Peter, welcome to the Forum. Yes, indeed, James’ thinking on the ‘social other’ is life changing: “The social other is everything in the world that is other than ‘me’. It is prior to us and includes other people, the climate, the weather, the country, the geography, the atmosphere, the agriculture that enables food to be grown and so on. God is not part of the social other, God is the Other other. …..We desire according to the desire of the other, and who we are is given by the regard of another. It is the social other which reproduces itself in and as the body of each of us, thus bringing into being that subsection of ‘we’ which is a ‘me’. “
Or, as the French psychiatrist Jean-Michel Oughourlian expresses it, ‘we are not individual, we are interdividual’.
I look forward to further discussions with you.