Welcome to derridathemovie.com.

This website is dedicated to the movie based on the life of Jacques Derrida, the famous French philosopher who championed the philosophy of post-structuralism and postmodernism.

A controversial figure

Derrida is a very controversial figure because a lot of people are simply confused as to what he was about, what he championed, and the importance and legacy of his work. Historically, Jacques Derrida was an Algerian Jew-French citizen who truly revolutionized the 1960’s intellectual environment.

The 1960’s was a very turbulent age for the west. A lot of the hard and fast rules and assumptions that pretty much constituted the Western psychology and world view were essentially thrown up in the air.

Philosophy
Legacy
History

Western civilization

Everything was held to question. Even the whole idea of Western civilization and its impact on the rest of the world and whether democracy, capitalism, free markets and all the other crucial components that made up and contributed to the success of the West were called into question.

Of course, this is due as much to demographic changes as it was to the intellectual ferment and military and economic issues of the time. The big demographic reality that essentially lent a lot of fuel to this inter-generational psychological and spiritual crisis, so to speak, was the baby boomer generation.

After World War II

After World War II, a tremendous amount of people were born in the West. This is due to the fact that after the war, people started forming families and a lot of kids were produced in a relatively short period of time.

Impact
This age group went on to impact, whether for bad or good, the rest of society in a major way that is almost unprecedented because, in terms of demographics, it's fairly rare in history that such a huge population comes of age within a short period of time.
More Libereal
This age group is generally more liberal than the preceding generation. They look at all the creature comforts and settled realities and often uncomfortable compromises that made up the Western experience and asked for something better.
Bedrock Assumptions
Collectively, the baby boomer generation asked the older generations, and the Western civilization in general, whether it's the best they can come up with. To say that they question the very foundation and bedrock assumptions that made up British, American, Canadian, Australian, French and German societies would be an understatement indeed.
historical Milieu
It is precisely in this historical milieu that Jacques Derrida became the hero of the hour. Derrida's work really boils down to unwinding the philosophical assumptions that make up any kind of accepted truth.

Received truth

According to his philosophy, there is no such thing as received truth. Now, this is quite revolutionary because if you live in a society where there is no accepted truth, then everybody is essentially their own judge, jury and, depending on the circumstance, executioner.

No physical danger

Now, he’s not a danger to society in terms of his ability to pick up a gun or to harm somebody. We’re not talking about physical danger. Instead, the danger he posed and continues to pose lies in the implementation of his ideas because if you were to take his philosophy to its fullest logical extent, then you start unwinding a lot of the pillars that held up the Western civilization and Western culture. In particular, his deconstruction of Plato unsettled a lot of people.

No surprise

According to his philosophy, there is no such thing as received truth. Now, this is quite revolutionary because if you live in a society where there is no accepted truth, then everybody is essentially their own judge, jury and, depending on the circumstance, executioner.

Read Plato

Make no mistake about it, if you truly want to understand Western culture and philosophy, you need to read Plato. Plato’s ideas are so crucial to the Western person’s understanding of himself and herself in the universe that it’s been said that the history of Western philosophy really consists of Plato, and everybody else is just a footnote.

Exaggeration

While it’s obviously an exaggeration, there is a lot of truth to that saying because Plato pretty much laid the groundwork of how Western people viewed reality, constructed it and, most importantly, expressed it in terms that everybody else within that same culture would understand. In other words, he pioneered the music and he also wrote it and, most importantly, laid down the rules for its creation and enjoyment.

Now, in this context, Derrida enters the scene and says that Plato is essentially just one reading of reality.

Invisible

So the Emperor, of course, did not want to appear like a fool, but ended up doing precisely that. He wore the “invisible” garment, which was really nothing, and he appeared in public buck naked.

Group think

All the adults pretty much went along with it because they did not want to be considered an idiot. There was some sort of group think that began at the highest levels of society, often backed with an imperial decree, all the way to the lower levels of society. It’s as if everybody was in on it.

Completely buck Naked

Well, everything came crashing down when the Emperor was walking in public completely buck naked and a kid said, “the Emperor is wearing no clothes.”

View of reality

Well, that kid, in the history of Western philosophy was Derrida. He claimed that Plato, for all the certainties that he laid down, is essentially just one person’s view of reality; that there are many other ways to look at reality; and he started deconstructing Plato to prove his point.

No superior

If anything, it’s just another voice in the crowd. It’s neither here nor there. It is definitely in no way, shape or form, superior. That’s where we are now, thanks in a large part to Derrida because he called into question a lot of the things that a lot of people historically drew a lot of pride and, most importantly, a sense of certainty from.

Western Culture

In fact, he was so convincing that a lot of people were saying that there is really no such thing as Western culture. In fact, the modern trend in the humanities in the United States and parts of Western Europe is that Western civilization, in and of itself, is suspect.

Up in the air

Now, as you can well imagine, if you were to undermine and deconstruct the philosophical attitude behind Plato, then it doesn’t really take much of a stretch of imagination or logic for anybody to undermine the cultural credibility of Plato. Once that’s done and then there’s nothing else underlying Western civilization, everything is thrown up in the air.

Marxists and other social critics, understandably, were happy with what Derrida did because he called everything into question. It’s as if the whole Western philosophical and academic infrastructure was like the Emperor in the familiar tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

According to the tale, there were two con men who convinced an emperor that they were selling a fabric that is so expensive that nobody could see it. And anybody who says that it doesn’t exist is an idiot. So, since nobody wanted to be called out as an idiot, they went along with the ruse.

This was big stuff. A lot of the things that you enjoy in the movies, a lot of the things that you see in marketing, and definitely a lot of the current political and social trends in the United States and elsewhere, ranging from same sex marriage, gay rights, abortion rights, the whole nine yards, stems from the tremendous amount of changes aided by, if not unleashed, by Derrida and other philosophers of that same period in history.

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