivity is nothing other than the mere time of survival of an individual’s life, and we again are in the same fundamental assumption of Kantian autonomy.

§17. Gethsemane: Concluding Exegesis on the Agony
Moral action is selfless duty. However, selfless duty is conceptualized in the western tradition, not by renouncing the self and turning towards others, but by fully conceiving the self as something that we can master, by subordinating our sensible self to our rational self. This dualistic conception of the self is the gate way to moral action, or duty for its own sake, that is duty that exists not for the sake of the self but for something higher than the self. However, its precondition is on an absolute embrace of the self—via subjective self legislation of the moral law. Through absolutely subjectivity, we are able to engage in selfless action. However this project is always misguide from its inception, because it provides not the basis of selfless action, but of absolute subjectivity that is able to disregard the self. Selfless action, however, must be conditioned on a lack of self. For selfless action to be possible, a priori, then we must rely on a formulation not of an a priori subjectivity, but an a priori lack of subjectivity and an a posterori production of subjectivity that can then be subordinated to the selfless subject. Derrida, falls into the trap of privileging the subject that is produced by difference. However, he does provide, along the lines of autoimmune temporality, the preconditions to subjectivity not in the insular isolated subject, but in the multiplicity of differences that precede the subject. Rather than arguing that we should isolate ourselves from community in order to avoid the autoimmune self destructive violence that goes along with it, I argue that we must embrace the notion of community in the fundamental act of faith that is the precondition to experience. This faith will ultimately always be a sort of violence, but I believe we can frame faith within the rubric of a lesser violence, that is a selfless violence, or violence against the self. What do I mean by this? Do I advocate suicide? Am I arguing that terrorism is justified? No, on the contrary. I

argue that we need to reframe our notions and faith from the passion and the Glory, the resurrection and the reclamation, to the doubt and agony that is constitutive of selfless violence. Rather than viewing the whole of Jesus’ existence to culimate in his long tortourous walk to the Mountain of Skulls where he was reject by his followers, abused by Jews, handed over to the Romans and executed by being nailed to a wooden cross; having died, resurrected on the third day and emerged from the tomb to make an appearance to Mary and the disciples, and finally in the greatest proof of His Divine Glory, ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father; Rather than viewing ethical action as something that we must have constitutive knowledge of, that we must subordinate our action to certain a priori knowledge, I find in the story of Jesus a remarkable new testament to morality in doubt, to morality as mortal doubt found in the eternal words of spirit that flow forth from the cup of destiny in the words of the many who cry in that moment of utter passion, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Matt. 27:46, Mk. 15: 34), “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Ps. 22:1). Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, “but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). This means that the ethical commandments of the Judaic law, as prescriptive norms, no longer function according to moral means. The law is not a set of prescriptions but an act of faith, that is an act of will. “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing” (Jn. 14:12). What is it that Jesus has been doing? Jesus teaches, not by word, but by deed. He heals the sick, raises the dead, walks on water, turns water into wine, multiplies the loaves of bread. But moreover, Jesus risks his life. He risks his life by being considered the leader of the Jews, an angry Jew who seeks to rise up against the Jewish aristocracy in the Pharasees that have politically aligned themselves with Roman oppression over the moral duty to the Jewish community. Jesus does not call himself the Son of God or the King of the Jews, to Pilate he responds, not I, but “You say

so” (Matt. 27:11). For Jesus, we can read, the scribes are the source of power, of systematizing the Law into the bare letter of writing, and they are willing to remain complicit with Roman occupation. The Prophet Isaiah mocks the King of Babylon, who dispersed and oppressed the Jews, “How you have fallen from heaven/ O Morning star [Latin: Lucifer], son of the dawn! / You have been cast down to the earth, / you who once laid low the nations!” (Is. 14:12). Lucifer is the force of oppression in the world. The devil is not some Manichean metaphysical entity that exists in a separate Hell—rather, Satan is the very real power of the scribes, of the Kings, of the powerful and the mighty, who use the right of law and the force of violence to oppress their people and wage war on the earth. Satan is the mark of bare human individuality seeking to maintain its self enclosed autonomy at the expense of everyone else. It is the power of selfish action. The task of Jesus is to renounce Satan by renouncing the scribes and those who ally themselves with worldly oppression. When Lucifer tells Jesus that he will give him the whole population of the earth at his feet to worship him, Jesus responds, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, / and Serve only him’” (Matt. 4:10). What does it mean to serve only God? And where do we find this? For Jesus, to serve God is to renounce subjective individual will. We can only understand Jesus notion of selflessness in the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane as the ultimate articulation of his notion of God. In the Garden Jesus prays, awaiting his death. But he does not merely pray. Jesus is along with his disciples, and he is clearly and for obvious reasons worried. Jesus is in a state of panic in the realization of his impending execution. Jesus has yet to be indicted, but he knows that he is fighting against an unstoppable institutional power of the Pharisees. He knows that he is a thorn in the side of the Romans. He is arguing for both of their dissolution. It is quite clear that he risks execution. And he knows that this is the ultimate conclusion of his teaching. He must die for the sake of God. But Jesus is not certain. He does not

have absolute knowledge, or knowledge when the time of the reclamation, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36, Mk. 13:32). He does not act according to an absolute moral maxim that dictates beforehand what he should do and what its outcome can be. Jesus prays, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want” (Matt. 26:26). Jesus in Agony experiences doubt! Let this cup pass from me; that is, the cup of destiny—the death that Jesus knows is impending. Let this cup pass from me—let this destiny not take me, let me be exempt from this destiny because I do not know what it means. I am afraid of this destiny, God, and I do not know what to do. Therefore, I will not will. I do not have a will. I will only will insofar as I will your will. But I do not know your will. Jesus is in a state of despair. He is in agony. He is praying to be relieved of the death he cannot avoid. And his disciples are sleeping! Jesus agony is compounded by the fact that his followers refuse to stay awake. He is abandoned unto himself, into his own internal consciousness, but he does not revert to subjective affirmation. Peter, who later denies Jesus, is sleeping, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Jesus doubts, he prays a second time. He reiterates that he does not want to die, that he does not want to drink of the cup of destiny, but that he will, if he must, “if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done” (Matt. 26:42). His followers were still sleeping, Jesus was still ignored by his community. He repeats this prayer a second time. If he must do what he must do, he does it not because he is Jesus—a singular mortal subject—but because he is mortal he is a subject of Gods. Jesus’ will is not his own. Jesus moral action is not based on his own subjectivity, or his own certainty—it is based on his absolute doubt in subjectivity and his subordination to selflessness, in the will of God. We can read the will of God not as some supernatural or metaphysical entity, some Absolute Willing, or the like. Rather, the will of God is the force of difference that produces the

will of the subject. The will of God is the type of willing, holy will, that precedes the individual from which it is born. Each individual is never alone, never simply their own will that they have certain rational control over, but also contains this overwhelming nonsubjective, but also nonobjective, will of God, that forms the community of believers, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:50). Jesus by doing the will of God actually renounces his own subjectivity and becomes his own brother, his own sister, his own mother. He does not become God, rather he becomes abjectly selfless. This selflessness is not founded in certainty, but in doubt. In doubt, Jesus realizes the nature of his destiny. In doubt, Jesus affirms the selfless will of God, which is the will of the basis of community. Doubt is a mortal will, and serves as the foundation for moral will. Selflessness is not reverence; it is experienced as agony. Christianity is not realized in the passion but in the agony. Subordination of the will is not to a transcendental reason, a priori, or empirical, but to the holy will, the will of the realized community—or rather, the will of the community to be realized. If we merely will ourselves in accordance with the community then we only will as an automaton of the status quo, replicating the same against the impossible ravages of difference. We only will the status quo of oppression. To will the community as it is, is to do the will of Lucifer. It is to engage in a noncritical subservience to the powers that be. It is to become an accessory of murder, a tool of the state. However, the holy will is not the community in the present, but the realization of the community to come. Because community is always internally unstable, it is actually ontologically impossible to will the present of the community, one can only will it as oppression in the present; or, one can will in relation to a future that is holy, a future that safeguards the holiness of the community from the contamination of the forces of the status quo engaging in subjective selfish actions. One wills in conformity with the community to come, which is not a willing displaced to the future, but an

action in the present that makes that future possible. One does not isolate oneself from the community, but rather, isolates oneself form the conditions of oppression within the community to align one’s will not with its own subjective determinations, but with its non-subjective, selflessness in its most basic state of différance. The isolated self must realize itself as the will of différance. One must will différance, which is not the will of an individual but the will of the Holy, the will of the Spirt, not as the Calvary that actualizes itself in history, but as the Agony out of subjective doubt of the nature of its destiny, out of subjective doubt towards its place in history, out of this agony and doubt, one affirms the will of the holy—your will be done, brother, sister, father, mother, self, at once. The holy is the possibility of community and the selfless foundation of moral action. It is not something that we can calculate, it is not a time that we can determine. “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple,” the cost of discipleship is the cross (Lk. 14:27). But the cross is not a symbol of the passion, rather, of the Agony. The cross is the symbol of execution in the sense that it destroys the individual’s self identity, and subjective nature of willing. To carry the cross is to become the will of the holy, to renounce the will of the self, and affirm the will of destiny. But the will of destiny is not a simple fact, because it is not our will—it is something that we do not and cannot know. We do not affirm the destiny that we think may come, or the destiny that ought to come, or the destiny of history revealing itself in time. Our recognition of destiny is not an affirmation of what we should do, but an agonizing struggle with the knowledge that we do not know what to do, that we do not know what is moral. Finally in this sense, I will reluctantly recuperate a certain Kant— that is a Kant without a ground for moral action, the Kant that fails to provide a ground. We do not know if anything we do is moral. Instead of seeking an a priori ground of our subjectivity, rather, we live this doubt as agony and renounce subjectivity.

What can we believe in? The Selfless God, the disembodied Christ, the individual incarnation, the flesh which is—in so far as it means something—more than one, in fact all—the incarnated body of Christ is the universal body of humanity, and the selfless sacrifice of that body is the irreparable doubt that we have been forsaken. We are to live, and to think, because living is thinking, like Christ in the Garden of his Agony—at the realization of selflessness, of our own impotence, and of the totality of our sacrifice, which is a sacrifice of our fantasy of identity. This above all else, is terrifying.

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