from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen
On a close, non-literal reading of the text, Nietzsche’s madman is not rejoicing in the death of God but is deeply troubled by it. As he says, “We have killed him-you and I. All of us are his murders. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?’” What does Nietzsche mean by horizon, and what happens when the horizon is erased? A horizon carves out a space for vision. Or you might say the horizon creates a space within which we can live because it sets a boundary of sorts for what we can see. So what happens when I “wipe away the entire horizon?” I destroy the very boundaries that define human existence. Again, the madman does not take joy in this situation. Rather, he is describing where we are in history, what we’ve become as a society. We are a people who think we don’t need God; we’ve become, as Nietzsche says explicitly, a prideful people. In fact, pride characterizes modern life (and a good bit of postmodern life as well)... According to Nietzsche, we’ve become prideful in a number of ways. First of all, we built grander and grander conceptual edifices (what Nietzsche poetically calls, “columbaria”) that lead us away from the forces of life and toward a culture of death. We forget that our metaphors have lowly origins and believe that our columbaria are impenetrable. Having such great confidence in the progress of modern science, we believe that with enough time we can even overcome death. In such an environment, Nietzsche asks, who needs faith? We have denied our finitude, have made ourselves gods; thus, practically speaking God is dead. The madman laments this situation. Do we? Or do we continue by the way we live our lives to confirm Nietzsche’s prophetic judgment? Я виновна, as the Russians say.
from Critical Animal by Scu As the question of the animal intensifies in Derrida's thought we see a continued distance being placed between Derrida and Heidegger, and so often and repeatedly over the question of the animal (from the 1968 The Ends of Man, to his 2001-2002 lectures The Sovereign and the Beast). And if we are to take Derrida at his word, that the most fundamental disavowal for him is the disavowal of the animal, then it should come as no surprise to us that his more political and ethical writings should become more central in his work at the same time that the question of the animal enters his work with a stronger and greater frequency. The argument here isn't just that you can't understand Derrida without understanding his work on animals, though that is part of my argument, it is also that you can't understand the specific shift of his work away from a strong heideggerianism and towards a strong political and ethical focus without understanding the way the question of the animals plays in the economy of Derrida's writing.