10 Introduction

only of "guiding traits." Since these traits apply to 'theory' and 'practice' alike, that distinction loses its pertinence.

This said and understood, nonetheless it must be added that the avowal of ignorance is, of course, a feint. And one that is more than strategic—unless the word 'strategy' is understood, not in relation to human actions and the art of coordinating them, but in relation to the economies of presencing. Then one sees that there are strong reasons for feigning. Indeed, after having outlined the withering away of principles, how could one avoid questions of the following type: What is your theory of the State? And of property? And of law in general? What will become of defense? And of our highways? Heidegger makes himself scarce. After one of the most direct developments of what could be called ontological anarchy—expressed at this juncture by the concept of "life without why," borrowed from Meister Eckhart (via Angelus Silesius)—Heidegger concludes: "In the most hidden ground of his being, man truly is only if in his way he is like the rose—without why." The "without why" points beyond the closure; therefore it cannot be pursued. The brusque halt of the development-"We cannot pursue this thought any further here"12—as well as the feigned ignorance, are inevitable when "another thought" is attempted. To strengthen this point a little further: a life "without why" certainly means a life without a goal, without telos; also it is said that "in the most hidden ground of his being"—hence, totally—man must be deprived of telos. For man to be "in his way like the rose" would be to abolish practical teleology. It is clear that the objections rebound: But without telos action would no longer be action ... Indeed. Whence the necessity of the feint.

To deconstruct action is to uproot it from domination by the idea of finality, the teleocracy where it has been held since Aristotle. A deconstruction, then, is not the same as a destruction. At the end of the Introduction to Being and Time Heidegger announced a "phenomenological destruction of the history of ontology."13 By that he meant a way of rereading the philosophers. The subject matter of destruction is made up of philosophical systems, of books. With the help of that method Heidegger hoped to retrieve the thought experiences from which each of the inherited ontologies was born. The subject matter of deconstruction, on the other hand, is provided by the constellations of presencing that have succeeded one another throughout the ages. If the closure must be understood as it has been sketched here, if it is that disturbance of the rules whereby the general unity of the constellation called culture rearranges itself, then deconstruction is necessarily all-inclusive, indivisible. The Abbau cannot contain itself within a 'region', within a determinate science, or a discipline. Action is not deconstructible in isolation. This is why the first task is that of a phenomenology of the epochal principles.14