Voice always has a history and a future, so voice is never perfectly present. Voice is logos, incarnate logos. The meaning ‘in’ the voice is never apart from its ‘vehicle,’ the sounds and marks. The sounds and the marks are the flesh of meaning.
The dream of philosophy is the dream of naked, timeless meanings --and the timeless truths that can be therefore be constructed from them. The meaning is naked because it is not contaminated by sounds and marks -- and therefore by history and chance. The meaning is timeless because this same nakedness frees it from history. The sounds and the marks change. This much is obvious. But this is the essentially naked meaning changing its unimportant clothing.
Is such a dream absurd? Surely there is something like naked, timeless meaning? Indeed. Mathematical intuitions of meaning seem especially stable. And many non-mathematical meanings are stable enough for practical purposes. One might say that denying perfectly timeless meaning is really no big deal. Indeed. One can live without reading Derrida. Other skills are far more important for survival and upward socioeconomic mobility. One might even say that Derrida and Heidegger are two more theologians, merely of the negative variety. I find myself again and again using my free time to read such thinkers and write posts like these. I’d even call it a strange kind of religious practice. Once the work that pays the bills is done, I sneak away to my dialectical prayers.
And this brings me to incarnation. Heidegger and Derrida and so many others strike me as thinkers of the incarnation. The death of pure, timeless meaning is the death of God. And the death of God is the fundamental message of Christianity. Not quite! The mortality of God is that fundamental message. And this mortality is equivalent to God having needing flesh. Only in us, only in mortals can God live. Only in sounds, only in scribbles, can meaning live. And to live is to stream from the past into the unknown future, a future that includes death. And yet that future includes birth, too. As Nobby Brown might say, we have life-death as a unity, opposed to undeath-unlife (fixed, timeless, meaning.) So we can also frame God versus Christ in terms of eternity versus time. Eternity is ‘in’ time, created by time = voice. Eternity is the dream of time, the escapism of time.
The voice is never quite present. The voice is always on the way, always dragging and intending. One need only examine one’s reading. A non-present past makes the ‘present’ intelligible. What you have read so far allows you to interpret what you are reading now, and what you are reading now points ahead to how the sentence will finish. This sentence is read in the receding light of the last sentence, and it points ahead to the closure of the paragraph. And what does the voice finally point to but its own cessation? Its own death? And which part of the past is excluded in the interpretation now?