Daily Archives: October 20, 2020

decart

At the end of our shopping hour, we have willed our representations into the cart, and expense will thus follow. But whatever our haggling has determined the price as being, we can’t reach the transcendental ideal; with a moue, we at last admit the emptiness, and come to a gradual awakening with the dog-ends of the day. What we have seen displayed and have carded for payment – ah, the plasticity of currency – we sooner or later card from our lives and discard, taking out of play. Descartes said Je pense, donc je suis, but Decart says Je dépense, donc j’essuie: I spend, so I wipe away. What I have thought into being I now unthink it out of being and time. And so it goes from carted to decarted.

And so boxes both small and big end up empty, and even the tired is retired. Decamp? Decart. And what is decart? According to Oxford, it means (a) ‘discard’ and (b) “turn out of, dislodge or expel from.” The first sense is directly related to discard – which, by the way, is a literal reference to card games: if you take a card out of play, you discard it (not display it). The second sense appears to be taken from cart, the kind of wheeled conveyance, which is from an old Germanic root.

But both senses of this word are empty now, decarted, their roots still grounded but their branches decorticated. And so it goes: nothing stays as it was; everything moves on. And as it passes, we follow. Il passe, donc je suis. There will be something new. There always is.