Being singular plural
Jean-Luc Nancy

This epigraph is chosen quite deliberately. I run the risk of its seeming to lend itself to a certain Christian, idealist, and humanist tone, a tone in which it is easy to recognize those well-meaning virtues and values that have loosed upon the world all the things that have driven the humanity of our century to despair over itself, where these values are both blind to and complicit in this letting loose. In his own way, Nietzsche himself would have undoubtedly participated in this dubious, moralizing piety. At any rate, the word “meaning” rarely appears in his work, and still more rarely in any positive sense. One would do well, therefore, not to give any hasty interpretations of it here. The above excerpt appeals to a “human meaning,” but it does so by affirming that the human -l’homme- remains to be discovered.1 In order for the human to be discovered, and in order for the phrase “human meaning” to acquire some meaning, everything that has ever laid claim to the truth about the nature, essence, or end of “man” must be undone. In other words, nothing must remain of what, under the title of meaning, related the earth -la terre- and the human to a specifiable horizon. Again, it is Nietzsche who said that we are now “on the horizon of the infinite”; that is, we are at that point where “there is no more land” and where “there is nothing more terrible than the infinite.”2


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