Life as an Extreme Sport

Concepts of Means

The concept of means misses their reality. The taste for things, the appetite for reality, is not an agitation to compensate for inner lacks. The water we drink is not just a means to lubricate our inner organs; the thirty mouth drinks too much or too little, savoring the body and the bouquet of the wine, tasting the luminous mirth of the spring pouring out of the rocks. The foodstuffs obtained to refurbish depleted body protein and evaporated body liquids dissolve, for the taste that savors them, into terrestrial and celestial bounty. In the berries we gather as we walk through the meadow we relish the savor of summer. The substances that nourish us are not means for action that will seek for more means which are each time means for something further. After a good dinner, we turn to squander our energies on flowers planted in the garden in the glowing sunset, in kisses and caresses lost on an affectionate cockatoo, on the somnolent body of a lover. The colors and the shadows that contour the visible and lead the restless gaze in aimless circumnavigations through the environment fo not simply serve to locate what we need or want. Sigh is not an intentionality made of distress or desire. Vitalized, illuminated, and nourished by the substance of colored and translucent things, sight becomes high-spirited life. It caresses the colors, forms, contours and shadows, making them glow for themselves with their own lights.
-Alphonso Lingis, The Imperative, “Intimate and Alien Things”