To be seen and not heard

“You are to be seen and not heard.” This means: you are to be an object, not a subject.

Whatever needs knowing about an object can be known through observation. An object belongs to a world, but a world does not belong to it.

A subject, however, while belonging to the world also has a world that belongs to him. A subject looks back.

Consider the etymology of the word “respect”.


There is no way to understand a particular subjectivity as such objectively.

One only understands subjectivity by engaging subjectively. One attempts to share the other’s world as the other views it, which means one involves oneself. One learns from the other. In the process, one’s own view of the world changes, and that means one’s own subjectivity changes. The other’s view of the world changes, too.

In an interview two separated views converge and merge into an inter-view.


Behavior is an objective consequence of subjectivity. The odd thing about behavior: in the end it is phenomenal, and it can be taken as a mode of speech and heard along with the other’s voice, or it can be stripped away from the other and subsumed entirely by one’s own world and simply observed. Even speech can be viewed as behavior, or as mere sound. One can explain an other away or one can illuminate an other’s own self-explanation and understand.

Hermeneutics is hearing. The-hermeneutic-of-such-and-such is resistance to hearing: aggressive mishearing.


The most immediate and convincing evidence of otherness is dialectic.

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