Welcome to The New Personalist, the blog which takes a view on contemporary culture from a personalist perspective.
As a philosophy, personalism puts the unique human person at the centre of thought: as a personalist thinker, my question is always: What’s the impact of a given phenomenon on actual individual human persons? For personalists, the person is something valuative: that is, the person is ethical. Different influences act on people to nurture or deplenish their personality. We might call ‘personality’ humanity, but personality is a little different.
Humanity is generally considered a quality — something we have less or more of, like goodness, joy, kindness etc. But personality is an identity — the spiritual dimension of the human being.
It’s common in the western world to think of spirituality as an activity and ‘spirit’ as pertaining to the world of the dead, with spirits floating about us and sometimes manifesting as ghosts or other supernatural phenomena. But in Christian personalism, spirit is the part of ourselves which links us to the Holy Trinity: to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At the moment, human beings have one foot in the visible world, and one foot in the invisible, spiritual world.
Sometimes we hunger for greater contact with the spiritual dimension of existence. Somewhere deep inside us we realise that we are more than a material body: that the world of things is not the whole of existence.
Personality, then, is that spiritual dimension of ourselves which is a battlefield of varying influences.
This blog aims to take a view on the contemporary world, especially on the arts, education, politics, religion, and philosophy, which tries to understand the world through a personalist angle — one which is always asking the question: What impact does such and such have on human personality?
I write this welcome on the day the world has discovered that Donald J. Trump will become the next president of the United States. People are searching for answers. Politics seem to be failing many people, for different reasons. People are naturally anxious, worried, and interested in what the future holds.
In the midst of these developments, the temptation to focus on abstract trends, ideals, and goals, is great. The harder task is to re-centre the individual person. What of him? What of her?