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Compiled Notes on Philosophy of the Human Person

PART I: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Etymological Definition of Philosophy

The word philosophy is derived from the Greek philla meaning love,
and sophia", meaning wisdom or knowledge. The literal definition of
philosophy is therefore, love of wisdom. [Zulueta, 2010]

Wisdom outweighs any wealth. [Sophocles]

Philosophy as a Concept

Philosophy is a system of beliefs about reality. It is one's integrated view


of the world. It includes an understanding of the nature of existence, man, and
his role in the world. It is a necessary product of mans rational mind.

Philosophy as a Process

Philosophy is employed as a method of inquiry. It is an engagement in


the search for the meaning of life, its value and relevance. It is a process for
finding significance in existence.

To live, man must gain knowledge of the world. To understand the world,
man must form conclusions about its very nature. For instance, to gain
knowledge of particular objects, man must recognize that objects have
identity. He must recognize that conclusions are possible because the world
does exist, and exists in a particular way.

Philosophy provides the framework for which man can understand the
world. It provides the premises by which man can discover truth and use his
mind to support his life. Every man has an understanding of the world. Every
man must have a philosophy, even if it is never made explicit.

Philosophy as the Foundation of Knowledge

Philosophy is the standard by which ideas are integrated and understood.


It has been regarded as the sum and summit of human knowledge, as the
scientia scientiariumthe science of the sciences and the compendium of
all learning.
All the branches of learning in fact, sprang from philosophys womb, so that
she is rightly called the mater and the matrix of all knowledge.
[Montemayor, 1995]

Purpose of Philosophy

It is philosophy that digs into the root causes of mans problems and
discovers the true solutions and remedies to human ills. [Montemayor, 1995]

Philosophy helps us to free and expand our minds. Through it, we will be
able to grasp and comprehend the complexities of life; and, we will find that
there is more to existence than the doing of mundane routine tasks. We will
find that we can do something to make things better for all of us.
[Montemayor, 1995]

Philosophy is all about making sense of the human experience.


Philosophy leads to enlightenment and action.

Philosophy is used at present to unify, synthesize, universalize, interpret


and explain more deeply the enormous pile of factual but piecemeal,
particular, unrelated findings, data, and information accumulated by the
modern sciencesfor a more comprehensive and universal concept of man.
[Montemayor, 1995]

The study of philosophy will always be an important feature of human


experience and its importance in the development of the complete social
being, ready to take on his responsibility in this rapidly changing world.
[Zulueta, 2010]

Philosophy makes man think about the basic foundations of his outlook
in life, his knowledge and his beliefs. It makes an individual inquire into the
reasons for what he accepts and does and into the importance of his ideas
and ideals in the hope that his final convictions will change as a result of this
examination. [Zulueta, 2010]

The new technologies give proof of the human beings intellectual


capacity. Can we really believe that we are incapable of applying that same
intellectual power to solving the great problems the world faces,
overpopulation, pollution and poverty chief among them? Can we believe that
the beleaguered peoples of the world will long be tolerant of those who
possess the tools but who cant make them work for the good of humankind
everywhere? There is going to be social and political and economic evolution,
which will explode with such suddenness as to have the character of
revolution. The revolutionary forces are already at work today, and they have
humankinds dreams on their side. We dont want to be on the other side. It is
up to us to assume leadership of that revolution, to channel it in a direction
that will ensure freedoms future. [Walter Cronkite, A Reporters Life, 1996]

Man experiences his own life as a problem. Being a thinking creature, he


realizes his life depends on what he makes it. Being free, he realizes he can
decide; he is responsible for his actions. He turns to philosophy only to
discover that reality is not something only out there, but that it also involves
him. The quality of his life depends on his own free response. [Robert
Johann, American Philosopher]

And hey, if you said No one too many times, buck up, little buckaroo.
Its never too late to start livingpursue your dreamsleave your comfort
zonetest the waters. [Rob Cohen and David Wollock, Been There, Done
That!]

The Five Branches of Philosophy

Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy responsible for the study of


existence. It is the foundation of a worldview. It answers the question "What
is?" It encompasses everything that exists, as well as the nature of existence
itself. It says whether the world is real, or merely an illusion. It is a
fundamental view of the world around us.

Metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy. Without an explanation or


an interpretation of the world around us, we would be helpless to deal with
reality. We could not feed ourselves, or act to preserve our lives. The degree
to which our metaphysical worldview is correct is the degree to which we are
able to comprehend the world, and act accordingly. Without this firm
foundation, all knowledge becomes suspect. Any flaw in our view of reality will
make it more difficult to live.

Epistemology

Epistemology is the study of our method of acquiring knowledge. It


answers the question, "How do we know?" It encompasses the nature of
concepts, the constructing of concepts, the validity of the senses, logical
reasoning, as well as thoughts, ideas, memories, emotions, and all things
mental. It is concerned with how our minds are related to reality, and whether
these relationships are valid or invalid.

Epistemology is the explanation of how we think. It is required in order to


be able to determine the true from the false, by determining a proper method
of evaluation. It is needed in order to use and obtain knowledge of the world
around us. Without epistemology, we could not think. More specifically, we
would have no reason to believe our thinking was productive or correct, as
opposed to random images flashing before our mind. With an incorrect
epistemology, we would not be able to distinguish truth from error. The
consequences are obvious. The degree to which our epistemology is correct
is the degree to which we could understand reality, and the degree to which
we could use that knowledge to promote our lives and goals. Flaws in
epistemology will make it harder to accomplish anything.

Ethics

Ethics is the branch of study dealing with what is the proper course of
action for man. It answers the question, "What do I do?" It is the study of right
and wrong in human endeavors. At a more fundamental level, it is the method
by which we categorize our values and pursue them. Do we pursue our own
happiness, or do we sacrifice ourselves to a greater cause? Is that foundation
of ethics based on the Bible, or on the very nature of man himself, or neither?

Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a


course of action. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless. There
would be no way to work towards a goal because there would be no way to
pick between a limitless number of goals. Even with an ethical standard, we
may be unable to pursue our goals with the possibility of success. To the
degree which a rational ethical standard is taken, we are able to correctly
organize our goals and actions to accomplish our most important values. Any
flaw in our ethics will reduce our ability to be successful in our endeavors.

Politics

Politics is ethics applied to a group of people. Politics tells you how a


society must be set up and how one should act within a society. The
requirement for a political system is that the individuals within that system are
allowed to fully function according to their nature. If that's not the case, they
will either rebel, as in Czarist Russia, or the system will eventually collapse, as
in Communist Russia.

Reason is man's prime means of survival. A human being cannot survive


in an environment where reason is ineffective, and will thrive or starve to a
degree in proportion to the effectiveness of reason. This means that the prime
goal of a political system must be the preservation and enabling of the faculty
of reason.

Reason does not function under coercion. A man can be forced to act at
the point of a gun, but he cannot be forced to think. Likewise, in an
environment where might makes right, reason cannot function because the
fruits of rationality cannot be enjoyed. Why plant crops and domesticate
animals if any raider can come by and take them from you?

A moral political system must ban coercion. Or put another way, a moral
political system must ban the initiation of force, since retaliatory force is both
just and necessary. This means there must be some way to keep one person
from killing, threatening, or robbing another. This is accomplished by
bestowing on government a monopoly on retaliatory force and objectifying
laws.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics is the study of art. It includes what art consists of, as well as
the purpose behind it. Does art consist of music, literature, and painting? Or
does it include a good engineering solution, or a beautiful sunset? These are
the questions that aimed at in esthetics. It also studies methods of evaluating
art, and allows judgments of the art. Is art in the eye of the beholder? Does
anything that appeals to you fit under the umbrella of art? Or does it have a
specific nature? Does it accomplish a goal?

Art has existed through all of recorded human history. It is unique to


humans because of our unique form of thinking. Its importance is based on
this nature, specifically, man's ability to abstract. Art is a little understood tool
of man to bring meaning to abstract concept. Aesthetics is important because
it delves into the reason why art has always existed, the burning need of
mankind through the ages to see the world in a different, clear way. It further
evaluates art by the standard of human life, and whether it accomplishes the
job of satisfying man's intellectual needs, or whether it tends to hurt or make
worse those needs.

PART II: PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY


It is in the nature of philosophy that man searches for the meaning of
himself and his world. It can truly be said that philosophy was born the very
first time man started wondering at what he saw around him. [Corazon Cruz,
1987]

Philosophy is a dedicated search for meaning. Once it is started it


consumes the whole personhis attention, concentration, interest, and
effort. A philosopher can hardly afford distractions as he goes on his search.
He observes, reads, reflects, and writes. He does so without let-up until the
answer is found, or if the answer is not yet found, the conviction is reached
that for the moment at least he has found the best possible although still
imperfect solution. [Corazon Cruz, 1987]

The Philosophical Method of Inquiry

The Philosophical Method of Inquiry is not pure reasoning. It includes


contemplation combined with and confirmed by experience, observation, and
introspection. In other words, the approach is similar to the scientific / rational
method but it is coupled with philosophical reflection

1. Identifying the problem;


2. Organizing and evaluating the data;
3. Proposing the hypothesis;
4. Testing the hypothesis;
5. Discovering the truths [Conclusion]
6. Applying principles to specific cases [Philosophical Reflection]

The Philosophical Method of Inquiry is applicable to solving the mysteries


of the human person because what is involved are non-empiriological
component which cannot be revealed or disclosed by purely empirical and
experimental analyses, however penetrating and efficient these may be. [Felix
Montemayor, 1995]

The goal of Philosophical Inquiry is the making of sound judgments about


all that man does.

Philosophy as a body of organized and unified knowledge can be


attained through scientific investigation. As a science, it rejects myth, hearsay
and wishful thinking and makes conclusions using empirical evidence.
Philosophy has been described as a science because it deals with the
study of the process governing thought and conduct.

The Modes of Philosophical Inquiry

1. Logic. The first condition for an adequate philosophy is theoretical


coherence. This means trying to make sense of self-awareness vis--vis the
environment. This means trying to relate the meanings of life as a logical
whole, to make sense of them on the level of thought.

this we do affirmthat if truth is to be sought in every division of


Philosophy, we must, before all else, possess trustworthy principles and
methods for the discernment of truth. Now the Logical Branch [of Philosophy]
is that which includes the theory of criteria and of proofs; so it is with this that
we ought to make our beginnings. [Sextus Empiricus]

Logic is a branch of philosophy which deals with the nature of thinking


and reasoning using empirical supportdata and information that are
objective, valid, reliable, quantifiable, and defensible to establish the truth.
According to Aristotle, logic is an indispensable foundation of all types of
knowledge. [Francisco Zulueta]

2. Phenomenology. This accepts the fact that theoretical coherence is


not enough, for this may not have practical relevance. Logical patterns can
have independence all their own and, therefore, need to be complemented
and continually tested by what we may call phenomenological adequacy. This
refers to logic vis--vis human experience. It pertains to the relationship
between empirical observations and the totality of human experience.

When youve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however


improbable, must be the truth. [Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four, Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, 1890]

3. Meta-Pragmatics. Philosophy must self-consciously plan itself in the


context and service of human life. It refers to the formulation of an ideal of
human wholeness.

PART III: HUMAN EMBODIMENT

The study of man himself is called philosophical anthropology. This study


is unique in the sense that man is the subject as well as the object of
knowledge.
Human Composition

1. Monism. This theory holds that man is composed of one basic


substance or principle as the ground of reality. In other words, the reality of
man consists of a single element, whether matter or spirit.

2. Dualism. This theory holds that man is made up of two irreducible


elementsmatter and spirit.

a. First View. Mans matter and spirit are two independent entities and
they interact with each other. As two independent elements, it is possible for
the spirit and the body to either temporarily or permanently separate at a
particular period of time.

The temporary condition may be when the person becomes unconscious


or in a clinical state of comatose; or permanent, when the person dies and the
physical body decomposes. This view was supported / advocated by St.
Thomas Aquinas, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

According to Karl Rahner: We are a unity of body and soul. Body and
soul are equally real, true, radical, substantial, and original. They are neither
uniform nor deducible from each other. There is no existential cleavage
between them. Yet they can be distinguished from each other. Soul is the
form of the body. We can never encounter mere body and never encounter
pure soul.

b. Second View. Man is matter-spirit.

c. Third View [Biblical View]. Man is made up of body, soul, and spirit.

The body is the external, physical part of man which he uses for seeing,
hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Through the body, he is able to have
physical contact with his environment.

The soul, which is regarded as a distinct entity from the body and the
spiritual part of man is something that cannot be seen and constitutes the
inner part of man, i.e., the mind and the will.

According to Aristotle: There are living things and non-living things. The
soul is the characteristic activity of living things. The body is alive if it has a
soul.
The spirit is the innermost part of man. It is a supernatural and
incorporeal being with which man communicates with God. It is the essential
part of mans nature, the heart of human life.

Man as the Living or Metaphysical Paradox

Man as Finite and Infinite; Mortal and Immortal

Man is finite and infinite, mortal and immortal. Man is flesh [and] spirit in
divided union [Felix Montemayor].

Flesh and spirit are antithetical realities: the first is a tangible and
material substance while the second is just the opposite. The flesh signifies
material bodily, tangible substance. The spirit or the soul signifies the
immaterial, non-bodily, invisible, reality in man. Yet the two seemingly
contradictory concepts are realized and united intimately in man. Hence they
are one yet divided, conjoined yet disjoined. Hence, man paradoxically
speaking, is the divided unionthe disjunction-conjunction of
opposites. [Felix Montemayor]

Man as Individual and Universal

As a living existential reality, man is invested with individuality, i.e., with


individuating, differentiating, accidental characteristics, such as height, weight,
complexion, sex, size, and all those qualities by which he is physically and
personally identified. As a human being he shares the same human nature
with all other men, and is therefore a universal human entity.

Man as Changing and Permanent

The most undeniable fact about man is that he constantly changes. Yet
equally undeniable and indisputable is that he remains unchanged by change.
He remains the same before, during, and after the change. For example, in
the Law of Obligation and Contracts, the same person who borrowed money,
say 10 years ago, is the same person to pay despite the many changes that
took place in him in the intervalphysical, physiological, psychological, etc.
[Montemayor, 1995]

Man as a Biological Being

Man and His Body


Theres no greater dynamism in life than life itself. The odds of lifes
existing are rare, but once it starts its very difficult to stop. And we are part of
that dynamic process of life: cells dividing and finding new ways to beat the
odds. [Tim Allen, Dont Stand too Close to a Naked Man]

Being a part of the physical order of nature, man develops size, weight,
shape and color and other biological attributes followed naturally by other
living things. He is able to reproduce. He occupies space and moves through
time and is subject to the laws of gravitation.

Our bodies are constantly changing. They exhibit defect, vulnerability,


change, and decay. They bear the intimations of our mortality. The way we
perceive and feel about our own bodies contribute significantly to the way we
perceive and feel about the world.

_____

What's your tongue worth? If you're Gennaro Pelliccia, an Italian coffee


taster, the answer is $ 13.9 million. That's how much he insured his taste buds
for. Here are more body parts insured for business reasons:

Tom Jones's chest hair$ 7 million


Dolly Parton's breasts$ 600,000
Riverdance creator and star Michael Flatley's feet$ 39 million

Winemaker Ilja Gorts nose $8 million


Heidi Klum's right leg1.2 million
Heidi Klums left leg $ 1 million [there's a scar on it]

[Reader's Digest]

_____

Four surgeons were on a lunch break talking about their work. The first
surgeon said, "I think accountants are the easiest to operate on. You open
them up and everything inside is numbered."

The second surgeon said, "I think librarians are the easiest to operate on.
You open them up and everything inside is in alphabetical order."
The third surgeon said, "I like to operate on electricians. You open them
up and everything inside is color coded."

The fourth surgeon said, "I like to operate on lawyers. They're spineless,
gutless, and their heart isn't there."

[Jordan Seaward, Reader's Digest]

_____

When a body was brought to her funeral home, my friend contacted the
next of kin. Per previous instructions, the deceased would be cremated, she
told him, so he needed to come in to identify the body.

Considering the task at hand, the relative asked, "Does this need to be
done before or after the cremation?"

[Janice Pierson, All In A Day's Work, Reader's Digest]

_____

My mother is a dog lover. One day, she was feeding our 23 dogs when
one of my uncles called. She answered the phone hastily, and received the
good news that my aunt was pregnant. Preoccupied with her dogs, she
replied, "When she gives birth, I would like to have the spotted one."

[Emily Anne T. Aquino, Life!, Reader's Digest

_____

Man as an Embodied Subject

Man as More than his Body

The statement man is an embodied subject implies that our bodies are
not accessories. Our bodies are essential to our being integrated persons.
Our bodies are symbols of interiority and are subject to the laws of the
material world. Bodily existence also means that we must accept our genetic
endowment, which sets the baseline for certain possibilities and limitations to
our physical, intellectual, and psychological capacities. [Maria Imelda Nabor-
Nery, Philosophy of Man, 2007]

Man is not only body, but he is something infinitely higher. Of all [the]
animal creation[s] of God, man is the only animal who has been created in
order that he may know his maker. Mans aim in life is not to add from day to
day to his material prospects and to his material possessions but his
predominant calling is from day to day to come nearer to his maker.
[Mohandas Ghandi, 1948].

The word have in the sentence I have a body means possession. Now
this is different from I have a book, although both statements refer to
possession. First because I cannot dispose of my body in the way I can
dispose of my book; second, I is not equal to my body, I am more than my
body. [Engelbert J. Van Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Man is himself, while a thing is anothers. Man calls himself me; and
he calls his possessions mine.

Animal nature, however perfect, is far from representing the human


being in its completeness; and in truth, is but humanitys handmaid, made to
serve and obey. [Pope Leo XIII]

Man is of the earth, but his thoughts are with the stars. Mean and petty
his wants and desires; yet they serve a soul exalted with grand glorious
aimswith immortal longingswith thoughts which sweep the heavens and
wander through eternity. A pigmy standing on the outward crust of this small
planet, his far-reaching spirit, stretches outward to the infinite, and there alone
finds rest. [Thomas Carlyle, English Essayist (1785-1880)]

The body is not something that one has. The body is essentially oneself.
This implies that human existence, though made manifest in a physical way
through the body, is a primordial experience of transcendence.
Transcendence means that: I am my body but at the same time I am more
than my body. The things that I do, all those physical activities and attributes
which are made real through my body, reveals the person that I am.
Transcendence in this sense, means that man is a meaningful whole, an
embodied spirit who puts meaning into his life.

The meaning of human existence, mans being in the world is most felt in
mans direct involvement in the world. It is not abstract. It is not ideal. It is to
be found in the awareness of the concrete ends of human action. [Maboloc,
2009]

Man as Greater than other Animals

Man is endowed with superior intelligence and is the highest form of


animal whose activities are determined and regulated by natural laws that
govern all matter in the physical environment.

The traits and characteristics which differentiate man from other forms of
animals are his social, cultural, and intellectual attributes.

1. Language. Man has the ability to communicate, compose sentences,


and carry on intelligent conversation. Communication is an essential means
by which people are linked together to achieve a common purpose for the
common good.

2. Creativity. Mans highly developed brain enables him to invent or


create. Because of his power of imagination, he can make tools, machines,
devices to make his life easier and enjoyable.

3. Social and Legal Perspective. Man as a social being passes laws,


establishes rules of conduct and develops policies that reflect his needs and
that of others.

4. Historical Consciousness. Man is conscious of history, the branch of


knowledge dealing with significant past events that affect his life and that of
others.

5. Aesthetic Taste. Man has aesthetic taste and appreciation.

6. Ethics. Man values right and wrong to promote order in his life and in
his society.

7. Faith or Creed. Man is a religious being. He engages and worships a


super being to whom he owes allegiance, loyalty and respect. He gets
involved in ritual and ceremonial practices that provide him spirit nourishment.

_____
A man studied the restaurant menu long and hard, and finally turned to
the waiter for help.

"Well," said the waiter, "today our special is chicken on a bed of wild rice
with green beans almondine and a nice side salad."

"That sounds great. How is your chicken prepared?"

"We break it to him very gently and tell him it's nothing personal."

[Reader's Digest]

_____

One day Lion summoned all the other animals in the


jungle. "Each of you must tell a joke," he said. "But if
anyone fails to laugh, I'll kill the person who told it.
Monkey, you go first."

Monkey began, "Two men go into a bar..."

When he delivered the punchline, everyone roared


with laughter, except Tortoise. So Lion pounced on
Monkey and killed him.

Next up was Elephant. He told his joke and, again,


everyone laughed except Tortoise. So Lion pounced on
Elephant and killed him.

The animals were furious with Tortoise, but no one


dared to move.
Tiger began his joke, but when he was about one
sentence in, Tortoise suddenly rolled over and began
kicking his feet in the air, giggling his head off.

"What's wrong with you?" roared an irate Lion. "Tiger


sin'tven finished with his gag, yet!"

"I'm sorry," said Tortoise gasping between laughs,


"but Monkey's joke was simply too funny!"

[Joanna Kingsley, Reader's Digest]

_____
PART IV. HUMAN SUBJECTIVITY

Self-Awareness

Subjectivity means that each person possesses the freedom and the
intrinsic capacity to look into the core of his being and ask himself questions
about the truth of his life. [Maboloc, 2009].

It is only through his own being that man comes in contact with reality.
The experience of self necessarily has many modalities, but there is one basic
experience which makes all others possible and without which they could not
be. It is the experience of ones own existence. [Engelbert J. Van
Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Man is self-aware. He is conscious. And to be conscious is to be


conscious of a real world. Consciousness only becomes real by being
immersed in the word. Thus, as a being, man can move his body in relation to
whatever possibilities the world presents. [Paul Ricoeur]

Thrownness

Part of what it means to be who you are is to realize that you are thrown
into this situation, into a world that has this past and this history and this
culture surrounding it. You surely didnt put yourself there. Nonetheless, there
you are! And that shows that the ways in which you can understand yourself
and the world, or the ways in which you can be affected by the world, are
already given to you as a part of your thrown nature. Youre thrown, against
your will, into the whole enchilada! [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

I am a being-in-the world and a being-with-others. I am in contact with


things and persons. I am part of the space structure and time constellation,
which are inherent in this world. As a subject, man is a being who participates
in the world. Being in a situation means one is able to respond to the
demands of an event through the conscious act of willing and doing. Thus,
man is not only conscious of a self, but is conscious of a world. Man is not just
an ego. He transcends it. The world always presents itself to man as
something that he can transform. [Maboloc, 2009; Engelbert J. Van
Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Man has the fundamental character of being always already thrown. By


being thrown into the world, man has the power to be in the world. This
power to be means that man realizes who he is by being in the world. The
world exists as mans horizon of possibilities and meaning. The world exists
as mans potentiality for being.

I am a being-in-situation. Situation stands here for that zone of reality


which is influenced by me and which influences me. Many elements of my
situation are not of my own making. I did not choose my parents, my country,
the time of my birth. On the other hand, there are elements where my free
action is decisive: choice of friends, interests, and activities. [Engelbert J. Van
Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

As an embodied being, man is also a being-for-death. The common man


tries to avoid its very possibility, but the philosopher, who wants to come to
the ultimate root of all reality cannot leave it unconsidered. Death gets its full
meaning only in relation to life of which it is the end. Mans view of life will
necessarily influence his understanding of death. [Engelbert J. Van
Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Self-Examination

To be a subject demands self-examination. This is because man is


morally obliged to know himself if he wants to live well. Outside there exists a
crowd, a crowd that tempts every man and woman towards an inauthentic
existence. Being dissolved in them means being dissolved in the they-self or
the uncaring self that knows nothing except the pleasure of the crowd. It also
means being immersed in routine where man loses his wonder and the
hunger of the human spirit. [Maboloc, 2009]

I am more than my life. I live my life is different from my life is lived.


The first means I am the master of my life. The second means I am a slave,
dictated upon by others, such as the media. [Engelbert J. Van Croonenberg;
Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Projection

Man sees himself as a project that needs to be realized. He directs


himself to a future where he is able to realize his possibilities in the world. The
task of man is the realization of his being, and this happens in a world which
serves as the field for the fulfillment of his existential possibilities. [Maboloc]

As long as man is in the world, he is a not yet. He is not complete. He is


not whole. Man continually realizes himself in the world in terms of his
possibilities. To be in the world therefore means to be an unfinished project.
This means that man, being ahead-of-himself, projects himself in the world.
This projection means that man is continually actualizing his potentialities for
existence. [Maboloc].

Man as Dynamic and Unfinished

As long as man is alive, he is not yet finished. Thus, there is nothing final
in man as long as he is living. His finality, his completion, only comes to him in
death, where man will no longer be. Death, if seen from the context of a
whole, is the fulfillment of the being of man. It is a condition where man is no
longer possible, and as such, man no longer stands up in the light of being. In
death, man loses his power to be, and as such he no longer is. [Maboloc,
2009]

Being a subject, man is an autonomous being, free to determine himself


and become the person he wants himself to be. Subjectivity in this regard
implies human possibilitiespossibilities for becoming, and possibilities for
self-realization. [Maboloc, 2009]

Simply put, the personal vocation of man is the perfecting of his life and
personality to the full measure to which he has been destined. Creative
fidelity is the actual continuation of the original dedication to ones personal
vocation. Fidelity means loyalty to a given word and commitment in spite of
adversities. This fidelity is dynamic and creative. Creativity refers to mans
being a homo viator and therefor, in need of his transforming his life to a
continuous growthto authenticity. Creative also means mans ability to
adapt to constantly varying circumstances. Fidelity to vocation is severely
tested when a man is faced with pain and suffering. The proper attitudes are:
[a] accept them, for these also have existential value, and [b] try to find out
their meaning in your life. [Engelbert J. Van Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz,
1987]

Search for Authenticity

Subjectivity implies that man is in search for his authenticity. But he looks
for this meaning not merely in the factual or the practical. This is because man
is not a mere collection of observable phenomena. Physicists can translate
into laws what they observe. The same cannot be said of man. This is
because as a subject, man is free. [Maboloc, 2009]

Our authentic growth takes place in the here and now of the concrete
situation. [Engelbert J. Van Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Man has a super-temporal dimension. When man commits himself to his


personal vocation, his decision is based upon that which is permanent in his
being, and thus, he transcends the changing elements of time and space. He
knows that with the emergence of his spirit his real self will find its highest
expression. [Engelbert J. Van Croonenberg; Corazon Cruz, 1987]

Human Will

Everyone is endowed and blessed with natural capacities and abilities.


Primary here is the ability to reason and decide freely. The person has the
ability to grasp, recognize and appreciate truth and goodness, and the ability
to choose among options to promote or disregard.

The objects of the will are the body and the world. Their relation to one
another is revealed through the human act. To will something is to do
something in view of a project man intends to do in the world. It is a project
that includes the movement of mans body, the word it intends to deal with,
and the people who will be affected by mans plans. What man does then
reflects who he is as a person. [Maboloc, 2009]

Who am I? I am what I do. What I do will eventually constitute my


character. My character is formed by means of my own decision. My capacity
to act and realize this project that I am means that I exist in the world as a
responsible subject called to action. Since I am aware of my actions, I should
be aware of them. [Maboloc, 2009]

The movement of the will constitutes deciding, acting and consenting.


Deciding means attending to the things man has to do. Man decides in view of
the possibilities that the world offers him. Mans will is concretized in human
action. Man acts in view of the situation he is in. And his actions characterize
the person that he is. Man has the capacity to be; he can actualize his
potentials regardless of his limitations as a physical being. [Maboloc, 2009]

Three Fundamental Features of the Human Person


[The Three-fold Order of Human Existence]

1. Thrownness or Factuality [Being-already-in-the world]Man as


already involved in the world. His existence is situated at a particular here and
now. I, myself and that which I care for already exists in the world. Man is
thrown into the world. He fell into the world. He did not choose to exist, but
once he exits, his existence becomes his own responsibility.

2. Existentiality or ProjectionMan as a project and a possibility.


Mans existence is active in character. He is a creature of care; i.e., he is
concerned with his existence. He is occupied with his own being. He is ahead
of himself.

3. Fallenness or ForfeitureMan as having the tendency to become a


mere presence in the world, failing to make the most of his possibilities.

Three Keys to Authentic Existence


1. Anxiety [Angst or Dread]It is through his anxiety that man realizes
that he faces a life that has no meaning and then in the end he would just die.
He is living a life that is finite and he can never satisfy his yearning for infinity.

2. Conscience Everyone comes equipped with an existential


conscience that calls to them to live authentically. This conscience turns out to
be you talking to yourself about yourself. Conscience is you trying to shake
the part of you lost in the crowd out of its stupor and conformity. When you
heed the call of your conscience, you take a necessary step toward
embracing yourself and living authentically. [Christopher Panza and Gregory
Gale].

With your conscience you realize that possibilities available to you for
self-definition are limited and that in fact, the options you have are structured
by the historical and cultural world youre born into. You also realize that you
cant make all the possibilities available to you a reality. Your possibilities are
restricted by concrete situations such as intelligence, race, temperament,
environment, heredity. Essentially, your history gives you a context in which
your task of self-definition must be carried out; in addition, when you make
choices, youre forced to further limit your possibilities by always ruling out
other paths for yourself forever. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

3. Destinythis is the decision achieved by the individual to make his


life mean something.

Every time you choose, the set of whats fixed and possible for you in a
concrete situation changes. Each moment of your life, your destiny is in your
own hands. Every time a door opens and you choose it, the others close
forever; now new doors, specific to the choice youve made, open. Thought of
in this way, choosing is really a heavy responsibility, and the consequences of
choice for your own identity are monumental. [Christopher Panza and Gregory
Gale].

PART V. THE HUMAN PERSON AND DEATH

The Human Person as a Being-for-Death

What is Death? It is the act or process of dying which involves the


shutting down of the body's physical, sensory and mental functions. This
process can take minutes or months, depending on what is going on inside
the person's body. [Wikipedia].

The German Philosopher Martin Heidegger calls man a being-for-


death. Death is a certainty. Only the when is a big question mark. [Corazon
Cruz].

In death, human existence ends. Death is thought of as an event where


man is no longer possible. It is a point where all mans potentialities shall have
been completed. Death is an own-most possibility, and it is the fulfillment of
mans being, the completion of his life. [Maboloc].

Every moment that passes is one less moment in your lifetime.


[Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

Man is the only animal that finds his own existence a problem he has to
solve and from which he cannot escape. In the same sense, man is the only
animal who knows he must die. [Erich Fromm, Clinical Psychologist]

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase that means, "Remember you are


mortal!" In ancient times, the phrase was repeated by a slave boy who walked
behind a war hero returning to the streets of Rome in a triumphant march. Its
purpose was to serve as a reminder that "Okay, you're on top of the world
today, but like all of us, the day will come when you are dog meat!" [Thomas
Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

The Existentialist Philosophers accept man as finitehis life having an


ending. They say that the real death that lies ahead of a man is the possibility
of himself as not being at all. [John Wild, Existentialist Ethics: Integrity and
Decision, The Challenge of Existentialism, Bloomington: Indiana University
Pres, 1955, p. 119].

Death is a typically human event, not just a biological occurrence. It is a


separating of body and soul, but it is not just the body that dies, it is the whole
man. It is difficult to talk of the very moment of death, since some people who
had been there, did not talk of their experience. There are some written
accounts of such experiences and from these we get glimpses of the next life.
[Corazon Cruz]

_____

Doctor: I have some good news and some bad news.


Patient: What's the good news?
Doctor: The tests you took showed that you have twenty-four hours to
live.
Patient: That's the good news? What's the bad news?
Doctor: I forgot to call and tell you about it yesterday.

_____

A man hasn't been feeling well, so he goes to his doctor for a complete
check-up. Afterwards, the doctor comes out with the results.

"I'm afraid I have some very bad news," the doctor says. "You're dying,
and you don't have much time left."

"Oh, that's terrible!" says the man. "How long have I got?

"Ten," the doctor says sadly.

"Ten?" the man asks. "Ten what? Months? Weeks? Days? What?"

The doctor interrupts, "Nine...eight...seven..."

[Nabin Dongol, Reader's Digest]

_____

A violent car crash can kill a person in minutes, and a bullet shot into a
person's skull or heart can take an even shorter amount of time. Immediate
and quick death causes many of the active stages of dying to happen all at
one time. [Wikipedia].

_____

A man dies and goes to the Judgment. Saint Peter meets him at the
Gates and says, "Before you meet with God, I thought I should tell youwe've
looked at your life, and you really didn't do anything particularly good or bad.
We're not sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can
help us make our decision?
The man thinks a moment and replies, "Yeah, once I was driving along
and came upon a woman who was being harassed by a group of tough bikers.
So I pulled over, got out my tire iron, and went up to the leader of the bikers.
He was a big, muscular, hairy guy with tattoos all over his body and a ring
through his nose. Well, I tore out his nose ring and told him he and his gang
had better stop bothering the woman or they would have to deal with me!"

"I'm impressed," Saint Peter responds. "When did this happen?"

"About two minutes ago."

_____

Two men are waiting at the gates of heaven and they strike up a
conversation.

"How did you die?" the first man asks the second.

"I froze to death," says the second.

"That's awful," says the first man, "how does it feel to freeze to death?"

"It's very uncomfortable at first," says the second man. "You get the
shakes, and you get pains in all your fingers and toes. But eventually, it's a
very calm way to go. You get numb and you kind of drift off, as if you're
sleeping. How about you, how did you die?"

"I had a heart attack," says the first man. "You see, I knew my wife was
cheating on me, so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly but found her
alone watching television. I ran around the house looking for her lover but
could find no one. As I ran up the stairs to the attic, I had a massive heart
attack and died."

The second man shakes his head. "That's so ironic," he says.

"What do you mean?" asks the first man.

"If you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we'd both still be alive."

_____
Elisabeth Kbler-Rosss Stages of Dying

According to Elisabeth Kbler-Ross we go through five emotional stages


of dying: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

1. Denial and Isolation is where the person denies that death is really
going to take place. The person may say, What the f@%#! No, it cant be me.
Its not possible. I feel just fine. He has difficulty believing that he is so close
to death; and he refuses to accept that anything could be wrong with him. This
is a common reaction to terminal illness. However, denial is usually only a
temporary defense and is eventually replaced with increased acceptance
when the person is confronted with such matters as financial considerations,
unfinished business, and worry about surviving family members.

2. Anger or Resentment is where the dying person recognizes that


denial can no longer be maintained. Denial often gives way to anger,
resentment, rage and envy. The dying persons question is, Why me? Why
not someone else? Its not fair! At this point, the person becomes increasingly
difficult to care for as anger may become displaced and projected onto
physicians, nurses, family members, and even God. The realization of loss is
great, and those who symbolize life, energy, and competent functioning are
especially salient targets of the dying persons resentment and jealousy.

3. Bargaining or Negotiation is where the person develops the hope


that death can somehow be postponed or delayed. Some persons enter into a
bargaining or negotiationoften with Godas they try to delay their death.
The person is saying, I understand Im going to die, but if I could just have
more time I will In exchange for a few more days, weeks, months of life, the
person promises to lead a reformed life dedicated to God or to the service of
others.

4. Depression is where the dying person comes to accept the certainty


of death. He says, Im so miserable, why bother with anything? At this point,
a period of depression or preparatory grief may appear. The dying person
may become silent, refuse visitors, and spend much of the time crying or
grieving.

5. Acceptance or Resignation is where the person develops a sense of


peace; an acceptance of ones fate; and, in many cases, a desire to be left
alone. He says Its going to be okay. I cant fight it so I may as well prepare
for it. This stage may be virtually absent of feelings and physical pain. This is
described as the end of the dying struggle, the final resting stage before
death.

Some individuals, though, struggle until the end, desperately trying to


hang onto their lives. Acceptance of death never comes for them. Experts
believe that the harder individuals fight to avoid the inevitable death they face
and the more they deny it, the more difficulty they will have in dying peacefully
and in a dignified way.

_____

Katrina goes to Doctor Kho for a check-up. After several extensive tests
the doctor tells her, "I'm afraid I have some bad news for you, Katrina. You
only have six months left to live."

Katrina is dumbstruck. After a while she says, "That's terrible, doctor.


And I must admit to you that right now I can't afford to pay your bill."

"Okay," says Doctor Kho. "I'll give you a year to live."

_____

Dracula dies from a heart attack right after catching his favorite vampire
series on TV. He goes to heaven where he's allowed to choose three qualities
to have in his next life.

Dracula thinks really hard and finally makes up his mind. First, he says "I
still want to be able to suck blood."

Then he says, "I want to have wings so I can fly."

Lastly, after thinking for the longest time, he says, "And I want all women
to want me."

Whoosh--he was promptly turned into a sanitary pad.

[Rachel Tay, Reader's Digest]


_____

Denial of Death

Mans Perverted Will to Live

Death is one of the immutable facts of human life. But even though we
know objectively that we are mortal, we cook up all kinds of schemes to
escape the devastating truth that we are all going to die. We humans fear
death. And we instinctively fear being killed. Why do we deny our mortality?
Because the prospect of death is terrifying! Death scares the hell out of us. It
brings the ultimate angst. It means we are here only for a short time and when
we are gone, we are gone for eternity. How can we enjoy life with the clock
ticking so loudly in our ear? [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

_____

An Italian, Frenchman and Filipino are about to be executed by lethal


injection. They are told that they can have whatever they want for their last
meal. The Italian replies: I would like to have a nice bowl of linguini with clam
sauce." He enjoys his plate of pasta and is thereafter duly executed.

Next it's the Frenchman's turn. "I would like to have French fries, French
toast, and a hot bowl of bouillabaisse." He relishes his meal, and is executed.

Finally, it is the Filipino's turn. She thinks for a moment, then says, "I
would like a basket of santol fruit which I will eat with salt, chili and some
vinegar.

"Santol?" says the warden. "They're currently out of season."

"No problem. I'll wait."

_____

During a sermon, the priest warned his listeners about the suddenness of
death. "Before another day is ended," he thundered, "somebody in this parish
may die."
Seated in the front row was a little old woman who laughed out loud.

Irritated, the priest said, "What's so funny?"

"Well!" said the old lady "I'm not a member of this parish."

_____

Three friends die in a car crash. When they reach heaven, Saint Peter
meets them and asks them a question: When you are in your coffin and
friends and family are mourning upon you, what would you like to hear them
say about you?

The first guy says, I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor
of my time and a great family man.

The second guy says, I would like to hear that I was a wonderful
husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of
tomorrow.

The last guy replies, I would like to hear them say, Look, he's moving!
Hes alive!

_____

According to German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer there is no


reason to be afraid of death because it is actually the ultimate aim and
purpose of life. Life is a constant process of dying. The past, when you really
think about it, is just a repository of deatha heap of events that no longer
exist and are gone forever and are irretrievable. Death is a welcome relief
from life which is supposedly a constant source of suffering and frustration. Be
that as it may, we cling on to life because we have this perverted "will-to-live",
whichcontrary to our best interestskeeps us from embracing our true
destiny which is death. [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

"I'm not afraid of death. It's just that I don't want to be there when it
happens." [Woody Allen]

_____
Pedro opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in
the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend
Cosme. "Did you see the newspaper?" asked Pedro. "They say I died!!"

"Yes, I saw it!" replied Cosme. "Where are you calling from?"

_____

Immortality Systems

Immortality Systems are non-rational belief structures that give us a way


to believe we are immortal. These systems demonstrate that we humans are
the only creatures who comprehend that we are going to die and that we are
also the only creatures who can imagine or believe that we are capable of
living forever. [Thomas Carthart and Daniel Klein].

1. Immortality through culture. We identify ourselves with a group,


class, clan, profession, tribe, race, or nation that lives on into the indefinite
future, with us somehow a part of it.

_____

Three tradesman are arguing about the world's oldest trade.

"We built the pyramids, which are very ancient, so ours is the oldest
trade," says the stonemason.

"Nonesense," retorts the carpenter. "Noah's ark, the most notable


creation of our trade, was built long before the pyramids."

"Without a doubt ours is the most ancient trade," declares the electrician.
"When God said 'Let there be light!', we had already laid the cables."

[Renata Schatzl, Reader's Digest]

_____
2. Immortality-through-art. Artists [and actually even non-artists]
foresee their work enduring forever, and when it does, they are immortalized,
too.

For the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, man in all instances


needs the unity of passion and reason, as exemplified in art, in order to
survive human life. Art is the deification of man, thus, it does not teach man
resignation. Art is to be understood as the will to live eternally. Thus, the
aesthetic man says no to the pessimistic tendencies of life, to the ugly
degradation of his existence, to his disharmony and abrupt degeneration.
[Maboloc].

3. Immortality through religion. Most religions claim that, by adopting


proper beliefs and/or practices, a person can appease the Divine and be
chosen to enjoy some kind of everlasting life. You either live on as part of the
cosmic energy or in heaven or maybe in hell.
____

After a priest died and went to heaven, he noticed that a jeepney driver
had been awarded a higher place than he.

I don't understand, he complained to God. "I devoted my entire life to


my congregation."

Our policy here in heaven is to reward results, God explained. Now,


was your congregation well attuned to you whenever you gave a sermon?

Well, the priest had to admit, some in the congregation fell asleep from
time to time.

Exactly, said God, and when people rode in this man's jeepney, they
not only stayed wake, they even prayed.

____

A one-dollar bill, five-dollar bill, and hundred dollar bill all died and went
to heaven.

God saw the one-dollar bill and said, "You've been good," and lets him
in. He also lets the five-dollar bill in for the same reason.
When the hundred-dollar bill came up to him, God said, "Well, I never
see you in church."

[Alleine Nicole, Reader's Digest]

____
A priest was preparing a man for his long journey into the night.
Whispering firmly, the priest said, "Denounce the devil! Let him know how little
you think of his evil."

The dying man said nothing. The priest repeated his order. Still the dying
man said nothing.

The priest asked, "Why do you refuse to denounce the devil and his
evil?"

The dying man said, "Until I know where I'm heading, I don't think I ought
to aggravate anybody."

____

A bad person dies and is greeted by Saint Peter. Saint Peter tells the
man he must choose between three hells.

The first hell is very hot and he sees a lot of people burning in fire. The
next hell is freezing cold and he sees people shivering and clamoring. In the
third hell, he sees people standing in shit up to their waist but they look quite
happy. They are drinking a cup of coffee and are chatting with each other. So
the bad person says to Saint Peter, "I choose the third hell with all the people
standing in shit up to their waist."

So Saint Peter admits the bad person to the third hell. He gets a cup of
coffee and feels quite comfortable. Suddenly he hears a beep from a loud
speaker that says, "Attention. Attention. Coffee break is over. It's time to stand
on your head now."

4. Immortality-through-wealth. The more money and resources, the


more our legacy and devices you pass on to the next generation. Or you can
donate to an institution in the hope that it will emblazon your name on the front
of a building. Or you can build a monument to yourself just like what the late
President Ferdinand Marcos did.

____

Pepito died. His lawyer stood before the family and read Pepito's last will
and testament: To my dear wife Esther, I leave the mansion, 50 hectares of
land, and Five Hundred Million Pesos and Fifty Centavos. To my son Berto, I
leave my big Lexus, my BMW, my Porsche Cayenne and my Jaguar. To my
daughter Suzy, I leave my yacht and Nine Hundred Ninety Five Thousand
Pesos. And to my brother-in-law Carding, who always insisted that health is
better than wealth, I leave my sun lamp.

____

An ailing grandmother is talking to her favorite granddaughter. She says:


"Lori, I am old and weak, and I know that the time for me to leave is near. I
want you to inherit my farm, including the barn, the villa, the tractors, the
farmhouse, all the livestock and the piggery.

"Wow," said Lori, stunned. "Thank you so much, Grandma! I didn't know
you even had a farm. Where is it?"

Her grandma replied. "You can find it on my Facebook account. Just click
on the Farmville bookmark after you log on. My email address is
'dgranny@yahoo.com' and the password is 'jus4lori."

[Maricel Manugo, Reader's Digest]

____

5. Immortality-through-relations. This is reassuring ourselves that we


will live on in the hearts of those who knew us. This strategy assumes certain
sentimentality on the part of our loved ones that may or may not be there.

____

I dont care about the flowers, but Id like very much to have someone
remember me long and often. Each of us hopes for this. We have some kind
of dream of immortality; but we know in our hearts that at best well only be
remembered for a generation or two. I remember my father and mother, of
course, and I remember their fathers and mothers. But who remembers my
grandfathers and grandmothers grandfathers and grandmothers? Or theirs?
Not me, and in the long hard history of the world, that isnt much time. Its all
too much to considerand too depressing. [Andy Rooney]

____

I suspect the best thoughts of old friends come not on specific days set
aside for remembering them, but from the things we used to do with them and
from the special way we do things because that was the way they did them.
The life they lived is now part of our own. [Andy Rooney]

____

When my boss returned to the office, he was told that everyone had
been looking for him. That set him off on a speech about how indispensable
he was to the company.

"Actually,"interrupted his assistant, "you left with the key to the stationery
closet."

[Alec Kay, Reader's Digest]

____

Walking home after a Halloween party, two young men decided to take a
shortcut through the cemetery for a thrill. They both stopped abruptly when
they heard a mysterious tap-tap-tapping noise in the shadows. Their eyes
grew large until the mist cleared and they saw an old man with a hammer and
chisel, chipping at one of the headstones.

Geez, mister! one of them exclaimed. You scared us half to death! We


thought you were a ghost! What are you doing working here so late at night?

The old man replied angrily, Those darn fools misspelled my name!

____

Noli was lying on his deathbed, moaning and carrying on.

Mike, he says, I know I'm a goner.


Have faith, Noli. You still have many years ahead of you."

"No, Mike, I'm finished and you've been such a great friend. There is one
thing I would like you to do when I'm gone."

"Ahh, Noli, I'll do anything you ask. I swear it to the Saints and the Holy
Mother."

"Well, dear friend, I have been saving a jug of fine whiskey that my
brother sent me from Europe some eight years ago, and I would like you to
pour it on me grave when I'm buried."

Mike sits silently for a long time and Noli asks again, "will you do that for
me whom you consider your best friend?

Mike draws a big breath and says, "You know I will do that for you Noli.
But would you mind if I filter the fine whiskey through my kidneys first?

_____
6. Immortality-through-heroism. Do something extremely significant for
your nation, country or your community and you will be forever remembered in
the history books or maybe in museums. Schools, streets or thoroughfares
may be named after you. Or your image may even be printed on legal tender
[money or paper currency].

Cheating Death through Science and Technology

Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement


supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and
physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the
human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary
death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to
biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes.
Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to
transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to
merit the label "posthuman". Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred
to as "posthumanism" or a form of transformational activism influenced by
posthumanist ideals. [Wikipedia]

Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals


who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that
healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of
people or large animals is not reversible with current technology. The stated
rationale for cryonics is that people who are considered dead by current legal
or medical definitions may not necessarily be dead according to the more
stringent information-theoretic definition of death. It is proposed that
cryopreserved people might someday be recovered by using highly advanced
future technology. [Wikipedia]

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of an


existing or previously existing human. The term is generally used to refer to
artificial human cloning; human clones in the form of identical twins are
commonplace, with their cloning occurring during the natural process of
reproduction. There are two commonly discussed types of human cloning:
therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning involves
cloning adult cells for use in medicine and is an active area of research.
Reproductive cloning would involve making cloned humans. A third type of
cloning called replacement cloning is a theoretical possibility, and would be a
combination of therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Replacement cloning
would entail the replacement of an extensively damaged, failed, or failing body
through cloning followed by whole or partial brain transplant. [Wikipedia].

Death as Necessity and Liberty

Would life have a radically different significance if we lived forever? After


a millennium or two, would we be overcome by existential boredom and long
for an end to it all? [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

According to Claude Geffre, death is a necessity and liberty. Just think of


how it will be if you continue to live on and on, a hundred, two hundred years,
without retaining your youth as well. Death is also a release from pain and
suffering. [Claude J. Geffre, O.P., Death as Necessity and as Liberty,
Theology Digest, Vol. XII, November 3, 1964, p. 193.

Death Increases Life's Value

What is the meaning of lifeespecially if it's all going to end one day?
How should our consciousness of death affect the way we live our lives?

Just Do It

Life is short and death is sure. Our time limited selves can't handle the
unlimited options that present themselves to us in both our everyday lives and
in our fantasies. There is much to do and yet there is so little time. If you had
an infinite amount of time, you could try an infinite number of options. Since
I've got a one-time limited life, I don't want to waste it. It was actually this
dilemma that led current modern day philosophers at Nike Corporation to coin
the trademark leap of faith: Just Do it. [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

Knowledge of ones death inevitability permits us to establish priorities


and structure our time accordingly. As we age, these priorities and
structurings change in recognition of diminishing time. Values concerning the
most important uses of time also change. For example, when asked how they
would spend 6 remaining months of life, younger adults described such
activities as traveling and accomplishing things they previously had not done;
older adults described more inner-focused activities. [Kalish and Reynolds,
1976; Simons, Kalichman and Santrock, 1994]

You can't have everything. Where would you put it? [Steven Wright].

The Quest for Authenticity

No Fear

According to Martin Heidegger, we have to confront death head-on in


order to live authenticallyto live honestly, realizing what life really is. Without
death consciousness, we're only half alive. He declares: "If I take death into
my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety
of death and the pettiness of life--and only then will I be free to become
myself." We actually need the anxiety of death to keep us from falling into
"everydayness", a state in which we're only half alive, living with a deadening
illusion. [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

Death as a possibility for man is revealed in anxiety. Death is mans


personal possibility that individualizes him. It is a possibility that is his and his
alonea thing that cannot be taken over by another. Thus, in dying, what is at
issue is man himself, for man alone stands and confronts the reality of his
being. Man alone confronts the reality of life as a being-towards-an-end.
[Maboloc].

Man is anxious about the reality of death not because he fears what will
happen in the after-life but because he dreads the possibilities that will be lost
forever. For instance, his being-with-othersthose people he loves, his
family, his potentials, and the career he will leave behind. [Maboloc].

We live in denial of death and in Heidegger's opinion that is not living at


all. We can't fully realize life unless we are conscious of our upcoming demise.
Heidegger says we should not deny death. He explains that the anxiety of
anticipating death, contrary to interfering with life, brings "unshakeable joy."
[Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

It is only when we dare to experience the fully anxiety of knowing that life
doesn't go on forever that we can experience transcendence and get in touch
with the infinite. It is only when we're willing to let go of all of our illusions and
admit that we are lost and helpless and terrified that we will be free of
ourselves and ready for "the leap of faith". [Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein]

_____

A man died after being struck by lightning. Puzzled, the doctor examining
the body asked the police officer. "Why is he smiling?"

The police officer replied, "Oh, he thought that someone was snapping
his picture."

[Fatin Nabilah, Reader's Digest]

_____

Life is an issue of mere existence when you cannot find meaning and
happiness, when you cannot be thankful for being alive, and when all you see
is pain and prejudice. Life becomes an issue of living well when you know
youre gonna die soon, when somebody youve hurt forgives you [and] when
you are loved unconditionally. [Francis Kong]

The minute you cease to live for something, you begin to die. [Lewis
Timberlake, Born to Win]

Death presents itself as a challenge for me to change, that I must be


steadfast in the quest for human responsibility. [Maboloc].

Living in Time
To exist is to be in time. To be in time is to be temporal. Temporality is
the basis of time. This makes us realize that we are finite. Being is understood
and conceptually comprehended by means of time. Temporality must be seen
in the ekstasis of time: Past, Present and Future. Temporal mean one has a
beginning and an end.

Heidegger thinks authenticity demands embracing your existential


nature, which means acknowledging the finitude or set of limitations specific to
you as a self-choosing, self-determining being. As he sees it, living
authentically requires that you have the right orientation toward the past and
toward the future. After all, death lies in the future, your historical context lies
in your past, and you must make choices in the present. [Christopher Panza
and Gregory Gale].

What would it mean to be oriented toward time? What we call everyday


time treats time as something thats outside you, external to your life and to
your experiences. Everyday time sees the past, present, and future as
separate and disconnected, like a series of independent moments. On the
other hand, the existential view sees life itself as immersed within time and
also holds that the experience of the past, present, and future arent separate,
but intimately interrelated. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

When you have all the time in the world, life is frivolous; on the other
hand, the inevitability of death invigorates life. Recall those times when an
awareness of the possibility of death wasnt present to you. What happened?
You treated the moments before you superficially. It happens all the time.
Have you ever been in the midst of some project that you think you have to do
while promising yourself that when youre done, youll get back to that other
project the one you think is more important and that youve been
neglecting? Maybe its your work; it gets in the way of your spending time with
your family. Maybe its something else, but the story is always the same: You
always have time later. This is the essence of treating life superficially.
[Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

Think of the future moments of your life as something you want. You
have a demand for life. Now consider the law of supply and demand to see
how much those moments of life are worth to you. When you treat death as an
event thats far off and distant from you, youre clearly reasoning that that you
have a decent amount of supply (of life) lying around. Youre convinced that
even if youre going to die, it wont be today or tomorrow or even next week!
You see supply as high, so the value of life winds up being low. Thats why
the important stuff gets put off. You think you have plenty of time get back to
it. You live frivolously. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

Now imagine something different. Say that you thought you had half that
time left to live. Or a quarter of it. Or perhaps that you had two weeks to live.
Would your way of interacting with life change? It should! The reason is
obvious: The demand for life remains constant, but the supply of life just got
drastically smaller! As a result, the value of life goes up in response. Choice
starts to matter. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

The moral of the story is clear: When you live with death, as part of the
very way in which you approach life, you take your life more seriously. The
embrace of death invigorates life. You invest each moment with seriousness.
You ask real questions about why you should live in this way as opposed to
that way. Each moment matters. After all, you realize that you arent going to
get a mulligan or a do-over at any point. When you make choices in life, its
like the sign in the store window: All sales are final. Death increases lifes
value. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

Perhaps youre thinking, Maybe death is part of life, but wouldnt it be


better if it werent? If the supply-and-demand theory of life is accurate, the
answer is no. The supply of life would go up, infinitely! But if thats right, the
value of life drops infinitely as well! As a consequence, immortality doesnt
sound particularly attractive. Sure, youd have an infinite amount of time to
experience things. But you wouldnt value the moments. Youd forever put
things off. Why not? You could always do the important stuff later. The
immortal would live with no zest. No passion. Not for us, thanks! Well choose
death! [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

After you look at things in this way, you start to see that the possibility of
living with death or acknowledging your finitude is a gift. It gives you the
possibility of taking your life seriously. Without it, meaningful life would be
impossible. Of course, that doesnt mean that everyone uses the gift hes
been given. Most people, sadly, live their lives as though theyre really
immortal. [Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale].

Paul Ricoeurs Narrative Theory

Human action has a historical dimension. The past is not simply past.
The past is always in relation to the present and the present is always in
relation to what one hopes for in the future. [Maboloc].

If you consider each aspect of your life and its


history, one segment at a time, you allow yourself to take
an assessment of where you have been, where you are
now, and where you are headed. Taking a look at where
you are in life and how you got there can help you work
toward the future. [Simons, Kalichman and Santrock,
1994].

Life is lived forward, but understood backwards. [Soren Kirkegaard].

Mans life is a story. Every story must be understood as a story that


occurs in time. Here, we must distinguish between the linear and configurative
understanding of time. Linear time is seeing the series of events in a story in
episodic succession. But human life is not a series of datable events. History
is not the mere recording of successive occurrences. History, or human life, is
rather, a happening. It is only in this sense that we can speak of a being-in-
time. Being in time means that human existence is a being in the world. This
is that possibility for the unfolding of human existence. [Maboloc]

There is no better way of interpreting what man does in his life except
through the creative power of the narrative. Paul Ricoeur tells us that
the narrative provides the venue for gathering and seeing together the events
of our living, of recognizing the significance of our acting together with others.
Having narrated and spoken also affords directives for acting once more in
ways responsive to events already told, fulfilling the story that had already
begun.

Change Begins With Choice

Any day we wish: we can discipline ourselves to make important


changes in our lives. Any day we wish: we can open the book that will open
our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish: we can start a new activity.
Any day we wish: we can start the process of life change. We can do it
immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year. [Jim Rohn]

We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the
idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain
as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education,
delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make.
But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause. As
Shakespeare uniquely observed: The fault is not in the stars, but in
ourselves. We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both
the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. [Jim
Rohn]

We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated everyday, to lead us


down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make
the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the
very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives.

And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone


seeking and needing to make changes in their lifeif you dont like how things
are, change it! Youre not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every
area in your lifeand it all beings with your very own power of choice. [Jim
Rohn]

Not making a choice is likewise a choice in itself so we better examine


our lives and see whether weve made the right ones. Then, look at our future
to check where our purposes life and what options to take to get where we
want to go. [Francis Kong].

Every choice flows into the water of life. [Astorga]

What Kind of Person Does One Seek to Become?

It is vital to remember that choices are connected to one another, that


each choice reinforces or alters the direction of our lives. There is an old
adage: Plant an act, reap a habit; plant a habit; reap a virtue; plant a virtue,
reap a character; plant a character, reap a destiny. This means that in a real
sense, we become our choices. Our choices enter more and more deeply into
the shaping of our person and the kind of person that we become determine
the choices we make. [Astorga]

If, for instance, we only work for what is the minimal requirement in our
school work with no motivation for quality work and no serious effort done for
excellence, we are in a way becoming a particular kind of person. This
minimalist attitude, unless reversed by later conversions in our more mature
years, would be carried over to all the other aspects of our life. In our career,
in our relationships and commitments, in our family life, and even in our life of
religion and worship, we will only settle for what is the minimum. Never able to
walk the extra mile for anyone, not even for those whom we claim to love, thus
so much less for the poor and the suffering, we sadly missed the whole
essence of life for having failed to live it fully. [Astorga]

_____

Interviewer: Young man, do you think you can handle


a variety of work?
Interviewee: I ought to be able to. I've had 12
different jobs in four months.

_____

Trial Lawyer to Witness: Is it true that you accepted


$25,000 as bribe money?
(A moment of silence)
Judge: Witness, please answer the question.
Witness: I'm sorry, Your Honor. I thought he was
asking you.

[Cristobal Pama, Jr., Reader's Digest.]

_____

The Sheik summoned all his 40 wives one day.

"I have sad news for you," he said, with tears in his
eyes.
"It is difficult to say goodbye, especially when so
many women are involved. But I must confess, I am
deserting you. I fell in love with another harem."

[Laszlone Mustos, Reader's Digest]

_____

Into the tapestry of our life are woven our choices and decisions. Such
choices, made in the everydayness of life no matter how commonplace or
mundane, slowly and gradually shape our moral becoming, and mold a
deepening sense of our moral self. It is in the realities of everyday life and in
the choices that are madebreaking of confidences, acceptance of a
volunteer work, involvement in cheating, efforts at self-control in ones sexual
life, refusal of drugs, the day-to-day living earnestly of a commitment in a
relationship that our moral identity and destiny is shaped and determined.
[Astorga]

There is ultimately no human act that is private. All acts have a social
dimension by virtue of our being social beings. What we do even in the
privacy of our lives affects us as persons, and thus, affects our whole way of
relating with others. The network of relationships which is at the heart of social
systems and structures has its origin in the individual person. We can only see
the multidimensional effects of the moral acts of individuals in the family
context. For instance, the trauma that an alcoholic, violent and irresponsible
husband and father inflicts on his wife and children has far-reaching social
effects. It brings about psycho-emotional and spiritual consequences which
could leave his children impaired for life. Wounded and dislocated, the
children need deep and tremendous healing so that the trauma inflicted on
them, they would also not inflict on their future wife and children. Unless the
cycle of sin and violence is broken by the breakthroughs of grace, it will
perpetuate itself in the next generations and the generations after. [Astorga]

Again, this is true for the seemingly small acts of cheating in an exam. If
this is excused and tolerated as socially acceptable and sometimes even
hailed as a daredevil adventure of beating the system by the brave and
strong, values are turned upside down and the moral basis of society is
weakened. The under the table cheating engaged in by students has already
initiated in them in the under the table deals they might do as corrupt public
officials in the future. [Astorga]

When we speak of social consequences, we must speak of both short


term and long term consequences. For instance, euthanasia relieves the
suffering of a dying patient, but in the long run and from a social point of view,
it may have serious consequences. It threatens the trust upon which the
physician-patient relationship depends, and it can devalue human life as well
as the quality and attitude among health-care providers. Also, we need to
reflect on the foreseeable effects of marijuana. Its immediate consequences
seem harmless enough, a mild high and no hangover. But what of possible
long range consequences of genetic deformation and brain damage? The
case of abortion must also be evaluated in terms of its social consequence on
a long range basis. While it may be a solution to a problem in the short term
for a particular individual, a practice of generalized abortion in the long run
from the social point of view destroys the respect for the beginning and end of
life.

In the same way, breaking promises would create damaging effects on


the social dimension, as it endangers the positive values of inter-human
confidence on which relationships are built. Shoplifting is a case in which long-
range consequences come into play. Usually what people take are only of
certain value that will not put a big store out of business. But to cover its
losses, the store raises its prices. IN the long run, everybody will suffer the
consequences of the petty crimes of others, especially those who are already
suffering enough, the poor who cannot afford the stiff prices. [Astorga]

Very crucial in decision-making is the consideration of the social


consequences of a choice made. A business decision in one of the air-
conditioned offices of Makati City may affect the lives of millions of Filipino
laborers or farmers. Our lives are in a real sense so interconnected that there
is no choice or decision that is solitary and private. Every persons pain or
death diminishes us, for we share a common humanity. [Astorga]

Therefore, in making a decision, we should ask the following questions

1. If this course of action is taken, what would be the immediate


consequences? What could be the far-reaching social consequences?

2. If this decision is universalized or if everybody were to do the same


thing, would objective moral values be protected or would they be
compromised or destroyed?
3. What could be the actual and concrete consequences of the choice on
the person, on his or her relationships and his or her sphere of social
influence?
[Astorga]

_____

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