Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He was also the most incomprehensible, and I’m sure those two facts are related somehow. As the father of deconstructionism, his style of writing has become quite common in academia -humanities and social sciences mostly-. So, if you have ever been attacked by an academician wielding an arsenal of “problematic logocentric normativities and politico-sexual assumption in an ideological impregnating semantic space,” you can thank Derrida.
The rules of the game are simple: Pick up a random book by Derrida. Open it randomly and try to understand and translate into a normal human language what you just read. It’s an impossible game, of course. You can’t win, but like some old Zen Master, perhaps by not-knowing and not-winning you will attain enlightenment. Or not.
Random Book: Who’s Afraid of Philosophy
To retain but one sign of this ambiguity today, let us not forget that this critique, while supporting the progress of modern academies, belong to the pedagogical relation of a preceptor to a prince. And, a more lasting characteristic, it reproduces the idea of self-pedagogy for a virgin body, an ideal that supports a powerful pedagogical tradition and finds its idea form precisely in the teaching of philosophy: the figure of a young man who, at a very specific age, fully grown and yet still a virgin, teaches himself, naturally, philosophy. The body of the master (instructor, intercessor, preceptor, male midwife, repeater) is there only long enough to efface itself. Always withdrawing, the body of a mediator simulating his disappearance in the prince’s self-relation, or for the benefit of another essential corpus, which will be at issue later
Well, I always suspected there was something virginal about some philosophy students. Now I have proof from the master.