Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spiritual fatigue and unwillingness to journey to the center of the other’s personality

Shortly after its inception, the contributors of Vox Nova have generally been labeled as “liberal” or “leftist.” Anxietas Monday, June 11, 2007
To seek out a fusion of horizons is necessary for any kind of authentic personal (relation) exchange, be it political or otherwise, and it is an unending process subject to those same dynamic progressions encountered within the very core of one’s personality. It is unending because the person himself infinite, whose very (super) intelligibility recedes and is resolved into the mystery of its Creator, in whom the human person has been created as an ‘image.’ Indeed, to encounter the other in such a transcendent manner respectful of his unique incommunicability and infinite value requires much effort, in fact, it is the task of a lifetime.
How much easier is it, then, to stand outside the inner mysteries of the person, outside the hidden depths and wonders of the other calling out to the deep within one’s own being—abyssus abyssum invocat (Psalm 42)—and subsume the other’s transcendent personality within the limits and confines of a label? How much easier is it for the weary spirit to reduce the other to a category, to an idea, a belief, or to the anonymous individuality proper only to a member of a larger collective? Augustine already protested how the categories are insufficient to a true understanding of God (cf. Confessions 4.16), how can they serve with any kind of efficacy to treat his images!
Far from reaching the other in an authentic mode of discourse, one reduces—because of his own spiritual fatigue and unwillingness to journey to the center of the other’s personality—the other to an idol, a conceptual idol; in operating within such a mode of inauthenticity, he also reduces his own self. “You are a ‘liberal’ and I a ‘conservative;’” “you are ‘heterodox’ and I ‘orthodox;’” etc. Each of these is the imposition of a self-crafted category, each is the construction of a conceptual idol, a construction that has as its art the reduction of the transcendent vastness of personhood to the paltry precincts of the finite.
An idol is something crafted by one’s own art in the attempt to capture the transcendent—in that, at least, there is the desire for the transcendent. Far from capturing the transcendent within its own limited confines, however, the idol only reflects its artisan’s gaze back upon itself, objectifying both that which the idol would represent and the idolater himself. Through one’s conceptual idols, then, he not only alienates himself from the other, from the one with whom he would pretend to reach (intellectual) communion, but he also alienates himself from his very self. In the heart of one’s spiritual communion with the other, which communion is demanded by the very nature of one’s personhood, there is introduced a rift whereby an ‘us-and-them’ dialectic emerges, a dialectic that is not one meant to reach synthesis but end only in the alienation and annihilation of the other.
A person cannot be so reduced to the objectifying limitations of a label, to ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal,’ ‘leftist’ or ‘right-wing.’ Any attempt to do so sadly introduces to the dialogue a depersonalizing mode of inauthenticity, resulting only in the shattering of inter-personal communion, the sundering of charity. Posted by Anxietas at 7:39 PM Comments (16) Trackback Links to this post Labels: , , , Vox Nova

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