Sunday, August 31, 2008

Levinas in Seattle

I'm in Seattle for a few days for the North American Levinas Society conference. Because the conference is on campus, rather than in a hotel, all of the participants are staying in residence halls. Basically, I'm in a college dorm room. It sounds bad, but it's really a good thing.

I've realized something. I think better thoughts and get more work done when I am not surrounded by excessive things and gigantic spaces. I did something I told myself I wouldn't do: I came to the conference without having finished my presentation. And, somehow, enclosed in this small, bare space with none of my "things" to distract me, everything has come into focus, and I am excited about Levinas's work and my presentation on his ideas regarding ritual.

I would probably get more writing done if I sold most of my possessions and moved into an empty dorm room.

More on Levinas, later . . .


Ʀahuma'i said...

Try to ask around if people at the conference know anything about "Mar Shushani".

Monica said...

Do you mean Chouchani? He's a kind of mysterious figure who taught Talmud to Levinas (and to Elie Wiesel, for that matter).

Ʀahuma'i said...

What Elie Weisel is telling are fairy tales. Levinas however held some wisdom from Shushani which was never exposed (since Mar Shushani forbid them to put it on writing ).

Does ANYBODY there hold teachings that came from Shushani? It is very unlikely but could be. G-d knows.

BTW, you're very pretty!

Monica said...

Thanks :)

Actually, there was quite a bit of talk about Chouchani at the conference--more this year than in previous years, I believe. Last year, Levinas's daughter Simone spoke about how she would prepare Chouchani's room when he would come to the Levinas home.