Preface to Totality and Infinity

Throughout his works Emmanuel Levinas has used various terminologies to refer to God. In every case God is described as infinite unknowable, unsayable and unsignifyable. In the Trace of the Face Levinas refers to God as the Unknown and absolute other (Emmanuel Levinas Trace of the Face Translated by A Linglis, Tijdschrift Philosophie 1963 {text pages. 610-623}, pp.345, 354-356). In Totality and Infinity, Levinas calls God the absolute other and in Otherwise than Being he uses the term the otherwise than being (Totality and Infinity. Dickens University Press, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 2001 pp. 34-35, Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. Duquesne University Press, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 2000 pp. 4-5). I will show that these concepts are completely compatible with one another and are based on the same premises. Furthermore, it will be argued that term God is a phrase or ideatum that refers to that which cannot be known, signified, or contained in any expression of language. Levinas God will be shown to everything that can never be known or said. This God is not the personal deity depicted in typical religiosity, Levinas God is not a divinity that interacts with the human world, rather this God is that which lies beyond the limits of what humans can ever experience or know. It will be shown that the term God as found in Levinas work can be easily substituted by any other term that refers to that which is beyond everything contained within that which can be known.. Thus, I will prove that Levinas use of the terms infinite, the unknown, the absolute other and the otherwise than being to refer to the same non-religious God or the something that is absolutely beyond being. The term God refers to that which a secular term like infinity could as easily be used to referred to without losing any of its intended connotations lost in the substitution of one term for the other..   In fact, I will show that the term God is more problematic than its secular counterparts as it contains religious presuppositions that are not contained in Levinas formulation of that which lies beyond being. In this sense, Levinas’ terms for God secularize divinity and relegate God to a concept acceptable even to atheists. This is not the God of religion rather a term used as an ideatum of that which is always beyond what humans will ever know. This God who will never fulfil any of the characteristics usually attributed to God and even if God did, no one would ever know it.

I will commence by examining the idea of the unknown as presented by Levinas in The Trace of the Face.    Levinas begins by claiming that the self has a horizon made up of the totality of everything it knows. When the self encounters another it attempts to absorb the alterity of what it encounters in to the selfs horizon (Trace of the Face" pp. 345-346). When one encounters something that is yet to be known, one encompasses that unknown within ones horizon making it the known. As one encounters more of the unknown, the illeity of the unknown steps away and the newly encountered other becomes absorbed into the self as the known. The unknown leaves a trace of its existence in the transition of unknown to known. This is similar to fingerprints left at the scene of the crime that point to the presence of someone that is no longer there. However, the fingerprints of the unknown have been wiped away because the instance the unknown becomes the known it loses all traces that it was unknown. The known is no longer evidence of the unknown the moment it becomes the known ("Trace of the Face" pp.354-356). When the self encounters another person, the self comes face to face with that other and realizes that other resists being absorbed into the selfs horizon. The self is limited to experiencing the others physical manifestations and expressions but can never know the hidden secrets that lie behind the face of the other. The self realizes that no matter how much one learns about the other what lies within that other always remains unknown (Trace of the Face" pp. 345, 354-356). Furthermore, one realizes that no matter what one encounters as an unknown and encompasses it into the self as the known, the unknown, which continues to lie beyond the known and remains perpetually the unknown. The Unknown, according to Levinas, is God or the absolute other that is always outside the grasp of the self ("Trace of the Face" pp. 354-357). When one encounters the other and realizes the unknowable, one transcends to a face to face with the absolute other, which is the unknown. One comes face to face with the edge of ones own horizon and the illeity of that which always lies beyond ("Trace of the Face" pp. 354-358). One faces the concept of the perpetual unknown, which, like the face of the other, hides its unknowable nature beyond the grasp of the self. Nothing can be said about the unknown, thus it is unsayable. The content of the unknown is unsignifyable and cannot be encompassed by language or by any symbol ("Trace of the Face" 345-347)

The perpetual unknown is infinite. No matter what one encounters and absorbs into ones horizon the unknown continually exists and remains infinite beyond the selfs horizon. What lies beyond the limits of the known will always be infinite and unknown ("Trace of the Face" pp. 354-358) This seems to suggest that part of the infinity of the unknown can be encompassed within the known and made finite within ones horizon. However, Levinas seems to also imply the unknown is always unknown and always stands outside the horizon of the known as the infinite unknown. The unknown is perpetually unknowable.. In its totality the unknown is always absolutely other to the self. The trace it leaves behind as the self absorbs more of the unknown into the selfs horizon is a trace of evidence that erases itself and only exists in the moment of transition when something unknown becomes known (Trace of the face pp. 353-368). Thus, one can only realize the dichotomy between the unknown and the known at the moment of transition from the former to the latter. That is one has to look back at an occurrence when one learns something unknown and made it the known to be able to extrapolate the idea of the unknown. This seems to imply that what is unknown can one day become known, yet if there will always be an unknown the idea of the unknown will always exist.. In fact, the unknown will never be known. The unknown and the known are always different. When something becomes known it is no longer unknown, and what becomes known must have always had the potential of being known. However, the unknown also refers to that which can never be known, that is the unknown also refers to the unknowable. The unknowable will never be part of that which can be known. That which can never be known must be and has always been unknowable. Its absolute alterity is always beyond the selfs horizon. In fact, it is absolutely other to anything anyone can know. Thus, the unknown is comprised of that which can and cannot be known. (" The Trace of the Face"352-356) Since the unknown is infinite, that is infinitely capable of stepping away from the approach of the selfs horizon, what is unknowable and what is potentially knowable are both included within the infinity of the unknown. God is part of unknowable aspect of the unknown. No part of God ever becomes known. God is the unknowable unknown that can not be signified or said, God is always beyond what can be known ("Trace of the Face" pp. 354-358). Thus, God and the potentially knowable are both part of the unknown and while these constituents of the unknown remain unknown for all intense and purposes they can be considered part and parcel of the Unknown.. One can equally not speech of that which is unknowable and that which is not yet known, However, since what can be known is part of Being and God is absolutely other to being, that which will never be known, like God, is absolutely other to the yet known. The yet unknown has the potential of being known and thus part of Being. The unknowable is unknown because it is beyond Being. Thus, since God is beyond Being, God must be part of the unknowable aspect of the Unknown. Levinas more extensively examines the infinite, unknowable unknown in Totality and Infinity as well as, giving a more in-depth explication of the transcendent experience caused by the face to face with the other which allows for the realization of the absolute otherness of the unknowable.

In Totality and Infinity, Levinas claims that infinity is a good term for the absolute other or God. Infinity is an ideatum for the absolute other or God. An ideatum is a term used to point or refers to something without attempting to encompass it, make reference to its content or claim to know anything about it. An ideatum does not signify an object of being, rather it refers to that which cannot be signified and lies beyond being (Totality and Infinity p.45). Infinity refers to a concept that is beyond human comprehension. The human mind is incapable of grasping infinity in its totality. The term infinity is a finite signification of a concept that overflows the bounds of its signification (Totality and Infinityp..25). The term absolute other is an ideatum that points to that which is beyond all existence. The absolute other is absolutely alterior to all of being (Totality and Infinity pp. 42-43, 49, 51-51 74-75). The absolute other is concept that overflows the bounds of its signification. The absolute other is beyond totality and is absolutely other to everything that can be known or signified (74-75). The absolute other is not a non-being and cannot be derived by negating the idea of being. Non-being is predicated on the idea of being and depends on the idea of being for its derivation. Thus, non-being is not absolutely other to Being. Non-being is derived from being and is thusly part of what humans can know. (Totality and Infinity pp.. 40-42).

One transcends to the realization of the absolute other when the selfs idea of totality becomes disrupted by the presence of the face of the other (pp.35-36, 42-43 85-87). The face of the other is the limit of the experience of that other (Totality and Infinity 35-36). However, the other who faces me is more than what I can sense. The other holds hidden secrets that are beyond my senses, beyond the others face that I face. The others expressions hint at this hidden alterity while never making certain what is hidden in the other, behind and beyond the others face (Totality and Infinity pp. 80-81). Unlike the objects the self encounters and absorbs into the self, the other resists being absorbed by the self (pp.42-43). The self realizes that the other who resists absorption into the self has a hidden alterity that is equally capable to act in the world as the self does, though the relationship of different selves is asymmetrical (Totality and Infinity pp. 39 215-216). The hidden alterity of the other makes the self approach the other cautiously as the self cannot know what intentions the other holds. The self becomes conscious of the other as a self like ones self, which is also not the self. If the other is a self like ones self, capable of similar feats, then the self must be approached as one who is easily capable of murdering someone as befriending them (Totality and Infinity 37-39, 48-52, 70)

Since birth, the self has absorbed everything it has encountered into the self. The horizon of the self continually absorbs everything it encounters into an idea of totality based on the same (Totality and Infinity pp. 35-37). The others otherness is absorbed into the self based on the ontological sameness that other has according to everything else the self has already absorbed. This sameness is an ontology which predicates everything based on being or as things are. What is absorbed is understood on the basis of its existence (pp. 42-48). Ones idea of totality is based on Being. Thus, the self absorbs and orders everything it encounters into an ontology of the same or a totality of everything that exists based on the fact of existence. The predicated of ontology is existence or being. Thus, each self contains an idea of totality based on the ontological precedent of existence. Even God is said by many to exist and have being. However Levinas does not believe that God, the Infinite, has any part in Being (Totality and Infinity pp.25, 48-52). The absolute other is absolutely alterior to Being and thus has no being predicated on the idea of Being (Totality and Infinity pp. 74-75).

When a self encounters the other and engages in a conversation concerning the idea of totality, the self and other realize that each persons idea of totality differs (Totality and Infinity pp. 42-45, 49). This causes a disruption in each person's idea of totality. The other offering the alternative idea of totality does not need to be a living person, rather any book or medium that presents an idea of totality as its message can stand in for the absent author that is not immediately present (Totality and Infinity 74-75).   A book stands in for the face of the author who, like a living other person that one faces, expresses an alterity hidden beyond the grasp of the selfs senses and understanding (Totality and Infinity pp. 80-81). When one realizes that ones idea of totality is different than any others, ones idea of totality and the ability to ever know this totality comes into question. The entire idea of a knowable totality becomes disrupted. The self realizes that there is something to each selfs idea of totality that is irreconcilable with any other idea of totality. Moreover, one realizes that there is something about totality that eludes the grasp of everyone (Totality and Infinity 42-45, 49). Furthermore, since one becomes aware that all ideas of totality have irreconcilable differences, one realizes that there is an absolute otherness to totality that causes everyone to derive their own idea of it. One becomes conscious of fact that there is something unsignifyable about totality that no one can grasp yet everyone derives a different idea of it (Totality and Infinity pp. 35-40).

At the moment ones idea of totality becomes disrupted in the face to face with the other one transcends to an experience of the face to face with the absolute other (Totality and Infinity pp. 74-77). The face to face with the absolute other is the realization of the existence of an absolute alterity beyond totality and Being. The absolute other is unknowable and unsignifyable. Moreover, it is absolutely other to everything that can ever be known or hypothesized about (Totality and Infinity pp. 74-75). The face of the other points to the face of the absolute other. The face of the other acts like an ideatum to the face of the absolute other. That is, the face to face with the other that leads to the face to face with the unsignifyable alterity of the absolute other acts like an ideatum or concept that does not and, in fact, cannot encompass what it points to: the absolute other. The face of the absolute other is an ideatum that only assumes the existence of that which cannot be known and lies beyond Being (Totality and Infinity pp. 42-43, 49, 51-52). The absolute other is the infinite Other or God. When one comes face to face with the absolute other one encounters the silence of its unsayable alterity (Totality and Infinity pp. 50-54, 84-91). The absolute other is the Unknown and is unknowable. The selfs idea of totality finds itself in jeopardy before the unknowable alterity of the absolute other and the ungraspable otherness of totality (Totality and Infinity pp. 42-48, 86-88- 198, 231-233). The ungraspable otherness of totality and the absolute otherness of the absolute other are not the same. The ungraspable totality of being is still a predicate of existence as it relies on existents for its existence while the absolute other lies beyond the ungraspable totality of being and does not rely on any existents for its existence. The ungraspable otherness of totality acts as the face or ideatum to the absolute other (Totality and Infinity pp.35-40, 49).

The self who realizes that the selfs idea of totality is in jeopardy can choose to either embrace the others alterity as part of the self, accepting the ethical equality of difference and the inevitable fact that no idea of totality is complete and compatible with any other, or the self may attempt to erase the difference that caused the dilemma to begin with by either trying to change the others ideas of totality making the other conform with the selfs idea of being or murder the other and eliminating the contentious difference altogether(Totality and Infinity pp. 39, 42-48, 84-91, 198, 231-233). When one accepts the differences of the other as an inevitable part of the self, the others differences become part of selfs idea of everyones being. When one embraces the other like a neighbour who shares the same neighbourhood of being while residing in a different home and consequently having his or her own relative perspective concerning totality one embraces the other in an ethical relationship (Totality and Infinity 36-37). This acceptance of the other is the acceptance of the equal incapability that everyone shares to signify totality and the absolute other (Totality and Infinity p.39). The realization of the ethical relationship entails a relinquishing of ones freedom and will to power concerning ones hegemony over the idea of totality (Totality and Infinity pp.84-91). Thusly, the self becomes humbled before the absolute other and the other that faces the self. This humility is caused by the realization of God, not as a personal being capable of punishing unethical behavior, rather as the infinite unknowable that allows one to realize the limits of ones power (Totality and Infinity pp. 35-40). Whether there is a heaven or a hell beyond can never be known though the fact that no one can hold hegemony over the idea of totality can be realised. Thus, the absolute other does not impart virtue as a lesson from the beyond rather the beyond fosters the ethical relationship in the face of the other that shares an equal position of powerlessness before the absolute other. This God need not be a living divinity rather this God simply is a term referring to the unknowable that can humble a transcending self before the other by allowing for the realization that one can never know or signify this absolute other. This God does not judge human behavior rather the judgement of morality becomes the responsibility of the self in the presence of the other (Totality and Infinity pp.. 245-247). Morality is a response to the demands of the other (Totality and Infinity pp.87-89). Ethics is a product of the humbling of humanity before humanity as it realises the limits of its power and not the divine dictates of a superior being..

If the self does not embrace the humility before the absolute other accepting, ones powerlessness before the other and one continues to feel that ones idea of totality is threatened by the other, one might attempt to erase the other who caused the disruption to ones idea of totality and consequently erase the threat to ones idea of totality altogether.   This erasure is accomplished by resorting to what Levinas calls a tyranny of ontology and the violence this tyranny usually entails towards the other.. One either attempts to change the others ideas making them conform to ones own ideas concerning totality or one tries to murder and outright rid oneself of the contentious difference of the other by eliminating the other altogether. This tyranny of ontology persecutes difference and violates the sanctity of the others alterity (Totality and Infinity pp. 42-48, 86-88, 198, 231-233). This unethical behavior is not a conscious rebellion against the laws of God. Since God does not interact with Being and remains outside the scope of human life, even if God has laws humans will never know them. Unethical behavior is not impiety, rather it is an attempt to avoid accepting ones powerlessness before the other and the absolute other. It is an attempt at maintaining ones power concerning the hegemony over the idea of Being. Whatever is the unknowable content of the absolute other, its disruptive quality realised at the moment of transcendence is the cause of ethical and unethical behaviour. The infinite unknowable absolute other does not dictate the rules of morality. Ethics is an immanent characteristic innate in humanity that manifests itself when humans realize the limits of their power to know and control everything. Immorality is not a sin against the absolute other, rather it is a sin against the other in the face of the absolute other Immorality is not as St. Augustine argued a digression from Gods perfection, rather it is a product of the forced maintenance of the false perfection of the selfs idea of totality (ST. Augustine On Free Choice of the Will Trans. Thomas Williams Hachette Publishing Company, Indianapolis USA 1993 pp. 2-4).

          Levinas ideatum of infinity as presented in Totality and Infinity seems to indicate a concept that is beyond any finite set or idea and overflows any reference to it. The illeity does not present itself in the trace, this infinity is not an other that slowly becomes encompassed into the self while its infinite nature continues to stretch out beyond it. The absolute other does not step away as one approaches it. The absolute other is an infinity that overflows the concept of infinity. It is an infinity of infinity. Infinity is not simply what has yet to be placed within the finite. This infinity is infinitys infinity and always is infinite no matter what has already been absorbed within the self. Thus, the absolute other is not or ever was part of the other. It is not a divinity that interacts with existence and thus can never be known. The other has the possibility of being encountered as part of Being by the virtue of its own existence, while the absolute other can only be encountered by the virtue of the face to face with the other that causes the transcendent encounter of the face to face with the absolute other.   One does not interact with the absolute other in the manner one would interact with the other. The other is manifest while the absolute other is always absent though always immanent. The disruption of totality in the face of the other acts as the ideatum to the absolute other which one only becomes conscious of as that which is beyond the limits of Being One does not face the absolute other as a physical manifestation. One faces the concept of the unknowable infinity of infinity that is beyond comprehension and any chance of direct encounter (Totality and Infinity pp. 34, 37,39, 42, 48-49 51-58). One can touch the other but one can never touch the absolute other. This ideatum of the idea of the absolute alterity of the absolute other which is absolutely other to all of being is extensively elucidated by Levinas in his book Otherwise Than Being

In Otherwise than Being and Beyond Essence, Levinas claims that the otherwise than being is otherwise to everything that is being and everything that is not being. The otherwise than being is not the same as the philosophic negation of being into non-being (Otherwise than Being pp.3-4). Platos idea of a not being is predicated on the idea of being and necessitates the idea of being for its realization. The idea of not being relies on the idea of being. Philosophical interests in being and not being does not lead to the otherwise than being (Otherwise than Being p.5) The otherwise than being is not negation. It is not derivable based on the predication of being. It is not a non-being that is realized as a contradiction to being. The otherwise than being is otherwise to everything that can be derived from Being (Otherwise than Being pp. 4-5, 16-17).

When one comes face to face with another person ones idea of being becomes interrupted (Otherwise than Being pp.93-94. Each persons understanding of the saying and the said becomes interrupted in the face of the other. The saying refers to the manner in which ideas are conveyed in language.. The said refers to the content of the saying or that which is indicated by the significations of the saying (Otherwise than Being pp. 5-7). There are many different sayings for the same said and this becomes especially evident in a conversation with another person concerning being and especially if that other speaks a different language (Otherwise than Being pp. 34-38). For example, the word red is a saying of the said sense perception of that colour.. The word red is the English term that signifies the sense perception of this colour. Kokinno is the Greek term for the same sense perception. Red and kokinno are different sayings referring to the same said. The saying and the said are not equivalent. They are linked to each other while sharing a diachronous relationship.. In everyday use the saying and the said seem to share a direct synchronous relationship.. However, they can be extracted into separate concepts (Otherwise than Being pp.. 5-9). The interruption of the other causes one to become conscious of the diachronous unity of the saying and said. Without an interruption to ones idea of being the saying and said seem to share a synchronous relationship and often are used by people as if the saying and the said were the same thing. (Otherwise than Being pp. 41-51). The said is subsumed in the saying and presents itself as a unified concept. The interruption of the other allows one to realize that the saying and the said, which seem to share a synchronic relationship, are actually diachronically related. Consequently, One is able to extract the otherwise than being from the said in which it comes to signify a being otherwise by tracing the protention of the said to the primordial saying. Since language did not simply develop based on the intention of signification, one cannot simply extract the otherwise than being from a synchronous understanding of the said and saying.

The primordial saying is the preoriginal and is the prelinguistic signification that refers to the entirety of the said (Otherwise than Being pp. 5-9). Without delineation in language, the prelinguistic primordial saying referred to everything. Since every saying could have originally been used to signify any said and any said can be referred to by any saying, one realizes that there must be something that exists beyond the totality of the said, something that is absolutely other to the said.. That which is absolutely other to the totality of the said is the otherwise than being. The primordial sayings content is the entirety of the said. The said in this sense is Being. One realizes in the primordial saying that the otherwise than being was excluded, while its presence is immanent in it. The otherwise than being is completely excluded from the primordial saying while capable of being extracted from its primordial state.   Everything that is otherwise to the totality of the said, that being Being, cannot be said but one can use a saying to indicate it. That is one can use a saying to signify the acknowledgement of the existence of the otherwise than being that has no said. The otherwise than being is beyond any said. One cannot refer to the content of the otherwise than being because the idea of content is predicated on being and the otherwise than being has nothing to do with Being. One extracts the otherwise than being from the realization of the primordial saying which is the totality of that which can be said, but is otherwise to it. The term otherwise than being is a saying without a said. This saying of the otherwise than being without a said is an ideatum. The primordial saying was the saying that had the entirety of the said as its content and had no particular said separated from the totality of the said. The otherwise than being is extracted from the said as that which is not present in the primordial saying or the totality of the said (Otherwise than Being pp. 5-7 45-51). When one realizes this, ones interest or idea of essence, passes from being to that of the otherwise than being, not otherwise as in the sense of that which is not being, but otherwise than that which can be thought of because of being and the said. Transcendences meaning is the signification of passing from the event of being to the otherwise than being. Transcendence is the realization of the otherwise than being when interest passes from the entirety of Being to that which is beyond Being and is consequently unknowable (Otherwise than Being p. 3).

The movement of interest from being to the otherwise that being is metaphysical (Otherwise than Being153-162). This movement of interest from essence to the beyond essence is what Levinas in Totality and Infinity calls the idea of Desire. In Totality and Infinity Levinas explains that Desire is bent towards the elsewhere or other. Desire is aimed towards the beyond all existence. Metaphysics is geared towards a yonder. Metaphysical desire is geared to an absolute other. Need is at the basis of desire (Totality and Infinity p. 33). Need is a Desire for completeness, a desire that is never simply satisfied based on the existents one encounters. Desire is deepened in the face of the other. This Desire is not of distance. The remoteness of the Other is not bridged by Desire. Metaphysics is not a movement to the Other as an existent. Desire is absolute if desirer is mortal and the desired is invisible (Totality and Infinity p. 34). Nowadays God or the Other is not placed in the heavens rather He is considered invisible and immanent. This immanence is absolutely beyond all existents (Totality and Infinity p. 34-35). Absolute Desire is for the absolute other. Intention is a movement to make things concrete by adaquation. Vision is adaquation of the idea with the thing it signifies, the saying and the said respectfully. The alterity of the Other can not be adequated The alterity of the other has meaning as the alterity of the other. The alterity of the Other is not the face of the Other, though its content is its alterity (Totality and Infinity p.34, 39). Any attempt to signify the alterity of the Other is an attempt to encompass the infinite alterity within the finite existents. The otherness of Other comprises the content of metaphysics. Metaphysical interest is transcendence.. Transcendence is the simple presence of the self to the self. Distance is the existing of Being, a distance of self apart from self.   The relationship of self and Other is the focus of transcendence (Totality and Infinity p. 35) Transcendence is a movement to concreteness based on the content of metaphysics. The Other can not be adequated but can be signified using a neutral term that functions as an ideatum to the existence of the alterity of the other without attempting to encompass it (Totality and Infinity p. 37,42). As mentioned above, Levinas claims the term infinity is an ideatum or idea that points to the alterity of the Other that cannot be signified (Totality and Infinity p. 49). The word infinity indicates an idea which in itself overflows the bounds of its own conception. Infinitys perfection can not be adequate in the same way one would signify a finite object. Infinity points to that which can not be encompassed or grasped in its entirety by the human mind (Totality and Infinity p. 25). Thus, speaking of an unsignifyable absolute other is an ideatum of that which cannot be said. It is the pointing to an infinite alterity that one realises cannot be signified.   No theory of totality can ever encompass the alterity of the other. However, a theory that takes this into account can acknowledge the existence of an unsignifyable absolute other that lies beyond all human signification while making no claim to any knowledge concerning its content (Totality and Infinity pp. 48-52) Such a theory would be a saying without a said. The formulation of Infinity, the absolute other, the Unknown, and the otherwise than being are sayings without a said that refer to the same unknowable, unsignifyable otherness beyond being.    Thus Transcendence causes ones interest to become metaphysical desire. Ones interest moves from being and everything that can be said to that which is beyond being and its essence This interest is geared towards that which is completely separate from Being and was never part of Being: the otherwise than being Otherwise than Being pp. 8-11).

Levinas claims that the otherwise than being is infinity, an infinity that leaves no trace in being. This infinity has no part in finitude. The saying and the said are both infinite but do not share the otherwise than beings infinity of infinity (Otherwise than Being 5-9, 11-14). The saying is infinite in the sense that there are infinite ways to say things, yet one could argue that if one took the entirety of the sayings that people have spoken that there has been a finite number of them. However, since there is an infinite potential to say things in different ways, including ways that have yet to occur, the saying is infinite within the infinite set of Being. The totality of the said or Being is finite while the particulars that comprise the said are infinite. There are an infinite number of objects or the said within the finite concept of the totality of Being. The otherwise than being is infinite in the sense that it is beyond the limits of anything finite because it does not take part in the finite. Finitude is a concept of being and plays no role in the predication of the infinity of the otherwise than being, though it does play a role in the idea of infinity found in the idea of the saying and the said. The infinity of the infinite lives in going backwards. It is realized as a responsibility that stands outside of essence. It is a conversion of the response to the infinite as one approaches the other. This infinity is non-thematizable exceeds every capacity and is only manifested in reverse as the tracing mentioned above, as a breaking point caused by the approach to the other which exceeds the essence of being, This infinity wipes away any trace of its own existence, and transcends the present. It does not act or interact with being. It humbles the self that transcends to realize it, in the same way one is humbled by the absolute other referred to by Levinas in Totality and Infinity. The self is held hostage in the face of the other and is responsible to that other. This responsibility is the ethical relationship of the self to the other (Otherwise than Being 11-14, 19, 93-94, 140-149,193).

The idea of an infinity of infinity or an infinity that neither plays a role in the finite nor is influenced by the finite seems to be an ongoing trend in Levinas work. Inasmuch as it can be misconstrued that the infinite is that which lies beyond the horizon of the unknown and slowly becomes assimilated into totality as it becomes known. The infinite that Levinas refers to is beyond the knowable and beyond everything that humanity is capable of signifying or ever knowing. In Totality and Infinity, Levinas claims that the idea of infinity is the best ideatum to refer to that which cannot be encompassed by any signification (Totality and Infinity 37, 42-49). It is a saying without a said based on the movement of interest from being to that which is otherwise than being. (Otherwise than Being pp. 5-9) Whatever this infinity may be no one will ever know. If it is God it is more akin to deism than any interactive concept of a personal God usually proffered by most world religions. This God does not act in creation as propertied by religions like Judaism and Christianity.

The tradition characteristics attributed to God become problematic in the face of the premises Levinas uses to refer to the unknowable beyond Being or what he calls God. Traditionally God is described as Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent and all good (Augustine pp. xi-xix). Since Levinas God does not interact with the world of being and being is the bases of the known, God remains unknowable. Even if Levinas God had any of the above-mentioned attributes no one within Being, such as a living human, would ever know it.   For example, an omnipotent God that does not act in Being will never be known for His powers. However, In Totality and Infinity Levinas describes the absolute other as immanent in everyones dwelling. In this sense, the immanence of Gods presence is a type of omnipresence. Yet this presence is not divine rather it connotes the potential of realising the absolute other as an immanent realization of that which is beyond being and is immanently present to everyone in their dwelling (Totality and Infinity pp. 153-156). Thus, Levinas God is not a living God present everywhere, rather the omnipresence of the absolute other is the imminent realization of immanence of the ever present unknowable aspect of everything that is knowable and leads to the realization of the absolute other in the face to face with the other. This presence is not a religious understanding of a God that is everywhere and nowhere, but the secular ideatum referring to the unknowable aspect that everything has, a aspect which overflows the limits of being and the knowable. As Levinas claims in Totality and Infinity, this God is better worshipped in silenced without any type of homage than worshipped with any sense of piety (Totality and Infinity pp. 53-60). Since this God does not interact with the world and does not interact directly with humanity it does not need to be worshipped. For Levinas other terms like infinity are less stigmatized with religiosity and less problematic when used to describe the beyond being than the use of the word God. Infinity does not connotate the religious descriptions attributed to God. In fact, Levinas promotes the use of other terms as ideatums to the absolute other that contain no prejudicial religious connotations (Totality and Infinity pp. 37,42,49).   Levinas God is a secular ideal that acts like an ideatum to the unknowable absolute other that is otherwise than being and can as easily be called God as any other term referring to the same unknowable otherness without detracting from the concept of it. In fact, the term God detracts more from Levinas concept of the absolute other than do any of the other secular terms Levinas uses. The term God seems to personify the beyond being into a superior being rather than referring to the beyond without trying to attribute or describe anything to it.

In conclusion, I have shown that the Unknown, Infinity, the absolute other and the otherwise than being are compatible with a secularized idea of God. These terms, including God, are ideatums which are used by Levinas to refer to that which cannot be contain in any expression of knowledge or language. Levinas God is everything that can never be known or said. This God is not the personal deity typical of religiosity. Levinas God is not a divinity that interacts with the human world causing the great feats described in many religions.. Rather this God is that which lies beyond the limits of what humans can ever know or interact with. It has been shown that the term God in Levinas work can be easily substituted by any term that refers to that which is beyond everything contained within that which can be known. The term God refers to that which a secular term like infinity could be used to referred to without losing any of its intended connotations.   In fact, I have show that the term God is more problematic than its secular counterparts as he term God contains religious presuppositions that are not contained in Levinas formulation of that which lies beyond Being. In this sense, Levinas terms for the beyond Being or God secularize divinity and relegates God to a concept acceptable to even Atheists.   This is not the God of religion rather it is a term used as an ideatum of that which is always beyond what humans will ever know. This God will never fulfil any of the characteristics usually attributed to God and even if God did, according to Levinas formulations of God as completely unknowable, no one would ever know it.

Emerging Church Economics

There are too many errors in this book for unsophisticated readers. McLaren’s book has value only to readers who recognize the mistakes but are willing to learn about a position that springs from ideology and a theological framework. For me, the emerging church movement is enough to consider by itself without flawed economics intertwined

Mordecai Kaplan: Rethinking Judaism for the New World

Sed porta eros cursus nisi. Suspendisse a odio in mi interdum faucibus. Nulla eleifend turpis at massa. Praesent dictum, leo sagittis rutrum fermentum, massa metus scelerisque justo, sed dignissim velit tellus ut odio. Quisque mollis aliquam lectus. Vestibulum tempus tellus a augue. Suspendisse ipsum.