I Know What I Know

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It Went Something Like This

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Me: (Draws a circle on the board. Places a dot at its center). OK. Which part of the circle is the center?

Class: Huh?

Me: Which part of the circle is the center?

Class: Ummmmm.

Me: The center is that which defines the circle, which defines its boundaries. And yet, as Derrida explains, the center is not a part of the circle. That which defines the circle, that which gives it meaning, is not a part of it.

Class: Ummmmmm.

Me: Changes the dot in the middle of the circle into a little diamond shaped thingy.

Class: Oooh! Like the moonstone! Or the golden glow of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction!

Me: Yes! The entire narrative is structured by and is defined by this thing that is—

Class: Not there!

Me: Yes! And even more, the center is substitutable. You can change the center for “truth” or “God” or—

Class: The Moonstone!

Me: That’s right! At the center of this novel, at the heart of it, is an absence that is, even worse, unknowable even to those closest to it. The thing around which this 500-page self-referential narrative-thing masquerading as a novel is an emptiness, sort of like the vase this one Heidegger essay where he talks about whether the vase is the sides and bottom of the structure or the emptiness between the sides and bottom. (Draws a vase on the board)

And then they all cried out, “Dude, it is the last class before Thanksgiving!” and then died right there in their desks.


Written by srogers

November 25, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. And who could blame them?


    November 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

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