from my friend Eleni:
“Pain does not throw one back upon one’s own resources; it backs one up against oneself; to suffer is to be unable to flee and unable to retreat from oneself. Pain senses the imminence of death. In the weight of one’s own substance one can no longer bear, pain senses the weight of the unknowable that advances inwardly.
. . .
Pain breaks down the path of time I am extending; I pull back from the future I was pursuing and the past whose resources I was drawing on, to sink into a time of enduring. In the pain I have a foreboding of the time of dying. The other suffers in another interval without equivalent and in a pain in which I can nowise displace him. Pain blisters in intervals of time coming from nowhere, going nowhere, disconnected from the past and future of life, of the transpersonal enterprises, of the evolution of the planet.
Yet it is out of that other time, the time of his or her dying, that the other addresses me.
. . .
In pain the other sinks back into his or her body, into prostration that already delivers him or her to death in the world. The flesh in pain is anything but an object; sensibility, subjectivity fill it, with a terrible evidence. This evidence is turned imperatively to me, more pressing than the evolution of the planet and the anonymous enterprises in the humanized map laid out on it, more urgent than the tasks my own death has addressed to me. It is not in elaborating a common language and reason, in collaborating in transpersonal enterprises, that the human community takes form. It is in going to rejoin those who, fallen from the time of personal and collective history, have to go on when nothing is possible or promised.”
- Alphonso Lingis, “Accompaniment”, Abuses