Sunday, 14 September 2014

Not I

I'm looking forward to this production at Birmingham Rep of 3 of Samuel Beckett's plays: Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby. I've bagged a ticket for Saturday night and am quite excited as I've never seen any Beckett live despite enjoying him for years on paper. I bought the ticket because I thought I should get out more and, appropriately, I came across the following passage in my current reading - Vladimir Tasic's Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought - in which the author is putting forward a argument by Johann Gottlieb Fichte:

My being has some initial familiarity with itself. However, I can only advance from this initial point by interacting with things other than me. I can reflect upon myself all I like, but, as the German poet Novalis wrote, "what reflection finds, seems to have been there already." Introspection is not enough, so I am always in need of some "other," something that I am not. And I can only know something that I am not by noting its "impact" on me, how it affects me, its resistance to my actions. Hence, I must always act, realize myself in the larger, resistant world of the "not-I": material world, language, culture.