Hypostasis

But, as has also already been said, the standing of hypostatic existents is not static. Even their standing still is the accomplishment of a movement, the accomplishment of commencement, a fresh start that interrupts the droning ground-base of impersonal being. Personality is born. It is to the assumption of existence in this birth that one must first look, not to the assumption of our being toward our death, if there is to be any hope of resolving the tragedy of being, a tragedy deeper than the tragedy that can be resolved by the heroic assumption of death. It is not in human finitude, the endingness of humankind, each person's being toward the end of its being or the end of metaphysics, that the tragedy of being is resolved. That tragedy outlives the end of the world. For the end of the world is not the end of the il y a. In thinking this Levinas is giving a twist to a thought that is expressed in Being and Time itself, where it is already a repetition of an idea expressed in Ideas, volume 1. In §49 of the latter book, the section entitled 'Absolute Consciousness as Residuum after the Nullifying of the World', Husserl asks: supposing a subject capable of unifying the contents of consciousness, 'is it still conceivable, is it not on the contrary absurd, that the corresponding transcendental world should not be?' It is a version of this question that Heidegger is answering when he says 'Being—not beings—is something which "there is" ['gibt es'] only in so far as truth is. And truth is only in so far and as long as Dasein is' (SZ 230).

These statements mimic statements (emphasized in the original text) where Husserl distinguishes a certain contingency from a certain necessity:

Immanent being is therefore without doubt absolute in this sense, that in principle nulla 're' indiget ad existendum. On the other hand, the world of transcendent 'res' is related unreservedly to consciousness, not indeed to logical conceptions, but to what is actual [aktuelles].

However, Heidegger sets aside Husserl's terminology of consciousness, Bewusstsein, restricting himself to that of Sein, on the grounds that

The ideas of a 'pure "I"' and of a 'consciousness in general' are so far from including the a priori character of 'actual' [wirklichen] subjectivity that the ontological characters of Dasein's facticity and its state of being are either passed over or not seen at all.

This reflects and reflects on statements (in which the emphases are Husserl's except for the last) that Levinas must surely have had in his mind when choosing his title De l'évasion: 'Consciousness, considered in its "purity", must be reckoned as a self-contained system of being, as a system of absolute being, into which nothing can penetrate, and from which nothing can escape'. Whereas into Husserl's text Heidegger reads his es gibt, Levinas reads into it the il y a which, he writes in the preface to the second edition of Existence and Existents (1973), was never meant to convey the implications of generosity and abundance associated with Heidegger's use of his phrase. Not grace but gravity characterizes the il y a, like the weight of the chains that bind one to existence, as Levinas was held in the Stalag when describing the il y a in Existence and Existents, 'written for the most part in captivity' (DEE 10, EE 15).

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