This paper was written as a synthesis to the course Philosophy of the Human Person I & II under Dr. Manuel Dy, Jr. This paper expresses the belief that God exists, and human actions try to approximate this experience of God (who philosophy names as the Absolute). This paper received an A under Dr. Dy.
The root of the absurdity of existence as claimed by Jean-Paul Sartre is the supposed absence of an Absolute beyond fellowman. This Absolute is longed for as it can guarantee human fulfillment, thus giving meaning to life. This Absolute is not only a product of frustrated human desires, but this Absolute does not exist empirically, as a chair or a table does. As “exist” is human existence, and human existence is relatedness, the dialectic bond between I and the other in relation to the I, the question asked of me is “How real the Absolute is to me?” I believe that as embodied spirits, human beings are free to express an approximation of the Absolute in each and every finite action.
As an embodied spirit, my body opens me up to a world. Because of my body, I am a being-in-the-world-with-others, characterized by facticity-transcendence. As a human being, I begin my existence as an ego having freedom. This is my facticity. But I am free to transcend my egoism and thus, grow to being a person. This movement towards being a person is directed by the fundamental option (vertical freedom) of love (as opposed to egoism) and every choice we freely make constitutes our stepping stones towards this goal of being a person, and as a result, we have a foretaste of the Absolute.
As an embodied spirit, I can let others experience joy and goodness through my actions and words which embody the appeal of myself. Also, as an embodied spirit and as sociality, I can experience joy and goodness through others’ actions which embody the appeal of themselves. However, these are not permanent. They demand to be so but time takes these away from me because I am temporality. All that I experience is this foretaste of the Absolute and all that is left are the memories which serve as the irreflechi which nourish my reflections.
The insights of me as an embodied subjectivity, temporality and sociality can be seen in the notion of work, as an embodiment of love and as one approximation of the Absolute. As homo faber, I share in the creative power of the Absolute. In fact, I am able to wrest a surplus from nature every time I work. This work of mine becomes a part of culture as my activity aims at myself to express myself, to embody my spirituality and my love, and to communicate myself. Moreover, the result is a sign which not only speaks of my existence but also points to the Absolute. This foretaste of mine of the Absolute is expressed through the product which shares both myself and my experience of this Absolute to the entire community.
Another finite action that better approximates the Absolute is love. Although my love for finite thou’s is never satisfactory because I can disappoint or be disappointed, I can hurt or be hurt, I can misunderstand another or be misunderstood. But the power of being able to forgive those who have hurt me and to begin all over again, to be ready to commit to marriage and family life despite of all its possible shortcomings, to bond together with people (I might not even know) through civil society and fight for justice shows the power of love and thus approaches the unconditionality of the love of the Absolute which can ultimately fulfill all human longing. Moreover, this manifests my belief in the Absolute who will fulfill all these commitments.
As I move towards being a person, I realize that all my actions are only asymptomatic to the Absolute. Furthermore, I realize that I will only be fully human in death. My death is certain and in this indefinite certainty, I realize two things. First, I am liberated to move towards the person I want to be. I am called to live each day as if it were the last day of my life. Secondly, death is my test of love, my final option. My response to it reveals my limitation to the flesh or my leap to the beyond. My response reveals the depth of my faith in the Absolute whose love I have experienced in foretastes while alive. As Kierkegaard says, faith is a paradox, a “leap into the dark”. In this case, death is my final test of whether I will take the leap, of whether I trust that in this total darkness, there really is the Absolute who I love and who loves me, or if I will allow this total darkness to engulf me in my egoism. Thus, death is my final option.
As a being on the way to that fulfillment, hope keeps me human. Faith allows me to experience the present commitment in love as a foretaste of the Absolute, embodied in human actions, rehearsals for the final option. Moreover, faith is seeing this present commitment in love as bearing a fulfillment in the Absolute. Being lumen naturale (which every human person as subjectivity, as existent is), my actions can only reveal a small bit of the Absolute and I can only grasp from the actions of others, a small bit of the Absolute.
For human others are “ciphers” in which the mystery of the Absolute is written, but it is in the finite actions and words of human beings that the Absolute is continually revealed in the history of human person. And to choose to become human is to participate in the never-ending revelation of the Absolute’s love that embraces all humanity unconditionally.