In this article, the author examines the relationship between the human self and its two distinctive conditions – the Other, as any alternative form of being, and the Stranger, as hostility.
In the first part of the article, the author shows historical and cultural dimensions of Self and the Other in the European context. In this regard, anything that does not belong to a particular cultural area is deprived of ontological status and expelled. The Other has attributes of femininity or bestiality and is associated with evil or deviation. However, the extraordinariness of the Other causes a certain enchantment. Finally, the Other becomes an image of the mirror that offers a look at oneself from aside.
The second part exposes the structure of the relationship between Me and Thou according to the theory of Martin Buber (1878–1965). Here the monolithic world appears as a double. Openness, intimacy, and trust are characteristic for this construction. Aggressive forms of power are replaced with respect and responsibility.
In the third part, based on the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995), the totality of being is proved unlocked by interaction with the Other. It becomes possible as a response to sympathy and love. Therefore, the Other is revealed through his/her face that one can see, while human condition is based on the fact that a human cares for the existence of the Other.
Finally, in the fourth part, the author appeals to Julia Kristeva (born 1941) approach to the problem of Stranger. He finds out that the possibility of recognizing the essential elements of Stranger within our Self is an important aspect of human identity, as we will only be able to clarify our own purposes by accepting someone else in ourselves.