Info

people, things, and life in general. The person who possesses the virtue of justice, for example, is someone who loves the Other qua Other; w ho does not use the Other as a tool of his own self-interest but rather gives the Other what is due to him.

It is important for us to have a proper and truly pastoral attitude. In today's world this means that we must be open to the novel aspects of reality and be prepared to work out novel solutions for new problems that arise unexpectedly. There is no ready-made solution which can be applied unthinkingly to any given problem. We cannot simply ape the past, because we are in a period of profound and thoroughgoing change. We must keep our eyes and ears open to catch the novel accents of present-day reality. We must be prepared to look at reality respectfully and attentively if we truly want to render creative, responsible service. In a real sense, we must be prepared to create new solutions out of nothing. I say "out of nothing" because real liberty refuses to be fettered to anything. It is prepared to create new things. There is a whole "anthropology of creation" that is yet to be explored.

First of all, we must realize that we are influenced and conditioned to some extent by the totality of the world in which we live. Many judgments and pre-judgments weigh down upon us. We are part of some group, we are not the whole of humanity. We are members of a certain class, part of the Church; there are others besides us. We see things from a certain specific perspective. If we do not realize and accept this fact, we will never accept and appreciate our own finiteness.

Accepting my own finiteness also entails accepting the fact that the "Other" sees something different from what I see; or sees the same thing in a different light. Hence I must be willing to listen to what the other person says to me. I must realize that I am not God, that I am conditioned by certain things, whereas God is not. And these conditioning factors estrange and alienate me from other people to some extent.

Suppose I am talking to someone from the working class. My academic background and university training will weigh down upon me to some extent. I will use certain words and certain lines of thought that may not be familiar to that person, whereas his or her viewpoint may seem a bit odd to me. I may be inclined to look down on that person as an illiterate. But the simple fact is that our real-life experiences are different, hence we may not be able to get to the vital core of each other's thoughts and feelings. Anxious as we may be for dialogue with each other, we may end up talking to each other like two deaf mutes. To break the bondage of oppression and domination, we must learn to listen to each other. We must be open to the Other outside us.

0 0

Post a comment