In chapter 4, Nancy develops a demanding reflection on identity as affirmation, which he reseizes through the term of original honesty or “frankness,” franchise, from “franc,” which he connects with France. An identity does not lie within a closed sphere of belonging, but originates in an affirmation (franchise) of an existence prior to any identifiable self, where “I” am before being whoever or whatever I am.” Nancy recalls that the movement of life precedes all identification. The human being thus exists in a “vanishing point,” evading all identities. And yet an identity arises from the original affirmation of an “I am,” which can be heard in the cry of the condemned “Vive la France” before the execution band. This original affirmation of the “I am,” before any established recognizable identity, is “the condition of possibility of any “I am x,” and represents that original honesty or frankness of an existence that can then identity itself: I am I before I am this or that.
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