Responsibility for others

Normally I let Mrxk deal with this kind of stuff. He's good at it. Witty. Poignant. Firm. But I guess, since he hasn't hit this one yet, I'll take it.

So, if you're reading this, you probably know I'm writing a dissertation on Levinas. And, likely, you know that Levinas' theory is about respecting and maintaining an other (person)'s response-ability at all costs. Short version: rather than try to synthesize the differences between me and another, I should let those differences put my own fundamental assumptions into question. And, always, I should respect their response. But there are times that try my patience. Like this: http://barackobamaantichrist.blogspot.com/


Sigh. O.k., a quick taste. You really should just search the blog for a bit. Here's a snippet in which the author makes a correlation between Obama's rise to power and a contemporary influx in natural disasters:

For everyone stammering to rebuttal this argument, slow down, take a breath. I realize there has been all sort of crazy weather throughout history, volcanoes, earthquakes, huge world wars. I get your argument. I am just saying this weather phenomenon is really lining up with the phenomenon that is Barack Obama. If everyone could list the different current weather events, and wars or rumors of wars going on that would be a good start. Please counter this argument as much as you want, I am just exploring the idea I have heard people talking about.

What is interesting to me here is that the writer calls for agonism. That's good. But...

Levinas himself commented in an interview (its in God Who Comes to Mind) that our utter responsibility to an other's alterity should only be interrupted when that other threatens the alterity of a third party. Now, there is no absolute scale upon which to measure violence: is it more violent to interrupt the other I face or to allow him / her to totalize, assimilate, silence or "murder" (in Levinasian discourse) a third. But, even in the absence of an absolute scale, I feel pretty safe calling this into question.

On a less philosophical (dissertation-sounding) note, its crap like this that keeps me from considering getting Rowan baptized. Ever.


Wishydig said...

"an other (person)'s response-ability"

listen irrelevant cowboy...we've talked about this. You promised to behave.

Insignificant Wrangler said...

I'm doing my best! Honestly! But when you spend a couple of hours a day reading post-structuralist / phenomenological deconstructive philosophy completely based on a series of puns, the language starts to take control!

EnthyAlias said...

Dude, even with my own PhD now, I really only wanted the last line as your response-ability. "Crap" by any other lexicon is not as effective. After all, does whipping out that decon-post-shit really respect alterity either? Hmm ...

Your Fellow Scoobie ... now in the blogosphere, or whatever you cats call it. ;)