Summer teemed with great readings and I finished up my latest book on the first of two flights here to Washington DC. Cary Wolfe's "What Is Posthumanism" had a fantastic first half but several sections of the second half were less rewarding for me; the exceptions were a pieces on Emerson and another on Stevens. Throughout Wolfe's book I found myself continually brought back to a passage by Derrida that feels central to my interests.
It would not be a matter of “giving speech back” to animals but perhaps of acceding to a thinking, however fabulous and chimerical it might be, that thinks the absence of the name and of the word otherwise, and as something other than a privation.
Excerpt From: Jacques Derrida, Marie-Louise Mallet & David Wills. “The Animal That Therefore I Am.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/PP_T0.l
Wolfe refers to this challenge in his book and I can't help but believe Derrida is pointing to a great failure of "thinkers" and "thought."
On the second flight, I began the next book—a quick reread of an old favorite—J. M. Coetzee's "The Lives of Animals." I found myself feeling that Coetzee is, in part, attempting to offer an account of someone who does just that, who holds that, "the absence of the name and of the word otherwise," can be, "something other than a privation."
For now, these feelings will have to suffice as much more reading is needed.