chapter  Chapter 13
11 Pages

“… All of a sudden I grasped his innocence” 1

A vision
WithAngelica Löwe

In a letter to Jung written in 1957, Neumann describes the conditions under which he wrote his New Ethic. This work is based on a vision in which a one-eyed ape man hangs on a cross above an abyss. Neumann, inhibited in his killing impulse, sinks into the eye of the other, which then opens in himself. This chapter attempts to grasp the ethical dimension of Neumann’s vision in light of the work of the French philosopher Emanuel Lévinas, who conceptualised our responsibility for the other. Lévinas speaks of an “awakening” through the “epiphany of the face,” which repels the spontaneous impulse to commit murder in favour of responsibility, a “breaking in of humanity into the barbarity of existence.” Psychoanalytically, this refers to the “traumatisable subject,” where the human being’s constitutive vulnerability offers the opportunity for humaneness.