Michael R. Bartley

“There is a real ‘me’ but it is real as a project over time that is being brought into being through this particular body, born in this particular time and place to these particular parents. It is how this body has learned to negotiate over time with the ‘we’ which precedes it and is around it. It is this body over time that is different from anybody else’s.”

I think personally one of the struggles, particularly for those of us like myself, who live and work the religious life is the expectation that our “real me” is a formed “real me” and one that is more easily shared. However, if I take Alison serious, the formed me is a constantly forming me– the social other does simply cease to exist. For example, I am 50, watching my father who is 80 enter into his process of death. The imagines, the learning, the social other of his situation, not unlike the 365 days from 8-9 and the 365 days from 50-51 are different, my fathers days are marked with a type of other, sharing, questioning, learning that I glimpse– remember and feel and also expect. I am dependent in so far as I am constantly moving. The real me is not a real me positioned in a time but in time– that is moving constantly incapsulated, constantly evolving, constantly changing, constantly mimicking.