While recently rereading Derrida’s beautiful essay, “On Forgiveness”, I found myself imagining a story around it. So, the essay became one about a scene, rather than an idea, of forgiveness. “Forgiveness is mad,” Derrida writes, “It must plunge, but lucidly, into the night of the unintelligible.” I had been writing about Tagore’s Ghare Baire too, and, when I got tired of working, watching bits of Antonioni’s La Notte on YouTube. These night-haunted and night-haunting masterpieces by Tagore and Antonioni came together in my head and provided me the key – the ‘theory’, as it were – to reading Derrida’s piece on forgiveness, rather than the other way round.
There is a mysterious, almost magical link, which we have all perhaps felt sometimes, between remembering something long-forgotten and finding something given up as lost. Such moments in our everyday life get taken up into inwardly-felt, surreal loops of time, and they gesture glimmeringly at our deepest intimations of loss and recovery.