An Application of the "I-Thou" Relationship of Existentialist Martin Buber
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – June 10, 2021
I always make it a point to speak for myself, based on what I know and experience. For it would be presumptuous for me to speak in terms of “we” since I cannot courageously assume, without being labelled as cockeyed or insane, that what is true to me is also true to others.
My story is my own built-in "I account", done to inspire like-minded individuals to come together and propagate our collective voice to the public so we can be heard, recognized, counted, and made to participate in all societal endeavors.
Although it's a daily challenge to be nonjudgmental, I simply accept the story of others as fact and given. Many times, though, I find nuggets of truths in their "I accounts" that resonate with my narrative.
From my experience, I realize that scrutinizing and giving value judgements on other's beliefs and opinions always bring in intense and heated process of argumentations and debates, with each one trying to outdo the other.
This is a method which were drilled onto us by schools and universities. Compete and win. Winning is the game of life. Losing is a great failure and is something shameful and unforgivable. One has to work hard and extract its revenge against the other at any opportune time.
Being dogmatic, authoritarian, absolutist, imposing, and even the tendency to become offensive, ad hominem, and abrasive in the "I-Thou" relationship becomes an inevitable consequence, though not logically necessary in a friendly exchange of ideas.
Even then, I've learned that this is only destructive, demeaning, and dehumanizing both to me and to the other.
The challenge is to go outside of this crippling flow of "I-Thou" relationship immediately in order to preserve one's dignity and maintain respect and compassion on the other.
From moment to moment during the day, the relationship of two individuals can either be wholesome or unwholesome. Moreso if the interactions involve three or more parties.
There are so many ways, of course, how one's relationship with others can be transformed into one of arriving at a win-win situation.
And I always look forward towards initiating union and communion in every process of communication, rather than skirting the ripe opportunity to test and broaden the influence of my Consciousness. The same opportunity might never come again.
Sadly, the etymology and meaning of the term "dialogue" has often been set aside in a society too focused on competition, unconscious penchant for power and disguised "holier-than-thou" stance. The overall effect is that the "thou" becomes an "it", a thing, subject to be owned, possessed, controlled. From humanization to de-humanization, the reverse of Teilhard de Chardin's cosmic evolutionary journey that leads to divinization. So many inhumanities now are committed even in the name of religion and God.
The Art and Science of Love: Falling in Love or Standing in Love?
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - October 28, 2020
In Latin, it is said that: "Sine amore nihil est vita" or "Life is nothing without love." But what is love?
According to the Holy Scripture: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." ~ 1 Corinthians 13. 1.
This must have inspired Barbara Streisand in the 1970 movie "Love Story" to say: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."
Is this really so? Let me share my thoughts below.
"LOVE" is only a four-letter word ", but the hardest to define. When I want to explain it to somebody, I am always at a loss for the right words. Every word or sentence, however carefully chosen, does not clearly describe what I feel and experience in life.
Any definition always falls short of the real meaning. There's always something missing in the alchemy of love or in the mixture of what you may call "love potion". Yet, love is known and familiar to everybody.
Can we really define love?
The Greeks speaks of eight kinds of love.
1. Eros - the Greek God of attraction and sexual desire, romantic love, burning passion, defined as divine beauty or lust, the most intense type of love often associated with youth or our first great romance. This is the most feared also because it is the most dangerous. Its power could destroy you. Expressed as follows:
"My partner and I have the right physical chemistry between us."
"I feel that my partner and I were meant for each other."
"My partner fits my idea standard of physical beauty/handsomeness."
2. Philia - Shared goodwill, also known as brotherly love. Represents a sincere and platonic love, a kind of love you have for your siblings or a best friend. It's more valuable and more cherished than Eros as Philia has the power to build empires from the ground up. It exists where people share a great understanding and respect with each other.
3. Ludus - Playful love, flirtatious, teasing kind of love, synonymous with dancing and laughter, a childlike fun kind of love. This generation loves Ludus because of fleeting romances with explosively passionate but brief online skirmishes ruling. It's all about having fun at the moment with no regard with what may happen in the future. Expressed as follows:
"I have sometimes to keep my partner from finding out about other lovers."
"I can get over love affairs pretty easily and quickly."
"I enjoy playing the game of love with my partner and a number of other partners."
4. Pragma - long-lasting love, enduring love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time, the highest form of love, a true commitment that requires understanding and compromises. It is pragmatic and flexible.
This is why it is referred to as standing in love rather than falling in love. Anyone can fall in love but it takes a conscious decision to stand in love with someone resolutely for better or worse. Expressed as follows:
"A main consideration in choosing my partner was how he or she would reflect on my family."
"An important factor in choosing my partner was whether he or she would be a good parent."
"One consideration in choosing my partner was how he or she would reflect on my career."
5. Agape - Selfless love, the love for humanity, the purest kind of love, the love you give without expecting anything in return. It's the compassionate love that makes us sympathize with and help people we don’t know. The world needs more Agape. Expressed as follows:
"I would rather suffer myself than let my partner suffer." "I cannot be happy unless I place my partner's happiness before my own."
"I would endure all things for the sake of my partner."
6. Philautia - love of the self. The negative philautia is the selfishly egocentric and seeks pleasure, fame and wealth often manifesting itself via narcissistic tendencies.
Positive philautia is the healthy kind of love. We love ourselves for our personal growth. It is also essential for any relationship. We can only love and care others if we truly love and care for ourselves.
7. Storge – unwavering devotion, the kind of love parents feel for their children. It is natural, powerful, protective, and almost instinctive. It is a kind of love that knows forgiveness, acceptance, and sacrifice, a feeling that you would protect someone with your life even if they wrong you.
Storge does not waiver. People in the early stages of a romantic relationship often expect unconditional love. It's expressed as follows:
"Our love is the best kind because it grew out of a long friendship."
"Our love is really a deep friendship, not a mysterious, mystical emotion."
8. Mania - obsessive love. Tends to be emotionally dependent and to need fairly constant reassurance in a relationship. Someone with this love style is likely to experience peaks of joy and troughs of sorrow, depending on the extent to which their partner can accommodate their needs.
Because of the possessiveness associated with this style, jealousy can be an issue. Expressed as follows:
"When my partner does not pay attention to me, I feel sick all over."
"Since I have been in love with my partner, I have had trouble concentrating on anything else."
"I cannot relax if I suspect that my partner is with someone else."
Many people have one or more of the eight types. Philia is the highest form of love because it is a two-way road, unlike eros and agape.
The Art and Science of "I-Thou" Relationship
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – June 17, 2021
We can interact with people in two ways: as a phenomenon or as a noumenon. What's the difference?
Phenomenon is our physical attributes and appearances, which include our name, titles, degrees, wealth, influence, prestige, power, race, religion, color, gender, built, size, weight, address, and all other specifications that we normally see in our biodata. This is how we are known in society.
Noumenon is the essence, the substance, and the core of our being. It's invisible, nonmaterial, formless, and nameless, referred to as the anima soul, spirit, and force that gives life and existence to our phenomenon. It is who we are, the Self, which is Consciousness.
Phenomenon only came to be when we were ejected from our mother’s womb. It is added onto us by our parents, godparents, and elders. Without the noumenon, there can be no phenomenon.
The noumenon is the "I am". What we ascribe to this are phenomena or attributes, referred to as the “ego”. All creatures have their noumenon.
As German Philosopher Immanuel Kant would have it, we are the "ding an sich", or "thing-in-itself" as opposed to what he calls the phenomenon—the thing as it appears to an outside observer, looking at or relating with us.
If we relate to others as a noumena, our interaction with the other person is genuine and real. It cannot lie or be dishonest. It is in its original state, which is innocent and spotless. It’s pure awareness of what is going on within and around it.
It’s different when we relate with people as a phenomenon. Having experienced the complex world of intense competition, rugged individualism, and isolationism, where survival and success is measured in terms of accumulation of wealth, power, and ownership as well as the degree of influence in society, by whatever means these are achieved, there’s always that strong possibility and tendency to over blow our ego when we relate with others and become dishonest, fake, pretentious, and self-tripping.
It can even happen that we may become abrasive, offensive, even dogmatic and imposing, without knowing it.
Such an individual is closed, sticking primarily to its own belief. It’s not multi-disciplinarian, inter-disciplinarian, clinging primarily on one’s academic discipline or faith, whether this be philosophy, theology, sociology, science, or religion.
Though we still encounter several individuals of this type, we also find many who have been transformed as they grew in age. As their world of the phenomenon and ego subsides and diminishes, the world of noumenon, the watcher and conscious observer of all this, takes over the content, processes, and direction of the individual’s thought, feelings, and aspirations. The mind is, so to speak, clipped, stilled, and calmed following mainly on the wisdom of the Self.
Subject yourself to a series of discrete experiments. Observe how you’re relating yourself with others now and do experiment verification throughout the day. Feel the difference before you retire to bed.
If we are consciously observant and watchful daily from moment to moment, the small world (at least, the space where we can exert influence around us), this small world of ours would be entirely different wherever and whenever we go out and interact with the external world. Thus, the influence of our little world keeps on expanding and growing in depth and breadth.
But remember that we need both the phenomenon and noumenon to live in this world. The challenge is how to balance these two elements in us.
This is the Phenomenology of the noumenon and the Noumenology of the Phenomenon”, the art and science of “I-Thou” relationship.
Theoretical, Intuitive, and Practical Love
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - October 27, 2020
Science teaches as to be nonjudgmental, value-free, amoral, apolotical, areligious, impartial. To take sides or to favor one over the other is a sign of inability on the part of the conscious observer to take charge of its entire situation. Neither can it be a sign of love. Science though acknowledges that there can be such a thing as theoretical, intuitive, and practical love.
The King With Four Wives
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – November 13, 2021
When I was attending a Workshop Conference at Anaheim, California, I came across this inspiring article published by the Hindu Communities of Northwestern University in Boston, Massachusetts on the "reawakening of our true nature".
TITLE: KING WITH FOUR WIVES
Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved his 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.
He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem he could confide in her and she would help him get through the difficult times.
The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the 1st wife. Although she loved him deeply he hardly ever noticed her.
One day the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have 4 wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”
Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.
The sad King then asked his 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life now that I’m dying will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No!” she replied “Life is too good! When you die, I am going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can send you to your grave.” Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.
Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.”
The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said “I should have taken better care of you when I had the chance!”
In truth, we all have four wives in our lives:
Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort was lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.
Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.
Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
And our 1st wife is our soul – often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However our identity as a spirit soul is going to be maintained wherever we go, whatever bodies we acquire and whatever destination we achieve. So, we should cultivate, strengthen and cherish this existential reality now.
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – May 11, 2021
The Google dictionary defines a soul mate as “a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.” The moment the two meet, a connection is so strong that one is drawn to the other in a way that one would have never experienced before.
We are a strong believer of soul mates. In one survey, 76% of the respondents believe in soul mates; the remaining 24% do not believe. If we are to extrapolate this finding to include the entire 7.5 billion souls that inhabit the world today, this means that 5.7 billion people believe in soul mates.
There are so many stories telling us how the concept of soul mates originated. Myths have it that long, long time ago, all people had four legs and two heads. And then the gods split them into two. Each half then had two legs and one head.
The separation, however, triggered a deep longing and yearning for the two to be reunited because they each shared the same soul. Since then, all people spend their lives searching for the other half of their soul.
In Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs with two faces. They could move both forward and backward and would run by spinning themselves around cartwheel-like on all eight limbs.
Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.
The Chinese folklore tells us of a magical connection between two people that are destined to be soul mates, called “the red string of fate”. This magical umbilical cord can stretch or entangle over time and space, but will never break.
The Chinese sage and mystic Lao Tzu says one soul is the yin (representing the feminine or young), the other soul the yang (masculine or old).
The mystic and medium Edgar Cayce says that, through our soul partner, each of us is provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves.
The Buddhists say that when you meet your soul mate, you will feel calm; there is no anxiety, no agitation. One avid follower says that “The immortal soul conveys energy which links in a wave-like motion related to souls, thus soul mates."
These are all myths. But new physics speaks of a parallel phenomenon at the quantum level, as discussed in my yesterday's post.
Believe or not.
In my case, I hold on to the idea that we are all soul mates or twin souls since we all came from the same Big Soul who blew its breath releasing tiny souls that represent its creatures. These newly released souls then swam in the ocean of space-time in the nascent Cosmos at the speed of light. We are all related and connected to each other even before the beginning of space, time, and matter.
We differ only in our vibrational levels because of our degree of attachment to others, which can be influenced by our age, gender, education, marital status, civil status, social status, profession, race, beliefs, political affiliation, and so on.
Spending five minutes a day alone doing self-reflection in meditative mode is an exercise that can prove this to be true and correct.
If within that short span you have reached that stage in which you are conscious that you have become oblivious to your gender, race, color, beliefs, and even body, then, it could be a great sign that you are in communion with yourself, your essence, or your spirit which is Consciousness.
You are simply totally aware of your Self, without expecting anything and without being judgmental, except the acceptance of one's emptiness and the awareness of communing with the Self. Your mind has been clipped, not able to wander. It has become non-existent for it has now become an organ of Consciousness, not of the brain.
If one can always maintain this state of Consciousness without any reaction whatsoever to whatever it sees, touches, feels, smells, tastes, and knows, while doing its daily chores or communing with all souls (whether humans, plants, animals, and invisible entities), then, you're in both the 4th and 5th dimensions of existence.
Seeing others also as souls and Consciousness also allows one to be in communion with other fellow souls. It is only in this state of mutual and collective Consciousness that one encounters its soul mate.