“When responding to things he appears to be at one with them” means that he fits himself to each occasion like a shadow resembling a form or an echo responding to a voice. Therefore when things arrive he responds to them. When things have passed by, he lets them go. “Letting go” means that he has returned to a state of vacuity.
Guanzi, trans. Allyn Rickett (Princeton University Press, 1998), 80.
That the emptiness of space would be filled with invisible air, hidden from perception, save in the caress of the wind or the threat of storms, non-perceived but penetrating me even in the retreats of my inwardness, that this invisibility or this emptiness would be breathable or horrible, that this invisibility is non-indifferent and obsesses me before all thematization, that the simple ambiance is imposed as an atmosphere to which the subject gives himself and exposes himself in his lungs, without intentions and aims, that the subject could be a lung at the bottom of its substance—all this signifies a subjectivity that suffers and offers itself before taking a foothold in being. It is a passivity, wholly a supporting.
Levinas, Otherwise than Being, trans. Lingis (Duquesne), 180.