New Criticals



"We both played with this machine that is the computer; we pretended to obey it even as we were exploiting it. As you know, the computer maintains the hallucinations of an interlocutor (anonymous or otherwise), of another "subject" a hidden god who's half asleep, clever at hiding himself even when right opposite you." - Jacques Derrida [1]

Plato's myth of Theuth and the gift of writing, as worked on by Derrida in "Plato's Pharmacy," recounts how the father-king-god Thamus was presented with writing as an offering by Theuth. Along with writing, Theuth has other presentations: "numbers and calculation, geometry and astronomy, [and] draughts and dice;" the occult sciences, arithmetic, and games. [2] Theuth has a father in Thoth, the Egyptian God of writing from which Plato bases his own myth.

Thoth or Theuth? A curious convergence, Derrida notes, “the effect of [which is] neither a partial or total borrowing, nor of chance or Plato’s imagination” but a “tangle of mythological accounts” of a god of writing etcetera, he of “several faces, several eras, several homes.” [3] Thoth/Theuth is a tense, written god, also the god of numbers, death, and magic. We seek out what these sciences have in common. Writing and numbers.