The self is relatedness. The self doesn’t exist without relationship. The self appears in your deeds, and deeds always mean relationship.
James Hollis wrote that. It stopped me. You find there are books like that, don’t you? Books which you can’t read all the way through without stopping. I don’t mean the stopping for tea, or to answer the phone. I mean that stopping in the middle of the page, or anywhere in the page actually, because what you just read provokes such a mental reaction. This was one of the many places where I stopped when reading Creating a Life by James Hollis.
My first thought was, “how true”. I see connections everywhere, and I see the constancy of change. In fact, that is so important to me that I put the phrase, “becoming not being….” as the sub-head of this blog.
We are constantly becoming, ever interacting, exchanging, adapting and changing.
So, it’s true. The self doesn’t exist without relationship. I’ve thought many times that you could never know a person by observing them, through a one way glass,in an empty room. You have to see how a person interacts, with you, or with others, to have any sense of who they are.
Reminds me too, of “Ubuntu” – “I am because you are”
But then it seemed to me he’d gone too far when he added “deeds always mean relationship”.
Surely there must be deeds we commit alone?
But hold on, am I narrowing the definition of relationship too far here? Am I assuming a relationship is between two PEOPLE?
What about how I relate to Nature, to the built environment, to music and images and art? To this very book I am reading in fact!
It’s true what he says – the self really does appear in our actions, our reactions, and our interactions. It’s not a phenomenon which emerges in total isolation (even our memories and our imaginings are the creation of relationships aren’t they?)
So here’s something to consider today – what sense of self do I notice emerging from my deeds? my choices? my interactions?