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PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

CHAPTER 2: INTERPERSONAL DIMENSION


Lecture 1A: The Human Person as a Social Being

Human Person as a Social Being


Our aim in this chapter is to understand the interpersonal aspect of man. This
chapter talks about the relational aspect of man, that man does not exists alone but
he always exists with others in the world. This phenomenon describes man as a
social being. Man must learn to come to exist along with others. No man is an island as the
popular saying goes. Being social is innate in man. Man needs to be with others as Martin
Heidegger says, Human existence is not an alone existence but an existence with
others.
Man, who is a person, never reveals himself in isolation but always in his
togetherness with others. The unconcealment of a human persons uniqueness always
happens in the context of others. The fact is that human existence is always an
existence of relationship. Man is never alone in his existence in the world; mans
existence is always a being with existence. We become more fully human in our
relationship with others. For Heidegger Dasein (man) is not an isolated self, but is
absorbed in relationship with others. He also shows that we are always born into a
community, and our understandings, tastes, and opinions are formed in that community.
Heidegger recognizes that birth takes place in social setting. We do not come into the
world by ourselves. We are brought into the world in the context of the community. We
are always already with others.
Man is in the process of making himself and he needs other people in this process,
one cannot fully know himself without the others around him. Other people make man
aware of who and what he is. Socializing does not only happen for the sake of making it
happen. Man as being-with-others is not accidental but essential. The intrinsic
nature of man could mean that even when man thinks that he does not need others
(which causes him to withdraw from others because they have nothing to do with him),
still man does not stop to be social since such attitude is just a privative mode of mans
being-with.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher writes "Man is a social animal. He who lives without
society is either a beast or God". Thus, man is by nature a social animal. He is born in
society, lives in society and dies in society. Society is indispensable for man. Man
cannot live as man, without society. Isolation from society is regarded as a punishment.
Solitary life is unbearable for him. Social life is necessary for man. The instinct for
some form of social life is innate in human being.
Man can be called a social animal for the following reasons:

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Man is social by nature: Human nature is such that it cannot but live in society.
Man's nature impels him to live in society. The human child is endowed with some
latent capacities. Human qualities like capacity to learn language, enquire and
think, play and work ,help or harm others, etc. are developed in human society only.
These capacities grow through social interaction with others. One cannot develop
into a normal person in isolation. There are eminent sociologists like Maciver and
others who have cited a number of cases studies. These case studies show the fact
that man develops human qualities only in society.
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The case of Kaspar Hauser:


Kaspar Hauser, a young German boy, was isolated from all kinds of human
contact when he was a small child. He lived in isolation in the forest of
Nuremberg till he reached the age of seventeen. He was brought out form the
forest in 1928 and was taken to the city of Nuremberg. It was found that he
could neither walk nor talk properly. He simply muttered a few-meaningless
phrase. He could not distinguish between inanimate and animate objects.
After his death, the post-mortem report revealed that his mental
development was not normal. In spite of his subsequent education he could
never become a normal man.(seehttp://www.livescience.com/44375-the-mystery-ofkaspar-hauser.htmlaccessed July 8, 2014)

The case of Amala and Kamala:


Two Hindu children Amala and Kamala were discovered in a Wolf den in 1928.
By then Amala was two years old and Kamala was nearly eight at the time,
when they were discovered from the den. Amala died soon after discovery.
Kamala continued to live until 1929. It was found that she behaved like a
beast and walked like a four-footed animal. She could not speak and growled
like a wolf. She was shy of human contact. It was only after careful and
sympathetic training that she could learn some social habits like simple
speech, eating, dressing and the like. (seehttp://www.smashinglists.com/10-feralhuman-children-raised-by-animals/accessed July 8, 2014 for other feral human children raised
by animals)

The case of Anna:

Recently the case of Anna, an elegits mint American child was studied by
some sociologists and psychologists. Anna at the age of six months was
placed in a room in complete isolation for nearly five years. She was
discovered in 1938. On the discovery, it was found that, she could not walk or
speak and was indifferent to people around her. She was given careful
training after which she rapidly developed human qualities. She died in 1942.
The case of Anna proves that human nature develops only when he is one of
many people sharing a common life.

These cases prove that human being is social by nature. Human nature develops in
man only when he lives in society.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Development of self. The human infant, at his birth, is not fully aware of his own
"self'. He develops the idea of self through the interaction with others. Charles H.
Cooley says that the very idea of "self' or "I" can arise only in relationship
with other people. G.H. Mead says that at first the child performs the role of
others with his parents and other persons at home. Then, gradually he takes the
role of other persons such as playmates, friends etc. In this way the self develops.

Necessity makes a man social. Necessity compels man to live in society.


Man has a variety of needs. If he leads a cooperative life with his fellow beings in
society he can easily get his needs fulfilled. Many of his needs will remain
unsatisfied if he does not lead a cooperative life with his fellow beings. The human
child is born helpless. Without proper care he cannot develop himself. During
infancy he must be provided with nutrition, shelter and affection. It is society, which
extends protection, attention and opportunities necessary for his survival and
growth.

The society protects the child against all sorts of danger and difficulty. Apart from
fulfilling the basic needs of a man, the society satisfies his desires and aspirations. The
society fulfils various needs like educational, protection, nurture, opportunity and
equipment's etc. The need for self- preservation which is felt by everyone is fulfilled by
society. So the prolonged dependence of human child compels him to live in society.

We Need Each Other


A nurse escorted a tired, anxious young man to the bed side of an elderly
man. Your son is here, she whispered to the patient. She had to repeat the
words several times before the patients eyes opened. He was heavily
sedated because of the pain if his heart attack and he dimly saw the young
man standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand and the young man tightly wrapped his fingers
around it, squeezing a message of encouragement. The nurse brought a
chair next to the bedside. All through the night the young man sat holding
the old mans hand, and offering gentle words of hope. The dying man said
nothing as he held tightly to his son.
As dawn approach, the patient died. The young man placed on the bed the
lifeless hand he had been holding, and then he went to notify the nurse.
While the nurse did what was necessary, the young man waited. When he
had finished her task, the nurse began to say words of sympathy to the

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

young man. But he interrupted her. Who was that man? he asked. The
startled nurse replied, I thought he was your father. No, he was not my
father, he answered. I never saw him before in my life. Then why didnt
you say something when I took you to him? asked the nurse.
He replied, I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasnt here.
When I realized he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, I knew
how much he needed me
We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them.
There is no doubt without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to
grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.
Leo F. Buscaglia

Defining the Term Person in Social Context


In everyday English the word person has come to mean little more than an
individual human being. This makes it somewhat problematic to speak of a personal
God. However, as might be expected, there are hidden depths to the idea of personhood,
which are too easily overlooked. The English word person derives from the Latin
persona, which originally had the sense of a mask.
For early Christian writers, the word person has an emphasis upon the idea
of social relationships. A person is someone who plays a role in a social drama, who
relates to others. A person has a part to play within a network of social relationships.
Individuality does not imply social relationships, whereas personality relates
to the part played by an individual in a web of relationships, by which that person
is perceived to be distinctive by others. The basic idea expressed by the concept of a
personal God is thus a God with whom we can stand in a relationship which is analogous
to that which we could have with another human person. It is helpful to consider what
overtones the phrase an impersonal God would convey. The phrase suggests a God who
is distant or aloof, who deals with humanity (if God deals with us at all) in general terms
which take no account of human individuality.
I Am We Are

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Ako and Kita


If we ask what is the essence of the I am, the answer is the we are. I am we are.
Who am I? I am we are. I do not answer I am Domingo, even if I answer in this manner, the
essence of Domingo is we are, which means that I am only Domingo in the we are. My
essence depends on my being with others in the kita (we are). Thus, the essence of I
am is the we are.
Without the we are, the I am has no sense. No matter how I proclaim I am it
will not matter if I am not in the we are, for to whom will I declare my I am if there is
no one to declare it to? This simply mean that even the ego (I) cannot be if not for the we
are. The we are gives sense to the I am for it is the condition for the possibility of the
I am.

We Can Be One
A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or
mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 yard dash. At the gun,
they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with the relish to run the race to the
finish and win. All, that is, except, one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled
over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy. They
slowed down and looked back. Every one of them turned around and went back.
One girl with Downs syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, This will make
it better. All nine linked arms and walked across the finish line together. Everyone
in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

References:

Alimajen,Domingo Rafael A. Jr. WE: "Nosology of Communion". Jaro, Iloilo City: St.
Vincent Ferrer Seminary Publications, 2009.
Babor, Eddie R. The Human Person: Not Real, But Existing, Second Edition.
Philippines: C & E Publishing, Inc. 2007.
Hinacay, Marionito L. and Maria Belen S.E. Hinacay. The Human Person, 2006
Maiden Edition. Philippines: Vitasophia Book Center, 2006.
http://gatewaytojesus.com

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

http://www.preservearticles.com
Johnson, Patricia Altenbernd.On Heidegger. California: Wadsworth Thomson
Learning, 2000.
McGrath,Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. United Kingdom: Blackwell
Publishing Ltd., 2011.
Tubo, Dennis Villanueva. Philosophy of Man: Existential- Phenomenological
Approach, Revised Edition. Philippines: National Bookstore, 2006.