Derrida and Mysticism

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Any assertion that there are traces of mysticism in deconstruction has been severely rejected by Jacques Derrida from the very beginning. In discussing the juxtaposition of mysticism and deconstruction, he explains that he is not mystical and there is nothing mystical in his work. But the possibility of studying the two in parallel is both challenging and interesting. The proximity and engagement of deconstruction and mysticism can be seen when Buddhist, Jewish, or Muslim theologians can imagine that they have known deconstruction for centuries, and this is because they may find some common terminologies. This article is a reflection upon a central question: what is in deconstruction that provokes its general reader to juxtapose it with mysticism? Obviously, mystical annihilation is a subject that can be enigmatically compared and contrasted to deconstruction. However, mysticism is anti-philosophic by nature, and this is a starting point to study it with deconstruction. Nevertheless, the focus of this paper is that the mystic becomes a primal gesture of hospitality as subservience to the other, and it is because mystical love is the moment that the mystic should primarily sacrifice that which is held dear, namely his/her self, being, identity, or subjectivity, for the sake of the other. This situation can be developed through Derrida’s argument of hospitality because the very law of hospitality is to accept being hostage for the other. In this situation, the mystic becomes a subject who exists only through its nonexistence. In deconstruction this is an inward tension between absence and presence of a phenomenon which can partially be defined as annihilation in mysticism.