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Every face is really two-faced.

There is indeed something fascinating about faces.

 The idea of a face is obviously associated with sight (le visage, das Gesicht), but it is not clear whether that is because it sees or because it is seen. 

For every face is really two-faced. The face faces two ways: it is at once what faces us and what we face. And if we take care never to forget this ambiguity, we may save ourselves from the worst but easiest of crimes: the violence that forgets that others are the subjects of their own experiences, that they will always have their own unexpected stories to tell. 

We will remember that, however well we understand someone else, there will always be something left over: that they face their experience, but we face only them

Unlike Sartre, Levinas saw this transcendent otherness as a glorious salvation, not a threat or a curse. It enabled us to break out of the secular ‘heroic isolation’ of Western moral experience and to accept that we depend for our existence not on ourselves but on the immensity of the other as a ‘subject living in infinite time’.

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