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Difference becomes the origin of meaning, not identity, as in a thing’s “thingness.”

Barbara Johnson argues that because of  ambiguities, language is intelligible only when taken as a system, 
with meaning in the system derived from signs “not as independently meaningful units corresponding to external objects but as elements whose value is generated by their difference from neighboring elements in the system” 
 Thus, “difference” becomes the origin of meaning, not identity, as in a thing’s “thingness.”

Johnson cites Barthes for showing how within this “tension” exists two ideas of what writing can be: the notion of the written word as a “work, … a closed, finished, reliable representational object,” and the notion of it as a “text, … an open, infinite process that is both meaning-generating and meaning-subverting” 

Johnson goes on to describe how Lacan’s application of this logic to the theories of Freud suggest that the unconscious is also “structured” in the same way as language. Thus, the unconscious “is not a reservoir of amorphous drives and energies but a system of articulations through which repressed ideas return in displaced form” (342). 

Further, and again recalling “difference,” there is not a “one-to-one link” between any particular manifestation of the unconscious and and what it is supposed to signify, rather the signified is given meaning through the system it functions in
writing, this “privileging of speech as self-present meaning,” with an emphasis on its immediacy, is referred to, in Derrida’s terms, as “logocentrism

“immediacy is an illusion,”
it is our task as readers then “to read what is written rather than simply attempt to intuit what might have been meant

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