Monday, October 19, 2009

A Touchable Face

Perhaps Morris is being fair to Levinas when he writes, "Far from an ethics of seeing, remoteness, and the face, when we become attuned to our sense of space as a sense of living movement that crosses us with the world and other bodies, we find an ethics of being in touch, of movement, that goes back into the prior movement of development, place, and the social, a movement limited by death in the here and now, rather than the infinite of God, as in Levinas's ethics of the face" (Sense, pp. 178-179). Be that as it may, I'd like to recover from the concept of the face something of a physicality and a phenomenality that doesn't efface the infinition of the other person, a phenomenality that does recognize singularity and radical exteriority even as it's characteristically encountered by way of chthonic temporalities and indeed a certain fugaciousness of existence, for, this may be paradoxical, in order that the world be intelligible, the infinition of the other person's face necessarily functions as a hermeneutic measure of finitudes, or, more broadly, horizons. We can't properly know what finitudes mean absent the appearance of the face of the other person, and conversely and simultaneously, we need to perceive limits in order to feel transcendent ourselves, to feel our own openness to the world upon which so much of our existence depends. I suggest then that the face be thought of as radically exterior to consciousness, but not by that token remote from phenomenality, for remoteness appears in phenomenality as remoteness from, and implicitly also as remoteness from a horizon. What belongs to the from, what's embedded in the from, is not shaken free in the movement away from phenomenality; such a freedom would require yet another movement, a necessarily invisible movement decidedly not connected to the world of perception. Yet there is however a spasmodic quality to infinition, a suddenness of instantiation, implying a sudden and immediate ethics. The spasmorealization of a cadacualtic—apologies—aspect of coexistence is given in every important sense by the face of the other. Infinition so far as we know it touches upon the contingent, in so many words, which leaves us to think of not what the unknowable face would look like, or some such, but rather the meaning of the con-, which changes everything we should want to say about touch, and thus, insofar as we use touch to interpret the phenomenal world, our statements about the world or indeed even about reality, if we were given to such talk. To sum up, Morris's criticism, regardless of whether it treats Levinas' philosophy with due fairness, would be unfair to a conceptualization of the face as touchable. More strongly, the touchablity of the face informs our understanding of the infinition of the face of the other person which is not arrived at by any detour around remoteness, but through "remoteness" such as it appears exactly.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:01 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to look up fugaciousness. I'll have to read this again! Without knowing the book it's diff to follow.
Btw, you mean 'cadacualtic' - cada-cual - each oneness?:

October 19, 2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Yeah, thanks, I meant to type cadacualtic. Corrected that. Fugacious popped up as the word of the day. Fun one, eh?

October 19, 2009 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

verry funny

October 19, 2009 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a strange world. I just read this by Mario Crocco.

'Why expect that any parcel of field holds circumstanced semovience and gnoseologic grasp? Almost all the astrophysical-biological evolution of situations, in our region of the universe, happens entirely “in itself”, extramentally. That is, denuded of circumstanced experiencings measuring its variations: on the dimensions lacking finite observers. There [in the hylozoic hiatus], the possibilities are exceedingly fugacious of naturally building organic arrangements permitting something “for-itself”, Jakob’s introyente (= the introspected portion of nature)'.

It's not that I now see a common word because I am more alert to it - there just are not that many instances!!!!!!!!!!

October 25, 2009 12:28 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Heh, that's pretty curious.

October 25, 2009 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, maybe not so curious if your main lang is Spanis! Fleeting is fugaz - from the verb fugar...

October 26, 2009 4:14 PM  

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