On the one hand, it is not possible to forgive or to ask God to forgive (an enormous question: to know who is forgiving whom or who is forgiving whom for what) unless the guilty person confesses, asks forgiveness, repents, and thus changes, turns along another route, promises to be another person. The person asking forgiveness is always, to some extent, *another* person. So who—who is forgiven? And for what?
On the other hand, forgiveness is granted like an absolute grace, without exchange, without change, without repentance or asking for forgiveness. Without condition. These two logics (conditional pardon or unconditional grace granted even to the unpardonable) are in conflict but they coexist in the tradition, even if the logic of the conditional pardon is very much the predominant one, like common sense itself. But this common sense compromises in advance the pure, strict sense of a rigorous concept of forgiveness. Even if nothing ever corresponds to it in actual fact, we are the inheritors of this concept of the unconditional and it has to be taken into account as well. We should vouch for it in a responsible way.
Jacques Derrida, ‘Others Are Secret Because They Are Other’, Paper Machine, 160.
Whenever I want my cat to look at something instructive - a full moon, say, or a photograph of herself - a predictable choreography ensues. I point at the thing I want her to look at, and she, roused to curiosity, fixes her attention on the tip of my extended index finger and begins to explore it with delicate sniffs.
Every time this scene of failed pedagogy gets enacted (and it’s frequent because I am no better at learning not to point than my cat is at learning not to sniff) the two of us are caught in a pedagogical problematic that has fascinated teachers of Buddhism since Sakyamuni. In fact, its technical name in Buddhist writing is “pointing at the moon,” and it opens on a range of issues about both language and the nonlinguistic that became engaging to Western teachers and learners only in the twentieth century.
Eve Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, p. 168.
“To have a friend, to look at
[him/her], to follow [him/her] with your eyes, to admire [him/her] in friendship, is to know in a more intense way, already injured, always insistent, and more and more unforgettable, that one of the two of you will inevitably see the other die. One of us, each says to [himself/herself], the day will come when one of the two of us will see [himself/herself] no longer seeing the other and so will carry the other within [him/her] a while longer, [his/her] eyes following without seeing, the world suspended by some unique tear, each time unique, through which everything from then on, through which the world itself—and this day will come—will come to be reflected quivering, reflecting disappearance itself: the world, the whole world, the world itself, for death takes from us not only some particular life within the world, some moment that belongs to us, but, each time, without limit, someone through whom the world, and first of all our own world, will have opened up in a both finite and infinite—mortally infinite—way.”
Derrida, Work of Mourning, 107; edited.
"Oh! Do you know this dust then? Do you know what it is and what it can do? Learn to know it before you despise it. This matter, now lying there as dust and ashes, will soon form into crystals when dissolved in water. It will shine as metal; it will then emit electric sparks… It will, indeed, of its own accord, form itself into plant and animal; and from its mysterious womb it will develop that life, about the loss of which you in your narrowness of mind are so nervous and anxious."
Arthur Schopenhauer (via asthepoemsgo)
"So whereas Instagram merely evokes the look of scarcity, temporary photography by definition enforces a certain rarity that imbues the image with a heightened aura of meaningfulness. Snapchat inspires memory because it welcomes the possibility of forgetting."