Taking the Step (Not) Beyond the Infinity of Questions Cover Image

Taking the Step (Not) Beyond the Infinity of Questions
Taking the Step (Not) Beyond the Infinity of Questions

Author(s): Alina Vlad
Subject(s): Ethics / Practical Philosophy
Published by: Universitatea Petrol-Gaze din Ploieşti
Keywords: hospitality; crossing borders; Jacques Derrida;
Summary/Abstract: Imagine a hopscotch game with its squares and numbers, with its limitations and the gesture of passing over a threshold, with the inevitable (un)balance that the player has while standing on one foot and then, when (s)he succeeds to touch the point where (s)he can stand on both his/her feet, the sense of balance is restored. With every gesture or every new level reached, the player can hope to arrive to the highest level of the game. This final level has no limitations, no boundaries, no unequal positions. With the help of Jacques Derrida’s gesture of not believing in a pure, unconditioned type of hospitality, underlining the fact that we don’t know what hospitality means, my article explores the facets of “hos(ti)pitality” envisioned as a coin with two facets which can always be flipped according to any change of status, to any new condition imposed on or by the host/guest. I will investigate both the conditional and unconditional hospitality, the norms that govern the concepts that concentrate on the meaning of the gift, of absolute offering and accepting, on the definition of the “threshold” as a distinctive limitation between the interior, familiar space and the exterior, the foreign one, on the “stranger’s” status and on the host’s rights and obligations. These aspects will highlight issues regarding the language, the communication barriers, the sender and the receiver of the message. The analysis will contain the reflection on the unlimited game, both conditioned and unconditioned, by the irreversible fusion between hospitality and hostility. The key concept on which I focus in my article is “the hopscotch game” as it represents, in its pureness, the clear image of crossing over a border, with small steps and several attempts to reach the highest level. This final point can symbolize the struggle to connect with the level of understanding what hospitality could actually mean. At first, the player is unbalanced as (s)he knows that (s)he needs to get on another territory and cannot stand in that territory with both his/her feet – meaning either that this is due to a limited squared space or that it is unfamiliar, thus unbalanced. Only after several efforts, of crossing over, of understanding and accepting, of learning and knowing, the player will succeed to reach the final level that is round, contains no limitations, it gathers along all the information, the cultural awareness of both the play and the player, in a globalized territory. The stone, which is the player’s tool, allows him/her to overstep the boundaries and may be assimilated to the philosophers' stone that can transform the impossibility of an unconditioned hospitality into, at least, an option.

  • Page Range: 217-229
  • Page Count: 13
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Language: English