Essay otherness

Trump, in his climate-change denialism, makes explicit his contempt for the natural world – mere Earth – and seeks the unbridled technological artifice of colonising space. Flight is at the heart of it. The flight from Earth to space: the libertarian off-ground ideology of unlimited, unrestricted freedom, echoing Marinetti’s line: ‘Hurrah! No more contact with the vile earth!’ Contemporary libertarians venerate flight too, from libertarian writer F M Esfandiary, author of a crypto-evolutionary tract called Up-Wingers (1973), to Elon Musk’s off-world ambitions to colonise Mars. The Futurists were obsessed with the rhetoric of flight, and ‘Aeropainting’ was a major expression of Futurism. One Futurist manifesto speaks mockingly of ‘the reality traditionally constituted by a terrestrial perspective’; in contrast, painting from an aerial perspective ‘requires a profound contempt for detail’. (The contemptible details of my own terrestrial perspective, for example, might include lizard, pine marten and tomato; grace, ice and plurality.)

One of the best-known examples of racism is the “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” scenario where parents are scandalized about their child marrying someone of a different race. Pew has done some good work on this and found that only 23% of conservatives and 1% (!) of liberals admit they would be upset in this situation. But Pew also asked how parents would feel about their child marrying someone of a different political party . Now 30% of conservatives and 23% of liberals would get upset. Average them out, and you go from 12% upsetness rate for race to 27% upsetness rate for party – more than double. Yeah, people do lie to pollsters, but a picture is starting to come together here.

Buber's two notions of "I" require attachment of the word "I" to a word partner. The splitting into the individual terms "I" and "it" and "thou" is only for the purposes of analysis. Despite the separation of "I" from the "It" and "Thou" in this very sentence describing the relationship, there is to Buber's mind either an I-Thou or an I-It relationship. Every sentence that a person uses with "I" refers to the two pairs: "I-Thou" and "I-It", and likewise "I" is implicit in every sentence with "Thou" or "It". Each It is bounded by others and It can only exist through this attachment because for every object there is another object. Thou, on the other hand, has no limitations. When "Thou" is spoken, the speaker has no thing (has nothing), hence, Thou is abstract; yet the speaker “takes his stand in relation”.

Essay otherness

essay otherness


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