Ethics at the Margins of Life: Encountering the Other
Morrison, G. J. (2005). Ethics at the Margins of Life: Encountering the Other. Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (ANZATS)/Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies (ANZSTS) Annual Conference.
This paper gives a Levinasian-inspired analysis of ethics at the margins of life. It begins by considering our present day obsession with technology and how it depersonalises the human condition. Everything revolves around the self. In bad faith, we become like ghosts haunting each other during the constant flow of impersonal communication. Following on, it introduces the concept of ethical transcendence as the basis in which the language of theology might be truly used beyond ontology, phenomenology and the category of objectivity. The paper introduces the ideas of the face, encounter, passivity, exposure and transcendence as the basis for a theological language of alterity. It argues that the Other or, the poor ones at the margins of life, precedes our knowledge, commitment and practice. The face of the Other is like a trauma that awakens, commands and ordains us to responsibility to the point of expiation, that is, to the extreme of being exposed to his or her wounds and bleeding for them. Albeit at the risk of objectivity and thematisation, the paper concludes that testifying for the Other’s wounds and outrage is glory in the sense of witnessing to both Christ and those at the margins of society.