- love/ fear. This distinction – between “love” and “fear” – is the core idea of three books of Peter Gabel: i) “The bank teller and other essays on the politics of meaning” (2010), ii) “Another way of seeing. Essays on transforming law, politics and culture” (2013) and iii) “The desire for mutual recognition. Social movements and the dissolution of the false self” (2018). In fact, in the last book, Peter Gabel summarizes his vision in the first two chapters, while the following ones are only applications of this vision. According to the author, we could draw a distinction between: ego/ alter/ other – as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ontological/ gnoseological positions: these positions correspond to the 1st/ 2nd/ 3rd singular pronouns. All of them are composed of three zones: 1) the true self = the core, the private self, the “Me” expressed by the message: “I am NOT who I am”; 2) the false self = the periphery, the public self, the “I” expressed by the meta-message: “I am who I am”; and 3) the moat, or the separating space between the true self/ the false self. Also, all of those entities – ego/ alter/ other – are in a relation of either love (presence, participation, recognition) = Eros, or fear (absence, withdrawal, alienation) = Thanatos. So, the first two chapters summarized Peter Gabel’s vision, while the subsequent chapters describe how this vision could be found a) at the personal level (like the meditation), b) at the group level (the street, the workplace, the family, the nation and the race) or c) at the universal level (for example: the social/ economical/ political fields). Before ending these notes, I want to present three critical points of view. Concerning the distinction between “ego/ alter/ other”, this distinction uses the assumptions provided by the native language: for instance, there are also 1st, 2nd and 3rd plural positions; also: depending on the language, the 3rd form of the singular/ plural pronoun could be more scarce (like in Romanian language), or more detailed (see the German language); and finally those positions could be completed with: the divinity position, the environment position, the meta position, and so on and on. This was the first critique and now follows the second critique. Concerning the distinction between “false self/ true self” there is an entire literature, starting from Donald Woods Winnicott and George Herbert Mead, passing through Gregory Bateson and Carl Gustav Jung, and arriving at Richard Rohr and Monika Kostera: in fact, the false self could be found at the core as well as at the periphery; or, even, the two selves – the false one and the true one – could occupy the same zone (for example, the core). So, I arrived at the third critique. Concerning the third pair of concepts – “love/ hate” – Peter Gabel himself is pointing to other works, previous to his, debating the problem in a similar vein – see: Jessica Benjamin (2018): “Beyond doer and done to. Recognition theory, intersubjectivity and the third”, or “Daniel Stern (1985): “The interpersonal world of the infant. A view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology”.
- Benjamin, Jessica (2018): “Beyond doer and done to. Recognition theory, intersubjectivity and the third”, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
- Gabel, Peter (2010): “The bank teller and other essays on the politics of meaning”, Quid Pro Books
- Gabel, Peter (2013): “Another way of seeing. Essays on transforming law, politics and culture”, Quid Pro Books
- Gabel, Peter (2018): “The desire for mutual recognition. Social movements and the dissolution of the false self”, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
- Stern, Daniel (1985): “The interpersonal world of the infant. A view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology”, Karnac Books