Sharing our Unshareability

Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger thought of human beings as individual first.  To him, we primarily exist as Dasiens in the world. He did consider our inter-related inter-being with his notion of being-with/ mitsein. Although we may derive that Heidegger primarily thought of being as an inter-being, it is only an interpretation or derivation. Thinking of being as inter-being discloses our bonded interrelatedness.   It is interesting to find a thinker who thinks of humans not as individual monads who relate to others and the world but as inter-beings.  Jean-Luc Nancy thinks of humans not as Dasiens of Heidegger but Mitdasein.  He thinks that we are always with others. We are always as individuals in a collective group. He thinks that individuals is what he/ she is by being apart of a community.  The community that he/ she cuts off from is always with him or her.  He thinks of being as singularly plural and plural singular.

Nancy thinks together individual and the community. Both individual and the community share an unbreakable bond. The individual is born with the death of the community. We cannot see an individual apart from the community. Even when we have seen the death of communism and the death of the sense of community with the rise of the individual, we can still see this condition as our common condition. We still share community even as we live as individuals. Sharing reinforces the idea of splitting and separating. Somehow we as individual share a split from the community. We carry the trace or mark of the cut from the community.  This is our common existence. We are mitdasein.  This means we no longer share common ideas, ideologies, rituals, traditions etc.  It is this absence of sharing that is a kind of thing that bonds us.  This means we share without sharing. This sharing without sharing is the communitarian bond that refuses to die even with the birth of the individual of the consumerist society. We do not ever share a common substance or essence. This means sharing without sharing cannot be thought through positivist notions. It is the very lack or the absence of common essence that is the non-foundation of our sharing without sharing.

This absence of positivist present-centric something to share is what we share. In fact, we share nothing. There is nothing to share. This non-sharing is a kind of sharing that bonds us all. This absence is a common denominator that we share. We carry an unceasing ex-scission that is common to us all.  We constantly share separation. Community is no longer operative but not de-linked. We can be individuals, enemies, friends and even groups by what we call sharing without sharing. This thinking of bonding without positivist identity is important today to think community and consciously embrace the fragmented humanity in a world shattered by violent identity politics.

The sharing of distant closeness can be a new way of belonging to each other without imposing demands on the other that we can trace in identity politics that is based on sharing of sameness. Sharing without sharing is what we do when we are sharing difference or otherness where there is nothing to share and yet we belong together.  The best instance of this sharing can be seen in the Holy Trinity in Christianity. Each person of the Holy Trinity shares without sharing with the other persons of the Holy Trinity.  This means each person shares otherness with the other persons of the Holy Trinity. This is why the Holy Trinity is one and three at the same time.

In the light of our discussion, we can think of the plausibility of Nancy’s position that each of us is singular and plural and plural and singular all at the same time.  What we share is unsharable exteriority. Our otherness does not divides us. It actually unites us. We share this unsharable otherness. But our essence-centric positivist thinking that thinks that we can only share sameness is based on what Derrida calls metaphysic of presence. The metaphysics of presence blinds us to the sharing of unsharable otherness. We have the challenge to overcome the metaphysics of presence and come to understand how we share an unshareable part of ourselves with each other. The metaphysics of presence only allows us to share sharable shareability and not sharable unshareability

Like the Holy Trinity that shares its unsharable otherness in as much as the son is not the father and the father is not the spirit and so on, a community of the followers of Christ has the challenge to become a community on the basis of sharable unshareabilty rather than shareable shareability. We have multiplied the problems in the world because we have based our life on shareable shareability. The common plight of loss of community across the globe that we share today is not leading us to doom and destruction but is opening us ways to come to our self-realization and lead us to bond on the basis of shareable unshareability. All friendship / enmities are sharing our unsharability while we think it is enmities alone share unshareability. This is why we are divided by enmities. Here we construct the unshareability on the basis of what we construct as shareability and deem it as unsharable with our enemies.  There is a fallacy in this construction of unshareability in as much it is based on the calculus of absence of sameness. Absence of sameness is not real otherness of the other. It’s being a construct  belongs to the imaginary.

Truly speaking this new thinking about sharing indicates that no division can divide us.  There is no Cartesian ego sum. What we have is ego cum which then becomes nos sumus.  We have to learn to think that there are no individuals.  Wat we have is community/ co-ipseity from which we carve out or think of an individual. It is being-with/ Mitdasein that is first and only then we have the Dasein. Actually, Dasien is never without Mitdasein.  It is the otherness that makes us stand as Dasien/ individual but the otherness is an inter-otherness. It shares the unsharable otherness with other of the kind of unsharable otherness. This means we can share our unshareability. God also shares his unshareabilty with humanity. The shareable unshareability of Christ makes him our mediator. The world that is lost in identity battles that are based on positivist present-centric divisive metaphysics of presence requires this new metaphysic of sharable otherness/ sharable unshareability that respects our singularity as well as offers us new possibilities of bonding. Share your unshareabe otherness and build community

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao