The human eye does not always see in the same way that the photography apparatus sees (here by the term photography apparatus we mean its common iterations, such as film cameras, medium format cameras, DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, bridge cameras, compact digital cameras, smartphone cameras, action cameras, etc.). I can be shown an image of what the bee hypothetically sees. But this would be me seeing a visual hypothesis. This is not what we are on about here. What we are making reference to here is a hypothetical-seeing, which is not the seeing-a-(visual)-hypothesis thing. Now, if the photography apparatus is the mind set before the eye (see here), and the ‘common’ photography apparatus always shows us what we commonly see, is that because our thoughts are all necessarily encoded in the common human way of seeing? I can engage in hypothetical-seeing that allows me to see what the bee hypothetically sees. But my mind is not the mind of the bee. All seeings necessarily evince ‘the photographic’, but the common human way of seeing is necessarily not all there is to seeing. The question then to be asked is: why are we minded in such a manner as to be able to engage in hypothetical-seeing when our minds are in the first place not minded for the Other?
Why invoke Time when discussing Being? Being is being; hence, Being inhabits temporality in being. But it is through being (in the same sense as when we say, “through him, with him, in him”), through the temporality inhabited by Being (again, in the same sense as when we say, “through him, with him, in him”), that Time comes to be (Being comes to be in performing itself, in performing its Being being). Time is the gratuitous affluence of Being – of Being as Dasein. Time, being the gratuitous affluence of Being as Dasein, is thus not a given but given… gratuitously, fortuitously, and gratuitously fortuitously and fortuitously gratuitously (favourably by chance; by chance favourably), as we shall soon see.
Levinas’ ‘the Same’ is ‘the photographic’. ‘The photographic’ reneges knowledge.
Metaphysics, Axiology, Logic, Aesthetics, Epistemology, Ethics and Political Philosophy – in short: Philosophy! – must find roots in Alterity because Alterity is ontologically fortuitous and gratuitous, and, phenomenologically, truly gratuitously fortuitous and fortuitously gratuitous (favoured by chance; by chance favoured). And it is through gratuitous fortuity / fortuitous gratuity that we must find our way back here. (If I do it for myself, it is ultimately pointless. There is no point in having others around, hence the reason must be this alterity. But this discovered reason is, as we have seen, ontologically founded on gratuity and fortuity; and it is for this reason that this reason will remain being reasoned as being eternally gratuitous, fortuitous, and gratuitously fortuitous and fortuitously gratuitous.)
Descartes’ cogito unwittingly becomes an amphibology.
These are the only words I can think of.
“We have always seen the photograph.”
…And, “had we to reinvent our sight anew, it would necessarily be photographic!”
(Which is like saying, “if words, then words would have to be like words.”)
‘The photographic’ is the real; the real is necessarily so.
‘The photographic’ is not necessarily operable on planet Mars. But we bring ourselves there as that which is referred to when we say ‘the photographic’.
A seen is a seeing irrespective of when it is that it is seen. When seen, the seeing of the seen is seen. ‘The photographic’ is not the seen, nor does it refer to any quality of the seen. ‘The photographic’ is the impossibility of the seeing being anything other than ‘the photographic’, of being anything other than a seen seeing that can be seen.
What have Ontology and Alterity got to do with ‘the photographic’? A seeing is a seeing prior to any seeing. ‘The photographic’ is shared – which is to say that the seeing is seen alike. Yes, Levinas, “alterity is possible only starting from me” (LEVINAS 1969:40), but “the Being of Dasein is care” (HEIDEGGER 1962:465)
‘The photographic’ – why appropriate a term specifically from the domain of photography? Again, why not ‘the pictorial’, ‘the filmic’, etc.?
Admittedly, ‘the photographic’ is just a manner of seeing.
(Although, let it be made clear, that nowhere in this blog did we ever discuss ‘the pictorial’ and ‘the filmic’ as different modes of seeing.)
Why ‘the photographic’? Because it always ends up looking like a photograph.
Why photography? Chance.
Quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllae suaeThe Magnificat
If reality does not exist then reality must be the same. Hence, Heidegger (?), dear, there are no others. The Same is the same because it is always the same. The Same is that which we refer to as that which is always the same. Logically, then, the Same is indistinguishable from the Other.
Alterity is(,) without (b/)Being.
Ma il principe, il principe siederà in essa per cibarsi davanti al Signore; entrerà dal vestibolo della porta e di lì usciràEzechiele 44: 3
Photographs can lie because in any case they always end up looking photographic (when done with craft, ovviamente).
Words can lie because, to those literate enough (those fortunate few), everything sayable can be said with words.
In the beginning was the Word. Who has the last word?
It is language which first brings the world into view – without first looking at the original. Language is a second representation without a first or an original. Unlike images, words are always written. Unlike words, images are always seen. Language is the only death; the world is the only truth.
The association between the word and the image is purely fortuitous. No matter how the truth comes to be, whether, that is, it is revealed or hammered into one’s head, the truth is just a linguistic construction. Hence, all truths, or, better still, all words, are vacuous, and, following the introductory statement to this paragraph, all images are de facto lies. To understand is to stand in the midst of. To understand is to oppose relationality.
The image is that which is no longer. “That which is no longer” is a linguistic expression; it is a truth, the truth necessarily linguistic. Therefore “that which is no longer” can not define the image because as we have discussed previously the association between the word and the image is purely fortuitous. Language cannot define the image. The image belies the truth.
Memory: the word defines its truth, the image poisons it with its deceit. The word: that which is no longer; the image: that which is. Memory, as mind, steers clear of reality (reality is symbolic of the real). (One asks: what is the difference, then, between memory as mind, as the real, and the world? “It is not the real world,” comes the reply.)
Levinas, the horizon is what lies beneath our feet.
Love grows cold when it intuits, rightly or wrongly, separation.
GADDI, Agnolo. c. 1390. The Coronation of the Virgin with Six Angels. The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker [online]. Available at: https://kitticarriker.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-twin-sister-for-jesus.html?m=0 [accessed 31 December 2022].
Giuseppe CALÌ. u.l.o.s. The Holy Family. [painting; photograph of a magazine picture by the author].
EZECHIELE. n.d. Bibbia CEI [online]. Available at: https://www.vatican.va/archive/ITA0001/__PRB.HTM [accessed 31 December 2022].
HEIDEGGER, Martin. 1962. Being and Time (1927). Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson. USA: Blackwell Publishing.
LEVINAS, Emmanuel. 1969. Totality and Infinity (1961). Translated by Alphonso Lingis. USA: Duquesne University Press.
THE MAGNIFICAT. 2012. Tradition in Action [online]. Available at: https://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/b017rpMagnificat.htm [accessed 31 December 2022].