chapter  2
20 Pages

Uncanny encounters

Provoked by Mazzoldi’s intriguing suggestion that there is a connection between the Tlingit coffin, theft or copying,1 and the need for a thought of superstition as the thought of the remains, Jacques Derrida draws the following conclusion in relation to his own work on phenomena, being and presence:

What I’m trying to think, if you will, is what I call restance, the way of the rest, the remains. A philosophical habit [smiles] this restance. Restance is something that cannot be thought philosophically as a modification of substance, as a substance (. . .) I think that the rest or the remains have to be taken into account, but not in the form of substance. Yes, the chain: substance, presence, permanence, essence, and so on. The rest is not a substance and, for this reason, the rest is not, in a way. We have to try and think about the rest away from the authority of being, of the verb to be and of everything that depends on it: essence, existence, substance, and so on. That means to think the rest otherwise or to think the rest as another, if you will. And I think that all these phenomena are referred to as marginal, referred to as superstition, magic, sorcery, envy, jealousy, spell casting, and so on are related to this rest or remains that, in some way, exceeds ontology, which exceed the thought of being, the thought of presence, the way of thinking that determines the rest either as a residue or as substance.