DO YOU KNOW WHAT
THE SECRET IS ?
According to John D. Caputo, the secret’s secrecy is that no one knows and we are never going to know, which is not due to failure on our part as it is not even a matter of knowing. There is no Absolute Truth and we are NOT born into this world “hard-wired to Being Itself, or Truth Itself, or the Good Itself… and when we open our mouths, it is we who speak, not something Bigger and Better than we.” Dr. Caputo takes a non-hierarchical philosophical stance where the so called know-it-alls are not distinguished from the unknowns to conclude (without concluding) that, “We do not know who we are – that is who we are!”
The Absolute Secret keeps knowledge safely secreted away. Not only does not-knowing keep us safe, our lives are impassioned by the passion of not-knowing. Because we simply do not know, it keeps the door open for that which we don’t see coming or couldn’t possibly predict in the future. Not-knowing fuels our desire to know… not-knowing keeps hope alive as hope… and not-knowing keeps faith safe from knowledge. Security of knowledge is a great threat to faith: instead of seeing through the eyes of faith, the faithful begin to see things period (this is a danger of religious fundamentalism).
Caputo’s More Radical Hermeneutics (2000) is one of my most cherished texts. Caputo uses deconstruction, repetition, The Absolute Secret, and his own mischievousness to hound and harass hermeneutics, thereby uncovering: “prankster hermeneutics,” “parisian hermeneutics,” “yankee hermeneutics,” “devilish hermeneutics,” and “holy hermeneutics!” He describes his more radical hermeneutics as “a kind of intellectual fire department that arrives on the scene to douse the flames of essentialism wherever they flare up and threaten to consume us.” Essentialists are anyone who claim to be in on The Secret.
In There is No One Narcissism (1995), Derridia also spins The Secret into a non-knowing:
“It is not a non-knowing installed in the form of , “I don’t want to know.” I am all for knowledge [laughter]… So, this non-knowing… it is not the limit… of a knowledge, the limit in the progression of a knowledge. It is, in some way, a structural non-knowing, which is heterogeneous, foreign to knowledge. It’s not just the unknown that could be know and that I give up trying to know. It is something in relation to which knowledge is out of the question. And when I specify that it is a non-knowing and not a secret, I mean that when a text appears to be crypted, it is not at all in order to calculate or to intrigue or to bar access to something that I know that others must not know; it is more ancient, more originary experience, if you will, of the secret.”
Je ne sais pas. Il faut croire!