Take it back!

Nothing intimidates me when I write. I say what I think must be said. [But] when I don’t write, there is a very strange moment when I go to sleep. When I have a nap and I fall asleep. At that moment, in a sort of half-sleep, all of a sudden I’m terrified by what I’m doing. And I tell myself: ‘You’re crazy to write this!’ […] And there is a sort of panic in my subconscious, as if… what can I compare it to? Imagine a child who does something horrible. […] In this half-sleep I have the impression that I’ve done something criminal, disgraceful, unavowable that I shouldn’t have done. And someone is telling me: ‘You’re mad to have done that!” And this is something I truly believe in my half-sleep. And the implied command in this is: ‘Stop everything! Take it back! Burn your papers! What you are doing is inadmissible!’ But once I wake up, it’s over. What this means or how I interpret this is that when I’m awake, conscious, working, in a certain way I’m more unconscious than in my half-sleep. When I’m in that half-sleep there’s a kind of vigilance that tells me the truth. First of all it tells me that what I’m doing is very serious. But when I’m awake and working, this vigilance is actually asleep. It’s not the stronger of the two. And so I do what must be done.

Derrida

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