31 General Introduction

interruption from one territorial discipline to another. Everydayness is made of successive establishments and familiar places, provisional allegiances to rules and us age and to their suspension. Nomic topography is essentially nomadic.54 As is evident, this nomadic movement leaves a mark not only in speech but on everything we call thought and life (“What men accept as worth justifying shows how they think and live” (§ 325). One initiates first one language game then another, and already oneʼs observance of the rules has changed. The task of philosophy is not to construct languages purified from all contradiction. As Hertzʼs sigh amply shows, grammatical conventions capable of dis entangling the discourse on electro magnetism fall under the jurisdiction of the physicist. It is in cum bent upon the philosopher not to resolve, but to make an inventory of the rules muddled in every day language. How do we advance in a world not freed of contradictions? It is a matter of practice, of displacing the problem to the “civil” realm. What do we make of the disparity, how do we arrange it and arrange ourselves with it? “The civil status of contradiction or its status in the civil world: that is the philosophical problem” (§ 125).

A favorite opinion among the theoreticians of modernity, who either condemn it or exalt it, is that at the beginning of normative thought every thing held together as in the compact ball that Parmenides evokes. At the opposite end of history, the recognition of language games is to have ended by dispersing all referents having normative force. The disparity, into which Parmenidesʼ ball explodes, supposedly is the work of the moderns. And that work could be given a specific date of birth, perhaps that January 10, 1610, when Galileo trained his telescope on the stars. “In one night, the universe lost its center, and the next morning it had innumerable ones.”55 By retracing the legislative-transgressive strategies contained in normative arguments, I will attempt to show, to the contrary, that dispersive violence has been emphasized ever since Parmenides; it has been recognized as one recognizes oneʼs own death, covered over again by the equally violent requirements of life.

These remarks on the disparate contradictories are sufficient to remind us of that upon which an epochal hegemonic regime is instituted, on an arrangement of shards of everydayness, according to new rules. Our world re makes itself with each of the great Greek, Roman, and modern beginnings. The nomadic linguistic territory—here one family, there another, and between them figures etched out by all sorts of exchanges—then suddenly appears outlined by a different silhouette. Briefly put, the rule of the Eleatic arrangement occupies itself with contrariety and contradiction in the strict sense, that of the Roman arrangement with the history of the singular, and that of transcendentalism resulting from the Reformation with the simultaneity of two perceptions of self.

However, these remarks tell us nothing about that by means of which a hegemonic regime is instituted, nothing about the fantasms that rearrange the world. A discourse that speaks “fundamentally” is an instituting discourse. The arrangement is not always what is taken to be founded. Thus it is not sufficient to grasp the disparity in its nomographies; it is necessary to seek again the differing at its place of emergence.

The differend: This is, to be sure, a polymorphous notion and therefore is op posed to what one calls, or maybe no longer calls, ideologies. Each ideology necessarily affirms itself to be sovereign and yet as the rival to all others. The reference by which