“A recurring paradox underlies this tension in the necessity to neither accept everything, nor reject everything, to be both faithful and unfaithful to a legacy; i.e. not to accept a heritage ‘passively’, as a whole package, but to deconstruct it, to grasp it, understand it through its fractures, its cracks, its gaps, its inconsistencies. It is to know it well enough to be able to unpack its sedimentations, layer by layer – uncover their composition, their presumptions, and their assumptions.”.

“With this decision… comes the necessity to ‘select, filter, interpret, and therefore transform, to not leave intact, undamaged’. Secondly, while one reaffirms one’s heritage, in order to reaffirm it, at the same time one must question it, ‘reinterpret, critique, displace’ it. Consequently and paradoxically one can be faithful to one’s heritage only in as much as one accepts to be unfaithful to it, to analyse it, to critique it, to interpret it, relentlessly.”.

“Whoever inherits chooses one spirit rather than another. One makes selections, one filters, one sifts through the ghosts of through the injunctions of each spirit. There is legacy only where assignments are multiple and contradictory, ‘secret enough to defy interpretations, to carry the unlimited risk of active interpretation’.”.


Image: Dog Cart – biro on photocopy

Words: Denise Egea-Kuehne in Derrida, Deconstruction and Education (Ed. Trifonas & Peters)

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