Narcissus and the Echo of Emptiness

The passion of Echo and the rejection of Narcissus constitute a paradoxical unity. Echo has the last word. Her word is reflective, distanced, merely descriptive. Narcissus, engaged perception, cannot speak. For speech and concept assume disengagement. Echo gives voice to the silence of Narcissus, and cannot exist without it. Yet the word "silence" breaks silence. Echo conceives the inconceivable as "inconceivable," and lapses into paradox. Narcissus enters into the inconceivable without conceptual distance. Far from "narcissistic," in the ordinary sense, Narcissus is not in love with ''himself,'' but with what, for him, is the other. His engagement with the "other" precludes self-obsession. For the eye, there is no eye. And for Narcissus, there is no Narcissus. The dualism of subject and object collapses into the ineffable experience that Echo articulates
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