Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The True Nature of Man and his Communion - Some Thoughts

This year I am following another course in moral philosophy at university and I have been quite troubled by a number of hesitations in proclaiming a moral truth unambiguously. We may often baulk at a particular manifestation of what we in civil society commonly title 'wrongdoing' yet we are hard-pressed to justify our insistence coherently and efficaciously. There seems to be no safe passage from the uncertain atheistic secular mindset that rejects objective value while at the same time projecting the vague transcendental principles of Liberty, Equality and Choice. As Catholic Christians, we are able to assert heartily to these three yet we are not without a foundation, a concrete basis. We may contemplate value in the cosmos as a reflection of the intra-Trinitarian glory and communion of love and as priests through our baptism, gather up the fragments of a broken world and offer them through Christ to the adoration of the Blessed Trinity.
On the other hand, a world produced randomly, a matter of chance (however 'fortuitous it may appear) possesses no intrinsic worth and is therefore ripe for manipulation, exploitation and deformation. Man in his angst, struggles to 'define' himself in the midst of uncertainty, arbitrariness without purpose, and finishes up consuming himself in his fight for survival. He views the other as his 'original sin' to utilise a phrase from Sartre, his 'hell', the Other is reduced to a threat to his liberty and preservation. Difference is viewed suspiciously and results in division. Such a state of affairs leads us directly to a confrontation between an individual's 'self-interest' and his 'duty/obligation' to those who inhabit the space around him that he must endure.
We have but one end, and that is in the beatific vision of God, our Origin and Hope. Human society must exist in a mode of being reflective of this intra-Trinitarian communion of life and love, of distinct Persons but Who are constituted by unique relations. The Father, the Source of the Godhead brings forth willingly the hypostasis of the Son and breaths forth the Spirit, yet one cannot be imagined without the other. Such must be our attitude and behaviour on a created level, and a failure to actualise this will harm ourselves irreparably. In the Person of the Son, Who comes to us willingly and in obedience to the Father's decree, man becomes capable of finding the other in this one divine hypostasis, realising authentic communion and brotherhood. As we all know, movements which fail to be centered on the Descent of the Logos and His Supreme Oblation are destined to failure. They often degrade man and consider him as a product of the market place, an economic unit, or at best, an individual with biological requirements that must be attained. Only in Christ, does man find his truth, his nature, his personhood.

For this I am indebted to Met. John D. Zizioulas.

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