Deconstructing Jesus – pt.2 February 21, 2008Posted by Matt in deconstruction, philosophy, postmodernism, religion.
Tags: Christianity, deconstruction, Derrida, language, metaphor, postmodernism, relativism
Thank you, everyone, for your great comments on the last entry.
Yesterday, we took a cursory glance at Derrida’s claim that, “there is nothing outside the text,” and its implications that language is the filter through which we see the world. Language, then, is not simply what is actually written or spoken, rather it is the interpretations of our life experiences. The interpretations themselves may be of actual events or objects, but, the only way that we, as humans, have to express them is through the avenue of metaphor.
A simple example would be in your view of some concrete object. I look at my shirt and I see the color red. Waves of light are emitted from the sun, they bounce off my shirt and into my eye. My brain then instantly takes that snapshot of what it sees and compares it to prior knowledge, coming up with various descriptive words – one of which is “red.” I then unconsciously make a comparison with other “red” things I’ve looked at before in my life and think, “my shirt is red like a fire truck.” The only way for us to truly experience something is through a sort of comparative analysis that is usually done deep in the recesses of our brain. But, not everyone shares the same metaphors. Another person may look at my shirt and say to themselves, “his shirt is red like a stoplight,” or “his shirt is red like the barn near the house I grew up in.” The interpretations are not and can not be incorrect in this example (well, if say my shirt is blue then you may want to see a doctor), rather they are just based on prior knowledge gained from some life experience.
Thus, our interpretations are always based on some prior knowledge and experience.
Nobody has the same prior knowledge and experience.
Then, everyone has a different interpretation.
Therefore the “text” metaphor of our lives is relative to the individual.
Next: The Undeconstructible