How to (De)Compose French Post-Structural Philosophy in 10 Easy Steps

You’ve seen them in action: Guattari, Deleuze, Derrida, and the rest. You’ve wondered: How do they do it? Where do they get those strange ideas and cumbersome, self-deconstructing sentences?

In ten simple steps you will move beyond clear speech (and also clear thought) in order to assemble, disassemble, discipline, and punish. All it takes is erudition, lots of practice, a bit of dancing in circles, and an infinite capacity for inflicting linguistic violence. If Lacan can, you can too.

Step 1: Select an obvious fact.

Fact: Book authors write books.

Step 2: Disagree with it.

Book authors do not actually write books.

Step 3: Complicate the disagreement by pretending to debunk a false opposition. Begin to introduce undefined jargon.

Book authors do not actually write books. To believe that they do sets up a false binary between “author” and “book” when in fact both “author” and “book” partake of a transcendental post-Cartesian field of potentiality filled with heterogenous significations pointing only toward each other.

Step 4: Block unification of the false opposition by turning it into a hopeless paradox.

Yet due to the heterogenous nature of this explication of unresolvable differences, “author” and “book” remain in a shifting state of mutual problematization that mirrors singularity distributions irreducible to such discreet polarizations as “author-book” or “book-author.” With every invocation of “author-book” an indeterminate range of virtualities desynchronize these binaries into endless combinations (e.g., book-book-author, book-author-book, author-to-the-first-power, book-to-the-third-power, author-to-the second-but-only-when-the-second-comes-third….).

Step 5: Suggest profundity by introducing irrelevant key terms and feeding them back on themselves in endless alliterations until they implode (the Heidegger Maneuver).

The Fieldless field of fielded author-book post-binary potentialities perpetually and provocatively displace and hyperdisplace themselves by distributive fields of force.

Step 6: Suggest further intellectual daring by introducing unpleasant, grotesque, or distorted imagery. Mix metaphors if possible.

Fields and trans-field field phenomena displacing conjuries of author-book presuppositions drift like marsh gas through literary discussions, their sulfurous stench driving away falsely totalizing joinings of author and book like club-wielding policemen breaking the bloody heads of organizing mobs until only splintered nightsticks remain on the scene once the ambulances have finally departed.

Step 7: Introduce apparent paradoxes to further destabilize clear thinking.

When an author sits down to write a book, the writing transcends both book and author, yet never reaches beyond either. The creative effort of writing uncreates itself by creatively deconstructing the author’s experience of authorship, yet pushes beyond this deconstruction to deconstruct the deconstruction itself, leaving in its wake a book without an author, creative or otherwise, least of all the author whose name appears on the cover but probably should not.

Step 8: Continuing the paradoxing and imploding, add in a few more bizarre images to leave the struggling reader drowning admiringly in fragmentation.

As authorship confirms itself in an affirmation of disjunctive affirmations that distances itself from the book in order to move beyond the distance of apparent closeness to close with the dematerialized material, the book becomes in effect an eyeless head, a containerless container, a flesh-covered cerebrum with the eyelashes still attached. In the halls of bourgeois academia this head provides bits of bait for attracting piranhas of predatory aleatory discourses, even if in the end its decomposition is useful primarily in fishing for compliments.

Step 9: Collect the royalties on the book or essay that is not actually yours.

Make sure that the banker who issues the checks hasn’t read the piece and thereby come to question the entire notion of authorship.

Step 10: Add its astonishing title to your curriculum vitae.

Heterotransbinarian Postmachinic Metaterritorial Obscurantamentalics
A Bum’s Rush for Clarity


© 2010 Craig Chalquist.