Friday, July 01, 2016

UNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON



Much has to be understood and emphasized about the unity of the human person lest this be divided into parts and thereafter likewise viewed and addressed part by part – not as a composite and integral whole.  Elementary examples:  When man’s physical stomach is full, that would be all that matters.  This is materialism.  Or when man’s spirit is contented, that would be all that counts.  This is spiritualism.

Neither of such separatist views could be anything but the objective truth about man whereas man needs neither corporal necessities alone nor spiritual needs alone – but both thereof making him one being, one individual, one human person.  Reason:  The unity of the spirit and the body equals man.  In other words, the unity of the following constitutive attributes equals the unity of the human person:  The unity of spirit and body, the spiritual faculties with the five senses, makes one man, one woman or one child.  Separating the body and spirit plus everything else that necessarily goes therewith is basically dividing or dismantling the human person.

The unity of the human person postulates that both his body and spirit are duly attended to and cared for as a whole, as a unity, as an integral reality.  In other words, the soul with its spirit, the intellect with the free will, the body plus the sense – plus physical health and well-being as promoted by food and drink, clothing and shelter – all these realities should be attended to through social welfare and the common good, considering that they are the constituent features of every single human person.  While the same realities accept distinction in nature, order and priority, the absence of even one thereof undermines the integral and integrated unity of the human person.  A “divided”  human person is a malady for the individual, a negative factor in a family, a given liability of society.

The human person as such is thus in effect destroyed when it is precisely de facto divided – attending to but this or that one of its constitutive elements.  And when the human person is thus divided, the truth is that there is no real human person to talk about at all.  Just as the human body alone is not the human person, human spirit alone is neither the human person.  The human person is “sui subsistens”.  In other words, the human person subsists by itself through the composite of both the human body and the human spirit.  Let it then be explicitly said and well-understood that “The spiritual and immortal soul is the principle of the unity of the human person whereby this exists as a whole, i.e., as one human person.”  All these observations about the unity of the human person have their profound significance and serious implications relative to the good and welfare of man as the constitutive integral unity of a human person.

It is anything but rational that public authority which is for public welfare through the common good, merely attends to community peace when there is community hunger.  It is not enough for political sovereignty to get rid of what is bad but also promote what is good.  Neither is it rational for individuals in power to simply get rid of criminality but forget quest for literacy, the need of health, the pursuit of socio-economic development.  Such is the rightful demand of the unity of the human person.