Bonding with Otherness

There are several thinkers of otherness. Zizek reminds us that a subject is a crack. A subject marks a crack with the world and lives its otherness from the world. Our cognition arises out of our collision with nothing as Jean Paul Sartre teaches us. We as beings-in-the-world define our otherness with reference to the world. But often fail to bond with the world respecting its otherness. Emanuel Levinas tells us that we are tempted to reduce the otherness of the other into our sameness. Jacques Derrida points out that when we erase the otherness from the horizon of the future, we live a predictable life, life of sameness. Hence the we do have challenge to accept otherness of the world as well as the otherness of each other.

Maybe the work of Jean-Luc Nancy open our road to the understanding otherness in terms of its alterity. We need to take this step because when otherness is assimilated as difference, it then get commodified says Byung-Chul Han. Hans teaches us that we frame otherness within our immunological thinking where the other is viewed as a threat to the immunity of the self/nation/ culture/ religion. When otherness is reduced to difference, we then politicise it and sameness and otherness become markers of loyalty and betrayal, nationalism and anti-nationalism etc. Nancy follows Martin Heidegger’ s mitsein or being with and opens us think of ways of being with / bonding with .

Nancy insists that otherness is at the heart of being and Being-with becomes a site of openness of existence to work of otherness. Nancy’ believes in co-essentiality of Being and Being-with opens the question of otherness within being and at the heart of existence. Being- in-the-world becomes a site where otherness is happening between us. It is a gap where we become and have our being. It can be viewed as event in the sense of Allain Badiou, Being an Event. This dynamic between is not closed and always remains open. It is an infinite set and we only have access to its subsets. Thus, like the Levinasian infinity on the face of the other that refuses to be totalized, our dynamic between also cannot be theorised. It is in this horizon where we other others or relate with others with bonds of belonging. None of us is absolute other, we are Beings-with. We, therefore, need to embrace ethical spacing taught by Derrida.

Being- with is an expression of being -in -the -world. There are many ways of being in the world. Being-with, therefore, becomes a site of our openness to the otherness of existence. Thus, Being -with is not so much a relation of opposition, it is more a relation of being and flowering side by side. Where we share our unsharabiility. Thus, in a deepest Derridean sense we live impossibly by sharing our unsharability (otherness). We are open to our otherness an to that of the other. Our Being-with becomes Being an Other with Another. This means we live hyphenated lives. No one is an island. Our relationship with each other is not one of opposition but one of hyphenation.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao