The Politics of Friendship
““If ‘new’ always means, again and again, once again, anew, the appropriative drive, the repetition of the same drive to appropriate the other for oneself, the truth, being, the event, etc., what can still take place anew? Anew? What remains to come? And what will become of our just impatience to see the new coming, the new thoughts, the new thinkers, new justice, the revolution or the messianic interruption? Yet another ruse? Once again the desire of appropriation? Yes. Yes, perhaps.””
Jacques Derrida (via ghostorballoon)
I don’t have it, but I’d be interested in seeing the French word that has been translated as anew. Especially because the prefix a- in anew comes from a shortening of the Old English preposition meaning “on”. Anew isn’t towards the new, it’s an exchange. In the space of what could be something new, instead doing the same thing once again. Nothing “remains to come”.
The quote confuses me. Why “anew”? Why not “renew”? Too political? Too psychoanalytic, relatable to “repress”?
We need a word like obnew.
Interested. Who has the French?
I do not have the French but I can help you or somebody else out there in finding it by providing a little more bibliographical information— I apologize for not doing so right away. The quote is in the essay “‘This Mad Truth’: The Just Name of Friendship.” In my little Verso edition of Politics of Friendship it’s at the very bottom of page 65.
Anyway, I think the utility of ‘anew’ in this context is its relative ahistoricality (not a word!?). Renewal implies the miraculous return of something occluded or depleted. It’s always an event in Badiou’s sense of the term (or at least as far as I understand Badiou, which isn’t very far). Anew implies a cyclical motion and a reciprocity between forwards and backwards. That’s what I think he remains by “what remains to come.” Even with the forward motion of time, history under this “anew” can be read in reverse just as well. To me, the phrase “revolution or the messianic interruption” very precisely calls up Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History. Which also deals specifically with how to hold and how to utilize the recognition of patterns and historical memory. Both of them are very interesting a-dialectic subversions that I can’t figure out how to talk about at 2:30 AM.
Good luck finding the original French equivalent of anew. I’d be really interested in knowing more about it too.
I like it. I get your point about renew. If anew “implies a cyclical motion and a reciprocity between forwards and backwards,” I wonder about the mechanics of this in context of historiography, or even history itself. I agree with you that it appears a reference to Benjamin. Of course, we don’t get much of the debris here.
In the original text the discussion is about Nietzsche and the Christian commandment to love one’s neighbor. Nietzsche going on about the drive is to possess one’s neighbor. To take the neighbor’s place. Right? “Our love of our neighbor, is it not a lust for new possessions? And likewise our love of knowledge, of truth, and altogether any lust for what is new?”
After this, then comes the statement from our quote. So, what seems clear to me is that we’re worrying about how to name any event at all. And the appropriative drive is the drive to possess.
I have to read this, again. Much more interesting years later after first seeing it. Esp interested in the comparison of Christian Love and Greek Friendship. This appears to be something like Paul v Aristotle. I don’t know. I think I only read the introduction and opening arguments in the book. I know I don’t own it.
Very intrigued. Thanks.
I have to say that when Nietzsche talks about making attempts to do something new, he sees failure as an option. He’s much more interested in making the grand attempt than he is in the result. This is in my opinion, of course. But I’ve read most of his work and I always felt that way. Versucher, in German, is tempter. Versuch, an attempt; Versuchen, to attempt. I think we’re tempted to attempt something new. Is the trouble that we end up doing things anew through the appropriative drive expressed by love?
Now I’m babbling. Anyway. …
(Source: ghostorballoons, via ghostorballoons)