Relationships have always been a source of love and strength for all human beings through all the ages. There is mutual love and sharing which takes place in relationships. The relationship is at its best when ‘the other’ comes before ‘me’. When the other takes a front seat in our lives then we notice a kind of selflessness within us. In this essay let us deal with the statement of the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, ’The other is my hell.’
I do not know much about his life; hence I will be slow in reaching a definite conclusion. I am sure that he has not simply come to the conclusion that the other is my hell. Placing him in context, I feel that maybe he must have been in situations where other persons were nasty, indifferent or cold towards him. This must have happened to him many times which finally led him to the conclusion that ‘the other is my hell.’
According the concept of concern by Heidegger, we are human beings who are inter- related and not individual islands on this earth. We are called to exhibit our love and concern for the other in ways that make the other feel cared for (interpreted). Whenever another fellow human being goes astray, it is not s/ he alone who have gone astray but also a part of us. I say this precisely keeping in mind the evil activities going on in our society. I feel that those who are involved in such activities are directly responsible and those living in the society are indirectly responsible.
Coming back to the topic, I feel that when Sartre said that ‘the other is my hell’ he definitely knew that he too was ‘hell’ for someone else in the society. I totally disagree with Sartre and also feel a sense of empathy with him. I don’t think it is rational to blame him or his situations for the definition of the other that he gave. The only thing possible is to either accept or reject what he says.
According to me, the other is not only what I perceive the other to be but much more and far beyond that. What we see is what we get and hence when I see the other as a human being who is full of goodness and possibilities, that is precisely what that person turns out to be. God created us in His own image and likeness; we can’t be hell for each other but can make hell very present for the other.
All that we do is based on our choices. The choices to eat, drink, sleep, watch a movie, and hang out with friends and so on. We are destined for higher things and hence I think that we can make a heavenly experience for each other here on earth and the most appropriate to do it is now.