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We cannot conclude our investigation of the acting person without considering, even if only in a cursory way, the issue of intersubjectivity.

Man's Acting "Together with Others"

The starting point for our discussions was the conviction that action marks a special moment in the manifestation of the person; and in the course of our study we have unraveled the various aspects of the person's dynamism in the action. Action has been indeed the road which led us to an understanding of the person and has simultaneously allowed us to grasp its own nature; for action not only carries the means, and a special basis, of the intuition of the person, but it also discloses its own self with every step that brings us nearer the person. On this road we have relied throughout on a strict correlation of the disclosure of the person and that of action, within one and the same pattern of which the person and his action are two poles; each strictly corresponds to the other; each displays and explains the other from its point of view. This correlation envisaged in its dynamic unfolding gradually reveals the main lines for the interpretation of the acting person.

The present chapter, the last in this study, adds one more element to the previously constructed and outlined whole. This new element, though actually contained in all the previous ones, has not received the attention it deserves and must be examined more thoroughly. We will now investigate that aspect of the dynamic correlation of the action with the person which issues from the fact that actions can be performed by human individuals together with others. The expression "together with others" lacks the necessary precision and does not describe sufficiently the reality it refers to, but for the moment it seems the most appropriate inasmuch as it draws attention to the diverse communal or social relations in which, in most cases, human actions are involved. This of course is a direct and natural consequence of the fact that man lives "together with other men," and indeed we may even go so far as to say that he exists together with other men. The mark of the communal - or social - trait is essentially imprinted on human existence itself.

Understanding "Cooperation" Requires an Understanding of Human Acting

The fact that man lives and exists together with others, as well as the effect this has on his manifesting himself in acting, on the action as such, relates to that reality we usually refer to as "society" or "community." Nevertheless, our purpose here is not to investigate the nature of society; and we do not intend to insist upon the assertion that human actions have a social significance, because this would lead our discussion to a totally new level and away from the level on which both our subject matter and our methods have been situated so far. On the contrary, our intention is to keep to our initial approach and to confine ourselves to the acting person as the first aim and the pivot of our investigations. In this chapter we wish merely to consider that aspect in the dynamic correlation of the action with the person which comes as a consequence of the fact that man lives and acts together with other men. This fact could also be defined as "cooperation," and yet between the two expressions there is a clear semantic difference: "to cooperate" is not the same thing as "to act together with others." For the time being we may as well use the latter expression, which appears to be more amenable to further differentiations and any subsequent, more precise definitions that may prove to be necessary in this connection.

We know human actions are performed in various interhuman relations and also in various social relations. When we say they are performed "together with others," we have all these different relations in mind without going into the details of any particular one. Together they form part of that aspect of the action and of the dynamic correlation of action with the person which we have not yet considered. The omission was not due to the inner logic of the problem as a whole; it appears natural that only a thorough understanding of the nature of man's acting can lead to a correct interpretation of cooperation, and not the other way round. The dynamic correlation of the action with the person is in itself a fundamental human reality and it remains such also in any actions performed together with others. In point of fact, only on the basis of this fundamental relation can any fact of acting together with other people assume its appropriate human significance. Such is the basic sequence, which cannot be reversed or neglected, and it is this sequence we shall follow in our inquiries.

The Participatory Aspect in the Person's Acting "Together with Others"

It is only natural that the fact of acting together with other people and the many different relations and reference systems it involves will raise new problems in our discussion. We well know how extensive and how rich is the realm of, for instance, sociology, which by its investigations of the nature and types of societies and social life indirectly shows man as a member of various social groups or communities that in turn influence his acting. But let us stress once again that we are not interested at present in the problems of acting from the point of view of all its complex and extensive sociological implications; in particular we will not consider its specifically sociological significance. Since the acting person is the focal point of our study, it would require a shift in our argument to a totally new level. This is further justified by the fact that the dynamic correlation of the notion of "action" with that of "person" is also the basic and fundamental reality in all the multifarious actings that have a social, communal, or interhuman character. Actions, which man performs in all his different social involvements and as a member of different social groups or communities, are essentially the actions of the person. Their social or communal nature is rooted in the nature of the person and not vice versa. And yet, to grasp the personal nature of human actions it is absolutely necessary to consider the consequences of the fact that they may be performed "together with others." The question emerges: How does this fact affect the dynamic correlation itself of the action with the person? This question is the more pressing if we emphasize that acting "together with others" is not only frequent and usual, but indeed of universal occurrence.

The answer we are seeking will emerge gradually from the series of discussions in this chapter entitled "Intersubjectivity by Participation." As we have insisted upon above, participation seems to be one of the basic channels of the dynamic correlation of the action with the person whenever acting is performed "together with others." An explanation of this statement, however, has to be reached step by step.



The Performance of the Action Is a Value76

Before we continue our investigations we must look back at the whole of the previous analysis to see the strictly personal content of the action. We will then notice that the performance itself of an action by the person is a fundamental value, which we may call the personalis tic - personalistic or personal - value of the action. Such a value differs from all moral values, which belong to the nature of the performed action and issue from their reference to a norm. The personalistic value, on the other hand, inheres in the performance itself of the action by the person, in the very fact that man acts in a manner appropriate to him, that self-determination thus authentically inheres in the nature of his acting and the transcendence of the person is realized through his acting. This, as we have shown, leads to integration in both the somatic and the psychical sphere of man. The personalistic value, which inheres essentially in the performance itself of the action by the person, comprises a number of values that belong to the profile either of "transcendence" or of "integration," because they all, in their own way, determine the performance of the action. Thus, for instance, every synthesis of action and motion introduces a specific value that differs from that constituted by the synthesis of action and emotion, though the one and the other inhere in the dynamic whole of the performance of the action. Each in its own way conditions and brings about man's self-determination.

The "personalistic" value of the human action - that is, the personal value - is a special and probably the most fundamental manifestation of the worth of the person himself. (Since this study is primarily concerned with the ontology of the person there is no place in it for considering axiology. Even this approach, however, may give some insight into the axiology of the person so far as a definition both of the value of the person as such and of the different values within the person and the hierarchy of their mutual relations is concerned.) Although being is prior to action, and thus the person and his value is prior to and more fundamental than the value of the action, it is in actions that the person manifests himself - a fact we have been stressing from the first. The "personalistic" value of an action, strictly related to the performing of the action by the person, is therefore a special source, and the basis of knowledge about the value of the person (as well as about the values inherent in the person), according to their appropriate hierarchy. Essentially the correlation of the action with the person is valid also in the sphere of axiology, similarly as in the sphere of the ontology of the person.

The "Personalistic" Value of the Action Conditions Its "Ethical" Value

The personalistic value of an action is essentially to be distinguished from the strictly "moral" values and those values of the performed action which spring from their reference to norms. The difference between them is clearly apparent; the "personalistic" value is prior to and conditions any ethical values. Obviously any moral value, whether good or bad, presupposes the performance of the action, indeed full-fledged performance. If action fails to be actually performed or if it betrays in some respects the authenticity of self-determination, then its moral value loses its foundations or at any rate partly loses them. Hence any judgment about moral values, about any merits or demerits attributed to man, have to begin by determining efficacy, self-determination, and responsibility; in other words, we have first to establish whether this particular man-person did or did not perform the action. It is this precondition that all the discussions and differentiations concerning the will and its functions referred to in the traditional approach.

And yet the performance of the action by the person should not be seen as having a purely ontological significance; on the contrary, we should attribute to it also an axiological significance, since, as we have proposed above, the performance itself of the action by the person is a value. If we call this value "personalistic" it is because the person performing the action also fulfills himself in it, that is, acquires a personal feature. In reverse, "moral evil" may be regarded as the opposite of fulfillment; indeed, it is a nonfulfillment of the self in acting. When the person actualizes himself in the action, his appropriate structure of self-governance and self-possession is manifested. It is in this actualization, which we have defined as the "performance of the action," that ethical value is rooted; it emerges and develops on the "substratum" of the personalistic value, which it permeates but as we have already noted, is not to be identified with it.

The Relation of "Communal Action" to the Personalistic Value of Action

We have been moving, so far, on the borderline of personalistic and ethical values, and from time to time we have even, though only indirectly, moved from the first to the second. Nevertheless, the proper terrain for our investigations remains the personalistic value alone. It cannot be emphasized enough that it is the role of this value to allow us, in fact, to estimate the full-fledged performance - or the defects of the performance - in human actions. In this connection it is perhaps worth recalling the traditional teaching on human actions (de actibus humanis), which drew a distinction between the "perfect" and "imperfect" volitions (the term "volition" referring to the will as the "power" that action depends upon). Here action and performance are related to the person, not denying the traditional approach but supplementing it in an attempt to rethink it to the end. For does not the will as a power spring forth from the person in his self-determination whereby the person manifests his appropriate nature? To reduce the content of volition to will seen as an autonomous power alone may to some extent impoverish the reality manifested in the action.

To disclose the dynamic correlation of action-person and to explain it will take us along the shortest and the most direct road to the personalistic value of the action. Limiting the analysis of human acting to the level of the will understood as a power reduces the significance of action with regard to both its ontology and its axiology; it does so also with regard to "ethical axiology"; in this approach action appears to have a merely instrumental significance relatively to the whole ethical order. Moreover, the personalistic notion of the action through its many different aspects supplies convincing evidence of the authenticity of the personalistic value. This value is not yet, as stated above, in itself "ethical," but, springing from the dynamic depth of the person, reveals and confirms ethical values. It thereby allows us to understand them better in their strict correspondence with the person and with the whole "world of persons.

This has a fundamental significance in connection with the fact mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, namely, that man acts together with other men. We there asked: What are the consequences of this fact for the dynamic correlation itself of the action with the person? We now have to ask another question that makes the first more precise: What is the significance of acting "together with others" for the personalistic value of the action?




The Person in the Philosophy of Man

How does man, we ask, fulfill himself when acting together with others in the different interhuman or social relations? How does his action then retain that fundamental unity with the person which we have defined as the "integration" or the "transcendence" of the person in the action? In what way do man's actions preserve within the context of acting "together with others" the hierarchy of values that issues from both "transcendence" and "integration"?

Such questions as "how" and "in what way" do not imply doubt or uncertainty; they only draw attention to the problems that arise when the fact of acting "together with others" is considered. There is no need, however, to dissimulate any doubts, at any rate not when their source has a methodic character. Indeed, doubt permeates through and through the thinking and the mind of contemporary man. In philosophical anthropology, on the one hand, the controversial positions taken probably result from the transition from the traditional to new points of view where attention is centered precisely on the person. The traditional philosophy of man, on the other hand - even in its conceptions of the person - tended to underline the role of nature: the nature of man is supposed to be rational and he is the person in virtue of the function of reason; but at the same time he has a "social" nature. In this respect the way of thinking about man has evolved not toward the rejection of the principle itself but rather in search of a better understanding and more comprehensive interpretations. Nobody seems to doubt either that the nature of man is "rational" or that he also has a "social nature." We have to ask, however, what does this mean? Our questions thus refer to the meaning of these assertions from the point of view of acting, that is, of the dynamic correlation of the action with the person.

Our aim is to explicate more fully the social nature of man for the sake of gaining more insights into the human person. With this in mind we must return to the starting point. At the origin of the assertion concerning the social nature of man there can be nothing more fundamental than the experience that man exists, lives, and acts together with other men - an experience that we also have to account for in this study. The expression "social nature" seems to signify primarily that reality of existing and acting "together with others" which is attributed to every human being in, as it were, a consequential way; obviously this attribute is the consequence of human reality itself and not inversely.

Participation as a Trait of Acting "Together with Others"

In this approach the questions we are discussing are by no means secondary; on the contrary, they are of primary importance. We have now reached a point at which we can provide a more precise definition of "participation." The term is used in its current sense, the one best known and most widely applied in everyday use, but it also has a philosophical meaning. In current usage "participation" is more or less equivalent to having a share or a part in something. We may speak for instance of participating or taking part in a meeting; we then state the fact in the most general and, so to speak, static way. We do not reach the core of the phenomenon of participation. The philosophical meaning of "participation" indicates, on the contrary, its very essence. In this latter sense the term has a long and eventful history as concerns both its philosophical and theological applications. We are here concerned not so much with a superficial assertion of the fact that a concrete man takes part together with other men in some kind of interacting, but rather in disclosing the basis of his role and his share in this interacting. It is in the structure of the person that it is to be sought.

The notion of "participation" as conceived in traditional philosophy seems to have been more connected with nature. It is the person's transcendence in the action when the action is being performed "together with others" - transcendence which manifests that the person has not become altogether absorbed by social interplay and thus "conditioned," but stands out as having retained his very own freedom of choice and direction - which is the basis as well as the condition of participation. It also corresponds to the situation we emphasize over again, namely, of the integration of the person in the action; as we know, the latter is a complementary aspect relative to the former. To be capable of participation thus indicates that man, when he acts together with other men, retains in this acting the personalistic value of his own action and at the same time shares in the realization and the results of communal acting. Owing to this share, man, when he acts together with others, retains everything that results from the communal acting and simultaneously brings about -in this very manner - the personalistic value of his own action.

Participation as a Trait of the Person Acting "Together with Others"

The stress laid on the words "in this very manner" emphasizes the real nature of this participation. First, the idea of "participation" is used here in order to reach to the very foundation of acting together with other persons, to those roots of such acting which stem from and are specific to the person himself. Second, everything that constitutes the personalistic value of the action - namely, the performance itself of an action and the realization of the transcendence and the integration of the person contained in it - is realized because of acting together with others.

Participation thus represents a feature of the person itself, that innermost and homogeneous feature which determines that the person existing and acting together with others does so as a person.77 So far as acting itself is concerned, participation is responsible for the fact that the person acting together with others performs an action and fulfills himself in it. We see now that participation is the factor that determines the personalistic value of all cooperation. The sort of cooperation - or, more precisely, of acting together with others - in which the element of participation is missing, deprives the actions of the person of their personalistic value. On the other hand, we know from experience that in acting with other people situations may arise which in different ways limit self-determination and thus also the personal transcendence and the integration of acting. Indeed, the limitation of the personalistic value may sometimes go so far that we can hardly speak of "acting together with others" in the sense of the "authentic" actions of the person. Under certain conditions "acting" (as the synonym of the "action") may change to denoting something that only "happens" to a particular man under the influence of other human beings. An extreme example of this is so-called "mass psychology," when a large group of men may begin to act in an uncontrolled way and so affect the behavior of individuals.

Participation Renders Multiform Interpersonal Relations Possible

All this must be taken into consideration when defining the notion of "participation" in its proper sense. In the diverse relations of acting together with others, participation presents itself as an adaptation to these relations and hence as a multifarious reference of the person to other persons. In explaining, if only in outline, the form and the content of participation, we must examine communal acting in its objective as well as subjective aspect. In addition, we must undertake some other analyses, although even then we shall not exhaust the essential meaning and the substance of "participation"; as conceived of here it not only applies to the different forms of the reference of the person to "others," of the individual to the society, but it also denotes that very foundation of these forms which inheres in and corresponds to the person.

First, participation corresponds to the person's transcendence and integration in the action because, as we have already emphasized, it allows man, when he acts together with other men, to realize thereby and at once the authentically personalis tic value - the performance of the action and the fulfillment of himself in the action. Acting "together with others" thus corresponds to the person's transcendence and integration in the action, when man chooses what is chosen by others or even because it is chosen by others - he then identifies the object of his choice with a value that he sees as in one way or another homogeneous and his own. This is connected with selfdetermination, for self-determination in the case of acting "together with others" contains and expresses participation.

When we say that "participation" is a distinct feature of the person we do not mean the person in the abstract but a concrete person in his dynamic correlation with the action.

In this correlation "participation" signifies, on the one hand, that ability of acting "together with others" which allows the realization of all that results from communal acting and simultaneously enables the one who is acting to realize thereby the personalistic value of his action. However, this ability is followed by its actualization. Thus the notion of "participation" includes here both that ability and its realization.




The Theoretical and Normative Significance of Participation

The conception of "participation" that we are developing in this study has a theoretical significance. As stated earlier, it is required in our attempt to explain - on the ground of the dynamic correlation of the action with the person - the reality of the social nature of man. The conception is theoretical but it is also empirical in the sense that the theory of participation explains the fact of man's acting as well as his existing together with other men. Moreover, it is apparent that the theory has simultaneously an indirectly normative significance; it not only tells us how the person acting together with others fulfills himself in his acting, that is, how he realizes the personalistic value of his action, but it also points indirectly to certain obligations that are the consequence of the principle of participation. For if in acting "together with others" man can fulfill himself according to this principle, then, on the one hand, everyone ought to strive for that kind of participation which would allow him in acting together with others to realize the personalistic value of his own action. On the other hand, any community of acting, or any human cooperation, should be conducted so as to allow the person remaining within its orbit to realize himself through participation.

Such is the normative content that has emerged so far from our analyses. It is this content that seems to determine the normative -and not only the theoretical - significance of participation. This significance is instilled into the different systems of acting "together with others" by means of the personalistic value, which it strictly corresponds to and relies upon. Since the personalistic value of action is - as we know - the fundamental value conditioning both ethical values and the ethical order, the norm of conduct that issues from it directly must also have a fundamental significance. Such a norm is not, in the strict sense of the term, ethical; it is not the norm of an action performed because of the action's objective content, but one that belongs to the performance itself of the action, to its personal subjectiveness - an "inner" norm concerned with safeguardmg the self-determination of the person and so also his efficacy. We earlier discussed these matters in some detail, so that the boundary between the strictly ethical and the personalistic order should now be considered sufficiently defined and distinct.

Individualism and Totalism as the Two Limitations of Participation

At the same time, however, the personalistic value so conditions the whole ethical order in acting and cooperation that the order is also determined by it. The action must be performed not because only then can it have an ethical value - and can that value be assigned to it - but also because the person has the basic and "natural" (i.e., issuing from the fact that he is a person) right to perform actions and to be fulfilled in them. This right of the person attains its full sense and import as a right with respect to acting "together with others." It is then that the normative significance of participation comes into full light and is confirmed. For it is in acting together with others that the performance of actions - the performance that is simultaneously the fulfillment of the person in action, and the performance and fulfillment in which the personalistic value of the action consists - can be limited or definitely thwarted. This may happen in two ways: first, there may be a lack of participation caused by the person as the subject-agent of acting; second, participation may become impossible for reasons external to the person and resulting from defects in the system according to which the entire human community of acting operates.

At this point in our analysis we encounter two systems, the implications of which must be considered, if only in part. One of these is called "individualism"; the other has received different names, more recently "objective totalism," though it could just as well be called "anti-individualism." Since a full-scale discussion of the two systems would lead us away from the chief objectives of this study we will consider only some of their implications. It is necessary to note, however, that they both have an axiological and indirectly an ethical significance.

Individualism sees in the individual the supreme and fundamental good, to which all interests of the community or the society have to be subordinated, while objective totalism relies on the opposite principle and unconditionally subordinates the individual to the community or the society.

Clearly, each of these systems has entirely different visions of the ultimate good and the foundation of norms. Furthermore, each system occurs in a wide range of variations and shades, so much so that their analysis would require comprehensive sociological and historical studies. For these reasons we must put aside the exploration of these momentous problems and even simplify them somewhat; we will restrict our considerations only to those essential trends which according to the formulations just introduced characterize the two systems. We shall concentrate our attention on the implications they may have for the main theme of our present discussion, which is the acting person in all the different situations that may arise in his acting "together with others."

As has been maintained so far, inherent in acting "together with others" is the principle of participation, which is the essential trait of such acting and a special source of the rights and obligations of the person. The person has as his specific attribute the right to perform actions and the obligation to fulfill himself in action. This obligation results from the personalistic value inherent in fulfillment.

Each of the two systems or trends - whether it be individualism or objective totalism - tends in different ways to limit participation either directly, as a possibility or an ability to be actualized in acting "together with others," or indirectly, as that feature which is of the essence of the person and which corresponds to his existing "together with others," his living in a community.

Individualism Implies a Denial of Participation

Individualism limits participation, since it isolates the person from others by conceiving him solely as an individual who concentrates on himself and on his own good; this latter is also regarded in isolation from the good of others and of the community. The good of the individual is then treated as if it were opposed or in contradiction to other individuals and their good; at best, this good, in essence, may be considered as involving self-preservation and self-defense. From the point of view of individualism, to act "together with others," just as to exist "together with others," is a necessity that the individual has to submit to, a necessity that corresponds to none of his very own features or positive properties; neither does the acting and existing together with others serve or develop any of the individual's positive and essential constituents. For the individual the "others" are a source of limitation, they may even appear to represent the opposite pole in a variety of conflicting interests. If a community is formed, its purpose is to protect the good of the individual from the "others." This in broad outline is the essence of individualism, the variations and different shades of which we shall not consider here. We should notice, however, that individualism carries with it an implied denial and rejection of participation in the sense we have given it before; from the individualistic point of view an essentially constituent human pr6perty that allows the person to fulfill himself in acting "together with others" simply does not exist.

Totalism as Reversed Individualism

The denial of participation is also implied in totalism or anti-individualism, which may be looked upon as "reversed individualism." The dominant trait of totalism may be characterized as the need to find protection from the individual, who is seen as the chief enemy of society and of the common good. Since totalism assumes that inherent in the individual there is only the striving for individual good, that any tendency toward participation or fulfillment in acting and living together with others is totally alien to him, it follows that the "common good" can be attained only by limiting the individual. The good thus advocated by totalism can never correspond to the wishes of the individual, to the good he is capable of choosing independently and freely according to the principles of participation; it is always a good that is incompatible with and a limitation upon the individual. Consequently, the realization of the common good frequently presupposes the use of coercion.

Again, we have presented but a summary outline of the thinking and proceedings characteristic of the system of anti-individualism, in which the principles of individualism are clearly apparent but viewed in reverse and applied to contrary ends. Individualism is concerned with protecting the good of the individual from the community; the objective of totalism, in contrast - and this is confirmed by numerous historical examples - is to protect a specific common good from the individual. Nevertheless, both tendencies, both systems of thinking and proceedings have at their origin the same conception of man.

The Conception of the Human Being Underlying Both Systems

The way of thinking about the human being underlying both systems may be defined as "impersonalistic" or "antipersonalistic," inasmuch as the distinctive characteristic of the personalistic approach is the conviction that to be a person means to be capable of participation. Obviously, if this conviction is to mature it has to find its concretion in reality: it has to be cultivated and developed. It is not only human nature that forces man to exist and to act together with others, but his existing and acting together with other human beings enables him to achieve his own development, that is, the intrinsic development of the person. This is why every human being must have the right to act, which means "freedom in the action," so that the person can fulfill himself in performing the action.

The significance of this right and this freedom is inherent in the belief in the personalistic value of human action. It is on account of this value and because of it that the human being has the right to the total freedom of acting. This leads to the rejection of both individualism and anti-individualism together with all their erroneous implications.

On the one hand, the total freedom of action, which results from its personalistic value, conditions the ethical order and simultaneously determines it. On the other hand, the moral order instills into humaji actions - in particular, those within the orbit of acting "together with others" - those determinants, and thus also limitations, which are the consequence of purely ethical values and norms. The determinants and the limitations so introduced are not, however, opposed to the personalistic value; for it is only in the "moral good" that the person can fulfill himself, inasmuch as "evil" means always a "nonfulfillment."

There can be no doubt that man has the freedom of acting; he has the right of action, but he has not the right to do wrong. Such is the general trend of the determinant, which while issuing from the rights of man corresponds nevertheless to the personalistic order.



Participation as a Constitutive Factor of the Community

We know that individualism and totalism (anti-individualism) grow out of the same soil. Their common root is the conception of man as an individual, according to which he is more or less deprived of the property of participation. This way of thinking is also reflected in the conceptions of social life, in the axiology of the society and in ethics, or, more precisely, in those different axiologies of the society and different social ethics which proceed from the same ground. It is not our intention to examine the details of the many varieties of individualism and anti-individualism, which have been widely studied. We should note, however, that in the thinking about man characteristic of these two tendencies there seems to be no sufficient foundation for any authentic human community.

The notion of "community" expresses the reality that we have been focusing upon in the present chapter, in which "acting and existing together with others" has been repeatedly mentioned. The human community is strictly related to the experience of the person, which we have been tracing from the first but especially at this stage of our discussions. We find in it the reality of participation as that essential of the person which enables him to exist and act "together with others" and thus to reach his own fulfillment. Simultaneously, participation as an essential of the person is a constitutive factor of any human community.

Because of this essential property the person and the community may be said to coalesce together; contrary to the implications manifest in the individualistic and anti-individualistic thinking about man they are neither alien nor mutually opposed to each other.

The Community Is Not the Subject in Acting

In order to grasp more precisely the meaning of "participation" - and this is now our chief aim - we have to look at it from the point of view of the community. Actually, such has been our standpoint from the first, and it is the reason why we have so often used the expression "together with others" in our analyses of the action and the being of the person. The notion of "community" is correlated with this expression while simultaneously it introduces a new plane of action or a new "subjectiveness" in the acting. Indeed, as long as we are speaking of acting or being "together with others" the man-person remains the manifest subject of the acting and being, but once we begin to speak of the community, then what so far has been contained in an adverbial sentence, can now be expressed in substantival and abstract terms.

However, we should now speak of a "quasi-subjectiveness," rather than of a proper subject of acting. All the people existing and acting together are obviously exercising a role in a common action but in a different way than when each of them performs an action in its entirety. The new subjectiveness is the share of all the members of a community, or, in a broader sense, of a social group. In fact, it is but a quasi-subjectiveness, because even when the being and acting is realized together with others it is the man-person who is always its proper subject. The human individuals constitute, each of them, the basic order of action. The term "community," like "society" or ''social group,'' indicates an order derived from the first one. Being and acting "together with others" does not constitute a new subject of acting but only introduces new relations among the persons who are the real and actual subjects of acting. In all discussions about the community this comment is necessary to avoid misunderstanding. The concept "community," also in its substantival and abstract sense, seems to come very near to the dynamic reality of the person and participation, perhaps even nearer than such notions as "society" or "social group."

Associational Relationship and Community Membership

To analyze the notion of "community" we may and must consider as many - almost indefinitely numerous - facts as in the analysis of the acting person, a point already stressed in the introductory chapter of this study. Moreover, in either case it is necessary to apply methodologically analogical procedures. These remarks confirm once again the need to adhere to the same approach that we adopted at the start of these investigations. It is on this level of investigation that we shall have to analyze the relation existing between participation and community membership.

Within the community we find the human being, with all his dynamism, as one of its members. There are different terms and expressions to denote this membership, suited to the different kinds of relationships within the community or group. Thus "kinship" tells us of membership in a family group, a "compatriot" is one who belongs to a national group, and a "citizen" is a member of a still broader society represented by the state. These are only examples, for innumerable other social groups or communities have associated according to different principles, such as religious and other affiliations. In each of these examples man's associational relationship is differently constituted.

Sociologists quite rightly point to the semantic difference between the terms "society" and "community": "society" objectivizes the community or a number of mutually complementary communities. Since in this study our objective is to disclose the bases or foundations of things, we are primarily concerned with community membership rather than with the associational relationship of the society. The examples noted above tell of membership in different kinds of communities; they not only indicate the principle of membership in a community but also the different bonds and relations that exist between men and women belonging to these communities. For instance, words such as brother and sister stress the family bonds rather than that membership in a family group denoted by the term kinship.

In the rich resources of language there are countless words that stress - like all the terms in the previous examples - the fact of the community itself, the communal existence of human beings and the bonds that are formed among them on account of their communal existence. There are, however, other words that denote first of all the community of acting rather than the communal existence, the community of being. For instance, when speaking of an apprentice, an assistant, or a foreman, we imply that there is a team or group working together; the stress is then on the community of acting and the bonds thus formed, while communal existence, the community of being, is implied only indirectly.

Associational Relationship Differs from Participation

In the preceding section we saw that man can be a member of different communities, all of which are the product of man existing or acting together with other men. At present we are mainly interested in the "community of acting" because of its closer relation to the dynamic action-person correlation as a basis and a source of cognition. Nevertheless, the "community of being" always conditions the "community of acting," and so the latter cannot be considered apart from the former. The crux of the problem lies, however, in that membership in any of these communities is not to be identified with participation. This is perhaps best illustrated by the following example. A team of laborers digging a trench or a group of students attending a lecture are communities of acting; each laborer or student is a member of a definite community of acting. These communities may also be considered from the point of view of the aim that its members are collectively striving for. In the first case, the aim is the trench, which in turn may serve other aims, such as laying foundations for a construction. In the other, the aim is to learn about the problems that are the theme of the lecture, which in turn forms part of a course of studies and thus of the students' curriculum. We also see that all the diggers and all the students have a common goal. This objective unity of goals helps to objectivize the community of acting itself. Hence, in the objective sense, a "community of acting" may be defined according to the aim that brings men to act together; each of them is then a member of an objective community.

From the point of view of the person and the action, however, it is not only the objective community of acting but also its subjective moment, which we have here called "participation," that is importanf. The question is whether a man belonging to a community of acting, like those mentioned in our examples, is in a position in his communal acting to perform real actions and fulfill himself in them; the possibility of this performance and the fulfillment it brings about are determined by participation. Nevertheless, even when acting "together with others" man can remain outside the community that is constituted by participation.

At this point we are faced with a problem that can never be resolved without at least a cursory look at the question of the so-called "common good." We already know that the moment of participation inheres among others in choice; man chooses what others choose and indeed often because others choose it, but even then he chooses it as his own good and as the end of his own striving. What he thus chooses is his own good in the sense that he as the person can fulfill himself in it. It is participation that enables him to make these choices and to undertake this way of acting "together with others." Perhaps it is only then that such acting deserves to be called "cooperation," inasmuch as acting "together with others" does not by itself necessarily result in cooperation (just as it does not necessarily initiate the moment of participation). Within the sphere of acting, just as within the sphere of existing, a community may remain at the objective level and never pass to the subjective level.




The Common Good and the Problem of Community and Participation

We now see that the solution to the problem of the community and participation lies not in the reality itself of acting and existing "together with others," but is to be looked for in the common good, or, more precisely, in the meaning we give to the notion of the "common good." If the meaning of "common good" is for us the same as that of the "good of the community," then we understand it correctly though we run a serious risk of one-sidedness. This onesidedness threatens in the domain of axiology and is similar to that suggested in anthropology by the conceptions of individualism and anti-individualism. The common good is obviously the good of the community - or, to go even further in the direction of objectivation, the good of the society - but it has still to be clearly defined in the light of the foregoing considerations.78

Evidently, the very fact that people act together is sufficient to ascertain the existence of an objective community of acting, as for instance in the cases of the team of laborers digging a trench or of the group of students attending a lecture. In this context the common good as the good of a definite community of acting - and this is always connected with a community of being - may be easily identified with the goal of the community. Thus for the laborers the common good may appear to be solely the completion of the excavation, and for the students the commitment to memory of the information contained in the lecture.

These common goods, however, may also be considered as links in a teleological chain, in which case every one of them is seen as a means to attain another goal that now presents itself as the common good; thus the excavation dug out by the laborers will serve to lay the foundations for a future construction, and the attended lecture is but a link in a long and complex process of learning with examinations as a formal test of the knowledge acquired in that particular field.

Teleological and Personalistic Conceptions of the Common Good

To identify the common good, however, with the goal of common acting by a group of people is manifestly a cursory and superficial simplification. The preceding examples lead to the conclusion that the goal of common acting, when understood in a purely objective and "material" way, though it includes some elements of the common good and has reference to it, can never fully and completely constitute it.

This assertion becomes obvious in the light of our previous analyses. It is impossible to define the common good without simultaneously taking into account the subjective moment, that is, the moment of acting in relation to the acting persons. When we consider this moment we see that the common good does not consist solely in the goal of the common acting performed by a community or group; indeed, it also, or even primarily, consists in that which conditions and somehow initiates in the persons acting together their participation, and thereby develops and shapes in them a subjective community of acting.

We can conceive of the common good as being the goal of acting only in that double - subjective and objective - sense. Its subjective sense is strictly related to participation as a property of the acting person; it is in this sense that it is possible to say that the common good corresponds to the social nature of man.

In our investigations we have tended to avoid going into the details of that extensive and momentous domain of axiology and ethics which is associated with the notion of the "common good" and determines its full significance. We have concentrated on the common good primarily as the principle of correct participation, which allows the person acting together with other persons to perform authentic actions and to fulfill himself through these actions. Our concern is therefore with the genuinely personalistic structure of human existence in a community, that is, in every community that man belongs to.

The common good becomes the good of the community inasmuch as it creates in the axiological sense the conditions for the common existence, which is then followed by acting. If we can say that in the axiological order the community, the social group, or the society are established by the common good, then we can define each of them according to its appropriate common good. Acting is then considered jointly with being, with existing.

The common good, however, belongs primarily to the sphere of being "together with others," while the acting together with others is insufficient to disclose the whole reality of the common good, though it also plays its role in this respect. Even groups that are brought together mainly by their common acting rather than by any social bonds - for instance, a group of laborers excavating a trench or of students together attending a lecture - not only strive through their acting together to attain their goal but also manifest in different ways the appropriate modes of participation of the individual members of a community of acting.

The Common Good as the Foundation of Authentic Human Communities

In groups established on the principle of a temporary community 'of acting, participation is neither manifested as clearly, nor realized to the same extent, as in communities where their stability is grounded in the fact of being together - for instance, a family, a national group, a religious community, or the citizens of a state. The axiology of these latter communities, which is expressed in the common good, is much deeper. Consequently the foundations of participation are much stronger, while the need of participation is much more acute.

In such communities of being - they have earned the name of natural societies because they inherently correspond to the social nature of man - each of its members expects to be allowed to choose what others choose and because they choose, and that his choice will be his own good that serves the fulfillment of his own person. At the same time, owing to the same ability of participation, man expects that in communities founded on the common good his own actions will serve the community and help to maintain and enrich it.

Under conditions established according to this axiological pattern he will readily relinquish his individual good and sacrifice it to the welfare of the community. Since such a sacrifice corresponds to the ability of participation inherent in man, and because this ability allows him to fulfill himself, it is not "contrary to nature."

Thus the priority of the common good, its superiority over the partial or individual goods, does not result solely from the quantitative aspect of the society; it does not follow from the fact that the common good concerns a great number or the majority while the individual good concerns only individuals or a minority. It is not the numbers or even the generality in the quantitative sense but the intrinsic character that determines the proper nature of the common good. This treatment of the problem is a continuation of our criticism of individualism and anti-individualism; it follows from our earlier discussion of participation and serves as a further c6nfirmation of the conclusions then reached. We can see how from the reality constituted by "common acting" and "common being," participation emerges as a dynamic factor of the person and the action and also as the basis of every authentic human community.



A Pre-ethical Analysis

The discussion of the proper significance of the "common good," that is, of the relation that ought to exist between participation as the essential dynamic spring of a person and the common good, leads us to consider some attitudes that characterize the acting and being "together with others." First, we must distinguish the attitudes of "solidarity" and of "opposition." We propose that the proper meaning of both "solidarity" and "opposition" emerges from the investigation of the community of acting or being and by reference to the common good specific for this community. To start with, the meaning of these terms is associated with a certain qualification of action that ultimately becomes an ethical qualification. In the present analysis, however, we will concentrate rather on the personalistic significance of each of these attitudes and consequently the qualification itself which we have in mind will remain at a pre-ethical rather than an ethical level. Our aim remains, indeed, to outline the structures of human acting and in this connection to underline the value of the fulfillment of an action rather than that type of value of a performed action which issues from its relation to ethical norms. Of course, we may from this approach pass easily to an ethical analysis, once we assume the very performance of an action constitutes a good, which by its immanent value becomes an obligation. Undoubtedly, the performance itself of the action is a good of the kind that imposes an obligation on the one who performs it as well as on others, and this latter is an essential element of social ethics.

Here we intend to continue our interest in the subjective performance of actions and in its immanent value so far as this value is personalistic. It is in these relations that we can find the key to the interpretation of the person's appropriate dynamism, also within the framework of different communities of acting and being. Thus we will investigate the above-mentioned attitudes, primarily in the personalistic perspective and in this sense pre-ethical. At the same time, however, we must keep in mind that here, even more than throughout this study, we are moving upon the territory of ontology and ethics, to which we are committed by the axiological aspect of action and by the wealth of values inextricably involved in the ontology of the person and the action.

The Attitude of Solidarity

The attitude of "solidarity" cannot be dissociated from that of "opposition," for each is necessary to the understanding of the other. The attitude of solidarity is, so to speak, the natural consequence of the fact that human beings live and act together; it is the attitude of a community, in which the common good properly conditions and initiates participation, and participation in turn properly serves the common good, fosters it, and furthers its realization. "Solidarity" means a constant readiness to accept and to realize one's share in the community because of one's membership within that particular community. In accepting the attitude of solidarity man does what he is supposed to do not only because of his membership in the group, but because he has the "benefit of the whole" in view: he does it for the "common good." The awareness of the common good makes him look beyond his own share; and this intentional reference allows him to realize essentially his own share. Indeed, to some extent, solidarity prevents trespass upon other people's obligations and duties, and seizing things belonging to others. In this sense solidarity is in harmony with the principle of participation, which from the objective and "material" point of view indicates the presence of "parts" in the communal structure of human acting and being. The attitude of solidarity means respect for all parts that are the share of every member of the community. To take over a part of the duties and obligations that are not mine is intrinsically contrary to participation and to the essence of the community.

Nevertheless, there are situations in social and individual life that make it necessary. In such a situation, to keep strictly to one's own share would mean, in fact, lack of solidarity. Such a possibility indicates that in the attitude of solidarity the reference to the common good must always remain alive: it must dominate to the extent that it allows one to know when it is necessary to take over more than one's usual share in acting and responsibility. That acute sense of the needs of the community which distinguishes the attitude of solidarity emphasizes above any particularism or divisions the mutual complementariness between the members of the solidaristic community; every member of a community has to be ready to "complement" by his action what is done by other members of the community. This mutual complementariness is in a way an intrinsic element in the very nature of participation, which we are now interpreting subjectively, that is, as the dynamic factor of the person, and not just objectivelY as the "parts" that are the share of every participant in the communal structure of acting and being. It is why we see in the attitude of solidarity an intrinsic manifestation of participation as a feature of the person. It is this attitude that allows man to find the fulfillment of himself in complementing others.

The Attitude of Opposition

As mentioned above, the attitude of solidarity does not contradict the attitude of opposition; opposition is not inconsistent with solidarity. The one who voices his opposition to the general or particular rules or regulations of the community does not thereby reject his membership; he does not withdraw his readiness to act and to work for the common good. Different interpretations of opposition that an individual may adopt with respect to society are of course possible, but here we adopt the one that sees it as essentially an attitude of solidarity; far from rejecting the common good or the need of participation, it consists on the contrary in their confirmation. This opposition aims then at more adequate understanding and, to an even greater degree, the means employed to achieve the common good, especially from the point of view of the possibility of participation. We have experience of innumerably different types of oppositions that have been continually expressed in the course of man's existing and acting "together with others," which show that those who in this way stand up in opposition do not intend thereby to cut themselves off from their community. On the contrary, they seek their own place and a constructive role within the community; they seek for that participation and that attitude to the common good which would allow them a better, a fuller, and a more effective share of the communal life. It would be too easy to quote endless examples of people who contest - and thus adopt the attitude of opposition - because of their deep concern for the common good (e.g., parents may disagree with the educational system or its methods because their views concerning the education of their children differ from those of the official educational authorities).

It would need a thorough inquiry to show the essence of opposition in all its aspects, whereas we may here only indicate it. The attitude of opposition is relative, on the one hand, to that particular view one takes of the community and of what is good for it, and on the other, it expresses the strong need to participate in the common existing with other men and even more so in the common acting. There can be no doubt that this kind of opposition is essentially constructive; it is a condition of the correct structure of communities and of the correct functioning of their inner system. More precisely, in order for opposition to be constructive, the structure, and beyond it the system of communities of a given society must be such as to allow the opposition that emerges from the soil of solidarity not only to express itself within the framework of the given community but also to operate for its benefit. The structure of a human community is correct only if it admits not just the presence of a justified opposition but also that practical effectiveness of opposition required by the common good and the right of participation.

The Sense of Dialogue

We thus see that the common good has to be conceived of dynamically and not statically - a fact that has been noted earlier. In fact, it must liberate and support the attitude of solidarity but never to a degree such as to stifle opposition. It seems that the principle of dialogue is very aptly suited to that structure of human communities and participation which satisfies these needs. The notion of "dialogue" has different meanings, but here we are primarily concerned with the one that is operative in the formation and the strengthening of interhuman solidarity also through the attitude of opposition. Undoubtedly opposition may make the cooperation of men less smooth and more difficult, but it should never damage or prevent it. The principle of dialogue allows us to select and bring to light what in controversial situations is right and true, and helps to eliminate any partial, preconceived or subjective views and trends. Such views and inclinations may become the seed of strife and conflict between men, while what is right and true always favors the development of the person and enriches the community. Dialogue, in fact, without evading the strains, the conflicts, or the strife manifest in the life of various human communities takes up what is right and true in these differences, what may become a source of good for men. Consequently, it seems that in a constructive communal life the principle of dialogue has to be adopted regardless of the obstacles and difficulties that it may bring with it along the way.



Authentic and Nonauthentic Attitudes

All that was said so far about solidarity and opposition as well as our general option of the principle of dialogue (a more detailed justification of this option would require a separate study) has to be constantly verified in juxtaposition with that truth about the action and the person which we have been laboriously striving for throughout this book. Both the attitude of solidarity and that of opposition appear to be intrinsically "authentic." In the first place, each allows the actualization not only of participation but also of the transcendence of the person in the action. (We have submitted to comprehensive analyses this transcendence - the self-determination and the fulfillment of the person.) In the second place, it appears that in either of those attitudes transcendence may play its role. Thus in this sense both attitudes are authentic inasmuch as each respects the personalistic value of the action.

Evidently, recognizing the essential role for both attitudes, it has to be kept in mind that in practice they have to be constantly tested as well in the interpretation given to specific situations as in other actual manifestations. Indeed, the lack of discernment may very easily distort the attitude of solidarity as well as that of opposition, changing either of them in concrete situations into nonauthentic attitudes deprived of their true personalistic value. The touchstone for discernment is the dynamic subordination of action to truth that is so essential for the person's transcendence in the action. This subordination is reflected in the righteous conscience, the ultimate judge of the authenticity of human attitudes. Also, the common good as recognized has to manifest itself in its relation to the righteous conscience, which safeguards its dynamism and the viability of participation.

Speaking of the possible loss of authenticity, which threatens the attitudes of solidarity and opposition, each in a different way and for different reasons, we have to make note of some nonauthentic attitudes, which we shall define here by popular rather than scientific terms. One of these attitudes is currently called a servile "conformism" and the other may be called "noninvolvement"; either may develop when man deviates from the authentic attitudes of solidarity and opposition by depriving them of those inherent elements which are the condition of participation and the personalistic value. The neglect of these elements may gradually change solidarity into conformism and the attitude of opposition into that of noninvolvement. It would, however, be an accidental occurrence, whereas the essential cause of the lack of authenticity in either of these distorted attitudes seems to be of a fundamental nature. It is on this assumption that we will now proceed with our discussion.

Conformism as a Nonauthentic Attitude

The term "conformism" derives from "to conform" and denotes a tendency to comply with the accepted custom and to resemble others, a tendency that in itself is neutral, in many respects positive and constructive or even creative. This constructive and creative assimilation in the community is a confirmation and also a manifestation of human solidarity. But when it begins to sway toward servility, it becomes highly negative. It is this negative tendency that we call "conformism." It evidences not only an intrinsic lack of solidarity but simultaneously an attitude of evading opposition; in short, a noninvolvement. If it still denotes man's assimilation with the other members of a community, it does so only in an external and superficial sense, in a sense devoid of the personal grounds of conviction, decision, and choice. Thus conformism consists primarily in an attitude of compliance or resignation, in a specific form of passivity that makes the man-person to be but the subject of what happens instead of being the actor or agent responsible for building his own attitudes and his own commitment in the community. Man then fails to accept his share in constructing the community and allows himself to be carried with and by the anonymous majority.

Even when the servile attitude of conformism does not become an outright denial or limitation, it always indicates a weakness of personal transcendence of self-determination and choice. It is this weakness that clearly shows the personalistically negative significance of the attitude of conformism. The problem of conformism obviously does not lie solely in the submission to the other members of the community, all the more so as such a submission may very often be a positive symptom. It lies much deeper and consists in a definite renunciation of seeking the fulfillment of oneself in and through acting "together with others." We may say that the manperson complies with his own self being as absorbed by the community. At the same time, however, he himself withdraws from the community.

Conformism in its servile form then becomes a denial of participation in the proper meaning of the term. A mere semblance of participation, a superficial compliance with others, which lacks conviction and authentic engagement, is substituted for real participation. Thus the specifically human ability of shaping creatively his community is dwarfed, annihilated, or perverted. This state of things cannot but have a negative effect on the common good whose dynamism springs from true personal participation. Simultaneously, conformism favors situations marked by indifference toward the common good. We may then look at it as a specific form of individualism leading to an evasion from the community, which is seen as a threat to the good of the individual, accompanied by a need to dissimulate oneself from the community behind a mask of external appearances. Hence conformism brings uniformity rather than unity. Beneath the uniform surface, however, there lies latent differentiation, and it is the task of the community to provide for the necessary conditions for turning it into personal participation.

Situations of prevailing conformism can never be accepted as satisfactory; for when people adapt themselves to the demands of the community only superficially and when they do so only to gain some Immediate advantages or to avoid trouble, the person as well as the community incur irremediable losses.

Noninvolvement as a Nonauthentic Attitude

The attitude, which we have called "noninvolvement," seems to be characterized by a disregard for those appearances of concern for the common good which also characterizes conformism. In spite of the fact that the attitude of conformism evades opposition, that of avoidance evades conformism. This latter does not thereby adopt an authentic feature of opposition, which would consist in both an active concern for the common good and in participation. Noninvolvement is nothing but a withdrawal. It may sometimes manifest a protest, but even then it still lacks the active concern of participation; moreover, it characterizes man's absence from his community. The absent, as the saying goes, are always in the wrong. This is very often found to be true in the case of noninvolvement, though sometimes the attitude is adopted in the hope that absence can be expressive, that it may in certain situations involve taking a position in an argument; noninvolvement then becomes a kind of substitute or compensatory attitude for those who find solidarity too difficult and who do not believe in the sense of opposition. Indeed, it would be impossible to deny that this attitude may result from a deliberate conscious decision and then its essentially personalistic value has to be acknowledged. But even if there are valid reasons to justify its being adopted by the individual these same reasons become an accusation of the community insofar as it has caused it. After all, if participation is a fundamental good of a community, when participation becomes impossible - as in the attitude of noninvolvement when justified by the existing conditions - the functioning and the life of the community must somehow be defective. If the members of a community see the only solution to their personal problems in withdrawal from the communal life, this is a sure sign that the common good in this community is conceived of erroneously.

Nevertheless, for all that may in a way justify noninvolvement as a kind of shrunken compensatory attitude for full-fledged fulfillment, we cannot consider it as authentic. At many points it borders on conformism, not to mention the instances when both attitudes merge into something that might perhaps be defined as a "conformist noninvolvement." The most important, however, is the fact that either attitude causes man to abandon his striving for fulfillment in acting "together with others"; he is convinced of being deprived of his prerogatives to be "himself" by the community and thus tries to save it in isolation. In the case of conformism he attempts to maintain appearances but in that of noninvolvement he no longer seems to care about them. In either case he has been forcibly deprived of something very important: of that dynamic strain of participation unique to the person from which stem actions leading to his authentic fulfillment in the community of being and acting together with others.



Two Interrelated Systems of Reference

Thus we are led to an even deeper layer of the reality of the person when his existing and acting is viewed from the standpoint of his membership in a community "together with others." The problem of participation appears to have been discussed sufficiently in contemporary sociological and anthropological studies with respect to the fact that man belongs to various communities simultaneously. His membership in any one of them entails a specific reference system, which the differentiation of a whole range of persons belonging to the same community makes very complex and rich. This reference system of being a "member" of a group is closely related to another one that also plays a very important role in participation and is best designated by the word "neighbor." In spite of the nearness and even some mutual overlapping of these systems of references, they are not identical. The content of the notion of "neighbor" differs essentially from what is contained in the notion "member of a community." Each points toward different possibilities and different tendencies within the personal participation. Each expresses differently the personal and the social nature of man.

If neighbor and member of a community are then two different notions each representing different forms and different reference systems, it is because to be and to act "together with others" places man within the range of diverse relations. The terms "neighbor" and "member of a community" (society) may help to understand better and more precisely the idea of participation. Indeed, "participation" itself means something else when it refers to a member of a community than when it refers to a neighbor.

To some extent, however, the two notions concur. As a member of a community, man is also another man's neighbor; this brings them closer together and makes them, so to speak, "closer" neighbors. Hence with respect to the membership of the same community the circle of every man's neighbors is either closer or more distant to him. It is natural for us to be closer with our family or our compatriots than with the members of other families or other nations. In this system of reference closer relationships always tend to displace the more distant ones; but of course in interhuman relations there is also alienation or estrangement. The notion of neighbor has, however, a deeper application than closeness (as opposed to alienation) in interhuman relations, and it is thus more fundamental than the notion of membership in a community. Membership of any community presupposes the fact that men are neighbors, but it neither constitutes nor may abolish this fact. People are or become members of different communities; in these communities they either establish close relations or they remain strangers - the latter reflects a lack of the communal spirit - but they are all neighbors and never cease to be neighbors.

The Interrelation of All Men in Humanness

This brings us to the axiological moment of great significance at this stage of our discussion when we are concentrating on the personalistic value in the community of being and acting. The notion of "neighbor" forces us not only to recognize but also to appreciate what in man is independent of his membership in any community whatever; it forces us to observe and appreciate in him something that is far more absolute. The notion of "neighbor" is strictly related to man as such and to the value itself of the person regardless of any of his relations to one or another community or to the society at large. The notion takes into account man's humanness alone, that humanness which is concretized in every man just as much as it is in myself. It thus provides the broadest basis for the community, a basis that reaches deeper than estrangement; it unites human beings, all human beings who are even members in different human communities. Although membership in a community or society presupposes the reality that is referred to in the notion of "neighbor," it also limits and in some respects removes to a more distant plane or even overshadows the broader concept of "neighbor"; it puts into the forefront man's relation and subordination to a given community - while when speaking of a neighbor we stress, on the contrary, only the most fundamental interrelations of all men in their humanness. The notion of "neighbor" refers then to the broadest, commonly shared reality of the human being and also to the broadest foundations of interhuman community. Indeed, it is the community of men, of all men, the community formed by their very humanness that is the basis of all other communities. Any community detached from this fundamental community must unavoidably lose its specifically human character.

From this point of view we have to look again at the problem of participation and try to reach to its ultimate consequences. We have already investigated the significance of participation with respect to the membership of the man-person in different communities, the membership which reveals and confirms his social nature. We now see, however, that the ability to participate has a wider scope and extends over the whole connotation of the notion of "neighbor." The man-person is capable not only of partaking in the life of a community, to be and to act together with others; he is also capable of participating in the very humanness of others. It is in this ability to participate in the humanness of every human being that all types of participation in a community are rooted, and it is there that it receives its personal meaning. This is what is ultimately contained in the notion of "neighbor."

Participation Consists in Sharing the Humanness of Every Man

The notion of "neighbor" brings out at last the full significance of that specific reality which from the beginning of this chapter we have been referring to as "participation." At this point it is important to emphasize that in the light of our reflection, any suggestions tending to mutually oppose the notions of "neighbor" and "member of a community" or to separate them from each other appear wholly unwarranted. We mentioned earlier their partial concurrence and now we intend to examine it closer. The basic concurrence of these notions is evidenced by the societal nature of man, even though it is in the relation to this nature that the difference between a neighbor and a member of a community becomes clearly apparent. We are not to assume, moreover, that the system of reference denoted by the term "neighbor" is the basis of all interhuman relations or that "member of a community" refers to the basis of social relations. Such an interpretation would be superficial and insufficient. The two systems of reference overlap and interpenetrate not only in the objective order, which shows every neighbor as belonging to a community and every member of a community as a neighbor, but also in the subjective order of participation. We have presented in this respect participation as a dynamic enactment of the person. Enactment, which is the person's essential feature, is manifested in that performance of actions "together with others," in that cooperation and coexistence which simultaneously serves the fulfillment of the person. Participation is closely associated with both the community and the personalistic value. This is precisely why it cannot be manifested solely by membership in some community but through this membership must reach to the humanness of every man. Only because of the share in humanness itself, which is at the roots of the notion of "neighbor," does the dynamic feature of participation attain its personal depth as well as its universal dimension. Only then can we claim that participation serves not just the fulfillment of some individual being, but that it also serves the fulfillment of every person in the community, indeed, because of his membership in the community. We may say this participation serves the fulfillment of persons in any community in which they act and exist. The ability to share in the humanness itself of every man is the very core of all participation and the condition of the personalistic value of all acting and existing "together with others."




The Neighbor as the Fundamental System of Reference

In view of the preceding remarks concerning sharing in the humanness of every man it seems appropriate to dedicate the last pages of this book to the evangelical commandment of love. Having repeatedly stressed our intention not to make inroads on the territory of ethics we will not pursue here the purely ethical content of the commandment "Thou shalt love." We will not analyze the entire objective content of this commandment and in particular we will not seek out the ethical significance of love; our aim is only to emphasize the confirmation it contains for our claim that the reference system centered on "thy neighbor" has a crucial significance in any acting and existing "together with others."

In the first place "Thou shalt love" entails the juxtaposition of my neighbor with my own ego: "thy neighbor as thyself." The significance of the system's referring to my own self, that is, everyone's self, to the neighbor, is thereby brought into the fullest light. It appears fundamental because this system underlies any other reference system existing in a human community by its scope, simplicity, and depth. At the same time it tells of a fullness of participation that is not indicated by membership in a community alone. The relation to the neighbor is then the ultimate point of reference for any system of reference resulting from the membership in a community. The former is essentially superior to the latter. Such is the correct hierarchy of values because the system of reference to the neighbor shows the mutual relation and subordination of all men according to the principle of their common humanness itself while the system of reference based on membership in a community is Insufficient to reveal this relation and this subordination. We may also speak of a sort of transcendence of being a "neighbor" with regard to being a "member of a community." All this is indirectly contained in the evangelical commandment of love.

Of course, nothing of what has been said here is to be interpreted as a depreciation of the communal human acting and being; any such conclusions would be entirely false. The commandment, "Thou shalt love," has itself a thoroughly communal character; it tells what is necessary for a community to be formed, but more than anything else it brings into prominence what is necessary for a community to be truly human. It also tells what determines the true dimension of participation. This is why the two reference systems - of the relationship to the neighbor and to the membership of a community -must be considered jointly and not separately or, indeed, in opposition to each other, even though their distinction is entirely justified. This also is contained in the evangelical commandment. If we were to take a different point of view, then unavoidably some mutual limitations would arise; as a member of a community man would limit himself as a neighbor and vice versa. Such limitations would be a sign of a fundamental weakness of the person, of an absence of that dynamic feature in the person which we have defined as participation, of a serious defect in the social nature of man, etc. Does not the social nature of man have its roots in this fundamental relation and consequently in the very humanness of man?

The Commandment of Love Discloses the Roots of Alienation

Thus from the point of view of participation we have to reject any limitations that either of the two systems of reference may impose on the other. In acting and being together with others the system of reference of being a neighbor and the one of being a member of a community must, in part, interpenetrate each other and, in part, remain mutually complementary. Should a separation occur between them in actual practice, it would lead to downright alienation. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy has rightly interpreted alienation as draining or sifting man from his very own humanness, that is, as depriving him of the value that we have here defined as "personalistic." In the sphere of acting and being "together with others" this danger becomes imminent when participation in the community itself sets constraints and overshadows participation in the humanness of others, when that fundamental subordination of my own good to that of my fellowman which imparts the specifically human quality to any community of men becomes defective. It seems, in fact, that the view sometimes expressed according to which the danger of "dehumanization" of our present-day civilization lies chiefly in the system of things - man's relationship to nature, the system of production and distribution of material goods, the blind pursuit of progress, etc. - is prejudiced and misleading. Though this view cannot be entirely overlooked, it is equally impossible to accept it as the only correct interpretation of the illnesses of the present-day world. Moreover, we have to remember, on the one hand, that although man did not create nature, he is its master; on the other hand, it is man who creates the systems of production, forms of technical civilization, utopias of future progress, programs of social organization of human life, etc. Thus it is up to him to prevent such forms of civilization from developing that would cause a dehumanizing influence and ensuing alienation of the individual. Consequently that alienation of human beings from their fellowmen for which man himself is responsible, is the prime cause of any subsequent alienation resulting from the reference systems of the material arrangements of goods and their distribution in social life. The essence of this alienation appears to be revealed by the commandment "Thou shalt love." Man's alienation from other men stems from a disregard for, or a neglect of, that depth of participation which is indicated in the term "neighbor" and by the neglect of the interrelations and intersubordinations of men in their humanness expressed by this term, which indicates the most fundamental principle of any real community.79

The Commandment of Love as the Rule of Being and Acting "Together with Others"

The reference systems of the "neighbor" and of the "member in a community" - let us repeat once again - overlap and interpenetrate in the objective order of things. They interpenetrate as attitudes taken by men and rooted within the same individuals. Man's social nature is expressed by both systems: by the fact that everybody is a member of a community - even of several communities at once - as well as by the fact that everybody is a neighbor; it is there that is contained every man's special relation to himself as a person and to his own ego. In the light of the hierarchy of the systems outlined here and of the personalistic implications of the evangelical commandment of love we must remember in actual-life conduct the necessity of so coordinating acting and being "together with others" as to protect the fundamental and privileged position of the "neighbor." This will afford us the best protection from the dangers of alienation; in order to avoid this latter our concern must be to make the system of reference to the neighbor the ultimate criterion in the development of the coexistence and cooperation of men in the communities and the societies that are established at different levels and according to different intracommunal bonds. Any human community that allows this system of reference to become defective condemns itself to becoming unfavorable for participation and throws open an unbridgeable gulf between the person and the community. It leads to the disintegration of the community itself. Such disintegration is not the result of mere indifference of man toward his fellowman; its destructive causes lie in the threat directed toward the person but through the person unavoidably extending to the whole community. How intimate is the union between the person and the community and what is the essential content in the assertion of the social nature of man seems to have become clear. But it is also in this perspective that the neglect of its truth seems to reveal its ominous aspect.

This ominous aspect is not, however, the most significant. The commandment "Thou shalt love" gives prominence first of all to the brighter aspects in the reality of man's existing and acting "together with others." It is on that brighter side that we have kept the analyses in this last chapter of our study, without losing the focus upon the acting person. To conclude: The commandment of love is also the measure of the tasks and demands that have to be faced by all men - all persons and all communities - if the whole good contained in the acting and being "together with others" is to become a reality.



We have now come to the end of our inquiry concerning person and action, but before we definitely close this theme it seems necessary to comment on some ideas that may have either remained outside entirely or have been abandoned before they were brought to some definite conclusion. The last chapter introduced a new dimension of the experience "man-acts" inasmuch as we concentrated on the type of actions when man acts "together with others" and on some aspects of intersubjectivity accomplished by participation. The present author is well aware that his attempt is incomplete, that it remains but a "sketch" and not a well developed conception. Nevertheless, he thought it necessary to incorporate such a "sketch," if only to draw attention to the need of including the experience of man who acts together with others in the general conception of the acting person. This attempt, however, shows in turn that the whole conception of the acting person awaits rethinking along new lines. Whether such an inquiry would still deal solely with person and action or would shift to the community, intersubjectivity, or to personal interrelations, in which the acting person would reveal himself and confirm or correct our already obtained insights in some other new dimension, is another matter.

The doubt may arise, however, whether the experience of acting "together with others" is, in fact, the basic experience, and if not, whether the conception of the community and intersubjective relations should not be presupposed in any discussion of the acting person. And yet, this author is convinced that no interpretation of the community and interpersonal relations can be laid out correctly unless it rests on some already existing preconception of the acting person, indeed, on a conception that in the experience of "man-acts" adequately discloses the transcendence of the person in the action. Otherwise the interpretation may fail to bring out all that constitutes the person and also what intrinsically conditions as well as defines a community and its interrelations as a community and as an interrelation of persons. Thus from the point of view of method as well as of substance the correct solution seems to be the one that would recognize the priority of the conception of the person and the action, and at the same time on the basis of this conception would search for an adequate interpretation of the community and interpersonal relations with all their richness and differentiations.

Finally, there is still one more disturbing question that demands some consideration. It concerns man's "existential status," the status of his being or existing, the whole truth about his limitations and his ontic contingency. Is this truth sufficiently built into the analyses of the person and the action? Has man's ontic status been marked with sufficient clarity in these analyses? Our concern in this regard is justified if for no other reason than that the conception of the acting person presented here issues from the experience "man acts" and ought to correspond to the authentic content of this experience. The theme of this study has been the person who reveals himself in and through the action, who reveals himself through all the psychosomatic conditionings that are simultaneously his wealth and his specific limitation. This is why the person manifests not only his transcendence in the action but also his integration appropriate to the action; it is in the integration and not beyond or above it that the dynamic reality of the action is constituted. The person, who manifests himself through the action, so to speak, permeates and simultaneously encompasses the whole psychosomatic structure of his own subject.

Admittedly, the aspect of the integration of the person in the action does not in itself explain sufficiently the ontic status of man, but it does bring us nearer to grasping and understanding man's status so far as this is made possible by the assumptions and the methods adopted in this study. Already in the introduction we stated that our aim was to extract from the experience of the action everything that would shed some light on man as a person, that would help, so to speak, to visualize the person; but our aim was never to build a theory of the person as a being, to develop a metaphysical conception of man. Even so, the vision of man who manifests himself as the person in the way which we have tried to disclose in our analyses seems to confirm sufficiently that his ontic status does not exceed the limits of his contingency - that he is always a being.

Having added these two explanations the author is satisfied that he can now close for the time being this discussion of the acting person.

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