Thursday, December 2, 2010

Personalism as Belief, as Philosophy

"So then in love, in freedom, there is a conscious will for another person's good, an unqualified good, a good unlimited, that is a person's happiness." --author unknown

Personalism stands great as a philosophy and a compass for modern man. It is what the modern, current of 'human rights' stands upon; it supports the modern view of relationships, especially marriage, and it advocates the rights of animals and children to name a few areas in which Personalistic philosophy has something to say about man and modern, life values.

The ideas and ideals of personalism came into the fore with the increasing developments of science and technology during previous centuries. While often identified with Christian values, personalism is a wider concept and practice. The Hindu, Ramanuja of the 12th century advocated for it; elements of the philosophy are tangible in Judaism and other religions of the East.

While many of us encounter personalistic attitudes on a day to day basis, for example in areas like human rights, very few of us consider the basis for such a belief or practice like 'human rights.'
Most simply stated the notion of personalism necessarily carries that a person is a created being of worth and dignity; that all persons are valuable, none are expendable and all must be regarded as one, whole and complete. Personalism believes, protects and advocates for natural life in every and all instances.

Personalists regard every person as a creation of free will, possessing agency of the self, a personality unique and distinct. Personalism regards the role of metaphysics as the right justification of the person; through self awareness and knowledge-experience, one grasps value and meaning by these same experiences. In the metaphysical realm, the experience and understanding of a creative force, a god who created the self along with the universe is first contacted and known through the experience of a unified, whole and complete, giving love.

The French writer, nobleman and adventurer, Antoine de St. Exupery follows this personalistc mould closely. He writes in his book, Wind, Sand Sea and Stars that it is love, finally, when the will enters into the equation, providing a conscious commitment of one's freedom in respect to another person, in recognition and affirmation, providing a creative contribution of the love that develops between the persons. Thus love is between persons, existing in a space that is neither one nor the other, is created, and not possessed. So then in love, in freedom, there is a conscious will for another person's good, an unqualified good, a good unlimited, that is a person's happiness.

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction. "           --Antoine de St. Exupery

We desire moreover to make the beloved happy, to please them and see to their good. It is this precisely that makes possible for a person to be re-born in love, to become alive, aware of the riches within himself, of his creativity, his spirituality, of his fertility. The person, in love, compels belief in his own spiritual powers; it awakens the creativity and the sense of worth within the individual. And yet for all its lofty abundance, human lovers must learn to translate their highest impulses into the everyday world. Personalism carves a way for this sense-experience and translates it into life experiences borne of justice, peacefulness, friendship, compassion and love.

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