Individuality, Community, and Alienation

I finished Texts and Responses.  I’ll use as my starting-point something that Paul Flohr says on page 222:

“[He is unable] ‘to accept the natural aloneness of the ego.’  He thus seeks union with the world, but it is ‘refused him, because it is not the Thou (das Du) but the I of the entity that he encounters, and…I-ness rejects union.’  ‘The real locus of duality,’ Buber observes, lies in one’s ability to accept the separateness of his ego and to view the world as ‘other than I.'”

I’m not going to pretend that I understand what all of this means.  So are we alienated from the world because we see the world as other than ourselves, or because we do not accept that it is other?

I think that it’s important to acknowledge commonalities with the rest of the world, and also to remember that taking care of the “we” can take care of the “me”.  Many of us have a stake in the community benefiting.  At the same time, it’s good when we can love others even when they are different from us, when we can appreciate individuality.  Can refusing to accept our own uniqueness and individuality alienate us from the rest of the world, rather than bringing us closer to it?  When we cannot accept what is special about ourselves, can we truly appreciate what is special about others?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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