First, second, third people

First-person thought is perspectival, understood when it is inhabited, seen-from, felt-from, known-from, experienced from. Understanding first-person thought is about finding the from, from which the thought understands whatever is presented. It is “where you’re coming from” as hippies say. First-person thought does not always refer to I; the best of this genre omits I to leave room at the center for the addressee (the reader or hearer) to occupy. It invites to understand, and if the invitation is declined, the understanding (subject) is misunderstood as something to be understood (object). Do you understand?

Second-person thought is relational, understood when it is heard as addressed-to. Second-person thought makes the thinker’s being actual and particular: from me to you. It might give, or demand, or praise or accuse, or ask or tell, but in second-person two people are present in the thought.

Third-person thought is objective. It is universalistic. It’s not about me or you, but what is. It’ll argue your head off.

Leave a Reply