Friday, April 28, 2017

"something happened between us"

Let's say there were only the two of us there, or at least that only the two of us were witnesses to what happened. Anyone else would have seen whatever was objectively observable, but could not have been witnesses to what happened, because what happened was "between us."

Now, what happened? If what happened "between us" is different for each of us, then what did happen? Even more: if what I say happened you say did not happen, then what did happen? Did our intentions pass by each other without engaging each other "like gears" (Merleau-Ponty)? Or are our present intentions, to deny or remember, now passing by each other? Or are we each intending something different?

If you deny that anything happened, or deny what I say happened, and if I take your word for your intention, then I am stuck without the reality of anything happening at all. It could be, or it is, only my imagination, my own denial, bad faith, or fantasy. It can't be real as long as you deny it, because I can't determine what really happened between us. And this includes meaning, affect, history, futurity, facticity, morality.

Still more. You are the only other person in the world who was witness to what happened. You are the only one I could possibly talk to about it. If you deny that it happened, that is, deny what I say happened, then we will not be able to talk about it as though it were the same. If you won't talk about it, I can't know even whether you deny it, let alone whether there ever was a moment when our intentions engaged each other.

But why should I know? What difference would it make, for instance, if I were "right" or "wrong"? The urge to know what happened seems possessive, not only of what happened but of our intentions, that is, of us, that is, of you. And so, I haven't talked to you about it. I haven't been able to choose between permanent irreality perpetually wanting a witness to become real and to take on a meaning, and violating you and what happened between us by demanding to know.

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