A LOVE SUPREME

I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Myself and the others

Let's try this one on for size: The more I become myself, the more I become like others, although the reverse is not necessarily the case.

11 comments:

Andy said...

The shirt doesn't fit. Or maybe you're defining words differently than I am.

What's your reasoning?

Javetta said...

So true, my brother. So true...

Jason Hesiak said...

you will not undo Neitche on the aphorism, lol :)

Jason Hesiak said...

I will outdo my 3rd grade papers with my typos. *outdo. lol. Neitche undid himself.

Melody said...

How do you know when you're becoming more yourself? Why weren't you yourself before?

Or is it like when people tell you "just be yourself" when really they mean "just be someone who ISN'T freaking out about this anxiety inducing situation" - not so much about being yourself as it is about being comfortable.

Kevin Winters said...

I would phrase it as: the more I become myself the more I see how the Other constitutes who I am.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Melody,

You raise a good question.....we talk about "being yourself" as though it is something concrete. My aphorism talked about "becoming myself" as though there were some ideal me. But is this really the case? To be honest, the jury is still out for me....it is a deep philosophical/spiritual/psychological question of self-hood.

But I do think that as you say, "being ourselves" seems to mean a certain level of comfort with what we are and how we relate to others.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Kevin,

Your phrasing sounds better to me, actually. It gets at what I was thinking about, namely, that we are interconnected in a way that makes our identity ("being yourself") not merely a matter of "self-discovery," as in modern psychology. How I define myself has perhaps more to do with others than it does with my "self"....if there is in fact such a thing as a "self." But certainly there is no self without others. For example, feral children who do not interact with other people will not develop linguistic skills and other socially dependent awarenesses. Further, as I understand it, once children reach a certain age, there are certain social skills (such as language) that they can never learn. Hence, without others, we have no "self.".....It was John Doyle who first started brought the feral children phenomenon to my attention.....I'll have to go find him.

Kevin Winters said...

On at least a surface level, consider that every designation we use to define ourselves--student, American, atheist, brother, etc.--essentially requires an Other, both human and non-human (i.e. objects, artifacts, housing locations, etc.). Our relation to culture, as you already talked about, is also central to our self-understanding. We could go deeper and see that our self is possible only against the backdrop of the non-self, in relation to our bodies and organs, its objects of perception and action, etc. Then, at the deepest level, speaking from a later-Heidegger perspective, there is the basic openness to things, the clearing, the appropriation of beings whereby they (to borrow a [para]phrase from Merleau-Ponty) become "inscribed in our flesh".

Identity comes from relationships, both facile and deep, not from an abstract set of properties.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Well said, Kevin. Well said.

Jason Hesiak said...

"12For now we see dimly, as if in a mirror by means of a reflection; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

a kind of paraphrase quote thingamabob, of course, which I think gets at the point of both the verse and this conversation :)