Othering Otherers

There is no perfect harmony of rights, where everyone can live freely without fear or discomfort.

Once we gain a significant degree of physical safety and comfort, we experience psychological danger and pain from the words and ideas of other people. And once we are free from the fear and pain of their words, we will become distressed by their concealed thoughts. And once we feel safe from concealed thoughts, we will become sensitive to the dangers of unconscious thoughts. There is no limit to our demands because there is no limit to the subtlety of our sensitivity to the reality of Otherness. Otherness is inherently painful.


It is hard to speak of Otherness from the first-person perspective (“How am I failing to recognize and respect the Other who is unlike myself?”) Instead we say it from a second-person perspective (“How are you othering, and failing to respect the Other who is unlike yourself?”). The Other in question is either Oneself or some Other who plays a persecuted role in the moral drama of one’s own understanding, which is another way of saying Oneself. Or we say it from a third-person perspective (“How do Those People other the Other…?”), and need I say more?

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