Quora answer: What is Differance?

Jan 30 2012

Differance is Differing and Deferring, i.e. the relation of the supplement in writing to the work itself, like in the Preface to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit/Ghost/Mind where the preface written at the end changes the meaning of the whole work. Differance I call Hyper Being. It is the Third Meta-level of Being after Pure Being (Parmenides, Stasis) and Process Being (Heraclitus, Dynamism, Becoming) and prior to the fourth kind of Being which Merleau-Ponty calls Wild Being in The Visible and the Invisible. In that unfinished work Merleau-Ponty calls Hyper Being the Hyper-Dialectic between Heidegger’s Monolithic combination of Pure and Process Being which are seen as equiprimoridal and Sartre’s Nothingness which is the antimony. We see differance in the Paul Simon song where he sings about slip-sliding away. Differance is always sliding away from us so we cannot hold it in mind as something determinate, either in space or time, dynamism or stasis, or in any other dualism. Hyper Being is the difference that makes a difference between Pure Being and Process Being, the differences between kinds of Being must also be a different kind of Being. If Pure Being is present-at-hand being-in-the-world and Process Being is ready-to-hand being-in-the-world, then Hyper Being is the “in-hand” the expansion of being-in-the-world that comes from bearing new affordances. Where Pure Being has the modality of pointing according to Merleau-Ponty, and Process Being has the modality of grasping, then we take it that Levinas’ bearing which is Beyond monolithic Being is the modality of Hyper Being. Best example of the meta-levels of Being are the meta-levels of learning in Bateson’s Steps to the Ecology of Mind.

It is an important concept because it is a distinction that Plato makes in the Timaeus where he calls it the third kind of being. We forgot that in our tradition until Heidegger rediscovered it by accident, and Derrida took it up to make something interesting of Heidegger’s discovery. Heidegger did not follow up on the idea of -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out). See John Sallis Chorology for more details about the role the third kind of Being plays in the Timaeus.



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