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. (God, Detah, and Time p121
The most e!traordinary thing that "eidegger brings us a new sonority of the #erb $to be$% precisely its verbal sonority. To be% not what is, but the #erb, the $act$ of being. The radical distinction between being and beings^ the famous ontological difference. There is a radical difference between the #er- bal resonance of the word $being$ and its resonance as a noun. &t is the difference par excellence. &t is Difference 'hat is meaningful does not necessarily ha#e to be. (eing can confirm thought, but thought thin)s meaning*the meaning that is e!hibited by being. This thought enlarges disinterestedness.
&n this relation of the Good to me, which is an assignation of me to another person, something comes to pass that sur#i#es the death of God.+ ,or we can understand the $death
of God$ as a $moment$ in which one can reduce every value giving rise to an im- pulse to an impulse giving rise to a value.7 -n the other hand, if we do not accept this e.ui#alence or this reciprocity, if the Good de- clines the $me$/ by inclining it toward the neighbor, then the difference of diachrony is maintained in the form of nonindifference to the Good, which elects me before & welcome it. (0e#inas1 anti-freudinasm ,ormation 2eeting Tuesday at 3%45 bring bre#ary. 2eet at the c#s on 24rd mile north a#enue macombe township
6& offer you the )ernel of myself that & ha#e sa#ed, somehow- the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams, and is untouched by time, by 7oy, by ad#ersities.8 9.0. (orges 6Two :nglish ;oems8 3. Inflections of Transcendence and Variations on Being The writings of the 1<35s prolong 0e#inas=s counter-ontology (against "eidegger=s .uestion of (eing, but always with recourse to interpretations of embodiment . They inflect the notion of transcendence, away from the partial transcendence of need and pleasure, toward the promise of fecundity. &n late 1<4<, 0e#inas was mobili>ed as a reser#e officer in the ,rench army and sent to the front, where he was captured less than a year later. 'hile interned in the Fallingsbotel camp near "ano#er, 0e#inas studied "egel and began wor) on Existence and Existents. There is no doubt
that the uncertainty about his wife and daughter, not to mention rumors about the li.uidation of the 9ews of 0ithuania, influenced his wor) at this time. 'e need only recall 0e#inas=s anecdote about 6the last ?antian8 in Na>i Germany.@1/A The only being, who was not a prisoner, to ac)nowledge the se.uestered officers, was a dog. B more critical e#aluation of the period can be seen in his conception of (eing in Totality and Infinity (1<+1 . &n Existence and Existents (1<3C and Time and the ther (1<3C , e!istence has the surprising, dual aspect of 6light,8 and of a dar) indeterminacy. &t is as though it were di#ided between the (eing of the created world and the dar)ness out of which light was created. This shifts the phenomenological focus onto (eing as light and #isibility, in which we can constitute ob7ects at a distance and (eing as the dar) turmoil into which we sin), in insomnia. The attempt to close the hiatus between "eidegger=s (eing and the being that we are has also changed. ,ollowing "usserl=s transcendental phenomenology, in which an D&1 grounds the mo#ements of intentionality li)e a magnetic pole, 0e#inas=s embodied ego is neither preceded nor outstripped by its world. The corporeal self, now called the 6hypostasis,8 is its own e!plicit basisE we awa)en out of oursel#es, into light. 'e fall asleep, curled about oursel#es. To put it succinctly, consciousness, with its moods and acti#ity, begins and ends with itself. &t awa)ens, acts, and falls asleep. The .uestion of transcendence continues in these middle-period essays. The meaning of transcendence is refined to the temporal transcendence promised by 6fecundity,8 or the birth of the son. The partial transcendences of pleasure and #oluptuosity, s)etched in 1<4F, recei#e a fuller de#elopment and #ariations. Bs to the son, he is myself and not-myself, 0e#inas will say. The open future of the family responds to two significant limits imposed on human )nowledge and representation% death and the other person. 'hile not denying "eidegger=s intuition that death (if #iewed from a stance of the li#ing is the 6possibility of impossibility,8 0e#inas argues that we witness death only as the death of the other, but e#en as such it escapes understanding as an absolute limit. "ence he will .ualify it as a radical alterityE the same sort of alterity as that which the other human being presents me. Bgainst these enigmas, e#ery mode of comprehension runs aground. ,or this reason, 0e#inas insists that death is really the impossibility of (all our possibilities. The other person is an e#ent & can neither predict nor control. Two re#ersals should be noted relati#e to 1<4F. ,irst, against "egel=s conception of wor) as the dialectic of spirit transforming nature (and nature naturali>ing labor , 0e#inas describes labor phenomenologically as effort and fatigue,@1<A highlighting the di#ergence between embodied self and the intending ego. The second re#ersal concerns moods themsel#es. 'hile an!iety was the state of mind, for the early "eidegger, by which humans came before themsel#es and the .uestion of their e!istence, in subse.uent years, "eidegger would e!pand his 6attunements,8 to include 7oy, boredom, and awe. Bll of these open !asein to being and the world. &n his middle period, 0e#inas also addresses our openness to the world, pri#ileging it o#er .uestions of (eing. "owe#er, instead of adumbrating re#elatory moods, 0e#inas has recourse to bodily states li)e fatigue, indolence, and insomnia, in which the gap between self and & is clearest. Themes of 7oy and lo#e of life appear in regard to the world, because the world is now understood as light. (ut this, too, is part of 0e#inas=s counter-pro7ect to "eidegger, for whom our concern for the world coe!ists with instrumentalist relationships with it% entities in the world are as if on display, at the reach of the handE tools are used li)e material. :#er in search of a primordial, sense-rooted,
relation to the world, 0e#inas situates his disco#ery, offering a profoundly "usserlian insight% 6The antithesis of the a priori and the a posteriori is o#ercome by light8 (D:B:, C+ . &t is worth recalling that light figured as the #ery heart of "usserl=s phenomenological intuition. 0ight is awa)ened consciousness, whose intentionality@25A 0e#inas rethin)s as 6li#ed affecti#ity8 (D:B:, F+ , rather than as a ray of intentional focus, aiming at ob7ects. &n Existence and Existents, the emotions characteristic of being in a world of light are desire and sincerity, not "eidegger=s care and circumspection. 'e see at wor), here, a significant rethin)ing of the transcendental-anthropological distinction (e!pressed as a priori and a posteriori . These le#els represent the legacy of ?antianism and inform the early "eidegger=s 6ontological difference.8 0e#inas sublates the distinction phenomenologicallyE light functions, here, as a .uasitranscendental, a condition of possibility that is ne#ertheless in and of the world and its e!perience. (eing, as we noted, also is dar) indeterminacy. "a#ing suspended the binaries of de facto inside and outside as part of his own phenomenological brac)eting,@21A 0e#inas will approach this indeterminacy not as ob7ecti#ity, but as something re#ealed through mood. 'hether it is the dar) indeterminacy that besets the insomniac self, or whether it is the rustling of nocturnal space, (eing=s dar) aspect horrifies us. 6The things of the day world then do not in the night become the source of the Dhorror of dar)ness1 because our loo) cannot catch them in their Dunforeseeable plots1E on the contrary, they get their fantastic character from this horror. Dar)nessGreduces them to undetermined, anonymous being, which they e!ude8 (::, F3 . This anonymous being, also called the il y a @there isA, does not Dgi#e1 the way "eidegger=s (eing does. Bnd it is not re#ealed through mere an!iety. Ne#ertheless, it is a beginning. &nsomniac and in the throes of horror, the hypostasis falls asleep. -r again, it lights a light and reassembles its consciousness. &t 6sobers up.8 Therein lays our first, constituti#e escape from neutral (eing. (ut the il y a gi#es the lie to the .uestion% 'hy is there (eing instead of simply nothingH Nothing, as pure absence, may be thin)able, but it is unimaginable. &ndeterminate (eing fills in all the gaps, all the temporal inter#als, while consciousness arises from it in an act of self-originating concentration. This is the first s)etch of (eing as totality. The self-D&1 dyad becomes a limited transcendence arising in the midst of the self=s encompassing horror. &t hear)ens to a call that comes not from neutral (eing but from the -ther. The stage is thus set for Totality and Infinity=s elaborate analyses of world, facticity, time as now-moment, transcendence in immanence, and transcendence toward future fecundity. These themes constitute the core of Totality and Infinity" #n Essay on Exteriority.
3.2 Transcendence is, abo#e all, relational% it is a human affair. &t is difficult to determine whether transcendence is an 6e#ent8 per se or not. Bn e#ent should be characteri>ed as a force that introduces a decisi#e brea) into the historical status $uo and redirects it in function of its own
magnitude. The encounter with the other person, so far as it is an e#ent, merely inflects history or lea#es a trace in it. (ut this is not the history found in the te!tboo)s. &t is more li)e a history of isolated acts or human ideals (7ustice, e.uity, criti.ue, self-sacrifice . Transcendence in 0e#inas is li#ed and factical. "ow could transcendence be facticalH 'hile it has the temporality of an interruption that D&1 cannot represent to myself, transcendence ne#ertheless has a circular relationship with e#eryday life. That is, transcendence, understood as the face-to-face relation, li#es from our e#eryday en7oyment and desire e#en as it precedes these. "uman e!istence, as sensibility, is full and creati#e, before it is instrumentalist or utilitarian. ,rom en7oying the elements to constructing a home, human e!istence is ne#er solipsistic. -ur life with others is ne#er a flight from a more resolute stance toward our reason for being (our mortality . 'e are always already in social relationsE more importantly, we ha#e always already been impacted by the e!pression of a li#ing other. (ecause this impact is affecti#e, because transcendence is not conceptuali>able, we forget the force the other=s e!pression has on us. 'e therefore carry on, in our respecti#e worlds, moti#ated by our desire for mastery and control. Ne#ertheless, desire in Totality and Infinity always pro#es to be double. There is a naturalistic desire, sub7ect to imperati#es of consumption and en7oyment. This desire is coe!tensi#e with the e!ercise of our concrete freedom. Bnd there is a desire that comes to light in the failure of our will to mastery. This failure of the will is e!perienced in the face-to-face encounter. The other=s face is not an ob7ect, 0e#inas argues. &t is pure e!pressionE e!pression affects me before & can begin to reflect on it. Bnd the e!pression of the face is dual% it is command and summons. The face, in its nudity and defenselessness, signifies% 6Do not )ill me.8 This defenseless nudity is therefore a passi#e resistance to the desire that is my freedom. Bny e!emplification of the face=s e!pression, moreo#er, carries with it this combination of resistance and defenselessness% 0e#inas spea)s of the face of the other who is 6widow, orphan, or stranger.8 These figures are more than allegorical. :ach one lac)s something essential to its e!istence% spouse, parents, hom
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