inessential solidarity


As master of its existence, the subject enjoys its world. But Levinas is quick to point out that already “in the hypostasis of an instant–in which a subject’s mastery, power, or virility are manifested as being in a world …–we can discern the return of the there is.” Underpinning the appearance of “mastery, power, or virility,” Levinas insists, is the il y a: “The ‘I’ always has one foot caught in its own existence.” Ego, in all its mastery, is still an existent (a self) chained to irremissible and impersonal being. I do have the freedom to take a little distance from my self–perhaps, if I’m lucky, to drift off to sleep–but this freedom is not really a liberation, Levinas insists; rather “it is as though one had given more slack rope to a prisoner without untying him.” Existing, he continues, “is the impossibility of getting rid of oneself” (EE 89).

From Diane Davis's Inessential Solidarity, pp. 103-104 (my bolding)

Neko Case, “This Tornado Loves You” from Middle Cyclone (2009):

my love, i’m an owl on the sill in the evening
but morning finds you still warm and breathing