TI Quotes

First, from “Is Ontology Fundamental”:

This tie to the other (person, autrui), which does not reduce itself to the representation of the Other (autrui) but rather to his invocation, where invocation is not preceded by comprehension, we call religion. The essence of discourse is prayer. (7)

TI 43

A  calling  into  question of  the  same-which  cannot  occur  within  the  egoist  spontaneity  of  the same-is  brought  about  by  the  other.  We  name  this  calling  into  ques tion  of  my  spontaneity  by  the  presence  of  the  Other  ethics.  The strangeness  of  the  Other,  his  irreducibility  to  the  I,  to  my  thoughts  and my  possessions,  is  precisely  accomplished  as  a  calling  into  question  of my  spontaneity,  as ethics.  Metaphysics,  transcendence,  the  welcoming  of the  other  by  the  same,  of  the  Other  by  me,  is  concretely  produced  as  the calling  into  question  of  the  same  by  the  other,  that  is,  as  the  ethics  that accomplishes  the  critical  essence  of  knowledge.  And  as  critique  precedes dogmatism,  metaphysics  precedes  ontology. (43)

TI 50-51

For the presence before a face, my orientation toward the Other, can lose the avidity proper to the gaze only by turning into generosity, incapable of approaching the other with empty hands. This relationship established over the things henceforth possibly common, that is, susceptible of being said, is the relationship of conversation. The way in which the other presents himself, exceeding the idea of the other in me, we here name face. This mode does not consist in figuring as a theme under my gaze, in spreading itself forth as a set of qualities forming an image. The face of the Other at each moment destroysand overflows the plastic image it leaves me, the idea existing to my own measure and to the measure of its ideatum–the adequate idea. It does not manifest itself by these qualities, but καθ᾿ αὑτὸ. It expressesitself. The face brings a notion of truth which, in contradistinction to contemporary ontology, is not the disclosure of an impersonal Neuter, but expression: the existent breaks through all the envelopings and generalities of Being to spread out in its “form” the totality of its “content,” finally abolishing the distinction between form and content. This is not achieved by some sort of modification of the knowledge that thematizes, but precisely by “thematization” turning into conversation. The condition for theoretical truth and error is the word of the other, his expression, which every lie already presupposes. But the first content of expression is the expression itself. To approach the Other in conversation is to welcome his expression, in which at each instant he overflows the idea a thought would carry away from it. It is therefore to receive from the Other beyond the capacity of the I, which means exactly: to have the idea of infinity. But this also means: to be taught. The relation with the Other, or Conversation, is a non-allergic relation, an ethical relation; but inasmuch as it is welcomed this conversation is a teaching [enseignementJ. Teaching is not reducible to maieutics; it comes from the exterior and brings me more than I contain. In its non-violent transitivity the very epiphany of the face is produced. The Aristotelian analysis of the intellect, which discovers the agent intellect coming in by the gates, absolutely exterior, and yet constituting, nowise compromising, the sovereign activity of reason, already substitutes for maieutics a transitive action of the master, since reason, without abdicating, is found to be in a position to receive. (TI 50-51)

Avital Ronell, Dictations:

the experience of Conversation induces, once again, the vertigo of expropriation. It is not only the case that I am not identical to myself when I begin to converse with you, but more severely perhaps: you are no longer the one I have interiorized or memorized. Breaking the secret contract that sealed you within me, you, in Conversation, are no longer you, or the you at least of whom I have preserved an image.” (Dictations xii-xiii)

TI 69:

The claim to know and to reach the other is realized in the relationship with the Other that is cast in the relation of language, where the essential is the interpellation, the vocative. The other is maintained and confirmed in his heterogeneity as soon as one calls upon him, be it only to say to him that one cannot speak to him, to classify him as sick, to announce to him his death sentence; at the same time as grasped, wounded, outraged, he is “respected.” The invoked is not what I comprehend: he is not under a category. He is the one to whom I speak—he has only a reference to himself; he has no quiddity. (69)

Lyotard, The Differend, 110-11

The violence of the revelation is in the ego’s expulsion from the addressor instance, from which it managed its work of enjoyment, power, and cognition. It is the scandal of an I displaced onto a you instance. The I turned you tries to repossess itself through the understanding of what dispossesses it. Another phrase is formed, in which the I returns in the addressor’s situation, in order to legitimate or to reject—it doesn’t matter which—the scandal of the other’s phrase and of its own dispossession. This new phrase is always possible, like an inevitable temptation. But it cannot annul the event, it can only tame and master it, thereby disregarding the transcendence of the other. By turning the I into its you [toi], the other makes him- or herself master, and turns the I into his or her hostage. The other is not master, however, because he or she dominates the I, but because he or she asks for the I (D 111). (D 110–11)

TI 198:

Murder still aims at a sensible datum, and yet it finds itself before a datum whose being cannot be suspended by an appropriation. It finds itself before a datum absolutely non-neutralizable. The “negation” effected by appropriation and usage remained always partial. The grasp that contests the independence of the thing preserves it “for me.” Neither the destruction of things, nor the hunt, nor the extermination of living beings aims at the face, which is not of the world. They still belong to labor, have a finality, and answer to a need. Murder alone lays claim to total negation. Negation by labor and usage, like negation by representation, effect a grasp or a comprehension, rest on or aim at affirmation; they can. [Power] To kill is not to dominate but to annihilate; it is to renounce comprehension absolutely. Murder exercises a power over what escapes power. It is still a power, for the face expresses itself in the sensible, but already impotency, because the face rends the sensible. The alterity that is expressed in the face provides the unique “matter” possible for total negation. I can wish to kill only an existent absolutely independent, which exceeds my powers infinitely, and therefore does not oppose them but paralyzes the very power of power. The Other is the sole being I can wish to kill. (198)