”It is ironic that Derrida, the arch-postmodernist, chooses absolute temporal uniformity, and that the physicists adopt relativity” (Birth 2012:31).
For Derrida time is impossible without space. Time needs to be spatialized in order to flow. Duration means that something remains across a temporal interval and only space can remain. Without temporalization a point would not be able to remain the same as itself or to exist at the same time as another point. Hence, the simultaneity of space is a temporal notion. Derrida’s trace is therefore the co-implication of time and space. Since every temporal moment ceases it must be inscribed as a trace for it to exist (Hägglund 2011:118f).
Like other postmodernists (and modernists for that matter), Derrida is caught up in the correlationist circle and Kant’s faculties. For Kant, time and space are pure intuitions of our faculty of sensibility. In the non-anthropocentric and object-oriented perspective outlined by Harman, both time and space are tensions between objects and their qualities (along with essence and eidos). There is no longer a temporal uniformity. In fact, Harman’s time, inspired by Heidegger, means that at every moment and situation there are already preexisting objects (“the past”) that are torn in two directions. Although the objects pre-exist the situation they also obtain meaning by being referred to the potentialities of other objects. This projection is “the future,” i.e. what is added to the past (the givenness in the present) by another object (Harman 2011:56).
The irony here is that Derrida’s view of time is dependent on objects that shape temporality (clocks and calendars). He is not actually dealing with time “itself.” We all tend to make the same mistake. Archaeological chronologies are entered into a Gregorian calendar whereas the ancient Maya used another calendar to chart important events (where quite often the calendar itself set the conditions for events, such as Period Endings). However, both systems are dependent on the structure of a calendar (an object), rather than time “itself.”
Birth, Kevin K. (2012). Objects of Time: How Things Shape Temporality. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.
Harman, Graham (2011). The Quadruple Object. Zero Books, Winchester.
Hägglund, Martin (2011). Radical atheist materialism: A critique of Meillassoux. The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism, Eds, Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman. re.press: Melbourne, pp. 114-129.