Perspectivism and relativism are often seen as the doorsteps to silence, conditions where nothing more remains to be said and everyone is reduced to the small world of their own opinions. But is it not desirable to relate to truth, for it to open up a view in front of us that could enrich our horizon? Is it not, quite in the contrary, the dissolution of all the threads that connect us to the world and to each other, that marks the state of despair, of zero-perspective and non-relation? Perspectivism, our writers seem to remind us this month, is not an end, but a beginning, a problem.
A problem, meaning: We are confronted with it. We are not wrong when we intuit its atmosphere of danger, its loneliness; But does it lie in a condition where the self is left alone without a world, or where they both dissolve in some sort of primordial soup? “[W]hen I meet an unknown person, and try to break off, here at this table, what I call ‘my life’, it is not one life that I look back upon; I am not one person; I am many people; I do not altogether know who I am — Jinny, Susan, Neville, Rhoda, or Louis: or how to distinguish my life from theirs.” And yet, through this fragmentation, this experience, where the wedge between the self and the world dissolves, glimmers the premonition of an unattainable totality that is no less ambivalent, the totality of life: “We saw for a moment laid out among us the body of the complete human being whom we have failed to be, but at the same time, cannot forget” (both quotes from Virginia Woolf, The Waves, pp. 212 & 213). Perspectivism is both, somehow, the realization that the border between the self and the world is unstable and where each constellation appears to be somehow definite.
This means that perspectivism necessarily moves, changes; it marks the moment where silence is broken, not when it settles like the dust of vacant homes; it is our “But wait”, where we exclaim: “we are not to be confined” (The Waves, 205), an impulse against the sedimented and attuned. In short, a critique. What surprise then, that the articles of this issue, in treating the problem of perspective are just as multifaceted as the problem itself and just as critical?
We have a reading of Hesse’s Steppenwolf that opposes established reductive interpretations, and which discovers, in light of the novel’s multiperspectivist narrative form, how it opens up the perspective to a new relation to the Unconscious.
We have the critique of a prevalent understanding of Hegel’s Dialectics as a master blueprint for everything, instead discovering many facets within it that have precise uses.
We have an essay that shows, with Nietzsche and Freud, that the delineation of the subject against the world is an active and complex process that is inherently perspectival.
And finally, one that investigates the category of the absurd from two perspectives: the Existentialists’ and Beckett’s through the eyes of Adorno, with the question, if the individual is a metaphysical or historical, i.e. perspectival entity.
We hope that you’ll enjoy our 10th issue, and that it will open up — cough — new perspectives and allow you to question truths that have become unquestioned…