J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Derrida,Différance,Oedipus, Ajase and Japanese Re-collection

Derrida,Différance,Oedipus, Ajase and Japanese Re-collection by timtak
Derrida,Différance,Oedipus, Ajase and Japanese Re-collection, a photo by timtak on Flickr.

All sorts of people from Plato to Mead and beyond, have pointed out that self-speech is important to the Western self. Then Derrida came along and derided (his pun) our experience of "hearing ourselves speak." Why do we do it? What could we ever tell ourselves that we do not already know? One needs a difference for communication to take place, so how can self-speach make any sense?

Derrida noted that self-speech makes sense in the form of a memo. "Buy eggs." We can write memos, and postcards, to ourselves in the future. And that is he said what we are always doing, as we listen to ourselves speak, we are differing, putting something off, waiting for something. To coin Roy orbison, in différance I talk to me.

Crossing Derrida with Lacan and the Oedipus complex, the birth of the self in the Oedipus complex takes place as a promise, or defferal. We realise that we will not get mother, that she sleeps elsewhere, but we enter the Oedipus waiting room because we are promised love in the future.

From the Japanese point of view the Western family is a bit like fagging. Adult men brutalise their children, making them sleep alone, but the children stop crying, and learn to love big daddy and the system, because they are promised that they can do the same in future.

The Japanese are doing something similar in reverse. They sleep with the children in between mother and father. Japanese men sleep in this way because that is how they grew up. There is a great nostalgia, a collective recollection going on in Japan. They are promised nothing but recollect everything.

And, as mentioned in recent posts on combining toys, the Japanese re-collect themselves. They create themselves out of the scrap book of images, in mirrors, in photos, in other people's eyes. And when they do so, just as we can only speak to ourselves in différance, a self-image brought to mind is always a re-collection of oneself in the past.

And hence all the nostalgia in Japan, as treated in other posts (Retro Confectionery, Nostalgia).

Left, the cover of Keikgo Okonogi's "Edipusu to Ajase" (Oedipus and Ajase)
Top right Derrida by speedypete312

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.