Sunday, November 20, 2005

An Extract, from 'Of Hospitality'

Anne Dufourmantelle, “Invitation”, in Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2000, pp. 106-110

“The seductiveness (and scientific validity) of technologies dedicated to the elimination of suffering, the improvement of existence, are the same as those that now closely accompany, for instance, all the stages of a pregnancy, with the risk of making the womb into an entirely ‘divulged’ space, open to every kin of examination, a ‘public place’ that medicine take charges of. And it is the same with death: to die at home becomes so unacceptable that you have to incur serious gaps in medical services if yuo want to stay alone with the dying person, with no other ‘witnesses’ than those closest to him or her. My point of view is not an ethical one, but that of a strange topology or topography that expels from ‘home’ the most intimate, most secret moments of existence. In the refusal of death and birth, exiled far from their dwelling place, confiscated by the medical establishment, there is the denial of the transition. You are dispossessed of what indeed does not belong to you, for that is the place of the highest rish. What you do not possess and what obsesses you are perhaps one and the same thing; many of the men and women who create, plan and expect babies know this.” (emphasis mine)

This section stood out for me, (also) in the context of two different discussions with friends, about how most people today are defined by their possessions…


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