The Nature of Relationship

Recently I was come upon the difficulty in communicating to someone a concept that is foreign to their sense of sensibility. 

And I am throwing a term out there just because I can’t really think of another way to put into words this strange phenomenon. 

The implication is that people have an ability to make sense, meaning that there are different manners by which people are able to make sense out of things. I suppose this is also to indicate that there is no common “sense” That moves across a common human creature. That whatever sense that I think that I might be communicating to someone, often enough, it is not being communicated.

 I mean by this that no matter how thoroughly I describe a particular instance, which is to say, that instance which has a sense that cannot make sense to this other person because of their ability to make sense — this particular instance  flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that would say that communication is always taking place, that it’s just whether or not we like what is being communicated.

I disagree with that sentiment because I’ve had many instances where I am attempting to communicate something that is very clear to me, something very obvious, yet in discussing with someone or trying to describe to them that very particular and simple item that makes sense to me, which has sense, it becomes apparent to me time and time again and as our discussion continues, that they are not comprehending in the slightest this simple item which has such obvious sense to me.

Sure, we could say that I am communicating Something through this failure, but then I’m not sure that either one of us would be able to tell anyone else what the contents of this failure was, and so I must say in all truth that here is an instance where it doesn’t matter what each of us “likes” about what is being communicated, but that rather what is more true of the situation is that no communication was taking place at all.

So it is when we begin to speak of relationship. Or, more precisely, When I speak of how my relationship with a human being is not dissimilar qua relationship that I might have with a tree. All I have to do is say that simple sentence and automatically we have a failure of communication right off the bat. For, whatever rebuttal might go in to contesting the sense of that statement is simply not comprehending what I’m saying.

And so I would figure that I should have to explain myself. For, what has happened right then is an assumption that there might be communication, but the plain and simple fact is The reason that I would have to explain is that communication has failed, and I am attempting to overcome this failure.

Here is an example of the relationship that I’m talking about then. For indeed it is not so much the relationship that I’m having with the human being, but indeed the relationship that I’m having with failure that is compelling me into a certain emotional response which requires me to intellectualize the problem in an effort to deny the failure. Here the relationship that I’m having with failure is offense.  It is not the relationship with the other person that is failing. For indeed we are communicating something just in the fact that I would make a statement in the presence of this other person, whether it is via text or via vocalization. There is a relationship and communication taking place regardless of the statement I make.l, yes. But I would argue to isolate that which has sense, or that which is significant to the relationship must be isolated in this particular sense of what communication is, is a non-Sequitur, or at least just plain selective viewing.

So here is a case in point of the truth of the statement that I made which was not communicated by virtue of the compulsion to give a rebuttal to it that it is not the case.


When we begin to understand that discourse does not necessarily draw from ideology, but indeed ideology may stem from the subject, as opposed to encompass or manifest as impetus or catalyst the subject, Then it is possible to see that indeed the significant relationships that I’m having with people are actually informed by a multiplicity of invisible or denied relationships that I am having around them, which contribute In a more substantial sense then the ideal which I usually carry into my sense of relationship, to my ability to have a relationship with them.

It is to this situation that Michel Foucault Refers knowledge-power , albeit for his moment yet now as a truncated form. Given that the gaze he speaks so much about is indeed the only way that he was able to view relationships; Which is to say, for his moment.

To use his term though, it is a particular gaze which sees human relationships as different and more significant than any other relationship we may have with things. Even as he brings in relations with things (qualities).

YVet, I might counter that I have different relationships with different human beings all the time and somehow I generalize them all to say they are different types of human relationships. Yet the relationship I’m having with this human being who is reading my post right now is there in such a different quality than the relationship I’m having with my wife, that one might take a moment and question how it is possible that I hold these two types of relationships under one category to say that they are more Similar in kind then the relationship that I would have with this lady bug that’s crawling on my flowers outside of my house.  

When we look at the quality of relationships in general, the way we divide up and categorize the importance of various relationships seems nearly as arbitrary as the words I would use to describe any object. I am not sure why the intimacy that I have with my favorite pillow is any different than the intimacy that I have with my trusted coworker.

I may have some ideas around it though, yes; but I can’t be sure just what the difference is. And then I would have to ask myself why and how am I relating significance and importance to various ideas over others.


“what is all this talk about relationships getting at?” You might be asking by now.

Really it stems out of my interactions with counseling, but it reaches into the very significance of philosophy; namely, object oriented ontology.

I am not arguing that an object oriented ontology is more true than any other orientation upon what might be true of being, though. Yet through my encounters with other people and trying to help them I notice more and more that what I figure is so obvious to me and should be obvious to this other human being is not only not obvious to them, but completely off the board of their ability to conceptualize.

This is so much the case that even people with very aggravated mental health problems would rather argue for the surety of their problems and how no one can help them including themselves, rather than be able to open their ideas to a sense of things that might be able to help them.

And I wonder if this is similar to philosophy itself. So rooted and entrenched in fixed ideas, including the fixed idea that thinking and rationality can solve our problems, that many philosophies fail to address the very fact of real matters and how such limited idealisms of the intellect might move to maintain and substantiate a problematic world.

I may not be done with this post yet, check back in a little bit. 

Author: landzek

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

5 thoughts on “The Nature of Relationship”

  1. What you seem to seek is pragmatism. I don’t think philosophy is good at problem solving. And a step further, I don’t think it claims that thinking and rationality can solve our problems. I think it’s good at asking the right questions for solving problems. I’m also not sure how many good answers have been put forth. So I wonder what else can lead to mutual awareness of truth and understanding between people, other than rational language and the process of thinking. And not thinking or rationality alone: Thinking that influences our actions.

    All of that aside, ultimately a concept is truly understood when language does not need to be present in the understanding. Ironically, language and communication are the most effective ways to express understanding besides artistic interpretation (This distinction may be pointless as the arts could fall into the category of language). So we are trapped to contend with a cycle of confusion and misunderstanding when attempting to learn about the world with others through observation, translation/transcription and then description. A good example of this trouble may well be questioning if you understand my comment here, as I have intended it to be understood.


    1. Yes. For my question goes to, if we really understand some thing, say for example, what philosophy is, then why are we still debating it? If we understand Hegel, why are we still discussing what he means?


    2. I am not seeking pragmatism. In fact, I’m not even sure there is such a thing as a human being that can be identified.

      But, I wonder if your last statement is salient both directions :

      “A good example of this trouble may well be questioning if you understand my comment here, as I have intended it to be understood.”


    3. I am not seeking pragmatism. In fact, I’m not even sure there is such a thing as a human being that can be identified.

      But, I wonder if your last statement is salient both directions

      A good example of this trouble may well be questioning if you understand my comment here, as I have intended it to be understood.”

      It appears to me, though, that your answer is quite dissociative. As though philosophy exists “nowhere” and is able to address things that have nothing to do with reality. But, I would say that it is the effort of philosophy itself that perpetually says it has something to say about everything, in fact. It promotes an idea of itself as though it should always have the last word, even if it is that it only has only a part to contribute.

      If anything I am saying, it is that philosophy concerns only itself. And indeed never transverse over into reality , That the traversal is a function of belief. But, that is indeed truth if the matter, ironically. 😄


    4. I keep thinking about your reply, and I’m not sure what you mean “philosophy is not pragmatic “ ? Or that it claims thinking and rationality can solve our problems.

      Can you elaborate a little more ?


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