by JordanB

The self as a stable structure is constituted through the experience of being seen. The painfulness of this experience is the distinction it ushers between the subjective ‘I’ and the objective ‘Me’ (to use Mead’s terminology). The craft of learning to see others’ subjective ‘I’ hidden within the folds of the ‘Me’ is the very task of love, as set forth by Martin Buber.

The notion of God holds out the possibility that the subjective and objective dimensions of reality, forever alienated from one another in human experience, recede into one another at the limits of reality. Whereas we are constituted by experience, God constitutes Godself in the singularity of seeing-and-seen. Duality is overcome, not by the vanquishing of one by the other, but the subsuming of the two into one another.

And the good news is that we also can participate in this. In glimpses and murmurs when we confront experiences that dissolve the boundaries between objective and subjective self, whether induced naturally or artificially. And even more fully when we move beyond mere experience, and beyond mere knowledge, and rest on the deeper foundation of non-contingent Being. This, in religious terms, is what is called grace.