Between Intimacy and Extimacy

What is intimacy? We can be intimate with someone or something. Intimacy is inseparable from the appearance of a crack within one’s interiority. A sense of loss draws us to intimacy. Every genuine Goan or even Indian is feeling a troubled to the depths of one’s being regarding the state of affairs of our society. A sense of loss is haunting us al. it is an excessive feeling that weighs us down. This means we are already intimately concerned with our society. It intimately concerns our being-in and being-with in the deepest sense. We do sense that we are being estranged in our very own India and Goa. It seems to be a case of felt sense of being on an exile in one’s own place. Intimacy makes us return to ourselves. But there is a paradox. We become intimate in this return. In marking our distance, we become close.

Intimacy is like the very utterance,’ I think, therefore, I exist’ of Rene Descartes. A short analysis might reveal us that one is returning to the self that exists before the thinking or utterance: I exist. Yet ‘I think, therefore, I exist’ has a performative force. The return to pre-existing self, manifests that the self is not substantive but is groundless. Thus, one who returns to oneself or begins to intimately sense oneself and the world in the very act of thinking and uttering ( I exist) comes to be in the very act of thinking and uttering. We may say that the subject that appears to be pre-existing the utterance and the thinking in fact is made possible by the very thinking and utterance. Such a process of thinking is called teleo-poetic utterance or thinking by Jacques Derrida. It utters or thinks that by definition and destination has not yet arrived. It remains in the coming.

One such thinking and utterance is enshrined in our constitution which begins with the utterance, ’we the people of India’. The people of India is assumed to pre-exist before its utterance in the constitution but in many ways that very utterance in the constitution make us the people of India. Same may be true of our intimate consciousness that make us feel that we are Goans. It is this intimate consciousness that makes us sense that we are Goans. Let us say this consciousness make us sense and think of us as Goans. We in both the instances come to be at the end of the utterance in the case of the constitution or after though in our consciousness appear as in the case of being Goans. Not anyone can sense this intimacy with India or Goa. It is only those humans , Indians and Goans who have special relations with India and Goa can sense it. Thus, the ‘we’ of the declaration or of the thought of being Goans comes to be only at the end of the declaration as in the case of the constitution or of Goan-ness that is anticipated as existing independently in order to declare it or think it.

We sense intimacy with the utterance or the thought because it has not yet arrived to itself. It is on the way of actualizing the ‘we’ it utters or thinks. The ‘we’ of the utterance and thought is yet to come. This is why anything that disorients this coming of the ‘ we’ makes one intimately concerned. This is exactly what we are feeling as Indians and as Goans today. This dissatisfaction tells us that we have returned to the interior, the ‘intus’ , the innermost core of our being that makes us sense ourselves as Indians and Goans. The inner depth is groundless ground. It is the ‘ we’ before its utterance or thought. This is so because the intimate is deeper than the deepest ground. It is a place of sharing of both oneself and the other. This return to the interiority is to protect exteriority. Thus, it is intimate to us and makes us sense intimacy with India, Indians, Goa and Goans. This sense of intimacy makes us feel troubled about India and Goa today. Our sense of intimacy disturbs us because it comes out of our heart of hearts.

The utterance or the thought is not the self. It is intimate to the self but as exterior, as an utterance or thought belonging to the self. ‘This belonging to’ the self, expresses its intimacy to the self. Thus, the utterance ‘ we the people of India’ in our constitution is exterior to the declaring self but it belongs to the self and , therefore , is intimate the self. The same may be said of the self that is conscious of being Goan. It is in the gaping, spacing and distancing , that the ‘we’ becomes truly intimate. This is why even when one hates other Indians by spacing or gapping them as minorities, threats to majority or India , one becomes deeply intimate to those that one hates. Hate politics is driven by intimacy that has become a fantasy. Thus, in the withdrawal into intimacy, we do not close upon ourself but enter into what we may call extimacy. Our intimacy is actually an extimacy. It takes us to the extremity of our thought and being.

The extremity is not exactly exterior to us . It is farthest out to us. it exceeds it closer-ness to us and by that token is closest to us. The most intimate is, therefore, the most extimate. Thus, the intimate and extimate are intertwined to us. Both India and Goa are intertwined to us and we to them. They are intimate and extimate to us. Thus, what is outside or farthest out is inside us. we cannot draw a line between the inside and outside when it comes to intimacy. Unfortunately, intimacy is thought as interior and its exterior side is forgotten in our society. Our politics will change if we think together intimacy and extimacy. What exceeds intimacy is extimate to us. They both cross each other. We cannot be intimate without being extimate. Our outside is that which is inside. All extimacy is intimate to us. When we understand this relation, our spacing of the self and the other will become ethical , humane and human.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao