The philosopher’s voice: Index n.56

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  1. Indexical body: someone is there, someone’s hiding there, showing the tip of an ear, some man or woman, some thing or some sign, some cause or some effect, there’s a kind of “there” there, a “down-there,” very close, quite far …

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Corps indiciel: il y a là quelqu’un qui se cache, qui montre le bout de l’oreille, quelqu’un ou quelqu’une, quelque chose ou quelque signe, quelque cause ou quelqu’effet, il y a là manière de «là», de «là-bas», tout près, assez loin…

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Corpo che indica: qui c’è qualcuno, c’è qualcuno che si na­sconde, che mostra la punta dell’orecchio, qualcuno o qual­cuna, qualche cosa o qualche segno, qualche causa o qualche effetto, c’è qualche modo di “qui”, di “là”, vicinissimo, abba­stanza lontano…

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

Conversation between Jean-Luc Nancy and the students of Soka University, California, USA.

This conversation is part of  the experience of the participants in the workshop C.O.R.E.; a collaboration between AMAE collective, artist Pier Giorgio De Pinto, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, professor Ryan Ashley Caldwell and the students of Soka University.

SOKA

 

Image above by AMAE skyping with the students of Soka University.

A conversation with the philosopher.

SOKA University’s students ask questions about the notions of body and soul highlighted by Jean-Luc Nancy in ’58 indices on the body’.

STUDENTS:

How would you define the body?  It seems that there are so many different ways to understand the body here, so how do we come to understand that concept?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

For me there is only one answer: the body is how we face the world.

STUDENTS:

Soul, mind, body, spirit — how can we distinguish between these terms?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Of course: soul is the shape of an organized body (Aristote), body is what I wrote to the first question, spirit is the way we go through everything; mind, I don’t know if it is something…

STUDENTS:

Is there a distinction and also an importance between the soul and the body?  Is one more important than the other?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Both are the same existence of “someone”: soul as a singular form, body as towards other bodies.

STUDENTS:

Is this an exhaustive list of relationships of the body?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Certainly not!

STUDENTS:

Do the indices exist individually? Or are they to be understood relationally and in reference?  Or isolated and on their own?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

The “indices” have no singular existence! they are just ways of saying or talking or feeling…

STUDENTS:

In terms of the development of the indices, were they written on their own? Or then organized in this way?  Or just brainstormed and then written in this order?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

On their own…

STUDENTS:

When we state that the body is protecting a secret, what is that secret? (#41)

JEAN-LUC NANCY

It is its secret…

STUDENTS:

(#39) In regard to the separate pieces of the body, do you think it is possible that these separate parts will be unified, or will these always be differentiated in terms of some sense of disconnect?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

They are together united as parts of “a” body and differentiated according to all the possibilities of being-in-the-world; disconnected in the extent that there is an uncommensurability between going and sleeping, eating and playing, seeing and hearing, etc.; that is: sens (sense of life, as one says) is in itself multiple and infinite…

STUDENTS:

(#42) this seems like a reference to the inevitability of socialization and the development of culture, can you comment on this? Is this a comment on being isolated from others?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Socialization is not “inevitable”: it is the same as “individuation”. And “nature” is the same than “culture” because the second comes from the first…

This indice is about the all-together of everything….

STUDENTS:

Is the body described in the indices a sensuous body?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is not a non-sensuous body!

STUDENTS:

Did you set out to write 58? Were there more that were eliminated?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

I do not remember.

STUDENTS:

How does the translation affect the interpretation?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

I do not know: I do not well understand English. But any translation is an interpretation.

STUDENTS:

Whose idea of God is being used in these interpretations?  How can we come to know the translation or interpretation?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is no idea of God.

STUDENTS:

How do we deal with the contradictions within the indices?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

This is up to you.

This last one is by AMAE about index n.8:

AMAE:

If the body could be at the same time soul, intended as soul+body we can say that the body has two weights?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is no soul+body, it is one thing with form (relation to itself) and matter (relation to the world)

AMAE:

If the soul is also the body how the soul couldn’t have a weight? This contradicts itself? Or what do you mean?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Of course the soul has a weight: the one of the body!

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.55

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  1. Polymorphous, oxymoronic body: inside/outside, matter/form, homo/heterology, auto/allonomy, growth/excrescence, mine/none …

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Corps oxymore polymorphe: dedans/dehors, matière/forme, homo/hétérologie, auto/allonomie, croissance/excroissance, mien/rien…

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Corpo ossimoro polimorfo: dentro/fuori, materia/forma, omo/ eterologia, auto/allonomia, crescita/escrescenza, mio/tuo…

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.52

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  1. The body works in spasms, contractions and releases, folds, unfoldings, knottings and untyings, twists, somersaults, hiccups, electrical discharges, releases, contractions, quiverings, shakings, goose-bumps, erections, heavings, starts. A body that rises, falls, is emptied out, flaked, pierced, dispersed, zoned, squirts and seeps or bleeds, moistens and dries up or suppurates, grumbles, groans, gasps, creaks, and sighs.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Le corps va par spasmes, contractions et détentes, plis, déplis, nouages et déliaisons, torsions, soubresauts, hoquets, décharges électriques, détentes, contractions, tressaillements, secousses, tremblements, horripilations, érections, haut-le-coeur, hautle- corps. Corps qui s’élève, s’abîme, se creuse, s’écaille et se troue, se disperse, se zone, gicle et purule ou saigne, mouille et sèche ou suppure, grogne, gémit, râle, craque et soupire.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Il corpo va per spasmi, contrazioni e distensioni, pieghe, di­spiegamenti, annodature e sconnessioni, torsioni, soprassalti, singhiozzi, scariche elettriche, distensioni, contrazioni, trasa­limenti, scosse, tremori, raccapricci, erezioni, conati, sussulti. Corpo che si alza, si inabissa, si scava, si squama e si buca, si disperde, si isola, schizza e suppura o sanguina, bagna e secca o spurga, mugugna, geme, rantola, scrocchia e sospira.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.51

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  1. Beauty spot: this is the name for those brown or black particles, slightly prominent, that sometimes (and, for some, often) make a point, a mark, or a mole on the skin. Rather than spot the skin, they accentuate its whiteness, or at least this is what was often said in days when snow and milk served as points of comparison par excellence for women’s skin. Women would then, if need be, put velvet “flies” on their cheeks and neck. Today, we prefer darker skin, sunbathed or tanned. But the beauty spot keeps its appeal: it signals skin, sets off its expanse, and configures it, guides the eye and affects it as a mark of desire. We’d almost be inclined to call a beauty spot the seed of desire, a minuscule rise in intensity, a corpuscle whose dark tint concentrates the energy of the entire body, as does the nipple of the breast.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Grain de beauté: la langue française nomme ainsi ces particules brunes ou noires, très légèrement saillantes, qui viennent parfois (et chez certain(e)s, souvent) faire point, marque ou grain sur la peau. Au lieu de tacher la peau, elles en font ressortir la blancheur, c’est du moins ce qu’on aimait dire au temps où la neige et le lait servaient de comparants par excellence pour la peau des femmes. Celles-ci se posaient alors, au besoin, des «mouches» de velours sur les joues et sur la gorge. Aujourd’hui, on goûte les peaux plus brunes, hâlées ou bronzées, mais le grain de beauté garde son attrait: il signale la peau, il balise son étendue et la configure, il guide l’oeil et il agit sur lui comme un repère de désir. Pour un peu, on aimerait dire que le grain de beauté est un germe de désir, une minuscule levée d’intensité, un corpuscule dont la teinte foncée concentre une énergie du corps entier, comme le fait aussi la pointe du sein.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Grain de beauté: la lingua francese chiama così quelle parti­celle brune o nere, in leggerissimo rilievo, che vengono tal­volta (e in alcuni(e), spesso) a fare punto, segno o grano sulla pelle. Anziché macchiare la pelle, ne fanno risaltare il bianco­re, o almeno così si amava dire al tempo in cui la neve o il latte servivano da paragoni per eccellenza per la pelle delle donne. Allora, esse si posavano, all’occorrenza, delle “mosche” di velluto sulle guance e sul seno. Oggi, si apprezzano le pelli più brune, dorate o abbronzate, ma il grain de beauté mantie­ne il suo fascino: fa notare la pelle, segnala la sua estensione e la configura, guida l’occhio e agisce su di lui come punto di riferimento del desiderio. Per un poco, ci piacerebbe dire che il grain de beauté è un ger­me di desiderio, un minuscolo rilievo di intensità, un corpu­scolo la cui tinta scura concentra l’energia dell’intero corpo, come fa anche la punta del seno.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.50

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50. La dénégation des types, tant individuels que collectifs, est une conséquence de l’impératif antiraciste qu’il nous est devenu nécessaire d’assumer. Pauvre nécessité, pourtant, qui nous oblige à effacer ces airs de famille, ces ressemblances vagues mais insistantes, ces mélanges touchants ou amusants des effets de la génétique, de la mode, des divisions sociales, des âges, et au milieu desquels émerge avec plus de relief l’incomparable de chacun(e). From 58 INDICES SUR LE CORPS et EXTENSION DE L’ÂME. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

50. The denial of types, individual as well as collective, is a result of the antiracist imperative we’ve had to adopt. A poor necessity, however, since it obliges us to efface family likenesses, those vague but insistent similarities, touching or amusing blends of the effects of genetics, fashion, social divisions, ages, from the midst of which there emerges, and with greater distinctness, what is incomparable in each person. From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

50. Il disconoscimento dei tipi, tanto individuali che collettivi, è una conseguenza dell’imperativo antirazzista che ci è diventato necessario assumere. Necessità povera, tuttavia, che ci obbliga a cancellare quelle arie di famiglia, quelle somiglianze vaghe ma insistenti, quei miscugli commoventi o divertenti degli effetti della genetica, della moda, delle divisioni sociali, delle età in cui emerge con più rilievo il carattere ineguagliabile di ciascuno(a). From Jean-Luc Nancy, Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.49

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  1. Imprécision des corps: voici un homme autour de la quarantaine, plutôt sec et nerveux d’allure, l’air soucieux, peut-être aussi un peu fuyant. Il marche avec une certaine raideur, il pourrait être professeur ou médecin, ou bien encore juge ou administrateur. Il n’est pas très attentif à ses vêtements. Il a les pommettes hautes et un tein comme légèrement hâlé: il est sans doute plutôt de souche méditerranéenne, en tout cas pas nordique. D’ailleurs, il est de taille très moyenne. On le pressent maladroit, on se demande s’il a de l’autorité et de la décision. On doute aussi qu’il s’aime lui-même. Il est possible de continuer longtemps sur ce registre, tant il y a d’indices dispersés sur un seul et même corps. À coup sûr, on se trompera en beaucoup de points, et peut être sur tous. Mais on ne saurait pourtant s’égarer absolument, à moins qu’un déguisement conçu avec un art consommé ne puisse nous tromper. Ce déguisement aura donc dû emprunter ses traits à quelque ressource typique, schématique, d’espèce ou de genre. Car il y a des types humains (il y en a de même chez les animaux). Ils sont, de manière indémêlable, biologiques ou zoologiques, physiologiques, psychologiques, sociaux et culturels, ils tiennent à des constantes de nourriture ou d’éducation, de sexuation et d’arraisonnement par le travail, la condition, l’histoire: mais ils impriment leur typologie, fût-ce au prix et au sein d’une infinie différenciation individuelle. On ne peut jamais dire où commence le singulier et où finit le type.

From 58 INDICES SUR LE CORPS et EXTENSION DE L’ÂME. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. The imprecision of bodies: here’s a man who’s about forty years old, who appears rather dry and nervous, looks rather worried, perhaps even a little shifty. He walks with a certain stiffness; he might be a professor or a doctor, or else a judge or administrator. He’s not very attentive to his clothes. He has high cheekbones and a slightly rugged hue: no doubt he’s of a somewhat Mediterranean stock, certainly not, in any case, Nordic. Anyway, he’s of middling size. One gets the feeling he is clumsy, and one wonders whether he has any authority and determination. One also doubts that he likes himself. We could go on at length in this register, with all those indices scattered across one sole body. We’d certainly be wrong on many points, and maybe on all of them. But it is not possible to be completely wide of the mark, unless an artfully contrived disguise is able to deceive us. And this disguise will have borrowed its features from some typical and schematic reservoir of species or genus. For there are types of humans (as, indeed, there are of animals). Inextricably, these are biological or zoological, physiological, psychological, social and cultural; they come from constants of diet and education, sexuation and subjection by work, condition, history: but they impress their typology, even at the price of, and in the midst of, an infinite individual differentiation. We can never say where the singular begins and the typical ends.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Imprecisione del corpo: ecco un uomo intorno alla quarantina, piuttosto secco e di andatura nervosa, l’aria preoccupata, forse anche un po’ sfuggente. Cammina con una certa rigidità, po­trebbe essere un professore o un medico, o anche un giudice o un amministratore. Non è troppo attento ai suoi abiti. Ha gli zigomi alti e una carnagione come leggermente abbronzata: senza dubbio è piuttosto di origine mediterranea, in ogni caso non nordico. Del resto è di taglia molto media. Si presagisce che sia maldestro, ci si chiede se abbia dell’autorità e della decisione. Si dubita persino che si piaccia. È possibile conti­nuare a lungo su questo registro, tanti sono gli indizi sparsi su un solo e medesimo corpo. A colpo sicuro, ci si sbaglierà su molti punti, e forse su tutti. Ma non ci si potrà ingannare in as­soluto, a meno che non possa tradirci un travestimento ideato con arte consumata. Ma il travestimento avrà dovuto prendere a prestito i suoi tratti da qualche risorsa tipica, schematica, di specie o di genere. Perché i tipi umani ci sono (ce ne sono anche negli animali). Sono, in modo inestricabile, biologici o zoologici, fisiologici, psicologici, sociali e culturali, dipendo­no da costanti di alimentazione o di educazione, di sessuazio­ne e da ispezioni attraverso il lavoro, la condizione, la storia: ma imprimono la loro tipologia, anche al prezzo e in seno a una infinita differenziazione individuale. Non si può mai dire dove comincia il singolare e dove finisce il tipo.

From Jean-Luc Nancy, Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.42

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  1. The body is the unconscious: seeds of ancestors sequenced in its cells, and mineral salts consumed, and mollusks caressed, broken bits of wood, and worms feasting on its cadaver underground, or else the flame that incinerates it and the ash it yields, epitomizing it in impalpabile powder, and the people, plants, and animals whose paths it crosses and with whom it rubs shoulders, and the tales from long-gone nurses, and monuments in ruins covered with lichens, and enormous turbines in factories fabricating extraordinary alloys from which its prosthetic devices will be made, and rough or lisping phonemes, with which its tongue makes spoken noises, and laws engraved on steles, and secret desires for murder or immortality. The body touches on everything with the secret tips of its bony fingers. And everything ends up making a body, down to the very corpus of dust assembling and dancing a vibrant dance in the thin streak of light where the last day of the world draws to a close.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

 

  1. Le corps est l’inconscient: les germes des aïeux séquencés dans ses cellules, et les sels minéraux ingérés, et les mollusques caressés, les bouts de bois cassés et les vers qui le bouffent cadavre sous la terre ou bien la flamme qui l’incinère et la cendre qui s’en déduit et le résume en impalpabile poudre, et les gens, plantes et bêtes qu’il croise et qu’il côtoie, et les légendes des nourrices d’antan et les monuments écroulés recouverts de lichens et les turbines énormes des usines qui lui fabriquent des alliages inouïs dont on lui fera des prothèses et les phonèmes rudes ou chuintants dont sa langue fait bruit parlant, et les lois gravées sur des stèles et les secrets désirs de meurtre ou d’immortalité. Le corps touche à tout du bout secret de ses doigts osseux. Et tout finit par faire corps, jusqu’au corpus de poussière qui s’assemble et qui danse un bal vibrionnant dans le mince pinceau de lumière où s’achève le dernier jour du monde.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

 

  1. Il corpo è l’inconscio: i germi degli antenati messi in sequenza nelle sue cellule, e i sali minerali ingenti, e i molluschi accarezzati, i pezzi di legno rotti e i vermi che lo divorano cadavere sottoterra o la fiamma che lo incenerisce e la cenere che ne deriva e lo riassume in impalpabile polvere, e la gente, le piante e gli animali che incrocia e che accosta, e le leggende delle nutrici di un tempo, e i monumenti crollati ricoperti di lichene e le turbine enormi delle officine che gli fabbricano leghe mai viste con cui gli si faranno protesi e i fonemi rudi o sibilanti con cui la sua lingua fa rumore parlando, e le leggi incise sulle steli e i segreti desideri d’assassinio o d’immortalità. Il corpo entra in contatto con tutto dalla punta segreta delle sue dita ossute. E tutto finisce per fare corpo, fino al corpus di polvere che si raduna e danza un ballo vibrionante nell’esile fascio di luce in cui si compie l’ultimo giorno del mondo.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.41

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41. “Body” is distinguished from “head” as well as “members,” or at least “extremities.” In this respect, the body is the trunk, the bearer, the column, the pillar, the built of the building. The head’s reduced to a point: it doesn’t really have a surface; it’s made of holes, orifices, and openings, through which various kinds of messages come and go. The extremities, likewise, are informed by an ambient milieu, where they accomplish certain operations (walking, waiting, seizing). The body remains alien to all this. It perches on itself, in itself: not decapitated, but with its shriveled head stuck onto it like a pin.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

41. «Corps» se distingue de «tête» ainsi que de «membres» ou tout au moins d’«extrémités». À ce compte, le corps est le tronc, le porteur, la colonne, le pilier, le bâti du bâtiment. La tête se réduit à un point; elle n’a pas vraiment de surface, elle est faite de trous, d’orifice et d’ouvertures par où sortent et rentrent des espèces diverses de messages. Les extrémités, de manière semblable, s’informent du milieu ambiant et y exécutent certaines opérations (marcher, atteindre, saisir). Le corps reste étranger à tout cela. Il est posé sur soi, en soi: non pas décapité, mais sa tête rabougrie piquée sur lui comme une épingle.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

41. “Corpo” si distingue da “testa” così come da “membra” o almeno da “estremità”. In questo senso, il corpo é il tronco, il portatore, la colonna, il pilastro, l’impianto dell’edificio. La testa si riduce a un punto; non ha veramente una superficie, è fatta di fori, di orifizi e di aperture da cui escono e entrano specie diverse di messaggi. In modo simile, le estremità si informano sul contesto ambientale e vi eseguono certe operazioni (camminare, raggiungere, afferrare). Il corpo resta estraneo a tutto questo. È posto su di sé, in sé, non decapitato, ma la sua testa rattrappisce appuntata su di lui come una spilla.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009

The philosopher’s voice: Index n.40

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  1. The body is the in-itself of the for-itself. In the relation to the self, it is a moment without relation. It’s impenetrable, unpenetrated; it’s silent, deaf, blind, and deprived of touch. It’s massive, crude, insensitive, unfeeling. It’s also the in-itself of the for-others, turned toward them but with no regard for them. It’s only effective-but absolutely so.

From Fifty-eight Indices on the Body (Corpus), Jean-Luc Nancy. New York, Fordham University Press, 2008.

  1. Le corps est l’en soi du pour soi. Dans le rapport à soi, il est le moment sans rapport. Il est impénétrable, impénétré, il est silencieux, sourd, aveugle et privé de tact. Il est massif, grossier, insensible, inaffectif. Il est aussi l’en soi du pour les autres, tourné vers eux mais sans aucun égard pour eux. Il est seulement effectif – mais il l’est absolument.

From 58 Indices sur le corps et Extension de l’âme. Éditions Nota bene, Québec, 2004.

  1. Il corpo è l’in sé del per sé. Nel rapporto a sé, è il momento senza rapporto. È impenetrabile, impenetrato, è silenzioso, sordo, cieco e privo di tatto. È massiccio, grossolano. insensibile, inaffettivo. È anche l’in sé del per gli altri. volto verso di loro senza alcun riguardo per loro. È solamente effettivo — ma lo è assolutamente.

From Jean-Luc Nancy Indizi sul corpo. Ananke Edizioni, Torino, 2009