Person as an Instance of the Rational Nature

What am I? An instance of the rational nature. This is why I was conceived by parents, grew in a womb, was born of a woman, grew by eating, sensed and learned by it, felt passions, learned by abstraction, knew being, desired vindication, grew up in a society, laughed at jokes, sought friends, feared loss, desired independence, loved my parents, had to seek work, desired fulfillment, was determined by my habits, had some talents and gravitated toward what perfected them, fell in love, got married, conceived a child, desired God, etc. These are the sorts of things that showed me myself most profoundly- and they are nothing other than instances of the rational nature manifesting itself.

There is a certain tendency in modern thought to understand “person” in such a way as to minimize or even explain away the primacy of nature. Such an opinion understands man only superficially; it confuses mere individuation with personality; what is merely unique with what we most fully are. Man’s most profound experiences of his own self are per se in experiences which are common to the whole human race- experiences like the sort mentioned in the first paragraph.


  1. June 22, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    You just hit the head on the nail. You are absolutely correct.

  2. kodiak said,

    June 22, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    Not only that, but this is your true philosophic voice, methinks. Nice post.

  3. June 25, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    This reminded me of the Epistle from today’s Trid. mass:
    1Pet. 5,6-11: Beloved: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, the He may exalt you in the time of visitation; cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your bretheren all over the world. But the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish us. To Him is the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
    Not only are the desires and experiences the same, but St. Peter suggest that all of the tribulations are the same for everyone everywhere. This, of course, speaks to man’s beatification as an assimilation to God as you have remarked.

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