This book was a revelation. It resounds with the calls of thresholds and clamorings just over the horizon, if only... if only we... what? Think? Let Be? Open?
Three essays are sparkling: Jameson's is a warm up for the approach. And that is no faint praise. He is so lucidly (Derrida's word) clear about the stakes here (getting to that threshold, at a minimum), that the reader just might imagine being ready to go that next step (not) beyond.
The next two that I cite are indispensable works in aspirational thinking. First Derrida's. I enjoy Derrida's rejoinder writings. I think here also of his demolition of Searle in Limited Inc. Here a beginning reader might, with patience, find elucidating markers along the way to comprehending what Derrida's life of writing and generating provoking concepts such as deconstruction, messianistic, differance have cared for: to move beyond the threshold that metaphysics and ontology have staked out as our "ground," and instead move into a living engendering of aspiration around each "saying" we proffer and posit. His discussion of the "messianistic without messianism" is strikingly vivid. His flagging of a way for reading him, by noting the inclusion of the word, "perhaps," is also a gift, as he says that the statements marked by this word are those that concern him the most. And that instruction can be heeded in the reading of this essay as well.
Now for Hamacher's essay. This is a seminal, essential, founding essay -- Derrida says "luminous, powerful gestures -- on the ways to enacting a life of aspiring commitment. He frames notions, words and (af)formulations we must undertake to engage as an aspiration moves from what is (af)figured into to what is to be per-formed. This spacing of lingual fragments depicts precisely that notion of "letting be" that Hamacher (not Heidegger) offers as that full grasping of the aspiration at the threshold at which change, event, expansive occurrence is about to be broached by a living (any living?) being. Hamacher is next (after Derrida, Deleuze/Guattari).
[Qualifying Note: This essay, I said is "founding," I need to qualify that. It has this status in the line of (true) Thought as evoked by the great French thinkers in the post-WWII and '68-affected era. But it is perhaps Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling that rightfully can claim this "founding" status.]
I agree with Derrida's dismissal of Eagleton and Lewis, and his respectful disdain of Ahmad, to whom I think he gives too much accrediting attention. I found the writings of Macherey and Montag to be tenderly aware of the materialist constipations that surround the Althusser circle (and who Derrida rightly claimed friendship, as he means the term), but still good company along the way.
That said, the way Derrida ends his essay, in a plea for detente with Negri, sent my soul soaring by his commentary on "ontology" as a shibboleth between Thought-making "marranos." This term, the most derogatory epithet hurled at the post-Inqjuisition/Expulsion Spanish/Portuguese Jewws (in the 15th Century), evokes the status of this group of outcasts. Negri and Derrida, both experiencing prison cells (for different reasons and on different scales), are friends. And they are outcasts from the mainstream, each in their own ways. Both feel viscerally, perhaps, the staleness of the academic air behind them as they stand together on the threshold, each about to leap off in different directions, but both away from that stifling enclosed and self-congratulating deadness of the academic and legal establishments. As they leap, each feels different pulls and weights, thus also take up different inertias along their lines of flight. But Derrida's plea, remains so alive: he seems to say, Negri, my friend, we need each other, and our disciples, adherents, readers and fellow-aspiring souls, on this journey we each undertake.
This book lays out the work of some of the masters on this way, and Derrida, with his Marrano companion -- Hamacher as the encryptor of shibboleths, and Jameson as the usher on the near side -- get us far along towards,... the open?... or... perhaps... what..?... waits?
If you are preparing to set out on your way in an aspiring role, take these guides, these prophets, with you.