I have been thinking about sex, both satisfying and unsatisfying, and nostalgia over the last few days. I came across a quote from Marx and Engels: ‘Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relation to one another as onanism and sexual love.’ Finding this quote in isolation, torn from the paragraph it helped constitute, and the book it took part in producing, my interpretation of it is bound to be skewed. It nevertheless says to me that we might look at the world one way as we sit in isolation, as either individuals or as a community, but things change outside.

There is a sense for me, as I start to become familiar with the post-structuralist literature, that there is something about it that passes me by and leaves the world more or less untouched in its wake, even though what we are reading reaches and disrupts the essence or the centre or the core of how we understand the world and the kinds of information and experiences to which we have access. It feels like this is all occurring within the privacy of our minds, notebooks, and bedrooms, and when we step out into the larger world and to interaction with minds outside ourselves and lives in addition to our own, we will still live as though the centre still holds, even if each of us individually knows that it doesn’t. I suppose this is what Derrida was trying to say in the first place. I am maybe too nostalgic for a center.

I went looking for ways that would get me out of this state of mind. Not that I minded being nostalgic, but I felt as though maybe I was being passed by without realizing the extent of the change left behind. I found this:

Derrida discusses the various meanings of ‘deconstruction’ in the dictionary:
"Deconstruction: action of deconstructing. Grammatical term. Disarranging the construction of words in a sentence. 'Of deconstruction, common way of saying construction', Lemare, De la maniére d'apprendre les langues, ch.17, in *Cours de langue Latine*. Deconstruire: 1. To disassemble the parts of a whole. To deconstruct a machine to transport it elsewhere. 2. Grammatical term... To deconstruct verse, rendering it, by the suppression of meter, similar to prose. Absolutely. ('In the system of prenotional sentences, one also starts with translation and one of its advantages is never needing to deconstruct,' Lemare, ibid.) 3. Se deconstruire [to deconstruct itself] ... to lose its construction. 'Modern scholarship has shown us that in a region of the timeless East, a language reaching its own state of perfection is deconstructed [s'est deconstruite] and altered from within itself according to the single law of change, natural to the human mind,' Villemain, *Preface du Dictionaire de l'Academie*."

He then writes:

“Naturally it will be necessary to translate all of this into Japanese but that only postpones the problem. It goes without saying that if all the significations enumerated by the Littré interested me because of their affinity with what I "meant" [voulais-dire], they concerned, metaphorically, so to say, only models or regions of meaning and not the totality of what deconstruction aspires to at its most ambitious. This is not limited to a linguistico-grammatical model, let alone a mechanical model. These models themselves ought to be submitted to a deconstructive questioning. It is true then that these "models" have been behind a number of misunderstandings about the concept and word of "deconstruction" because of the temptation to reduce it to these models.”

Similarly, Rheinberger writes: “A model is a model in the perspective of something at which it fails to arrive.”

He also quotes Baudrillard: “Facts no longer have any trajectory of their own, they arise at the intersection of models.”

Perhaps another model would help.
ja.wikipedia.org tells me that the Japanese for ‘deconstruction’ is 脱構築.
My first reaction is to interpret it as an ‘escape from construction.’ But looking at each character in order:

1. The first character is pronounced here as “datsu.” It has various meanings. 脱毛 (datsu-mou) is hair removal. 脱衣 (datsu-i) is to undress. 脱出 (dasshutsu) is to escape. 脱サラ (datsu-sara) is to escape from a ‘salaryman’ job, and pursue personal interests. 脱臼 (dakkyuu) is to dislocate a joint.
2. The second character and third characters together are read ‘kouchiku’, which can be translated as construction or structure. It also is used as the verb ‘to construct’. Taken separately, the first can refer to a stance (構え, kamae), to enter a stance (構える, kamaeru), or a mulberry tree (構の木, kaji no ki). The second is used to refer to building structures, flat dirt surfaces, or little piles of things.

I sit here now, with a vague sense of something arising between these two models. It’s difficult to say what it is, except that it is now what I understand when I hear the word ‘deconstruction.’ I guess this feels sort of good. I have some sense of personal accomplishment. But I feel it could be so much better. So I guess the question that still lingers in my mind is, where’s the actual world? Where’s reality? Maybe for me, the best place to look first is a Japanese-English dictionary.