Extracts from “For Opacity” by Édouard Glissant, 1990

If we examine the process of “understanding” people and ideas from the perspective of Western thought, we discover that its basis is the requirement for transparency. In order to understand and thus accept you, I have to measure your solidity with the ideal scale providing me with grounds to make comparisons and, perhaps, judgements. I have to reduce.

Accepting differences does, of course, upset the hierarchy of this scale. I understand your difference, or in other words, without creating hierarchy. I related it to my norm.
I admit you to existence, within my system. I create you afresh. But perhaps we need to bring to an end the very notion of a scale. Displace all reduction.

Agree not merely to the right to difference but, carrying this further, agree also to the right to opacity that is not enclosure without an impenetrable autarchy but subsistence within an irreducible singularity. Opacities can coexist and converge, weaving fabrics. To understand these truly one must focus on the texture of the weave and not on the nature of its components. For the time being, perhaps, give up this old obsession with discovering what lies at the bottom of natures. There would be something great and noble about initiating such a movement, referring not Humanity but to the exultant divergence of humanities. Thought of self and thought of other here become obsolete in their duality. Every Other is a citizen and no longer a barbarian. What is here is open, as much as this there. I would be incapable of projecting form one to the other. This–here is the wave, and it weaves no boundaries. The right to opacity would not establish autism; it would be the real foundation of Relation, in freedoms.

So... is this getting serious?

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