chapter  6
36 Pages

The love that seeks no other: Further notes . . .

In the context of an examination of post-Heideggerian ontology, in this case the work of Emmanuel Levinas, philosopher Graham Harman describes the problem of communication in the following manner:

In a world where things are always more than any access can grasp, the question arises as to how we can gain access to them without gaining direct access. This evokes the traditional problem of occasionalist philosophy, to which Levinas is often sympathetic elsewhere (namely, in his theory of time). For occasionalism, no two substances can touch directly, but must interact by means of a third term: God. Despite the undeniable presence of God in Levinas’s philosophy, communication is not the specialty of his deity. Instead, Levinas finds that proximity is the site of my communication with the other. In this respect, proximity is a kind of pre-contact or pre-relation from which all relation must emerge. The problem of communication is clearly visible in Levinas’s own thoughts. Perhaps echoing Leibniz’s monadology, Levinas asks: ‘Can openness have another sense than that of the accessibility of entities through open doors or windows?’ Sincerity, illeity, or proximity are designed to enable communication without doors or windows – communication without full contact. And surprisingly, this communication is always asymmetrical. The things are proximate to me without my being proximate to them.