Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Philosophy of Protest

Dr. Romulo Bautista
DEVSTRAT Consultant

Humankind’s essential nature entails its relation to God, the infinite. Its existential condition is a consequence of its alienation from God. This is why it is not of any help to lose oneself in a crowd or collectivity of whatever nature. Being in a crowd unmakes one’s nature as an individual by diluting the self; it renders the individual irresponsible.

From the standpoint of Christian faith, being immersed in a crowd appears as an attempt upon the person’s part to derive some meaning for his existence. But this is a wrong attempt for “to relate oneself to God is a far higher thing than to be related” to any other thing, whether a person, a race, or even church. Until one does actualize one’s essential self in God, one’s life is full of anxiety. One’s anxiety is caused by one’s awareness of a deep alienation of one’s existential from one’s essential self.

The great problem for Kierkegaard is to relate God’s is-ness to human existence, and this he tries to solve by appealing to Incarnation (his concept of Incarnation is a secularization of Christianity whereby he attempts to give a human face to a faceless, abstract God). Christ’s person is the existent outgrowth of God who is. By what is admittedly a mysterious process the abstract God enters a concrete existent. We must appeal on this faith and faith alone, for clearly it cannot be like the process whereby one existent is related to another; it involves a passage from one realm to another which is not accessible to the human mind.

Theistic existentialism and atheistic existentialism are opposites, yet they are inseparable and give mutual meaning to each other. In effect they complement each other in their protest which seeks to rescue the existing concrete individuals from total dehumanization and annihilation which are being caused by the following factor, such as traditional abstract thinking. This unilateral thinking is one that we existentialists are in protest against.

Traditional abstract thinking, particularly against the speculative idealism of Plato and Hegel, who ignore the individual person in favor of the “world of ideas” or “universal ago”. Traditional philosophy gives a “system of ideas” which fails to describe and diagnose the concrete human situation and the problems of concrete human existence.

The emphasis on abstract reason, on abstract nature, on mankind, makes the traditional, abstract philosophy or idealism too academic, too superficial, and too distant from the concrete human life.

Impersonal nature of modern industrial age and industrial society which reduce man to a mere object or tool to be used. Also, the worship of science and technology which interpret man in terms of physical and mechanical processes.

As a whole, totalitarian forces, be they be political or religious, which attempt to crush or submerge the individual in collective mass.