In his elaboration on the chora in the Timeaus, Plato proposes the chora as a receptacle, a space, a location for the soul. While many philosophers and thinkers have speculated about the significance of the chora over the years, Derrida’s reading of the chora is worth noting here as he sees the chora as going beyond, or above, or below, binaries. It defies the logic of binaries.
The chora is a third in that, according to Plato, it is neither ”sensible” nor ”intelligible.”
And in the words of Derrida:
One cannot even say of it that it is this nor that or that it is both this and that. It is not enough to recall that khora names neither this nor that, or, that khora says this and that. The difficulty declared by Timaeus is shown in a different way: at times the khora appears to be neither this nor that, at times both this and that.” (”Khora” 90)
The chora is elusive, intangible. It is ”neither this nor that”, or ”both this and that.” In other words, it has no essence. It is rather that it encircles what it leaves out, that it ”be a matter of a structure and not of some essence of the khora, since the question of essence no longer has any meaning with regard to it” (94). ”It is this structural law,” Derrida continues, ”which seems to me never to have been approached as such by the whole history of interpretations of the Timaeus” (94). While it may be true that the history of philosophy hasn’t approached the chora from a structural point of view, Kristeva’s rereading of the chora as the semiotic chora does so as the semiotic chora is a container, a location, for the unconscious which, in the French school of psychoanalysis, is structured like a language. It has no essence but, in Kristeva’s reading, it is an embodiment of the unconscious as a structural framework that can be heard in the rhythm of language.
And, Derrida quoting Plato, the chora ”comes ’as in a dream’” (90), which further associates the chora with the unconscious and the dreamworld. But, what kind of dreams are we talking about as there are different kinds of dreams: lucid dreams, predictive dreams and those pertaining to the psychological realm and, at times, it can be hard to tell the difference between them. It is as if the unconscious of psychoanalysis and the soul of Plato are different approaches to the understanding of the mystery of our inner world(s) that are reflective of different times rather than truth.
In the light of the shifting perceptions over the years, it is tempting to see the chora as a receptacle where the soul of spirituality and the unconscious of psychoanalysis intersect. Would this psyche then exist independently of its surroundings? No, psychoanalytic experience has taught us that the psyche is an open-ended structure that is continuously (re)constituted in the interaction with the Other and others. It would also point us toward a transpersonal body where a virtual body and the sexual body blend, merge, mate and dissolve.