Permutation. An idea, an axiom, and especially a supposedly universal system, cannot help but attach to what is readily available. A finite stock; an endless and chaotic assemblage of variations, as Levi-Strauss’ famous bricoleurs: scientists, artists, philosophers, revolutionaries — what but psychosocial handy-men, making use of what is both close by and useful, what is already and what can be quickly assembled? How could we create new machines, except by utilizing the stock which remains […]
The world is hollow. In-itself anything is precisely nothing. A thing exists positively only in the precise sense that it exhibits certain forces, that it forms connections or disjunctions with other things, or assemblages of things, in such and such a way. Moreover, is it not necessary that at some point in the process of any machine, there is something that may and must become reduced to a generic and redundant unit? […]
The outside, or Other, is accorded an incomparable eminence in the work of Emmanuel Levinas. In his penetrating account, metaphysics desires an elsewhere. It persists within an alibi, in which we assert true life as absent. But then our idea of the other would seem to hinge upon the imperceptible — that is, upon an Other which is not other like the bread I eat, or the land in which I dwell. It is not […]
The relation between me and the other commences in the inequality of terms, transcendent to one another, where alterity does not determine the other in a formal sense… It is produced in multiple singularities and not in a being exterior to this number who would count the multiples. The inequality is in this impossibility of the exterior point of view, which alone could abolish it. The relationship that is established–the relationship of teaching, of mastery, […]
Notes on Ethics and Alterity 1. From Music Could we imagine that the ethical is a musical progression, and has the same sort of double articulation as a musical passage?
A verb is that which, in addition to its proper meaning, carries with it the notion of time. No part of it has any independent meaning, and it is a sign of something said of something else… Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance, for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer’s mind, and fixes his attention; but they do not, as they stand, express any judgment, either positive or negative. […]
The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. (Karl Marx, from the introduction to Grundrisse) Between being and language there is an interval, a purified difference articulated through individuation, a difference in time or development: language is in such a way that it always is yet to be as a being. Language becomes […]
In the relation of the human being to language, a process is reflected that extends to the relation of the human being to beings in general: The scientific knowledge has become the standard knowledge! The other: thinking, spirit of language, history, culture is still there, yet dragged along into a certain indeterminateness. It is decisive that the consciousness was lost as to where this other belongs and of what kind must the reflection be in […]