A concrete result of the destruction by the Derrida virus and related strains of the ability to think like a normal human being: Hanging Corpse Admired as Sculpture on Campus. It was for this, it appears, that the Hungarians overthrew communism.
I find it extraordinarily illuminating to view modernism and postmodernism as collections of viruses. Like viruses they are defined by superficial attractiveness, emptiness of useful content, and an ability to replicate and substitute themselves for the complex and living structures that constitute a field of thought or activity. Let them do their work and people lose the ability to distinguish a long-dead corpse from a work of art.
Still, questions remain. Why do we have these viruses now and not previously? What was the immune system and where did it go? In the materials I linked a couple of days ago, Salingaros suggests “the mad pursuit of innovation,” “ignorant, egocentric architects,” and “the totalitarian dictates of an established power elite. That’s true as far as it goes, but in his unpublished paper “The Derrida Virus” he goes deeper:
“In the absence of commonsense standards and a respect for evolved wisdom, every group demonstrates its own power and reality by dominating, disordering, and destroying other groups and their beliefs. Everything becomes a nihilistic power game; hence the Nazi parallel mentioned in this paper is not accidental. Our sole defense against nihilism is connectivity …
“[M]uch of [deconstruction] comes from a putting individual subjectivity first in an absolute sense … It rejects the traditional good, true, and beautiful, identifying them as oppressive enemies of the self coming to us from the outside.”
Another author he quotes, David Lehman, in his book on the Paul de Man case, agrees: deconstruction “is determined to show that the ideals and values by which we live are not natural and inevitable but are artificial constructions, arbitrary choices that ought to have no power to command us.”
The problem, then, is that if we don’t accept in love that we live in a world with a moral and aesthetic order that precedes us and validates our thoughts and purposes, when they are indeed valid, then when that order of things impinges on us it will seem alien and oppressive and we will rebel against it by trying to destroy it and everything that reflects it—that is, everything good, beautiful and true. As Salingaros points out elsewhere, modernism and postmodernism in design are ultimately anti-God. (For a discussion of deconstruction and religious architecture, see his Anti-Architecture and Religion.)
What can we see in Derrida’s own words other than an assault on meaning and existence itself:
“All I have done … is dominated by the thought of a virus, what could be called a parasitology, a virology, the virus being many things … The virus is in part a parasite that destroys, that introduces disorder into communication. Even from the biological standpoint, this is what happens with a virus; it derails a mechanism of the communicational type, its coding and decoding. On the other hand, it is something that is neither living nor non-living; the virus is not a microbe. And if you follow these two threads, that of a parasite which disrupts destination from the communicative point of view—disrupting writing, inscription, and the coding and decoding of inscription—and which on the other hand is neither alive nor dead, you have the matrix of all that I have done since I began writing.”
[Brunette & Wills, ed., Deconstruction and the Visual Arts, (Cambridge University Press, 1994), 12.]
What could motivate such an assault other than a self-centered and indeed Satanic hatred of God? Our defense against it is not simple connectivity, as Salingaros sometimes appears to suggest, but faith in something transcendent—in short, religion. Unless we remain loyally in communion with the constitution of being we will have no defense against the viruses Salingaros describes. People used to think that atheism meant clarity and reason. It should now be obvious that it means the contrary.