Ruptured Rhapsody

A different kind of "blog," consisting of selections from my scribblings over many years. The date of each post is the date I originally wrote that piece. So, the top post is usually not the latest post, because I continually add writings from different years to the blog. If you have visited here before, you are likely to find new posts anywhere on the page. I'll continue to add "new" posts as my time allows.

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Location: Toronto, Canada

22 February 1983

There is no self

The basic error of psychologists who have taken Nietzsche's notion of "masks" literally, is that they have presupposed the masks are put on an unchanging, or at least stable, foundation. It is a well-known, for instance, the men tend to be more neat and well-behaved in women's presence; it is generally assumed the men put on a different mask in women's presence than the usual one; or that they put on a mask then, while they are otherwise maskless. Such talk, however, is based on the mentioned presupposition. Without that presupposition, it becomes clear that a man becomes a different person in a woman's presence; or, in general, that any particular person becomes a different person for every other person -- that is, every person is as many persons as he happens to come into contact with. The question that, if the above is correct, then what is a person when he is by himself can be answered by reflection on the nature of solitary activity. All such activity is other-directed, that is, directed towards another person; such a person may be a particular person known to the one we are considering, or else a type of person. For example, the writing of a friendly letter is directed towards a particular person, while the writing of an unsolicited magazine article is directed towards the types "editor" and "reader.” The many-faceted nothings that we are...

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