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Katie van Schaijik

The vision at the center of it all

Dec. 13 at 11:42am

I haven’t read this article about human nature and capitalism yet, but the opening lines provide a good articulation of the Personalist Project’s raison d’etre.

At the core of every social, political, and economic system is a picture of human nature (to paraphrase 20th-century columnist Walter Lippmann). The suppositions we begin with—the ways in which that picture is developed—determine the lives we lead, the institutions we build, and the civilizations we create. They are the foundation stone.

I’ll say more. The modern period has seen a dramatic development in our understanding of human nature, viz. we have come to see ourselves as persons. We were with John Crosby this weekend, and he reminded us: (I paraphrase) “In the medieval period, the concept of person was almost exclusively reserved for trinitarian theology. It is only in the modern period that we have begun to conceive of ourselves as persons.”

Hence, a careful and rigorous re-thinking and re-envisioning is in order: a brooding over the mystery, a drawing out of its implications in all spheres of human life. And, as is fitting for creatures who are made for communion, this brooding belongs to be done in dialog, among friends.

Someday, we hope to be part of a real center for Christian personalism: a place where personalist reflection is cultivated and unfolded, personalist principles are taught and published, and a rich personalist way of living is embodied.


 

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