Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 1: The Desire for Mutual Recognition

 Image credit  Copyright © Robert Bergman 1993. All Rights Reserved.

Image credit Copyright © Robert Bergman 1993. All Rights Reserved.

This chapter introduces the idea of the desire for mutual recognition as a manifestation of our inherently social nature. After initially describing this desire as a longing to become fully present to the other and to see and be seen by the other in a relation of what Martin Buber called I and Thou, the chapter makes use of a remarkable photographic portrait by artist Robert Bergman to enable the reader to experience mutuality of Presence while reading the chapter itself. The aim here is to draw the reader out of his or her learned detachment and into direct contact with another human through the use of a work of art on the otherwise printed page. The chapter then more deeply develops the importance of this idea in a larger social context, emphasizing the central role that this psychospiritual desire plays in all social and historical processes. The example of the lived experience of the feudal lord is used to contrast social theory that sees the lord from the outside as a socio-economic actor with the method of lived reciprocity used in this book.

Peter Gabel