Necrological Discourse: Necrological Identity

  • Abstract:

    This paper explores the Lévinasian theory of identities enclosed within their own portraits. In struggling to draw the portrait of an adversary who abandons face-to-face discourse for a necrological discourse devoid of interlocutors, society finds itself perplexed and, perhaps, unable to calculate various factors that require inclusion within the portrait itself. Through the thinking of Emmanuel Lévinas, I will demonstrate the importance of not simply displaying the portrait of a necrological identity, which imposes a risk in depicting only a lingering insurgent, but taking the time to sketch possible portraitists and analysts who lead society to lifting the veil of a world that opposes reality and comprises only a reversed poetics of impersonal discourse. Inverted poetics do not harbor thinking, but a semblance of thinking unknown to its spector, who is chained to a past that cannot bear the present or its future, but only its end. Can society possibly exist in the face of a nihilism stemming from necrological discourse of profound uncertainties? When living people reside in the trace of history, which underscores human idealism and insulated acts only, intersubjectivity roams within a realm of a transcendence that cannot release itself without the non-mastering countenance in the identity of a just interlocutor. Therefore, I argue that lingering in the face of an impenetrable countenance of personal discourse releases a trace of the good, meaning that which provides a path out of instrumentality and into reflection by one who still returns to itself. Within the Hegelian and Lévinasian insights of this paper, I expose elements that lead a person to the trace of history, which absences history itself and presences necrological identities. I call for society to enter a place of cognizance in recognizing how to penetrate the enclosure of such identities encased within their own portraits.