Buber said before there is a self, there is an other.
A person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human, and to become human is what the individual has been created for.
And so, he believed that the path to divinity was through human contact. This approach to interpersonal connection is deeply spiritual, and probably too mushy for most.
But his theory is also highly biological. Pinsky, the board certified physician, bases his practice of addiction medicine on that philosopher’s same principle. He has explained numerous times in his books and lectures that the interpersonal experience is everything:
It is where we find ourselves, it is where we find love, it is where we find the capacity to understand things, to see things with a new pair of glasses, and to share with another person.
In short, it is how we learn to regulate our emotions and is the foundation of building our relationships. Sounds divine to me. Having faith that we can feel better on the other side of a conversation with someone, tell me that’s not holy. Biological, but also holy.
Here’s another message from the same doctor:
Fundamentally, it’s the intimate connection that gives people the soil upon which two brains brought together can teach the mature brain how to regulate.
Here’s one way to think about it. Have you ever had a traumatic experience that caused you to exit that interpersonal frame? Perhaps abuse or neglect or abandonment that made you want to isolate and numb out?
You are not alone. And you have every right to be vulnerable to and suspicious of the idea of reentering that interpersonal frame. Hell, why even bother trusting people again if they have only screwed you over in the past?
This, our doctor says, is exactly why millions of people turn to all these dysfunctional solutions for regulating their emotions, like substances or addictive disorders.
The danger is, when there is no interpersonal connection, we disappear. The asset which is the self, atrophies in isolation.
Nietzsche famously coined the phrase, god is dead, to express the idea that the enlightenment had destroyed the possibility of belief in the divine.
But each of us can kill god on our own, thank you very much.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you watering the soil upon which brains are brought together?