One can immediately see this complication in the Greek word pharmakon, which meant both cure and poison. Plato maintained that writing was "poisonous" to memory, it weakens the memory since writing is a mere repetition, as compared to the living memory required for speech. Derrida points out however, that since both rely upon repetition they cannot be completely distinguished.
The neologism archi-writing, "archi" meaning origin, principle or telos, attempts to go beyond the simple division of writing/speech. It refers to a kind of writing that precedes both speech and writing. Archi-writing is, in a sense, language, in that it is already there before we use it, it already has a pregiven, yet malleable, structure/genesis, which is a semi-fixed set-up of different words and syntax. This fixedness is the writing to which Derrida refers, just such a 'writing' can even be seen in cultures that do not employ writing, it could be seen in notches on a rope or barrel, fixed customs, or placements around the living areas.
Philip Monk, Spirit Hunter: The Haunting of American Culture by Myths of Violence: Speculations on Jeremy Blake's Winchester Trilogy.
Apr 01, 2006; Philip Monk, Spirit Hunter: The Haunting of American Culture by Myths of Violence: Speculations on Jeremy Blake's Winchester...