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Identity - The I and the Other
Special Guest Columnist

Identity - The I and the Other

Identity - The I and the Other

Children rest in the shade in front of the traditional architecture of Salih Islam Palace. Dammam, June 1965. with courtesy of the Artist.


By Abdullah Thabit
October 20th, 2022
The I is a primary consideration

 the first component of the existential origin, a complete individual nucleus, which comes before consciousness, and remains in the form of beyond. Childhood specialists say that a person begins to realize themself at the age of three; that is, to distinguish themself among existing things, and to understand that this being in the mirror means them, it is them, and then memory begins. The internal recording works, and it becomes a story and a fantasy, and within it, stories and fantasies are built for people and things!

The other is a corresponding, parallel, deterministic, and implicit being. The other is a world, the other is a discovery, and the other is a surprise. Neither the I nor the other can be realized in isolation from the other, each I necessarily involves, in its depth and essence, the other. The I expands and multiplies and grows and magnifies with its breadth. The pure I is an illusion and nothingness!

In terms of history... Man has lived and fluctuated, and still is, in a field crowded with identities, starting from the identity of the body, to the identity of the shape and features, to the identity of the league and the crowd, with its contents of traditions, religion, sect, affiliation and loyalties...etc. Man is in his battle with these identities in one direction, his conflict with the identities of others in a second direction, and the struggles of the crowd, between them, which are used by ideology and politicians in a third direction. Identity is an open debate, in an infinite direction!

From the wisdom of Greece to the enlightenment, to modernity... to the current fluid world, the great human identity retained the feature of susceptibility, and all the spaciousness of thought, knowledge and arts, inevitably walks towards it, according to the method of Ibn Arabi;

My heart has now transformed to harbor of all forms…

 It is a meadow for gazelles, and a monastery for monks 

A pantheon of idols, and a pilgrim’s Kaaba… A Torah’s tablets, and a Quran.

The religion I follow is love wherever its chariots head… 

Love is my religion and belief.”

*Abdullah Thabit is a renowned Saudi writer and poet. 

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