The Human Self and the Life and Death Struggle

The Human Self and the Life and Death Struggle

The Human Self and the Life and Death Struggle

The Human Self and the Life and Death Struggle

Excerpt

It is often argued that our notion of an independent reality can emerge only when our drives, impulses, and desires encounter an obstacle. Such encounter alone, it is said, can give the subject the sense of the distinction between things as they are and things as they appear to him. In effect, when my desires are blocked by an obstacle, I come to realize that things as I wished them to be are quite different from what they are in fact, and I thus rise to the view of reality as something unaffected by my own peculiar biases and interests.

In the first chapter of this study, I advance the view that the "obstacle" here at issue--the obstacle capable of effectively blocking my pursuits and thus imposing upon me a sense of a truly independent world--can only be encountered in another man. Furthermore, I go on to argue that in order to emerge as such an obstacle, the other must be seen as an adversary (actual or at least potential) in a life and death struggle. I then try to show, in . . .

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