I really enjoyed James talk. The idea of the social other brought to mind some of the ideas of Bakhtin. It also made me think about how neuroscience is showing us how dependent we are on others for our identity. For example research on Romanian orphans who were left in their cot all day with little human contact has showed virtually a black whole where their orbitofrontal cortex should be.

The idea that our desires are also given to us or that we acquire them through others is for me quite sobering. It certainly makes me question where my desires and values come from. I reflected on the helpful practices that I was inducted into (contemplative prayer for example) and it was interesting the extent to which it was through others that I acquired these practices. This was also the case about some very unhealthy habits as well!