Two question marks, face to face, create a heart
Two question marks on their way down a road
encounter each other, decipher the code:
two question marks, face to face, create a heart.
-- Merle Molofsky, from “Before the Aftermath, After Genesis”
Follow the visual of the poem’s image: if you draw two question marks facing each other, the one on the left has to be drawn backwards – they actually form a heart.
The Self encounters an Other. And the Other is a Self that encounters an Other.
We encounter each other. In such an encounter, what do we expect, consciously and unconsciously?
Do I expect You?
Martin Buber’s I and Thou offers a vision of a direct encounter, of standing in relation to…. Offers possibility…. Standing in relation to, without limits, without boundaries. A standing in relation in which You are not an It, you are in relation to me. The sensory reality, the sensory perception, the sensory experience, is irrelevant. The relationality itself, the is-ness of the I – Thou encounter, exists in and of itself.
Is this possible?
The essence of I – Thou is the recognition of the Divine. If we stand in relation to the Divine, to God, then all relationality is sacred.
I – Thou encounters are not necessarily the everyday reality of meaningful encounter, the quotidian of sensory reality. Because we live in ordinary sensory reality, and want our everyday lives to be meaningful, what does discovery of self and other encompass?
Can we bear to encounter the Otherness of the Other? Are You truly not-Me, and, if You indeed truly are not-Me, and I indeed truly am not -You, where do we intersect? How do we actually Know each other?
To be able to recognize similarities between the other and one’s self, to recognize and acknowledge those similar qualities, allows us to cherish the other, and thus to value those qualities in ourselves.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” To love thy neighbor as thyself is a form of empathy, and if we truly know and value ourselves, we can recognize and value the other,
In music, resonating or sympathetic strings are strings strung so close to eachother that when one is plucked the other one sounds, so that harmonic overtones are created. Thus when two people are close enough to each other, if one feels something, the other person also will feel a very similar feeling – harmonic resonance. We vibrate in harmony with one another.