Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FROM the Rights of Man and the Rights of the Other

"Immediately, one and the other is one facing the other. It is myself for the other. The essence of the reasonable being in man designates not only the advent in things of a psychism in the form of knowledge, in the form of consciousness rejecting contradiction, that would encompass the other things under concepts, disalienating them within the identity of the universal: it also designates the ability of the individual, who initially appears to exist relatively to the extension of the concept--the species man, to posit himself as the only one of his kind, and thus as absolutely different from all the others, but, in that difference, and without reconstituting the logical concept from which the I disengaged itself, to be non-in-different to the other. Non-in-difference, or original sociality-goodness; peace, or the wish for peace, benediction; 'shalom' --the initial event of meeting. Difference--a non-in-difference in which the other--though absolutely other, 'more other,' so to speak, than are the individuals with respect to one another within the 'same species' from which the I has freed itself--in which the other 'regards' me, not in order to 'perceive' me, but in 'concerning me,' in 'mattering to me as someone for whom I am answerable.' The other, who--in this sense--'regards' me, is the face."--Emmanuel Levinas

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