LEVINAS, LANGUAGE, AND THE SCHIZOPHRENIC OTHER 3
their own vocabulary, but terminology can still their voices if it reduces their experienceto generalizations.
Levinas and the Schizophrenic Other
Levinas writes of the limitless distance between all individuals in his
Totality and Infinity.
Behind the face of the Other person, the physical features and affect, is the vastreach of interiority. He writes that “The face is present in its refusal to be contained. Inthis sense it cannot be comprehended, that is, encompassed” (1979, p. 194). This isbecause for Levinas, the human face was much more than a membrane stretched over abony casing. For Levinas, the face was the manifestation of transcendence. The infiniteuniqueness and Otherness of the person not only shows in their face, but alwaysoverflows their mere appearance. The face is not just flesh. It is the
way the Other presents himself
while always exceeding not only his own form and image, but also anyidea I have about him and his character. It is “the infinite in the finite, the more in theless” (p. 50). The infinity of the interior is constantly being produced so that it is in aperpetual state of
It is beyond comprehension, beyond summary, beyond anyboundary or template imposed upon it no matter how much of it might be discovered.Before we go any further, it is important to note that I do not intend to reduce thefull complexity of Levinas’s Other – I relationship to that of patient – therapist.According to Levinas, the Other comes from a transcendent height, and I am foreverbelow. The dimension of
is noteworthy and its application or lack thereof to thetherapeutic relationship has been long debated among philosophers and psychotherapists.However, this paper will focus on Levinas’s dimension of
as applied to the