The embracing of the Other

“the tighter you embrace the Other, the more you realize that you are separated.”- Dr. Leovino Ma. Garcia, (2011)

I had one of the most interesting days of my life, I felt like I was the moodiest person in the world because of my attitude towards the different people I have encountered today.  This day started out great, since I came home last night because I missed my family, and so I’ve had a wonderful breakfast and lunch at home. But, the moment I entered the classroom at 3 o’clock this afternoon, all the happiness drifted away. It’s as if my happy moments were eaten by the rain that started pouring while I was on my way to school. It’s just so unbelievable, how people become really insensitive at times, and then they would react badly when it’s you who are becoming insensitive to them. What happened to me today? I had to tell myself more than 10 times that I have to suck it up and pretend that I am not at all affected, even though deep inside, my heart is breaking and I am dying. I wanted to cry, but I told myself that I have to be strong, because I am strong, and I am better than them. I had to go out of the room so as to breathe and set my soul free. Thankfully, I found some of my babies in the Chorale who made me feel relieved. When I came back to the room, I acted like this invincible person who didn’t care at all, even though I know for a fact that I was at my most vulnerable that time. Because of this, I am becoming more and more sure that the only way to be free from this frustration a hundred percent is to be free from mingling with the people who don’t care about anyone else but themselves. I am glad that our professor decided not to go to class so I can go to Dr. Garcia’s Levinas Class at the graduate school.

Now, this evening was the highlight of my day. Not returning to see any of my classmates (well, not all of them, atleast SOME or someONE who I just don’t get what their/her problem is) was a good decision, because I had the most amazing time in Doc Leo’s class. Not only because the whole course is about Emmanuel Levinas himself, but because I felt really good that he returned my Chapter 1 with corrections. This was the first time! I know it seems odd that I am happy he returned it with corrections, but this was LITERALLY the first time he RETURNED something. This gave me hope, that I can still do this! Plus, the way Dr. Garcia delivers his lectures is just so breathtaking. I can’t help but fall inlove with him, everytime I sit in his class. His discussion tonight was really awesome. He gave his students a brief discussion on Levinas’ phenomenology and notion of being which made me understood Levinas even more.

But the line, “the tighter you embrace the Other, the more you realize that you are separated” had struck me the most. It reminded me of how I always tell myself that letting go is the best thing to do because it allows us to float with the air freely, and so is the Other. Now, Levinas’ notion of the “Other” is not of a romantic connotation, but it’s a more general term that says much about his philosophy. I fell inlove with Emmanuel Levinas because we pretty much have the same views of responsibility, that we are all called to serve our Others, and we have to respond to this “response-ability.” Go to Dr. Garcia’s lecture blog made by his Assistant here to know more about Levinas, and even Ricoeur.

I guess, all I am trying to say here, apart from me posting how interesting my day was is that, most of the time, we tend to hold on to people or even things a little too much that in the end, we lose them. Ironically, because we are so afraid to lose someone or something, we tend to hold them tightly on their necks, which makes them all the more detached from us. But the moment we let them fly free, that is when they come back to us wholeheartedly.

So, the next time you embrace the Other, make sure you don’t embrace them too tight that they won’t be able to breath. Instead, embrace them lightly, for a little while and then let them choose to come back to us.

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