In radically departing from any type of egoism, and in putting ethics solely 'in the driver's seat', thus reversing the positions of ontology and ethics Levinas leaves us with no eudaimonistic principle through which the task of ethics can be taken up in the first place. Neither can we rely on any sort of ontology from which we might see the demand for taking up the ethical imperatives. The danger with this sort of move is that by simply reversing the relationship between ethics and ontology and in the absolute renunciation of any sort of egoism it is left to the reader as to whether or not they care enough to listen to the voice of the other, without giving them any reason why they should. It becomes just as easy for me to hear the voice, and ignore it as it is to be responsible to it. Here I will attempt to set up an ethics that includes both the eudaimonistic dimension and an ontology. The ontology will not be exactly an ontology, but more like an ethical ontology or an ontological ethics. The ethical imperative that I will argue for is the dictum "Live meaningfully". While obviously further explication will be needed a few opening remarks will be made here. First of all, if the ethical command is to live meaningfully, then the eudaimonistics are already built in to the ethics. For me to take up my ethics to live meaningfully means that in undertaking this ethics there is a promise that in doing so I will live a meaningful life. This project must also include an ontological discussion of sorts in order to answer the question "What does it mean to live meaningfully?", which requires us to ask how things come to have meaning. As we shall see I have no need here to argue against Levinas's claim that ethics is always about the other. However ethics cannot be taken up if either ethics or ontology is considered 'first philosophy'. On the one hand ontology excludes the other, and on the other hand ethics without a sort of ontology easily falls on deaf ears. It will be important to note here that when ever I use the term meaning or meaningful, it should be taken in two senses, a) in the sense of the meaning of a term and b) in the sense of 'it was a meaningful' experience, as designating a certain weight or affectation. It should also be noted that I am assuming that living a meaningful life is better than living an empty or vacuous one.

I would also like to say here that to live meaningfully, as is often assumed, does not presuppose nor demand that there be a meaning of life, in the sense of 'The' meaning of life. If there is a meaning of life it is only this- to live meaningfully. I do not want to be taken to be claiming that there is one absolute way to be nor that we should be looking for one. As we shall see, what a meaningful life would be like cannot be determined in advance, for by the very requirements of what it means to mean this would prematurely disqualify the very possibility for living a meaningful life.

What is the condition then for something to mean, or have meaning? As has been shown, it requires differences. Furthermore that these differences do not necessarily guarantee the particular meaning of a term. When Nietzsche opposes 'good vs. evil' and 'good vs. bad', 'good' does not mean the same thing. 'Good' not only needs to be different from some other term to be meaningful but that its meaning is conditioned by what it is different from. 'Good' is always open to mutations of meaning, not only across history but depending upon the context in which it appears. This is only to show what Derrida has already shown us, that the meaning of a term is always continually deferred, the term must not only be different from all other terms to be meaningful, but its meaning always depends on what the next word to come will be. The meaning it has is always slightly modified and mutated by this deference, the term is always re-invented. The more synonimical two terms become the less meaningful one or both of the terms become. One of the terms simply becomes 'another way of saying x'. Similiarily terms become less meaningful the more terms can simply be reduced to one another. They no longer carry the meaning and thus the weight as a unique and singular term but are rendered superfluous. When one term subsumes all the other terms with which it resonates, then the subtle differences which make each term meaningful become lost, and this closes off the possibility of seeing the variability and flux within the theme on which they resonate. What ultimately makes a term meaningful, is its uniqueness and irreducibility. It is the continual deference of the meaning of the term that ultimately allows for the possibility of this uniqueness. Otherwise 'good' in the example above would be one instance of an ultimate good, it is the fact that even though a word might have a 'widely understood meaning' what that widely understood meaning will come to mean is not guaranteed. The point being that although each term may be absolutely singular in the way it appears, that does not mean that they are absolutely incommensurable. It is always the movement of deferral that prevents the reducibility of each term. That a term be meaningful, without ever fully meaning this or that, depends on a sublime complexity that can always be called to be further re-worked and complicated. In fact the very subjugation of the term to another term can only be prevented through the constant re-invention of the dynamics of the term. The terms perpetual, unpredictable refolding as the terms which it is deferred to also become transformed in such a way that there will be times when the proximity of one term to another might become so great that the terms are in danger of becoming superfluous or empty.

How is it that I can live meaningfully then? By being responsible to the other. Rather, however than being responsible to the other who commands me not to kill, I am responsible to the other as the one that promises that my existence will be meaningful. By characterizing my relationship to the other in my subservience to the other, Levinas has constructed a relationship whereby the subject is always the subject of hostility and demands, and in such a way that I would be in no position to respond in a meaningful way. This is for two reasons, a)because I am always subordinated to the other, 'I' becomes a superfluous term, my response is not a meaningful action because I am simply responding to the call, rather than as addressing the call in a unique way and b)because the other is the one who commands me not to kill, because my relationship to the other is always one of responsibility then the other no longer shatters the I/self nor surprises, nor is an event but an(other) to whom I am responsible. In a way the other becomes synonimical with every other other (in fact it is this very constitution of the other as the one who to whom I am absolutely responsible that allows us to say 'every other other'). It is not as if I want to do away with the other as the one to whom I am responsible, but rather it is the other to whom I am responsible because the other is the one that promises meaning. However a further explication is needed here.

Wittgenstein's discussion against the existence of a private language is informative here. The other is needed for there to be language, for terms to carry meaning. Otherwise I could not carry from one moment to the next the meaning of the word, they would be so totally my own that meaning would be arbitrary and vacuous. Terms don't carry any meaning because they would all be reducible to my will, which is itself meaningless without a resistance that would actualize my will. A private language is not possible because the meaning of every term is reducible to the whim in which it was spoken, and thus every term is the same, or that every time a term is used, the same term is so radically unique that it is absolutely incommensurable. In a sense, because every time a term is used it can mean anything, because there is no other to contest the meaning of a term, it ends up meaning nothing. This is perhaps why Nietzsche finds the will to nihilism in the turn to scientific materialism, because in the will to be able to reduce everything as much as possible, to one system, ideally to one principle, everything becomes meaningless.

In order for my life to have meaning then, I must take up my responsibility to the other as the one who promises that my life will have meaning. The other is not to be thought of as promising any particular meaning, because the moment I begin to do violence on the other by placing demands on the other, I rob the other of having the ability to contest the meaning of a term. I must also preserve the uniqueness and the openness of the other as a singularity, as a becoming, for my actions and deeds to be meaningful because the meaning of my life will always be deferred to the other. If the other is appropriated into a category or a type, my actions towards the other will always mean the same thing and in so doing will lose their meaning, in that sense I am simply performing a routine that becomes empty and meaningless. Rather than my actions and my life having the possibility of carrying a meaning (which requires that they be unique) they can simply be reduced to a type. In the continual deference of the meaning of my life to the other, but not the selfsame other, there is opened up the possibility of my being alive, in the sense of incomplete. The otherness of the other is what keeps me from being finally reduced to the presence of my present. Thus my responsibility to the other is what insures my freedom in that the preservation of the free play of meaning will always keep the possibility of the different components of the life I live meaning otherwise. In turn this allows them to be continually meaningful because in their transformation they will not fall into the trap of being exchangeable for another component or any other moment. The event of the other challenges my presuppositions of the world in which I live, as no longer appropriated by me, and no longer appropriating me.

In Sartre's discussion of the look, before the entrance of the other I have organized the world in such a way that I know what everything is, what it means and determined the relationships between the things in my field of consciousness. Upon the entrance of the other, the subject becomes decentered and the meaning and organization of things becomes challenged by the other for whom things also exist. This world before the other, because its meaning only depends upon my appropriation of the world is exactly what undermines my freedom, or opens up the possibility of bad faith. Because I have determined everything as absolute object-for-me and the relationship I have with it, I have by a sort of syllogism determined myself. It opens up the way of bad faith, of covering over that "I am what I am not, I am not what I am" because in order, for example, the waiter to think of himself as solely being a waiter, and objectifying himself, he must also objectify the world around him, including others. It is by objectifying his boss, as being absolutelty reducible to his boss, to his co-workers as being destined for being a certain role, for the customers as reducible to being customers in the sense of actually being them, that he can attempt to forsake his freedom. To borrow from Heidegger, he gets 'lost' in his 'everydayness'. It is not until the unforeseeable other, whether it be his boss that does or says something that resists his typing or objectifying or something else, shocks him in such a way that his organization of the world becomes challenged can he free himself from his world and from himself. The radical freedom of Sartre without the alterity of the other is not enough for freedom, because I could freely stop being a waiter and simply become a janitor, by way of being a janitor, or some other way in which I reduce myself to one aspect of existence. I would be merely jumping from one enclosed world to a next. But through the presence of an alterity, of the absolutely singular event of the other, I am called to be absolutely singular myself. When the other surprises me, unforeseeabley, I cannot respond by objectifying myself because I must invent a way to respond. Because in the call of the other, whose alterity strikes me I am not being called as a waiter, a janitor, as a thing, I am being called as an absolutely singular being who has the possibility of being or acting otherwise. It is my freedom that is being called upon. It is these moments that precisely become meaningful because they no longer become synonomous with any other moments. As long as I am in bad faith nothing is meaningful without an empty contrivance of meaning, I have to keep justifying my existence to myself. These justifications, however, never carry the weight that I wish them to have, because any meaning it might have evacuates from it for lack of resistance. Sartre's mistake is to locate his radical freedom in the subject rather than in the intersubjective struggle.

In response to the other who calls to me for help, I must take it upon myself to 'act meaningfully'. For in order to act meaningfully I must take the other and the plight of the other as unique, and must respond accordingly to its uniqueness. Otherwise the particular response that I give will simply be referential to a pre-determined action and thus not properly meaningful. In addition, it will be an action taken as if it belonged to a private language, because there is no real other there, if I do not take the other and the other's plight as singular. Throwing money at impoverished nations (for example with LiveAid) does not do any good for I do not confront the uniqueness of the situation. It is also a meaningless activity because it does not involve the other, that is, it does not do any good, because I have predetermined the other, their situation and the solution. There is no other there, and therefore I can call the activity whatever I want. But I only do this in a space similar that approaches a private language because the meaning it has is constructed solely with my terms. In the end the meaning gives way and I have simply given more money to another poor country. I am responsible to the other for responding in a meaningful way. This is eudaimonistic because in responding in a meaningful way, I have performed a meaningful activity. I have responded in such a way that my action becomes meaningful, and thus performed an activity that realizes my uniqueness and singularity.

A meaningful life must be unique, but it can never be exceptional. The exception is always referred back to the rule. When one states that 'all x will do y, except-' the rule not only incoporates into it and defines or reduces to the rule all x's that perform 'y' but the exceptions to it. The exceptions to the rule always conform to the rule 'in spite' of what makes them exceptional. It is exceptional when someone who is 'disadvantaged', 'succeeds in spite of' their 'disadvantage'. It is meaningful however, and neither pertains to the exception nor the rule, when one 'succeeds' because of what was termed a 'disadvantage'. Unlike in the case of the exception the rule becomes challenged and the meaningful activity which is not the exception to the rule, but other to the rule, which cannot be foreseen by the rule (if it could it would be included in the rule as an exception) calls the rule to respond by shortcircuiting it. The rule becomes shattered in that it can no longer appropriate what it was suppose to into itself. The meaningful activity, the meaningful life, appears by overcoming rules, but it cannot completely annihilate them because then everything would become meaningless. The meaningful activity forces the rule to be overcome itself and place limits on itself whereby a space is opened for neither the exception nor the rule. However it is only in seeing how the other refuses its appropriation by the exception or the rule, that meaningful activity can arise. It is the nihilistic will that endeavours to forces on the other the category of exceptionality.

Thus an ethics which concerns itself primarily with the other can still be established on eudaimonistic grounds if the basis for 'living well with other's still calls upon the breaking open of the I/Self circuitry. Living meaningfully always requires living dangerously because to live meaningfully requires dispondibility to an unforeseeable future, to a responsibility to maintain the unforeseeability of the future through the re-invention of terms that re-establish their difference.