JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 328
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mediated "effects," we can only be affected by that which has already
been presently or previously understood within a common vocabulary. In
other words, understanding is a matter of weaving and retelling those
presumptions that cohere with the already established allusions of a
tradition. The intertextual weavings, in this sense, would mummify the
singularity and surprise ofthe strangeness ofthe other within the familiar.
As Nietzsche reminds us, this "familiar means what we are used to so that
we no longer marvel at it, our everyday, some rule in which we are stuck,
anything at all in which we feel at home. Look, isn't our need for
knowledge precisely this need for the familiar, the will to uncover under
everything strange, unusual, and questionable something that no longer
disturbs us?" (qtd. in Ormiston and Schrift, Transforming 14).
What happens when a retelling is a telling that disturbs the frames of
the familiar? Are we responsible for retelling it so that we can come to
understand it on our terms? Are we to understand it so that we can repair
the tears of our tradition? By again considering these self-questioning
questions along side the hermeneutical will to fuse the past and the
present into a horizon that enriches and continues the tradition, we, at this
point, must explicitly take note of the limits of the very motor of
hermeneutics: the will to understand, to overcome, to grasp the other
within the genre of an already mediated protocol for determining mean-
ing, for hermeneutics views the continual expansion of the tradition, and
I would add of Being, as fundamentally grounded in the will to under-
stand-that is, in the will to tell an intelligible story that is "meaningfully
delimited" within the ways of understanding of "a given community." In
this sense, the writing of the event (the transmission of the text into the
present) can only provide understanding if the vocabulary and norms of
the tradition are unbreached and continuously "bridged" by a shared
identity. Here, the presence of the same identity-for the other and the
present-guarantees transmission and understanding.
Early in Truth and Method, Gadamer writes, "The ability to under-
stand is the fundamental endowment of man, one that sustains his
communal life with others" (21). Through understanding we have
coherences, contexts, correspondences, and thus the fundamental predi-
cate of human existence. In this sense, all attempts at linking or comment-
ing with an other (our "communal life with others") are inevitably woven
within the law for transmitting knowledge or information-more pre-
cisely through a law, which, despite the always already dispersing
identity of the text, attempts to domesticate or exclude the contradictions
or disturbances that might undermine the fusion of understanding, the
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/74/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .