At the risk of veering off into something that's not quite philosophy I must forward the argument that the ultimate dimension which makes the world intelligible is provided by the face of the Beloved, understood as a person. Concomitantly, irreplacability of the singular face rather than the reversibility of relationship to the world characterizes the drama of existence. It must be acknowledged that not everybody knows the Beloved, or any beloved of any kind. Existence on this planet is such that faces may become strange and even horrible and still possess the semblance of being faces, appearing to possess the power, even in shock and pain, of calling upon an ethical, indeed a loving relation. Are we dealing with masks or faces, persons or persons? If faces change, how do we know which face is deepest or truest? Is it a question of which face calls for love? How do we recognize the beloveds of this earth?
In one aspect the problem of the world of the face has everything to do with persons (personae). It is the face who speaks, the face who expresses, and the manifestation of the face within the visible is only this inchoate power of dramatic expression. The face is always on the verge of saying something. But why should that something be "love me" much less "I love you"? What does the inchoate have to do with love? We risk confusing what we wish the face would say with what the face means stripped of our narcissisms—is this, though, realistic, this stripping away of narcissism from reality? Quite possibly it is. Somehow we find ourselves taking responsibility for faces as if we could love them in spite of any realities to the contrary, in spite of other feelings that more or less directly contradict love. Does the world laugh at the sense of responsibility engendered by the face of the beloved? Only love would allow such a stupidity as responsibility for an other to be tolerated, and if love didn't enable such stupidities it wouldn't be love. It should be of the utmost concern to philosophy to know whether the absence of love indicates something like a hard, cold reality or, rather, something like the blues.