When writing about zoogrammatology, I often make the point that animality threatens to short-circuit language and literature (to use an expression sometimes employed by Cary Wolfe). I was happy, but not really surprised, to find further theorization of such short circuit in Of Grammatology: it is basically the complex, presuppositional relationship that obtains between writing and science:
Writing is not only an auxiliary means in the service of science--and possibly its object--but first [...] the condition of the possibility of ideal objects and therefore of scientific objectivity. Before being its object, writing is the condition of the epistémè.To go about a procedure of substitution not unfamiliar to Chapter 2 on "Linguistics and Grammatology", from which I got the above quote, we could say:
Animality is not only an auxiliary means in the service of literature--and possibly its object--but first [...] the condition of the possibility of signs and therefore of representation. Before being its object, animality is the condition of mimesis.Derrida thus exposes and (briefly) explains the short-circuit that would happen to a science of writing, since all science is always already scriptural: a science of writing would plug writing into itself and short-circuit it. To fully understand why animality can be like writing, and why literature is always already animalized, stay tuned to my thesis Of Zoogrammatology: Animality, Meaning, and Signifying Practices in around three years's time! Or come along to the Reading Animals Conference in Sheffield in which I'll be speaking about scriptural animality in Totem and Taboo.
PS. I think Akira Lippit would also like the electromagnetic overtones of a short-circuit of animality.