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Messianic In Spectres Of Marx By Jaques Derrida

1702 words - 7 pages

In Spectres of Marx, Jaques Derrida expounds upon a major theme of his argument, the messianic, and is interested in outlining the issues surrounding messianism. These issues which work along side the critical characteristics of Marxist theory. According to Derrida, the “messianic” adopts the basic configuration of religious messianic thought, but there is also “a messianism without religion” (74). Derrida shares his opinion that a messiah is a promise, a hope, and an aspiration of something to come, but not that the messiah actually comes. If the messiah does come, and there is an end, where is the mystery once he is revealed? There lacks a definite horizon or final expectation in Derrida’s messianism. Of the many views of messianism he chooses to deconstruct, a vantage point he takes that the original messianic concept containing religious connotations is based on a definite end as well as an understanding of time. Along with topics of justice, disjointure, and especially understanding of the specter, Derrida’s messianism forms into an overarching idea of his belief about Marxism and it’s impact on politics and religion. He describes his understanding of the messianic further in this passage:
“The effectivity or actuality of the democratic promise, like that of the communist promise, will always keep within it, and it must do so, this absolutely undetermined messianic hope at its heart, this eschatological relation [for example, a relation to the final coming of Christ, or the final event] to the to-come of an event and of a singularity, of an alterity that cannot be anticipated” (81).
Derrida asserts that a deconstructed version of Marxist thought is still relevant to today's world despite its globalization. He makes both politically and religiously charged arguments using deconstruction as a means to reach new ways of understanding what the idea of the messiah really is. As a deconstructionist, Derrida doesn’t recognize a sharp distinction in the opposition between the real and the unreal. Firstly, the idea of deconstruction is not merely an unpacking of the basic parts of an idea or an object. Deconstruction is more of a journey to be undertaken with the understanding that there is not going to be a definite end. There is a constant change in what is being understood and once there is an apparent conclusion, a new door opens leading to another. In religious context, the coming of the messiah is mostly concerned with time and not Jesus. As of page twenty-five in Specters of Marx, Derrida is hoping for a day in the future, not here yet, where we would finally be removed from the fatality of vengeance, such as in the story of Hamlet and his vengeance. Hamlet is waiting and wishing for another kind of justice to arrive. In this case, the messianic has a lot to do with justice.
The issue with justice is that like deconstruction, it is undeconstructable. Justice takes place in a disjointure, such as the disjointure of the present time into many...

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