Deconstruction and consciousness: the question of unity
Abstract:As a method of oppositional reading, deconstruction argues that a text, and by extension any object of observation including the self, is characterized by disunity rather than unity. The present paper proposes that if we define the self as having a dimension that is not an object of observation, but is a pure witness, or what in Eastern cultures is known as ‘pure consciousness’, then deconstruction can be seen to undo in practice what it claims to do in theory. This reversal has implications for the postmodernist self, which is thought to be fragmented by a multiplicity of social voices and the loss of a unifying depth of feeling. Through an analysis of the deconstructive notions of consciousness and language, this paper suggests that fragmentation can in effect take the postmodernist self toward a sense of wholeness. In theory deconstruction undermines the unity of language and consciousness, while in practice it invites a nonconceptual response similar to that of aesthetic experience. The deconstructive ‘freeplay’ of language empties out the meaning of a text and leads the reader toward a state of being anterior to thought, toward an experience of awareness itself as opposed to its phenomenal content.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Eastern Mediterranean University, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Publication date: January 1, 1998