Early Greek Thought: Before the Dawn – The Motif of the Dawn

earlygreekthoughtThe motif of the ‘dawn’ is a saturated trope in the self-expression of life, (mortal, terrestrial) existence.  I use the indication ‘motif’ – in the manner of Derrida in his essay ‘Diffẻrance’[i] – to intimate a figure of expression that is neither (or, is not to be considered primarily in the sense of) a word (in the procedure of etymological ‘essence’), or, a concept (whether Platonic or Kantian, etc.), but as an intimation of a diverse and dynamic, ‘contagious’ (Krell) context of significance or meaning.  Indeed, while the ‘dawn’ can be approached as a linguistic sign (composed of morphemes) and as a concept that can be defined, signified (‘Dawn is the break of day’, ‘the lighting of a region of a planet in rotation’), it becomes, as a motif, a polyvalent indication of reference which inhabits a ‘nexus’ of defined meanings and associated (whether synonymous, complementary, or antonymous) motifs, such as Night, twilight, evening, or morning.  To a significant extent, the ‘dawn’, in its allegorical or metaphorical significance, becomes a figuration of poetry, rhetoric, and thought, a motif which organises a context of meaning and expression in the event of a dissemination of perspective.  In this light (another unnoticed metaphor), the motif is a malleable, makeshift expression, susceptible of myriad aspects, depending upon the contextual morphology of its expression.  Nevertheless, despite the dispersion (deferral and differing) of the context of its significance, the motif, while not merely a substantive noun, nor a ‘time’ de-signation, expresses a persistent thematic, most notably that of ‘beginning’, or, perhaps, more appropriately (and, ambiguously), emergence, or, with Heidegger, unconcealment.

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