Nikos Salingaros has made some fascinating material available that gives the background to an essay he wrote on “The Derrida Virus” that I mentioned a month or so ago. (The essay is no longer available on the web but it appears it will be published in Telos.) The material provides a perspective on how nihilistic ideas propagate based on what seem to be rather close medical and computer science analogies. Sample quote:
Studying deconstructivist writings gave me the impression that except for Derrida, who is very cleverly and deliberately obfuscating, their authors were suffering from some sort of brain damage. (I’m being serious, and not trying to score points). The normal, evolved mechanisms that enable human analytical thought had apparently been scrambled, so that those authors seemed mentally incapable of expressing a direct, logical statement. Their writings almost make sense; but not quite. They avoid closure as part of the method, but this eventually becomes a habit as neural circuits rewire themselves. This syndrome mimics the effects of a biological virus that has destroyed part (but not all) of the brain, preserving intelligence and memory while damaging the ability to synthesize thoughts. Since synthesis depends on connectivity, which deconstruction erases, this adds supporting evidence for some new type of mental virus with observable and possibly permanent effects.