The Personalist Project

Comments (5)

Katie van Schaijik

#1, Nov 25, 2011 7:28pm

Thanks for that great post, Teresa!

I'll respond more substantively later (we are heading out for dinner shorty.)  For now two quick practical items:

I took the liberty of using the quote function to offset the two long quotations from our manifesto (which was authored for us by John Crosby.)  I partly wanted to demonstrate the function.  Select the relevant portion of the text, then click the quotations icon in the toolbar of the individual comment window.  It will ident for you.

Second: Our "about us" pages are in need of some updating.  Specifically, we are no longer operating as a non-profit org.  Will get to those changes soon.

Many thanks for checking out that manifesto, and for admiring it as it deserves to be admired.

Katie van Schaijik

#2, Nov 26, 2011 10:53am

I forgot to say good luck on the exam!

Jules van Schaijik

#3, Nov 27, 2011 12:16am

I also love the insights you mention Teresa. In particular the first one, i.e. that persons are subject to particular moral callings that are true for them alone.

In The Ethics of Authenticity, Charles Taylor also mentions this idea, and he connects it very helpfully with a powerful moral ideal that underlies modernity.  I want to quote the entire passage, which means I am going to have to use two comments. (I know. That's cheating.)

Herder put forward the idea that each of us has an original way of being human. Each person has his or her own ‘measure’ is his way of putting it. This idea has entered very deep into modern consciousness. It is also new. Before the late eighteenth century no one thought that the differences between human beings had this kind of moral significance. There is a certain way of being that is myway. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s. But this gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life, I miss what being human is for me.

Jules van Schaijik

#4, Nov 27, 2011 12:27am

This is the powerful moral ideal that has come down to us. It accords crucial importance to a kind of contact with myself, with my own inner nature, which it sees as in danger of being lost, partly through the pressures toward outward conformity, but also because in taking an instrumental stance to myself, I may have lost the capacity to listen to this inner voice. And then it greatly increases the importance of this self-contact by introducing the principle of originality: each of our voices has something of its own to say. Not only should I not fit my life to the demands of external conformity; I can’t even find the model to live by outside myself. I can only find it within.

I love this passage not only for the idea it expresses, but also for illustrating how Christian Personalism is the "hermeneutical key" needed to integrate the truths of the past with the genuine contributions of modernity.

It is all too easy for people like myself to dismiss phrases like "being true to myself". They smack of subjectivism and emotionalism. But Personalism can incorporate the truth behind them while avoiding their dangers.

Katie van Schaijik

#5, Nov 28, 2011 12:18pm

On that same point, I remember John Crosby reading a passage from chapter 2 of Jacques Maritain's Existence and the Existent in an ethics class back in Liechtenstein that impressed me deeply—about the uniqueness of certain moral calls and the way the saints are "venerable but not immitable" in some of their acts, such as when Jane Frances de Chantal entered the convent over the wailing protests of her children, or when St. Francis ate nothing but 1/2 a loaf of bread for an entire Lent. 

I'll see if I can find it.

On the second point, I thinks it's a key to the problem of co-dependency.  More on that when I've given more thought. 

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