A partir da reflexão extraída do livro “Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana”, de Jaques Derrida, o artigo pretende investigar as consequências da metáfora de “mal de arquivo” para o campo da filosofia da educação. Por intermédio da crença de que a tradição do reprimido se inscreve na ideia de arquivo, procura potencializar o termo para interpretar alguns problemas existentes no campo da relação entre filosofia e educação. Especialmente, dirige o olhar para a forma como surge o discurso da filosofia, bem como a dinâmica cultural que persiste em seguir certas orientações, sua autoridade e a sua genealogia bastante presente no âmbito acadêmico contemporâneo. A desconstrução da metafísica se soma ao trabalho da psicanálise, fazendo o proibido aflorar à consciência, e, portanto, ao nível literal da escritura. E assim, o acontecimento da compreensão pode auxiliar a desmobilizar a compulsão à repetição que se instaurou no arquivo.
Mal de arquivo; Filosofia da educação; Hermenêutica
From the reflection extracted from the book Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana, 2001 - portuguese version), by Jaques Derrida, the article intends to investigate the consequences of the metaphor of “archive evil” for the field of philosophy of education. Through the belief that the tradition of the repressed is inscribed within the idea of archive, it seeks to leverage the term to interpret some existing problems in the field of the relation between philosophy and education. In particular, it looks at the way in which the discourse of philosophy emerges, as well as the cultural dynamics that persist in following certain orientations, their authority and their genealogy quite present in the contemporary academic sphere. The deconstruction of metaphysics adds to the work of psychoanalysis, making the forbidden come to consciousness and, therefore, to the literal level of writing. And so, the event of understanding can help to demobilize the compulsion to repetition that has arisen in the archive.
Archive evil; Philosophy of education; Hermeneutics
The following text intends to discuss the expression “archive evil”2 2 TN: Although Derrida’s book is titled “Archive fever”, after extensive research I’ve found that the term “archive evil” is more frequently used, in the English language, when referring to the evils brought on by the psychoanalytical practice of archive, hence my use of that term throughout this text, except when referring directly to the book. in the spectrum of Philosophy of Education. Derrida (2001)DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001. presents this reflection based on the interpretation of Freud’s last great book Moses and monotheism (O homem Moisés e a religião monoteísta, 2018 - Portuguese version). Freud’s book has sparked a controversy recently, in which several important philosophers and historians were involved, as was the case with Yosef Yerushalmi (1992)YERUSHALMI, Yosef Hayim. O Moisés de Freud: Judaísmo terminável e interminável. Rio de Janeiro: Imago , 1992., Freud’s Moses: Judaism terminable and interminable (O Moisés de Freud: judaísmo terminável e interminável - Portuguese version); Jan Assmann (1998)ASSMANN, Jan. Moses the Egyptian: The memory of Egypt in western monotheism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998., in Moses, the Egyptian (Moisés, o egípcio - Portuguese version), and Jaques Derrida himself, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana, 2001 - Portuguese version) (2001). Derrida returns to the Greek world to explain the origin of the concept related to the Greek word arkhê, which means the start or command attached to power and also designates the environment where the archons are, those responsible for saving a document and, at the same time, develop the ability to interpret it. They were the guardians of a secret that could not be revealed ordinarily, but for those who were willing to follow a path of preparation and spiritual ascension.
In the book, he discusses, among other topics, whether psychoanalysis is or not a Jewish science, an accusation made by the Nazis. And, by making a kind of remembrance of the archives of psychoanalysis, having Yerushalmi’s (1992)YERUSHALMI, Yosef Hayim. O Moisés de Freud: Judaísmo terminável e interminável. Rio de Janeiro: Imago , 1992. book on Freud as the guiding thread, he ends up concluding something very peculiar, when he says: “Now, the principle of the internal division of the Freudian gesture and, therefore, of the Freudian concept of archive is that, in the moment when psychoanalysis formalizes the conditions of archive evil and of the archive itself, it repeats the same thing to which it resists or transforms into an object” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 119, our translation). In other words, in seeking the origin of the repressed, through the archaeological excavations of the unconscious, psychoanalysis repeats the Freudian (and Jewish) impression of wanting to “address (...) with a compulsive, repetitive and nostalgic gesture, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a pain of the motherland, a homesickness, a nostalgia for returning to the most archaic place of the absolute beginning” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001. p. 118, our translation). It seems that solving the problem of the Jewish diaspora, reenacting the relationship between his greatest patriarch and the tradition he founds, is Freud’s ultimate theoretical gesture, his latest invention to address the problem of original violence as a founding act of culture and its devices, facing then the terror of anti-Semitism. With this he reveals the violent parricidal act that returns incessantly within the civilizing culture itself and that constitutes itself as a genetic and remissive act of the psychoanalytic archive.
The importance of this discussion is highlighted by the American philosopher Richard Bernstein (2000, p. 81, our translation)BERNSTEIN, Richard J. Freud e o legado de Moisés. Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 2000. when he says that: “We need to dig deeper and discover what Derrida calls ‘the psychoanalytic archive’ and the traces of unconscious memories”. Such is the task we set ourselves here because, although there is a focus on the problem in psychoanalysis, Derrida says that this discussion can also be extended to understand other fields or areas of knowledge, such as history. We could draw many conclusions here, but we simply ask: is this not also one of the great problems of the philosophy of education, fed continuously by the desire to return to its origin (to its home) in philosophy?
More than psychoanalysing the field of philosophy of education, the goal is to open its archives, its “black box” or, especially, its archive evil, to bring a little light to the hypersombrial times that are imposed in the present. Thus, this endeavor is moved by, at first, taking Derrida’s reading on Freud to think about what he announces as “archive evil” in psychoanalysis. Next, addressing, in light of this discussion, some problems that, perhaps, exist in this sense within the scope of Philosophy and that have contributed to the self-understanding of the field of Philosophy of Education. Finally, as the archive also contemplates the idea of promise, we will make some inventives, in the sense of opening doors for the future of the relationship between philosophy and education, incorporating the notes made from the hermeneutics of traditions.
Archive: the psychoanalytic technique
Philosophy and psychoanalysis have a long tradition together. Although the latter was born only in the early twentieth century, from Freud’s work The Interpretation of Dreams (A interpretação dos sonhos, 1972 - Portuguese version), both share the same hermeneutical spirit, returning frequently to their origins to find or renew the foundations of their action. If philosophy sought inspiration in myths and tragedies in search of the human’s rational sense of measure, psychoanalysis seeks in the same sources the equation to balance the feelings or affects forgotten in time. In other words, these are not conflicting approaches, but complementary in a sense. For this reason, Paul Ricoeur (1990)RICOEUR, Paul. Freud: una interpretación de la cultura. Barcelona: Siglo XXI, 1990. Disponível em: https://mercaba.org/SANLUIS/Filosofia/autores/Contempor%C3%A1nea/Ricoeur/Freud,%20una%20interpretaci%C3%B3n%20de%20la%20cultura.pdf. Acesso em: 12 fev. 2019.
https://mercaba.org/SANLUIS/Filosofia/au... set out to find a correlation between these two fields, in Freud’s work: an interpretation of culture, when debating “the relationships between a hermeneutic of symbols and a philosophy of concrete reflection”3 3 TN: translated from the referenced Spanish version “las relaciones entre una hermenéutica de los símbolos y una filosofía de la reflexión concreta”. (RICOEUR, 1990RICOEUR, Paul. Freud: una interpretación de la cultura. Barcelona: Siglo XXI, 1990. Disponível em: https://mercaba.org/SANLUIS/Filosofia/autores/Contempor%C3%A1nea/Ricoeur/Freud,%20una%20interpretaci%C3%B3n%20de%20la%20cultura.pdf. Acesso em: 12 fev. 2019.
https://mercaba.org/SANLUIS/Filosofia/au... , p. 2).
It is in this context that Freudian concern with the problem of archive arises, which refers to its origins in the classic version of ancient Greece, when the archive, as arkhê, became the depository of the materiality or positivity of a document. It was constituted, ontologically, as something fixed and static and for that reason it was understood as a monument. For a long time, Freud’s psychoanalysis sought material evidence for the archive, working with a metaphysical concept but, at the same time, cultivating an edge of positivist concern for its material existence.
The book Moses and monotheism is relevant because it inaugurates another relationship with the archive, once Freud came to state that it was a “historical novel” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 15). In other words, it is no longer a matter of seeking support or “material truth” for the facts, but what the father of psychoanalysis calls “historical truth”. Although the predominant metaphor used by him to explain the work of therapy is that of archeology, he probably realized there that he could not leave psychoanalysis prisoner from sources in the past. And for this reason, in this controversial work, he seeks to advance the concept of archive to the dimension of fiction, promise and the future.
However, far from the foundation of psychoanalysis, and having contemplated the horrors of the second war genocide - the radical evil, Derrida will use the concept of “archive evil” to interpret the forgetfulness and finite dimension of the archive, as a condition for its constant becoming. In this new metaphor, the notion of death or destruction drive (thanatos), the drive that disengages or assaults, playing the annihilating role of the archive, leaving many edges or gaps to be filled in it.
She works to destroy the archive: with the condition of deleting but also with a view to erasing its “own” traces - which can no longer be called “own”. She devours her archive, even before she has produced it externally. This drive, therefore, seems not only anarchic, anarchatic (let us not forget that the death drive, however original it may be, is not a principle, as are the pleasure principle and the reality principle): the death drive is, above all, anarchivic, we could say, archiviolytic. It was always, by vocation, silent, a destructor of the archive (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 21, emphasis added by the author).
The compulsion to repeat is tied to the necrophilic drive and, therefore, to the destruction of the archive, which institutionalizes the evil of archives in the heart of the monument. But as Almeida warns, “when the principle of constancy begins to reign over life, threatening to lead it to death, Eros suddenly erupts, introducing new tensions and, thus, disturbing the lowering of the libido level” (ALMEIDA, 2007ALMEIDA, Rogério Miranda de. Eros e Tânatos: a vida, a morte, o desejo. São Paulo: Loyola, 2007., p. 229, our transltion). In this way, the archive can be both the place of thanatos, the drive for death and destruction, as well as the place of eros, of reunion and consignment, just as circumcision was a symbol for Jews (SOLIS, 2014SOLIS, Dirce Eleonora Nigro. Tela desconstrucionista: arquivo e mal de arquivo a partir de Jacques Derrida. Rev. Filos. Aurora, Curitiba, v. 26, n. 38, p. 373-389, jan./jun. 2014. ). In this way, new possibilities for the archive are opened, as it is not only conditioned to its aspect of reproduction: “Thus, the interpreter, as an archivist, is fundamentally not only to accept the repetition that insists on the archive, but also to relaunch it towards the future” (BIRMAN, 2008BIRMAN, Joel. Arquivo e Mal de Arquivo: Uma leitura de Derrida sobre Freud. Natureza humana, v. 10, n.1, p. 105-128, jan/jun, 2008., p. 116, our translation).
Against the version that analyzes it as something without erasures or gaps, “a fixed and frozen documentary mass, having in the record of the past its only temporal reference” (BIRMAN, 2008BIRMAN, Joel. Arquivo e Mal de Arquivo: Uma leitura de Derrida sobre Freud. Natureza humana, v. 10, n.1, p. 105-128, jan/jun, 2008., p. 109 our translation), it is necessary to interpret the difference in silences and forgetfulness, lacunar, symptomatic and discontinuous caused by archive evils. Hence the overcoming of Aristotelian metaphysics of the act and of the potency, since the potency of the virtuality gives it a dimension of act and, therefore, of present. In the triple direction of the present past, present present and future present, the openness or availability for its frequent becoming is denoted. It is this other dimension that opens the archive to the metaphorical, poetic and fictional instance, not subordinated exclusively to the dimensions of the concept of truth. Therefore, if the unconscious is a writing, consequently it is also an archive consisting of lapses, Freudian slips and jokes, besides, of course, being permeated by ghosts that fill the interstices of the psyche. The unconscious is the home of ghosts and this is produced by the death drive, which erases the traces and marks of the archive, producing its reverse - the archive evil. There would then be discursive exchanges between repression and repression4 4 TN: here the authors play with two portuguese words, repressão and recalque, being that the first one means repression in the common sense, and the second one is reserved to repression in the freudian sense. with the return of the forbidden, front and back of the same file composed of materiality and virtuality. For this reason, he does not submit himself only to material truth, but fundamentally contemplates a historical truth, in Freud’s terms. Thus, a new definition of file arises for Derrida:
The archive is no longer, then, an ontological memory that registers a beginning and dates a history, it is not only monological, it refers to nomos, to an order, to the command that regulates, for example, institutions. Yes, it moves through an archiviolistic drive. This is one of the meanings of the term archive evil (SOLIS, 2014SOLIS, Dirce Eleonora Nigro. Tela desconstrucionista: arquivo e mal de arquivo a partir de Jacques Derrida. Rev. Filos. Aurora, Curitiba, v. 26, n. 38, p. 373-389, jan./jun. 2014. , p. 381, our translation).
The archive is no longer a matter of remembrance and the past, abandoning the legacy of a simple metaphysical concept, to be a notion, something open, a quasi-concept. It is in this space that Derrida will think of the Freudian impression left in Moses and monotheism, since some of his theses do not find a place in traditional historiography. First, a word about the philosophical method of deconstruction adopted by Derrida would be important. The two key books for understanding the Deridian method of deconstruction are: Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference. In them, the author is concerned with dismantling the discourse of Western metaphysics based on verticality and the opposition of pairs of concepts such as, among others: appearance and essence, inside and outside, culture and nature, presence and absence, or speech and writing. These concepts, based on secular binarisms, do not hide the play of forces in which the supremacy of one over the other is the rule. His method consists of looking for categories that resist the oppositions of classical philosophy, such as the notion of spectrality, which will be focused on later, and the problem of archiving, in order to dismantle the metaphysical discourse from the inside.
Derrida’s deconstructive hermeneutics questions in this sense primarily the support of the archive present in the Jewish custom of circumcision, to which Freud is obviously subjected, and in typography, that is, in the external environment. Unlike circumcision that left its mark in an intimate way, typography is an external technical environment, like the logic of the Magic Block5 5 Freud presented the reflection on the Magic Block in Chapter III of Civilization and its discontents and developed it in more detail in a small text included in the book The Ego and the Id: and Other Works, published in the Brazilian standard edition of complete psychological works by Sigmund Freud (1996). , a child’s toy used by Freud to try to explain the functioning of the psychic apparatus. The French philosopher realizes that the mark of circumcision in Freud’s work is in line with his defense of patriarchy. At the same time, it asks to what extent the model of the Magic Block is sustained in the face of the technical-scientific evolution of the archive today, in the face of the revolution in microelectronics, information technology and computing. It thus proposes to rethink the very archiving of psychoanalysis in minutes, letters, public and private processes, among others, which configures it within a specific technological framework of the time in which it was created.
With these reflections in mind, Derrida can still question Freud’s materialistic interpretation proposed by the great historian of Judaism Yosef Yerushalmi, as he, at the end of his book, constructs an imaginary dialogue with Freud, trying to convince him that he is still a Jew. On the other hand, Derrida understands the Freudian thesis of the Egyptian Moses, because his admission due to the difference in relation to Judaism ends up breaking the tension between an “us” and a “them”, proposed by the Aryan ideology. To better illustrate his position, he gives as an example the biblical passage that narrates the attempted murder of the prophet Moses by the Israelites. Freud had argued in his book that there were, in fact, two Moses, for the first would have been killed by his companions unhappy with the way he led the exodus of the chosen people in the desert. And the second would have been more successful in leading the Hebrew people to the promised land. Although the Hebrews tried to kill Moses, Yerushalmi argues, against Freud, that this had not really happened, that is, this fact was not printed in the Holy Scripture archive. Yerushalmi bases his point of view on the account in the Book of Numbers 14: 10 in the Bible, which says that there is a cloud (of the glory of God) that intercepted the stones thrown by the Israelites against the patriarch of Judaism. However, the French philosopher disputes this version, saying that the operation was carried out, the stones were thrown and, therefore, there was an intention to kill with the passage to the act. And that from the point of view of the unconscious, it makes no difference, since it does not discriminate the intention of the action effectively performed. Thus, he concludes: “If Moses was not murdered, it was thanks to God. Left to themselves, the Israelites, who wanted to kill Moses, would have done so: they did everything to kill him” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 86, our translation). Therefore, the historical truth imposes itself on the material truth, since the absence of the fact’s positivity, derived from the archive evil, needs to fill the gap with interpretation. Thus he frees Freud from the hands of Yerushalmi, who proposed, in a way, a second (psychological) circumcision to Jewish custom.
The breaking of the barrier of a pseudo-return to Jewish origin opens spaces for the understanding of the existence of two Moses, which repeats the death of the original father by the primitive band, and the (Jewish) religion appears to atone for the guilt for this murder. In the case of Christianity, this original violence is reissued with the death and resurrection of Christ. However, as Derrida rightly points out:
In all cases, there would be no future without repetition. And then, perhaps, Freud would say (this would therefore be his thesis), there will be no future without the ghost of Oedipal violence that inscribes over-repression in the archontic institution of the archive, in the position, the self-position with the heteroposition of the One and the Only in the monological arkhê. And the death drive. Without this evil, which is also the evil of archives, the desire and the problem of archives, there would be no designation or consignment (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 102, our translation).
Consequently, behind the resurrection of Christ lies the historical truth, for he was the incarnation of the risen Moses, who, in turn, takes the place of the original father of the primitive horde who was sacrificed by his children, thus opening up to democracy. And in such a way, one after another, they occupy, as Son, the Father’s place of authority, because the destroyed, repressed or repressed material truth resists and returns, which can be done physically, as well as through delirium, madness and obsession, concludes Derrida.
However, according to Birman (2008, p. 119, our translation)BIRMAN, Joel. Arquivo e Mal de Arquivo: Uma leitura de Derrida sobre Freud. Natureza humana, v. 10, n.1, p. 105-128, jan/jun, 2008. the Freudian discourse did not detach itself from the classic presuppositions of reading the archive, being limited, in the last analysis, to finding a real order that constituted the origin (original impression) and the idea of the psyche as an archive. Thus, he did not radicalize his finding of the historical truth of Moses, looking for a seat still in the materiality of the phenomenon. It is in the opposite direction that Derrida will mobilize the development of the discourse of psychoanalysis, insisting on the idea that “the archive would be of the order of metaphor and fiction, that is, it would be permeated by ghosts and spectrality, they would permeate its marks and traces in the infinite and insistent process of producing differ and difference” (BIRMAN, 2008BIRMAN, Joel. Arquivo e Mal de Arquivo: Uma leitura de Derrida sobre Freud. Natureza humana, v. 10, n.1, p. 105-128, jan/jun, 2008., p. 119, our traslation). For Meneses (2013)MENESES, Ramiro Délio Borges de. A desconstrução em Jacques Derrida: o que é e o que não é pela estratégia. Universitas Philosophica 60; Bogotá, año 30, p.177-204, enero/jun. 2013., deconstruction would be an anarchic (an-arkhê), underground way of translating and receiving the metaphor, capable of neutralizing the work of the negative that would lead, in theory, according to Hegelian philosophy, towards absolute knowledge.
Archive evil in Philosophy of Education
So far, we have made a brief reconstruction of the meaning of the notion of archive evil based on the controversy provoked by Freud’s Moses and monotheism. We realize that there is a historical reenactment of original violence, which would explain the rise of religion and, in a way, of the very idea of culture from the point of view of psychoanalysis. Initially, we established a parallel between the concept of archive in the understanding of Freudian psychoanalysis and of archive evil, according to Derrida’s proposal. The analogy is permeated by the relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy, in which religion plays the role of medium term. Through the metaphor of archive evil, the Derridean interpretation shows how Freud reveals the violent element in religion-psychoanalysis (the followers kill the founding father and substitute another, dealing with a guilt that settles in the culture itself). But how does this happen in the philosophy of education, between philosophy and education? How would this nostalgia in the thought of education be?
Philosophy of education is born from the heart that gives rise to philosophy and reflects on the models of thought constituted, historically, from a philosophical and pedagogical point of view concomitantly. It traces the different inventories and work schemes which the great exponents of philosophical thought proposed as new ways of understanding the educational phenomenon, the fine teaching and learning. Thus, it seeks to address the correlation between the different ways of facing the pedagogical process throughout history and its structuring in the education systems.
However, the archives that philosophy of education present not always contemplate the realities as they occurred, since the “archive evil” is also part of its history, silencing some initiatives in favor of others. One example is the death of Socrates. As Werner Jaeger defines in the classic Paideia: the ideals of Greek Culture (Paidéia: a formação do homem grego - Portuguese version): “Socrates is the most amazing pedagogical phenomenon in the history of the West” (JAEGER, 1995JAEGER, Werner. Paidéia: a formação do homem grego. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1995., p. 512, our translation). He stands to the origin of philosophy, like Moses to Judaism and Jesus Christ for Christianity. In Derrida’s language, it could be said that he is the first archivist, that is, the one who “institutes the archive as it should be, that is, not only displaying the document, but establishing it. He reads, interprets and classifies it” (JAEGER, 2001, p. 73, our translation).
The way Socrates philosophized represents a shift in the understanding of philosophy in the ancient world, opening a new path for the relationship between philosophy and education. Until then, philosophers were naturalists, that is, they were concerned with understanding the purposes of physis, seeking to unravel the deeper meaning of the cosmic order that underlies all things or phenomena. Socrates places at the center of his concern with philosophizing the human aspect - the anthropocentric feature, understanding that the ordering is the result of a balance achieved by reflection on himself.
In the same way that Moses had the protection of the divine cloud against the onslaught of the Israelites, Socrates claimed to have an interior daímon (divine counsel) that helped him get rid of the hardships of destiny. He said he was enlightened through the Oracle of Delphi, read by a pythoness, as described by Plato in Plato: the apology of Socrates (Apologia de Sócrates, 2011 - Portuguese version). However, he was brought to court for the first and only time when he was over 70, accused of subverting youth with sophistical speeches. His death was not caused by the disciples, but by those who detracted and persecuted him. With his end, the archive survived on the testimony of Plato and Xenophon, who guaranteed continuity to his legacy in the writing of several works. The corrosion of the archive, as a material truth, opens philosophy to its historical truth, mainly fictional. The discourse that is instituted later is a form of redemption of the original Socrates, his re-enactment. And this happens not without disputes, silences and abandonments, because Aristophanes, in his comedy Aristophanes: clouds (As nuvens, 2014 - Portuguese version), and later Friedrich Nietzsche in The birth of tragedy: Out of the spirit of music (A origem da tragédia no espírito da música, 1978 - Portuguese version), for example, stand up bravely against the perpetuation of his cult.
If psychoanalysis was accused of being “Judaism without God” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001., p. 65, our translation), can the same be said of philosophy, that is, that it is also a religion without God? It is necessary to take into account that the difference between philosophy and religion is not always very evident, since much of its development took place in close connection with theology and the conviviality of the churches. Although the founding father of the philosophical belief (Socrates) stated that he received his commission from the gods, we cannot go so far in this statement, since philosophy has gone through some later stages of adhering to the discourse of secularization. But there is no doubt that there are more similarities than differences between the discourses of psychoanalysis and philosophy thought from the perspective of archive evil.
Inventives for philosophy and education
After presenting some approximations between psychoanalysis and philosophy of education regarding the problem of archive evil, let us return to the question presented at the beginning of this text to design or open some doors for the future of the relationship between philosophy and education. It asks whether one of the major problems in philosophy of education does not refer to the desire of returning to its origin (to its home) in philosophy.
The need to return to an idyllic past is not without foundation, as long as it is not a nostalgia of the absolute being. Not infrequently we encounter several problems of all kinds in the handling of concepts, reference to authorities on the subject and their genealogies and thought structures in the field of education, which instigate nostalgia. One of the most serious problems can be evidenced in teaching, due to the teachers being excessively “pedagogized”, according to the expression used by Pereira (2008)PEREIRA, Marcelo Ricardo. A impostura do mestre. Belo Horizonte: Argvmentvm, 2008. . These go through the vulgarization and simplification of psychological currents such as humanism x behavioralism, offering a deepening of such themes in the line of self-help books or in newsstands reports from magazines and newspapers. In addition, such simplification also covers studies of psychoanalysis in education, due to the unfulfilled promises by psychology to explain the domain of the other, that is, “care technologies, behavioral rationality and knowledge about the other” (PEREIRA, 2008PEREIRA, Marcelo Ricardo. A impostura do mestre. Belo Horizonte: Argvmentvm, 2008. , p. 175, our translation). As this ideal has not fulfilled itself, gaps are opened for the insertion of the knowledge of psychoanalysis with the same objective, as well as for the increase in the opening of specialization courses in psychopedagogy. Moreover, the author points out: “Pedagogical theories, by contributing to put part of the master’s authority in suspension, seem to have abandoned him, as well as his disciples, to their own devices” (PEREIRA, 2008, p. 168, our translation). In other words, we are reliving a situation that contributes to teacher malaise and that opens up to insurgent violence in schools, since the loosening of rules in certain pedagogies may have contributed to this process. Another very common issue is the problem of periodic exclusion of philosophy teaching in schools and its shortening in the field of licensing undergraduate degrees, sometimes accused, by society and the system, of being at the service of students’ indoctrination, and sometimes being accused by other areas of knowledge of having no practical purpose.
Now, Freud also fought against the oversimplification of knowledge in the field of Psychoanalysis. When looking for fundaments in Freud’s work to criticize the codes of interpretation of the unconscious, based on closed schemes that attributed a priori meanings to the symbols evoked in dreams, Derrida asserts: “As much as the generality and the rigidity of the code, this limit lies in the fact that there is an excessive concern with content, a reduced concern with relationships, situations, functioning and differences” (DERRIDA, 1971DERRIDA, Jacques A escritura e a diferença. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1971., p. 197, our translation). The situation described by the French philosopher is not without its proximity due to the excessive facilitation of dealing with issues that depend on a reading that is characterized by its contextual, differentiated and case by case dimension.
Would this not be another reenactment of archive evil, now read metaphorically in the relationship between philosophy and education, namely, the accusation of youth corruption was the same that weighed on Socrates, leading to his condemnation and death, therefore, parricide? Moreover, it remains to be seen whether the knowledge, that emerged in its entirety and only after dismembering it, would deal with a guilt of the same kind as that present in culture and in the diaspora, that of not being able to face its own original nature, therefore having to constantly hide it. Before these issues, and the problematic framework in which education finds itself, would it not be the case of the philosophy of education adhering to the Freudian strategy of overthrowing the borders to end the dichotomy of us and them, thus erasing the difference between binary oppositions that arise? In other words, would it be feasible to seek minimal identification with the aggressor, showing his incongruity from within?
Of course, this would not imply, in any way, assuming the “pedagogization of the master”, the discourse of skills and competences, pedagogy with a focus on the student and with its excessive “group dynamics”, that is, assuming the poverty of philosophical experience as constitutive of pedagogical knowledge. These statements forget or fail to contemplate one of the lessons of archival reflection proposed by Freud-Derrida, namely, that there is a tendency to reissue the original violence, which occasioned archive and archive evil. Furthermore, this adherence forgets to realize that, in the case of Freud, there was another meaning in question, as it was a matter of showing that the accusation against Jews was false, since they actually had another ancestry. In relation to philosophy, the death of Socrates is reissued symbolically in these situations, sometimes by its pure and simple exclusion from the curricular structures of the courses, that is, by the deletion of its archive in the disciplines, and sometimes by the silencing of its proposals by adhering to the neoconservative wave of anti-intellectualism.
Different from this is seeking inspiration in the testimony of Socrates, who cultivated a type of knowledge that was not the same as that of the Sophists, for example. According to Jaeger (1995)JAEGER, Werner. Paidéia: a formação do homem grego. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1995., both Xenophon and Plato describe Socratic dialogues generally linked to banquet or gym environments, not by chance. Sophists taught in select places such as stages, private houses or improvised classes and their narrative was aimed at the wealthy citizens of the city. In turn, Socrates cultivated an improvised dialogue in public places, there was a political dimension in his philosophical approach that was not the search for the submission of disciples, but sought to share his doubts with friends, along with these other places: “Thus arised a gymnastics of thought that soon had as many supporters and admirers as that of the body, and was soon recognized as what it had been for a long time: as a new form of paideia” (JAEGER, 1995JAEGER, Werner. Paidéia: a formação do homem grego. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1995., p. 523 our translation). In this case we can venture to say that there is a proximity to the Freudian strategy because, in opposition to the vulgarization suffered by the Jews carried out by the Nazis, who accused them of degenerating the race, Freud showed that Moses came from another, much higher strain, that is, that Moses was not only the “political leader of the Jews established in Egypt, but also their legislator and educator” (FREUD, 2018FREUD, Sigmund. O homem Moisés e a religião monoteísta: Três ensaios. Porto Alegre: L&PM, 2018., p. 49, our translation). Therefore, as in the Jewish tradition, in the origin of philosophy is the fight against the vulgarization of knowledge and the defense of identification from above.
The text seeks to discuss the themes of archive and archive evil from the perspective of Derrida’s criticism of Freud and some of his interpreters. It seeks to deconstruct some of the basic Freudian theses, and reaffirm others, with a view to increasing the dialogue between philosophy and education. After some inventions, in the sense of opening up future possibilities from the resumption of the hermeneutics of traditions of the term archive, we could propose and ask the following: a) in view of the accusations made, the Freudian gesture of reenacting the father’s death by the original band could serve as a self-critical movement of the philosophy of education itself faced with its tradition? b) Without abandoning the critical trench, and based on Derrida and Birman, repeating the Freudian gesture is sufficient; what consequences would arise from there?
The deconstruction of metaphysics is a work that has been carried out by several movements from contemporary philosophy, from hermeneutics and (neo)pragmatism to critical theory, through the phenomenology of subjectivity to the linguistic and analytical movement, among others; they seek to unravel the narrowing of the trajectory of western logocentrism that led to the cult of technical reason. Contemporary philosophy and education seek to show the discomfort to which this type of reasoning leads in the field of studies of sexuality, gender, belief and ethnicity, for example. And how much we are subjected to understanding schemes that limit or robotize our thinking, hampering creativity, originality and boldness. That is why it is important to rethink a concept that has historically supported this rationality, such as the archive. Derridean criticism seeks to open this notion to new and unpredictable situations that may safeguard the possibility of what he calls in his book “archival disturbance” (DERRIDA, 2001DERRIDA, Jacques. Mal de arquivo: uma impressão freudiana. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 2001.).
The return to the primitive brings awareness to the fore, and therefore brings the repressed back to the literal level of writing, enabling the event of understanding that can help to demobilize the repetition that was established in the archive. Insofar as we perceive a certain field, or area of knowledge, to be a prisoner of the death drive (of archive evil), it can then distance itself from its magical tradition, freeing itself from the unconscious power that governs it. This is an initiative that has an impact on the tradition of metaphysics and, consequently, on the debates on the direction of philosophy and education, as we see the return, in Brazilian society, of flags that defend agendas that have been stunted in history. Among them, we can mention the insistence with the return of moral and civics discipline, courses and libraries purged of the Marxist poison, liberation from communist indoctrination, limitation to gender and sexuality studies in the classroom. It is certainly against this closing of the archive in its classic concept, aimed only at the memory of repetition and the guilt of repression, what led Derrida to sketch his interpretation of the theme. It is not this opening that he thought of when proposing his notion of archive evil, but we can interpret this closure from its reverse, therefore.
Socrates’ death is being reissued in these guidelines, as his defense was in favor of a knowledge of “exhortation (protreptikos) and inquiry (elenchos)” (JAEGER, 1995JAEGER, Werner. Paidéia: a formação do homem grego. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1995., p. 525, our translation), both of which were figured in question form. That is why Socrates is defined by Jaeger as “an archive” with the following characteristics: “He was a great connoisseur of men, whose precise questions served as a touchstone to discover all the talents and all the latent forces, and to whom they would go to ask for advice, for the education of children, the most respected citizens” (JAEGER, 1995, p. 522, our translation). If parents sought Socrates’ advice to educate their children well, it was because they saw him as an open archive and generous with the future. What the Athenian philosopher has in common with the prophet Moses and Jesus Christ is that they, each in their own time, and in their own way, not only served thanatos, destroying old archives. But, returning to the past, they were also not trapped to the compulsion of repetition, but were able to edit new files by the force of eros. There is, therefore, a homeric difference between a pedagogical knowledge that inquires and raises objections and another that simply repeats or reaffirms the repressed, a knowledge that endorses commonly accepted beliefs and another that puts them on hold. Doing the “exorcism” or therapy of these ghosts is a joint challenge for psychoanalysis, philosophy and education and, even, for the teaching of religion to go beyond an inglorious struggle with the present, which hypostasized the compulsive and necrophilic reissue of the past.
Translated by Bibiana Silveira-Nunes. E-mail: email@example.com
TN: Although Derrida’s book is titled “Archive fever”, after extensive research I’ve found that the term “archive evil” is more frequently used, in the English language, when referring to the evils brought on by the psychoanalytical practice of archive, hence my use of that term throughout this text, except when referring directly to the book.
TN: translated from the referenced Spanish version “las relaciones entre una hermenéutica de los símbolos y una filosofía de la reflexión concreta”.
TN: here the authors play with two portuguese words, repressão and recalque, being that the first one means repression in the common sense, and the second one is reserved to repression in the freudian sense.
Freud presented the reflection on the Magic Block in Chapter III of Civilization and its discontents and developed it in more detail in a small text included in the book The Ego and the Id: and Other Works, published in the Brazilian standard edition of complete psychological works by Sigmund Freud (1996)FREUD, Sigmund. Uma nota sobre o ‘Bloco Mágico’. Tradução de Jayme Salomão (org.). Rio de Janeiro: Imago , 1996. p. 255-259. (Edição Standard Brasileira das Obras Psicológicas completas de Sigmund Freud, v. 19). .
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Publication in this collection
10 May 2021
Date of issue
12 May 2020
27 Feb 2021