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P. 1
Part III Access to Being

Part III Access to Being

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Published by Salvador Dida Leyso

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Published by: Salvador Dida Leyso on May 25, 2011
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A.The Original Behaviour.Here, the spirit becomes in itself the question. The astonishment has made thespirit to go back towards itself. It renders itself accountable of its error. It could have perceived a profundity of the substance, which it had not paid attention. The spirit becomes itself a question. It has the power to consign something from itself to that whichis not. Meaning it can make up something which is not in reality itself. So, can it enter inalliance with being?1. Overcoming Astonishment.The astonishment, originated closely from being, presents the profundity. But thespirit strives to bring back profundity in the tranquility of a coherent group in such amanner that the question, which arises from the astonishment, would disappear. In other words, the spirit attempts to silence being astonished by providing answers to questionsthat emerged from the state of astonishment. This is done by scientific investigation. Thescientific investigation suppresses the state of astonishment. However, the spirit, as itdigs, has seen itself an abyss, which nothing can fill up. The spirit is moved towards amystery of which the phenomenon cannot completely suffice. Certainly the phenomenonoccupies a profundity, but it only reveals the mystery of the reality partially. There, is a profundity of being, fundamentally first, but only discovered at a second moment. Beinghas to be investigated in terms its profundity, and not only in terms its phenomenon. Theastonishment has opened to the spirit the interiority of the phenomenon, but it has notdemonstrated it. However, the interiority is the source. How to reach it? In what way doesit pass itself from phenomenon to interiority, from appearance to being unified in itself,what does it give itself through its appearances?Ontology, as seen previously, describes the structure of being which appears,according to the spiritual experience, i.e. as the spirit experiences being. The rhythm of the astonishment determined the diverse stages, which constitute the diverse categories of the ontology. This ontology, supposing its the root in the adhesion of the spirit to the being which appears, is centered on the investigation of the essence of the intelligibilityof the substance. The access to the substance, as recognized by the spirit, remains problematic for the spirit. In the essence, the substance makes itself intelligible, presenting itself for the spirit. It is this essence, which explains the substance. But theessence is not the substance. We know the irreducibility of the substance to the essence,of the intelligibility to the being. In other words, what we know of the substance asknown through its essence could be reduced to the substance. The essence does not makethe substance. The substance is, in fact, that which gives itself intelligibly to the spirit.We know that being is not exhausted itself in its manifestations to the spirit, but whichremains in itself departing from its being. It has a proper solidity, and it can present itself to the spirit departing from itself. The objectivity of the phenomenon, or its interiority, isthe guarantee for the spirit of its bound in itself; its mystery is for it the guarantee of itsalterity.1
The astonishment
, which manifests the appearance to the interiority and givesspace to thinking on the substance in terms of the essence to the convenient categories, isso compenetrated, at the same time, by a more essential behaviour, and radiated by thatwhich astonishes, the indefinable substance. Being is first. If the spirit knows the distancewhich separates the essence from the substance, it is because there is as connaturality of one with the other. The spirit knows the fullness of being, because it has an immediateknowledge of the substance. This fact is anterior to whatever discursive and analyticknowledge by means of which it assumes being in its intelligible mode. On account of thethe connaturality of the spirit and of being in its profundity, rest the possibility of thediscursive knowledge of the reality which is irreducible to the understanding.The knowledge affirms and respects the reality, which it recognizes in itsobjectivity. This is guaranteed by the discursivity of knowledge and by its processes of verifying. However, the substance is not reached in its act by the discursive knowledge. If the substance is connatural with spirit - and it must be it otherwise the discursiveknowledge would have no sense - it is because the spirit reaches it in a new manner.It is by departing from being which gives birth to a new behaviour. This behaviour gives space not only to the intelligibility of being, but also to being itself, tothe fact that it is. The effort accomplished in the chapter on the astonishment renderedaccount the intelligibility of this:
being is.
On account of this, while intelligibility of  being astonishes, its existence is not in the same manner assumed as mystery; being couldnot be purely “to be”; that which appears, properly because it appears, could not appear.To this absolute transcendence of being corresponds a new behaviour;
there is aneed to go to being 
 participating in it and accompanying it 
. The spirit is not anymore theintelligent analyst, but a friend that communicates with a friend.2. The Infiniteness of the Face.
That which attracts the spirit, the question of that which it is itself, is the wholeother thing of being. It is the alterity or otherness of being that seduces the spirit. Andthat which tends towards it does not measure this otherness. The spirit depends from thatwhich it interrogates. The spirit is finite, limited, in this sense fundamental; it cannot bethe origin of that which it interrogates. On account of this, the being interrogated is not
Astonishment names the original wonder. It is the preferred term because contemporary usage of the word“wonder” easily slides into the sentimental. We are struck into astonishment. We do not think our way intoastonishment; we are overcome by astonishment. There is a certain shock or bite of otherness inastonishment. There is also a certain receptivity, indeed patience. The givenness of being is offered for our  beholding. ( cf. William Desmond, “Being, Determination, and Dialectic: On the Sources of MetaphysicalThinking”, The Review on Metaphysics, vol. XLVIII, no. 4, issue no. 192, June 1995, p. 736.)
Levinas gives an ethical dimension, rather than a phenomenological and epistemological, to the face. Therelation with the face can surely be dominated by perception, but what is specifically the face is whatcannot be reduced to that. There is first the very uprightness of the face, its upright exposure, withoutdefense. There is essential poverty in the face. It is what cannot become a content, which your thoughtwould embrace. It is uncontainable, it leads you beyond. Face and discourse are tied. The face speaks. Itspeaks, it is in this that it renders possible and begins all discourse. [ cf. Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics andInfinity (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985), pp. 85-87.]
fundamentally finite, but infinite. It is outside the series of numerable beings, it could not be abstracted completely. The idea of such being is without definition. It suggests aninterior overcoming of itself. The spirit cannot include it as a concept; the movement of overcoming of the idea is constitutive of the idea itself of the infinite.We cannot recognize in our life an experience of infinite being. The idea of infinite has this uniqueness, which invites into thinking thereafter of itself. It cannotthink, however, of itself other than presenting itself before the spirit. Now, in theencounter with the other, we make this experience of more or less contained. The face of the other makes, in fact, part of my world. It is a being among others, but, at the sametime, it offers itself in the unique manner. Nothing is more vulnerable, more exposed thanof a face. The face is offered and put to a disposition; it questions the being received; itstirs in liberty that which it provokes. The face rest itself in the world of things; withoutdefense, it wakens a free reply; without potency, it is pure being; transcending whatever manipulation, inviting to responsibility, it gives itself to me because I respond to it freelyin dialogue where nobody can reduced to the possession of the other. The other, revealingto me its face, asks me of receiving it as subject, of opening me to him as he opens to me;this makes me subjective. The opening of the face stirs in me a behaviour of openness,without imposing myself to him, freely and liberating. The encounter of the face revealsto the subjectivity that it is responsible of itself, across and through the other.Our reply to what we call of the other is desire, not need. Need assimilates; itdestroys this itself. Desire is never satisfied; on the contrary, the possession of this towhich it sees itself revivifies its ardor; it is not assimilation, but respect and gift humblygenerous of itself, free response to a request. The possession, through the desire, is privation, goodness. Explaining the infinite with its aspiration, the desire puts itself through that which it is; its infinity is not indefinite; it goes towards the other whichawakens it into uniting itself to it, without adding itself to it; desire obeys. The union tothe infinite is the measure of the gift of freedom itself. Freedom is so purely awakeneditself to departing from that which is not.The other which gives freedom itself questioning it, does not give it departingfrom itself. The reality of the other does not substitute me; it does not impose itself as anexteriority; it is immanent to my reality as I am to it. Ontologically, we are one in being.And it is on account of this that the movement of the desire, introduced by means of theopening of the face, follows the trace of an inaccessible transcendence. The face is poverty of transcendence, more the great poverty in the more great fullness. It givesaccess to the infinite, while it presents the humble offering, the entreaty without rupture,the respectful withdrawal. Towards me as I towards him\her\it, the other is so concreteuniversal; its reality is coextensive to every reality in its source.3

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