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Monday, November 13, 2017

Van Asch van Wijckskade, Utrecht c.1955 (G.J.C.A.Smilda - Het Utrechts Archief)Van Asch van Wijckskade, Utrecht c.1955 (G.J.C.A.Smilda - Het Utrechts Archief)

An event worthy of the name must be radically unpredictable or unforeseeable. An event that arrives on cue, as predicted or programmed, loses its edge as an event just because you saw it coming. A real event (worthy of the name, then) seems to derive its eventhood from some quality of out-of-the-blueness. Events in this sense befall us, surprise us, don’t politely announce their arrival and then arrive as announced: rather they land on us, hit us, appear out of nowhere, from above, below, from the side or from behind, rather than from up ahead. Derrida often stresses that events in this strong sense (and thereby the eventhood of events more generally, what makes events events) cannot adequately be thought of in terms of a horizon of expectation - what you see coming against the horizon is not an event (or at least, what in an event you could see coming was not its eventhood). This never-any-certainty-about-an-event means that I am never in control of it, and never sure of it, never sure it will happen. And this leads Derrida to what looks like a modulation in his thinking: from an earlier position where there was a kind of unconditional affirmation of the event in this sense, a kind of call on the event to come and happen in its unpredictability, there seems to be a shift of emphasis at least to a formulation of at kind of transcendental perhaps-ness’. No event would not be marked by this perhaps-ness’ of its very happening.”

Geoffrey Bennington - Not Half No End: Militantly Melancholic Essays in Memory of Jacques Derrida (2010).

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