Philosophy of Religion
Born in 1946 Marion has been a key figure in French intellectual life for three decades now For the concerns of this essay I wish to concentrate on three different themes in Marion: giveness, idolatry and love.
If we are posing the question as to religious phenomenon, we are posing a question which must in some sense concern phenomenality itself. For all we might want to understand meaning in terms of projections of the mind and for all the mind is essential to such perception, the nature of appearance is that it begins elsewhere. The problem though is how to conceive this elsewhere. The capacity of the self to receive indicates also its incapacity, its insufficiency. It understands the phenomenon as it appears to it, but is claimed by the phenomenon as it shows itself as itself. Marion much like Levinas pays considerable attention to what he sees as the oscillation in Descartes between ego and God, between conceptuality and the infinite. The infinite is precisely that which explodes conceptuality by posing that of which there is no concept, or the limits of conceptuality. This limit Marion sees as indicating something essential about phenomena, namely that they make a claim on us prior to and in excess of our power to conceptualize them. In other words, at the limits of conceptuality is the pure givenness of things, the pure that they are, which in certain key foundational moods, such as wonder (Greeks), anxiety (Heidegger) and Boredom (Pascal, Marion), reveals itself to human being beyond all conceptual differences. In retreat from boredom human beings distract themselves with things in the world, while boredom places them at a distance not alone from the world but also from themselves. In boredom the world dissolves into indifference; the world becomes hateful not in the sense that any thing in the world is the object of hate, but in the sense that the world becomes a matter of indifference. The bored I, he says, abandons itself as if nothing were the matter. In that it sets aside being, it sets aside the world and itself. But what is revealed here is the pure givenness of the I and being That givenness, that being given, Marion understands as a claim, a call, to which responds not an ego, but a me. Christianity, as Marion understands it, articulates precisely such a response to a call beyond being, to a call from the source of being, the givenness of being.
In distancing the self from itself and being, boredom shows up the event of giveness of both. Prior then to any correlation there is the being given of the self, which recognizes itself in its response to being called, the response of `me'. The self is placed in the position of the addressed (interloqu�). Surprise here...