Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Some lines from Jankélévitch

"Even if no one since the world has been the world has ever forgiven without reservations, without afterthoughts, without mental restrictions, or without an infinitesimal amount of ressentiment, it suffices that the possibility of pure forgiveness is conceivable; even if it has never been attained in fact, the limit of pure forgiveness would still designate our duty to us, would determine and orient our efforts, would furnish a criterion for permitting us to distinguish between the pure and the impure, and would give a standard of measure to evaluation and a direction to charity. The one who never attains the ideal (the ideal being made precisely for never being attained) can get infinitely nearer to it. It is what the Phaedo, speaking of intelligible essences, calls eggutata ienai, 'to go closest'."
- Vladimir Jankélévitch

Vladimir Jankélévitch, Forgiveness, trans. Andrew Kelley (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005) 115-116.

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