Człowiek bez właściwości. W poszukiwaniu duchowego horyzontu
Sobkowiak, Jarosław Andrzej
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Man without Qualities. Looking for Spiritual Horizon The language of old humanism is getting outdated. One would like to talk about man with new dynamism, in a new language, but we still do not have such. And even if there is one, everything seems to point to the fact than we are not able to use it properly. That is why all modern disputes on man do not bring about satisfactory results, and controversies focus on trivial arguments brought up for the occasion. In the diagnosis of the problem one element seems to recur, namely the use of impersonal form. “It is said…; it is done ….” – such apparently innocent phrases show the subject is afraid to think independently. Without courage to know there is no courage to act. Therefore after several decades there returns the idea of man once expressed in Robert Musil’s novel The Man without Qualities. In the first part of the article the “place” of revealing of such man is being analyzed. This place is revealed on one hand by the fact that man cannot live without qualities, so if he cannot work them out for himself, they will be forced upon him sooner or later; on the other hand man cannot live with qualities that are not his own (i. e. they have not been assimilated consciously and freely). Besides some dangers already hinted at in my previous works concerning the “new world order” (and consequently also moral one), we should now point out to the dangers of cultural relativism. Relativist trends are also observed in politics, community life and even religion. It seems therefore that for a subject crouched within the individual self the only chance to “regain” qualities is an attempt to look for a spiritual horizon. First of all it would be necessary to regain certain horizon on mere thinking and discourse plane. Nietzsche’s thesis that morality is only a language reflecting influences can no longer be upheld. Return to the so-called life practice, a concept of A. MacIntyre’s, has been put under critical analysis along these lines. Today that thesis seems impossible to uphold in its original form. Another horizon is therefore necessary, one that would be able to create – within the framework of little traditions – that universal Tradition, which would not rule out diversity, but provide a common fundament. We cannot live according to particular morality in the global world. J. Ratzinger’s proposal to renew the praxis of faith seems to be the solution. The point is not only to practice morality, but to realize that true Christian morality is a revealed one. It means that its essence is not committing acts remindful of Christian rules, but acting with faith as the basic incentive, where the acts themselves are fruit of such incentive. It would seem therefore that the way to get back the “qualities” by modern man is – on one hand – giving up on the belief that a renewal of life structures alone will bring about renewal of man, and on the other hand – man opening freely to the horizon of faith must realize that the freedom he experiences is fragile and it must finally find some rootedness. A particular impulse to reflect on regaining qualities is given by the Pontifical Biblical Commission document The Bible and Morality. It points out that man must belong somewhere, must draw on specific heritage, and express himself in certain structures. The first element of rootedness is the fact of the covenant that makes man accept morality as fruit of that covenant. In consequence man without qualities would be devoid not only of moral fundaments, but also of his esse. And moral acts follow precisely the rule of agere sequitur esse.
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