The gap of infinity between the same and the other

Why does Levinas emphasize all the time that the other is totally different and that I can never reduce the other to the same, to me, and that I should stop trying that? It is because you cannot build a bridge from the same to the same. I am here, standing on a rock. There is a infinitely deep gap and then there is another rock, where the other person is standing. My rock is not the same as his rock, because there's a gap between us, we are not standing on the same rock, I stand here and he stands there.

If I say that the other is the same as me, I try to move him to my rock. But on my rock there is only place for me, I can pretend that the other is at my rock, because I put up a statue of him there, but he can never come there, because he cannot cross the enormous gap which is between us.

So I am at my rock and the other is at his rock. Is it impossible for us to be in contact with each other? No it is not. The bridge to bring us together is language. Language is not located at my subjective rock and neither at the rock of the other. We stay at our own places, but still we have contact with each other, because we can speak with each other. The other calls me from his rock. Because he calls me, I can see that there is more than only my rock, he reveals to me the infinite gap, and that there's a different perspective from the other side. Before that I thought that the whole universe consisted of my rock only, now I can see that there is more. The infinity which separates me from the other person is God. God is infinity. God is neverending in everything, in his goodness and his power. But I cannot know what God is like, I cannot see his contours. I cannot draw a picture of him, because I would need a neverending piece of paper to draw Infinity.

But nevertheless, despite the infinity of the gap, it can be bridged by language / discourse / dialogue. The other can speak to me and I can hear him and I can answer. Because the other shows me that there is more than my own small, lonely and limited rock, I can see a glimpse of the infinity of God.

And below is a completely different picture (with many more cartoons which are really great) called "Australian Aborigines, Hindmarsh Island Bridge aborigines gap reality". This also explains very well what Levinas means: while the selfish totalisers have their pleasant abstract conversations, at the other side of the gap a sad reality of violence and oppression is shown. I still hope the gap will be bridged, ever...

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