For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry. An Introduction

by Derrida, Jacques (1989)

Key Passage

how does the intrapsychically constituted structure arrive at an intersubjective being of its own as an ideal object wh ich , as "geometrical ,"is anything but a real psychic object, even though it has arisen psychically?Let us reflect. The original being-itself-there , in the immediacy [Aktualitiät] of its first production, i.e. , in original "self-evidence,"results in no persisting acquisition at all that could have objective existence . Vivid self-evidence passes-though in such a way that the activity immediately turns into the passivity of the flowingly fading consciousness of what-has-just-now-been . Finally this "retention" disappears, but the "disappeared" passing and being past has not become nothing for the subject in question: it can be reawakened. To the passivity of what is at first obscurely awakened and what perhaps emerges with greater and greater clarity there belongs the possible activity of a recollection in which the past experiencing [Erleben ] is lived through ina quasi-new and quasi-active way . Now if the originally self-evident production, as the pure fulfillment of its intention , is what is renewed (recollected) , there necessarily occurs, accompanying the active recollectionof what is past , an activity of concurrent actual production, and there arises thereby, in original "coincidence, " the self-evidence of identity : what has now been realized in original fashion is the same as what was previously self- evident. Also coestablished is the capacity for repetition at will with the self-evidence of the identity (coincidence of identity) of the structure throughout the chain of repetitions. Yet even with this, we have still not gone beyond the subject and his subjective, evident capacities; that is, we still have no ' 'objectivity " given. It does arise, however-in a preliminary stage-in understandable fashion as soon as we take into consideration the function of empathy and fellow mankind as a community of empathy and of language . In thecontact of reciprocal linguistic understanding, the original production and the product of one subject can be actively understood by the others. In this full understanding of what is produced by the other, as in thecase of recollection, a present coaccomplishment on one's own part of the presentified activity necessarily takes place ; but at the same time there is also the self-evident consciousness of the id entity of the mentalstructure in the production s of both the receiver of the communication and the communicator; and this occurs reciprocally. The productions can reproduce their likenesses from person to person, and in the chain of the understanding of these repetitions what is self-evident turns up as the same in the consciousness of the other. In the unity of the community of communication among several persons the repeatedly producedstructure becomes an object of consciousness, not as a likeness, but as the one structure common to all. (p.163)


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