“Dismantling our excessive loyalty to any idea” – Jacques Derrida, the 21st-century French philosopher who turned our understanding of our understanding on its head and best known for his Treatise on Deconstruction. This philosophy singlehandedly changed or was supposed to change Western thinking and revolutionise how we view everything by overturning convention and the accepted narratives. So how is it supposed to change our way of thinking you may indeed ask?
It reinvents philosophy which had all but lost its way with every philosopher san Aristotle, first criticising his thought, then going on to use adapted montages of his thought to build on the existing knowledge and thought base. From Descartes to Russell, it was a problem of more of the same with philosophy increasingly becoming just another discipline that teaches without informing, educating without learning and explaining whilst failing to teach the very thing it was designed to teach anyways, “critical thinking.” This leads me to the Western-based institution of education, a vast body of work and an amorphous mass of intersecting subject matter so great, one is inclined to be sucked into the labyrinth of its vast stores of knowledge, be swept away by the tide of geniuses that have gone before us and laboured all of their natural lives in pursuit of the “philosopher’s stone” the mythical theory that would explain why we are here and the meaning of life.
Unfortunately, every institution carries with it the weight and power in and of itself and becomes a “living, breathing entity” simply by virtue of its existence and the people that pay homage to its truths and discoveries, at once blinded and transfixed by the grace and magnitude of it all. It has developed its own life and acts in its purpose for its continued existence like some crazed cybernetic machine hooked up to a global EthernetXXXt of artificial intelligence finally becoming “self-aware.” It was Derrida that pleaded with us to STOP and re-find our path, our way back to the original purpose of knowledge-seeking, to THINK for ourselves. Consider that since Rene Descartes to Karl Marx; almost all the greatest philosophers have not addressed the elephant in the global room, the issue of white supremacy, whiteness and racism, and its dehumanising effects on black and brown peoples?
In effect that has become the “white man’s burden” a sociohistorical and psycho-historical problem of such awesome magnitude apropos, FUBU, for us by us. A complex interlocking set of systems within concentric subsystems that influences all of us in ways still being studied by social scientists, historians, anthropologists, Race Theorists and Critical Race Theory practitioners to this day. It must be that the reason it is so difficult to dismantle these systems is often not because of deliberate white intransigence but often because white people cannot see these systems. It is akin to a magician being so good at demonstrating his abilities to disappear act, that he’s surprised when people exclaim, “we cannot see you,” only because he can see himself. He instinctively conflates his perception or vision with what others can or cannot see, and therein lays the rub folks.