Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

From today's reading, quite relevant to ongoing discussions here, here, here, and here:
One cannot love a monument, a work of architecture, an institution as such except in an experience itself precarious in its fragility: it has not always been there, it will not always be there, it is finite. And for this very reason one loves it as mortal, through its birth and its death, through one's own birth and death, through the ghost or the silhouette of its ruin, one's own ruin--which it already is, therefore, or already prefigures. How can one love otherwise than in this finitude? Where else would the right to love, even the love of law, come from?

Derrida, "Force of Law," Acts of Religion 278.


Anonymous said...


My head hurts...

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Love that quote, Karl. Thanks for it.

Rick Godden said...

Great quote from Derrida. I haven't read this essay, but will have to. The monument as finitude, but it's also heterochronic. It exists in more than one time, it's the past in the present, it's the present in that we can look at it and touch it, and it is a reminder, as Derrida writes, that we are engulfed in finitude. The very existence of a monument is not only an act of active memory but it also reminds us that the past is gone, and in a sense, not wholly accessible in its original moment.

After reading the quote, I had to go read Ozymandias again, and here's the last lines:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Absolutely. And an excellent choice for a Quote of the Day.

And how can I not, basking in the plenitude of this finitude, point our loving, mortal readership to Bolt Thrower's Cenotaph?