Friday, June 9, 2017

The Ultimate I Thou Relationship

Martin Buber
If you subscribe to the doctrine of eternal recurrence as iterated by Nietzsche and also the mathematician Poincare then at some point in the infinity of parallel universes you would run the risk of encountering a form of your self. Dostoevsky dealt with this in The Double and Borges adopted the idea in his story The Other, with the notion that an older form of the famous author met a more youthful form of himself. The idea of the Doppleganger or alter ego turns out to be a distinct possibility. Identical twins seem to present a version of this since in looking at each other they would enjoy the experience of looking at themselves in the mirror. But even identical twins can develop in entirely different ways. You have to depend on the notion of infinite possibility—the same one that would allow a monkey sitting in front of a typewriter forever to produce Shakespeare’s works—in order to get the right concatenation of DNA and neurons to present an equivalent consciousness to one’s own. But what would this be like? It’s one thing to have something in common with another person and that's a feeling one might experience towards one's “significant other,” but to be confronted with an other who is you? Would it be like the competitive and slightly annoyed feeling you experience when you run into someone who completely identifies with your feelings and is constantly exclaiming “me too,” or “eureka” instead of  “I understand?” Or, would you feel that your life’s work was done and you were finally rescued from the lonely prosecution of being, having found the ideal soul mate, Martin Buber’s ultimate I Thou relationship, in another self?

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