The nature of being is relationality.

To get this we need to switch from using an Aristotelian mind. Aristotle looked at “being”, the most universal category and listed what he thought were the qualities of being and he said that the highest quality of being was what he called “substance,” to be substantial. What we are trying to say is that we disagree with that.

Instead, we want to say that the highest quality of being is relationality. The nature of being is that it is relational. It took us til the last century to create words like “ecosystem”, “ecology”, to understand things like the holographic universe – the part imitates the whole. Now all the sciences are affirming this.

There is no such thing as separation in the universe. It’s an illusion. We are all radically connected.

But there is a figure you are probably less familiar with than Aristotle. He was an Italian philosopher in the 6c. He was a key figure between so-called paganism and early Christianity. He wrote a highly influential book called The Consolation of Philosophy.

Here’s how Boethius, building on Aristotle, defines the human person as “an individual substance of a rational nature”. We disagree with every word in that sentence. That led to the Enlightenment of the 17 and 18 c. where rationalism took over. And we’re still living in the effects of that in what we call post-modernism.

We keep being trapped in this small box of supposed rationality and supposed individualism. And nothing works; it just creates unhealthy people because it isn’t a proper definition of the human person.

We’re not individuals; we’re not rational and we’re not a substance. We are a subsistent relationality.

We first come to our sense of personhood because it is mirrored to us. A child who is able to run into the living room, stark naked and have the parents eyes just thrill with delight at your naked existence, not what you are but that you are, that you exist, that begins the mirroring process. If you get delighted mirroring at the very beginning, it creates what neuroscientists are now calling “mirror neurons.” If you are once mirrored, you have the capacity for the rest of your life, to pass on that delight.

The reason some people are psychopaths and sociopaths is that they have no mirror neurons. If you have no mirror neurons, you have no capacity to feel what another person is feeling.

Those of you who have a developed capacity for empathy, sympathy, compassion, communion, connection, you’ve gotta thank your mom and your dad. Someone delighted when you ran into the room when you were naked when you were two years old.

The word we use for person, is built on Boethius taken from Greek theatre.

Because the Greeks didn’t have microphones, the actors wore huge stage masks which served as megaphones. Those stage masks were called”Persona” which means mask.

Per – through and Sonare – sound, they were soundings through. They said these three intimate loving relationships of the Trinity were the three persons of the blessed Trinity.

Advertisements