The Gift

on the non-fixity of world identity.

It is not a definitive world by which reality is understood as a singular and fixed truththat is significant. The various opinions, attitudes and mentalities based in subjective meaning upon the stable ground of reality are not the issue.  Rather, it is the relationship that we have with things which is truly significant. 


I had a moment with a young individual today.

I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but in the US it is a strange kind of trend of adolescents who are depressed to self harm. I don’t know if this is a global thing but I know it is a United States thing.

It seems that there is a rash of depressed and or anxious young people who, lacking any particular sharp tool, such as a razor blade or perhaps a knife, will scratch themselves in one place with their own fingernail, often short, until The skin finally breaks and a wound develops. They will continue to scratch that one place longer and wider until some unknown threshold is achieved and then they will produce another one right next to it, often parallel and sometimes in squared or triangular designs. And they will do this, many of them, until their arms are covered with these kind of burn sores. When you get a bunch of these children together, it is at once striking and at the same time strangely of no concern; for in part, one might be just as inclined to wonder why a group of kids will start smoking tobacco or in our current situation, vaping. One has to admit there is a certain amount of fad or trend or whatever you would want to call it. Because anxiety and depression does not necessarily mean that you have to self harm, and indeed when I was young there was many kids my age, many who were depressed or had problematic families who were friends of mine, who never thought of self harming in the way that seems so trendy and ubiquitous for our children nowadays. It is sad and strange.


My intention for this post was not to discuss the philosophical fixtures of mental health theories or to offer any sort of help necessarily to these young people.

I really brought it up because this one person I was talking to today used to self harm, and then stopped for a couple years and only recently had started again because of some sort of life event that was triggering.

This person was also depressed but having more issues with anxiety. I was talking to this person and they happen to mention how they are not suicidal because their best friend had committed suicide a few years prior, so they never contemplate killing themselves.

It struck me how they said this so matter-of-factly, for it is common with people who suffer from great and long lasting general anxiety as well as depression to have to also battle with intrusive suicidal thoughts.

And I said to this person:

You know, that’s kind of amazing, in a strange way, when you think about it. What you just said…

Your best friend died? I said.

And so you never think about killing yourself, you simply don’t have thoughts about killing yourself? I said.

Then I said, you know, in a strange way, your friend gave you a gift, for he gave you a reason to live.

And this person began to slowly tear up, as I did also, with compassion in my heart.

They were looking down but then they kind of looked up at me through the tops of their eyes and gave a sleight little smile On top of that kind of frown that you get when there’s a deep hurt that just quickly surged to the surface, when your face can’t help but strain into an childish ugly grimace. A kind of embarrassment and yet of connection.

Yeah; maybe… they said.

Sometimes we need a different way to look at things. Sometimes we can hold what seems as two opposing sentiments for the sake of at once mourning and yet celebrating, missing and yet respecting.  and yet, sometimes when we see it, it seems so obvious. Like, why didn’t I think of that.

I think some of it may be not so much that this person didn’t think of that, but they did not allow themselves to think of it because of the polemically reductive fashion by which we arrive with our ethical selves to the encounter with the world. We are often not permitted to think but in specific ways about specific things.

Often we just hold the sadness a certain way because we think that’s the only way that sadness is allowed to be, holding it so dear that we fear that person is going to be disrespected, as if it is this supremely fragile thing. Whereas actually it could be a source of the most profound strength and Resilliance. 

The modern ideological and ethical sense sometimes misleads us into seeing tragedy as one way, into what Kierkegaard calls the “either/or”, which is the mentality of fixation, of limit, of finitude. 


How much does my identity depend upon this either/or reduction towards self and world, as if indeed they either have to be 100% intertwined and subjective, or 100% separate, psychological and objective?

Maybe the relationship changes under various conditions.  maybe it is both.

Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

16 thoughts on “The Gift”

  1. I feel there is an inversion of priorities with the mind, society and whatnot.

    From a general perspective, the battle within our conversation is really about material vs ideal, empirical vs rational.

    Would you care to make our positions clear? I would like to hear the positions OOO and SR hold in as much clarity as possible.


    1. Sure. But I have begun to attempt to incorporate OOO into mental health. So there may be a disconnect in that regard. Becuase my adaptation is not OOO proper.

      Would you be interested in reading a paper I just wrote. Which I am beginning to submit to journals. I would love your input on it, your usual questions and rebuttals?

      Or I can try here. But I think the paper might be more pragmatic for what you ask. Maybe. As a starting point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eh. I’ve never used Twitter and I don’t know really how to use it. But my posts automatically post there. Yeah. Ima dork.


    2. I like the “inversion of priority” idea. Yes I’d say there’s a certain kind of in version of what we typically view as philosophical, or what or how Philosophy. usually addresses things I think perhaps


  2. “It is not a definitive world by which reality is understood as a singular and fixed truth that is significant.”

    As you know, I beg to defer on this point.

    I believe that the physical reality exists independently of it being perceived. Perceiving it therefore adds nothing to it, and changes nothing of it. Any addition or perceived difference of it is formed in the mind and the mind alone.

    I do not give primacy to the mind for this reason. The supplement (either as ‘completion’ or ‘addition’) are mental constructs having no bearing on the physical world until physical action is taken. It is therefore only the physical action that makes additions or changes to the reality, not the mind.

    [I have deliberately avoided the latter half of this post because it has to do with real people’s feelings and emotions, which I am not qualified to deal with.]


    1. So I would say that that is how your relationship with the world is. And the relationship between the mind and the physical world is more significant than which is more true, or which has more validity; the manner through which the validity arises is the relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For example, a person is in a car accident. She or he receives a head injury which physically damages the brain so that they no longer have “normal” perception. Does the mind remain intact even though the brain is damaged?


      2. The question for the person who is having the difficulty. Sure, it might make sense for them to come to terms with the fact that their brain has been injured, but really the more significant issue is their relationship with that situation, with their damaged brain. Because I’m talking about mental health and quality-of-life, not really about what might be the “actual truth“.

        Because the actual truth of them having brain damage might lead them to perpetually be depressed. And then the reason might be because it’s because they have brain damage that they were depressed and so their view upon the situation is to constantly go to neurologists and brain specialist and take all sorts of medication to help with her depression and all that sort of stuff.

        And in some instances because they are so fixated on this one “truth” of the situation that they will continue along those same avenues for a solution to their mental health problem and just the overall situation, that they won’t consider any other possibility is valid or if it doesn’t involve some sort of “brain”addressing.

        Whereas the relationship that they’re having to that actual situation of their brain damage could be different. Such that maybe they don’t need to constantly go seek out the neurologist or seek out new medication because this time it isn’t working and let’s try a new medication. Maybe they develop a new relationship to what this brain situation actually is and then maybe they don’t even need any of the neurology or any of the various medications. Maybe in this new relationship they only need to meditate for a little bit or go to yoga or smoke some pot or you know drink a beer once a day or something. Maybe it’s thinking about the possibilities involved with the accident, say, that made them have brain damage that then allows them to see a larger picture in which that incident has a different meaning than simply that my brain is damaged and that’s why am depressed or that’s why I’m angry. Their relationship to the actual situation, how their subjectivity is related to the factual situation is more than just simply making meaning.

        The relationship I have with my wife can never be reduced to some sort of “factual situation”. And in fact, the often enough the more I try to enforce some sort of factual situation between us, the more it makes my life and her life miserable and just terrible overall.

        Speaking on a larger scale such a society one could make the argument that the issues the societal issues that we deal with all the time could be because people want to believe or actually do believe that there is this factual situation of scientific truth upon which there really is no substance to the meeting that we make philosophically. It is not difficult to make the argument that though this may be the truth of the matter, it is more that my relationship to what this truth is is the issue and not so much that it is “truly true” if that makes any sense.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My point in the post, though, is that the typical mindset which understands only the sadness and tragedy that comes from a loved ones death, stems from an absolute directional vector of understanding. And that this kind of understanding may not serve what is healthy for the person. That whatever is posed or thought as true, may not serve the person who adheres to that truth. And that most often the “physical science” truth does not serve the health of the person truly.

      Liked by 1 person

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