Reflective Essay on Emmanuel Levinas’ Ethics and Infinity

A Reflective Essay on Emmanuel Levinas’ Ethics and Infinity
Emmanuel Levinas claims that one of the main problems that we have in modern day thought is that we value ontology over ethics.   Ontology is simply the study of how a something or being came into existence and to its totality.   It is a very observational type of thought and is very similar to the I-it that we learned about earlier in the semester in Buber’s I and Thou.   One who is thinking ontologically would see someone and evaluate them according to basic observations such as height, weight, and stature; much liked a scientist would, but would not go as deep at a relational level which makes the interaction very self-serving in nature.   Levinas claims that this totalitarian view that we have to know everything completely ontologically has made the West more warlike in nature.   He makes this claim because in our pursuits of knowledge and wisdom we have neglected the individuality of individuals, viewing them as objects rather than people.   When we see people as objects rather than individuals it makes them easier to dispose of and creates a state of tyranny and war.   Levinas believes that to escape the tyranny and the egotistical pursuit of knowledge we must learn to see past simple meaning and to start to view the world relationally.   This is the beginning of ethics!
Ethics is the opposite of ontology.   It can be described as the nature in which we interact and relate with the people and/or the environment that is placed around us.   Contrary to an ontological (objective) view, people are regarded as individual people rather than objects.   Ethics is intended to go deeper than just a simple observation or passing glance, but into pondering how the other is thinking and learning to care for their well-being.   Ethics is most often learned experientially just as the I-you is described in Buber’s book.   The I-you values relationships, and an ethical view on life would be to examine your thoughts and...