Synechepedia

Allophilia

Allophelia is a term I fabricated for myself to express a radical openness and caring concern for what is other (even and especially what is radically other). I quickly learned that it was already in use in an intimately related, but more limited sense, in social science. See the wikipedia entry on allophilia, which defines it as

having a positive attitude towards outgroup members

My understanding of the idea of allophilia continues to change over time. Such is only proper: the idea of a caring embrace of what is radically other should probably not insist on being static and self-similar over time.

On being plural

One implication of embracing otherness per se, is the recognition that each of us are other unto our “own” selves. More: there is no self that owns our inner plurality.

Self is a being together in community. We are a communication of the feelings, ideas, persons, animals, and all the beings which we experience as “other”, inside and out.

The consciousness of a general idea has a certain “unity of the ego” in it, which is identical when it passes from one mind to another. It is, therefore, quite analogous to a person; and, indeed, a person is only a particular kind of general idea. Long ago … I pointed out that a person is nothing but a symbol involving a general idea; but my views were, then, too nominalistic to enable me to see that every general idea has a unified living feeling of a person.

All that is necessary, upon this theory, to the existence of a person is that the feelings out of which he is constructed should be in a close enough connection to influence on another. Here we can draw a consequence which it may be possible to experimental test. namely, if this be the case, there should be something like personal consciousness in bodies of men who are in intimate and intensely sympathetic communion. It is true that when the generalization of feeling has been carried so far as to include all within a person, a stopping-place, in a certain sense, has been attained; and further generalization will have a less lively character. But we must not think it will cease. Esprit de corps, national sentiment, sym-pathy, are no mere metaphors. None of us can fully realize what minds of corporations are, any more than one of my brain-cells can know what the whole brain is thinking. But the law of the mind clearly points to the existence of such personalities, and there are many ordinary observations which, if they were critically examined and supplemented by special experiments, might, as first appearances promise, give evidence of the influence of such greater persons upon individuals.

(peirce92_peirc, 350)

Bibliography

  • [peirce92_peirc] Peirce, The essential Peirce : selected philosophical writings, Indiana University Press (1992).