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  oneself being personal
gary e. davis
August 6, 2017

“Person” is a vague notion. What’s representable of me by others (situationally personal) is also representable by me. But there’s essential difference between myself to myself, as lived (self-al, selfal, beyond any scene), and myself present situationally or relative to a relationship. Presence may be “merely” personal, relative to my interaction with another self as [mere] personal presence. Interaction is mutually evident to each self as personal, thus interpersonal.

Interaction may be more than “merely” personal (and often is): inter-selfal (intimate). But the difference—between (a) self and (b) presence with others—does trope an obvious continuum of important differences between being oneself and feeling presence with another self as, for “me,” merely personal with another [mere] person.

Typically, being civil is less than feeling solidarity. Feeling solidarity is less than being friends. Being friends is less than being intimates. But friends may share more intimacy than one has with family members. An organizational solidarity may be more intense than particular long-lasting engagements with a friend.

The self/personal difference leads into good ways to understand interpersonal differences (without egoism and without sociocentrism) as a flexible continuum.

I can also simulate to myself how I am for persons. Yet, being with persons actually is always necessary for confidence about who I am for another person in being with another person. This requires mutual interaction, where only my openness to the person allows me to understand how my personness with another person can be.

In other words, the character of interaction warrants a distinction between being oneself to oneself and being oneself for another self (who is available to me as [mere] person, relative to our interaction)—unless one simply stipulates that ‘person’ is to mean ‘self’. But equating the meaning of ‘self’ and ‘person’ occludes important differences. Equating is untenable for appropriately understanding selidentity as cohering across kinds of interpersonal relationships. This is especially true with high individuation (e.g, creative life) living well in shared times.


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