The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 4:23:20

“Stepping back” the paradoxical beginning of love and communion

Katie van Schaijik, Dec 16, 2015

Looking for a quote in Guardini's The World and the Person just now—to adorn a post about ego-transcendence I'm working on—I come across these wonderful lines [my bold]:

The first step toward the "Thou" [i.e., toward regarding the other as a subject and a self, rather than as a mere object in my world] is that movement which means "hands off" and clears the space in which the person's capacity of serving as his own purpose can be realized. This is the first exercise of justice and the basis of all "love." Personal love begins decisively not with a movement toward the other but away from him. At the same moment my own attitude also changes. In the measure in which I release the being which at first I regard only as an object, and consider it as a self meeting me from its own center, permitting it to become my "Thou," I pass from the attitude of a using or fighting subject into that of the "I."

The other day I found a companion thought in a book about recovery from traumatizing narcissism.

The analyst provides the analysand a new beginning with his non-impinging, abiding presence, offered in the service of the analysand's efforts at reparative self-delineation. 

This is a profoundly personalist insight. We have to give others the spiritual space they need to allow their own subjectivity to emerge. We have to guard the space around our own subjectivity, not allowing others to impinge on it.