I Participate, Therefore I Am


In the reflection so far one could not have missed the fact that that man communicates “together with others”. An exchange of thoughts, words and images takes place between people. Man needs other people because, man does not suffice to himself and needs to live in a community in order to develop to his fullest. Saint Thomas Aquinas would write: homo est natura liter animals sociale, eo quo sibi non sufficit ad vitam –man is naturally a social creature as man does not suffice for himself if he lives alone (dzoon politikon, animal sociale). Man’s own insufficiency is the basis of his social nature, and this insufficiency is present in all kinds of spheres--psychological, intellectual, moral, economic, political--as well as in the area of interpersonal and media communication[1].

I think, therefore I am in a community. I see, therefore I am in a community. I communicate, therefore I am in a community. We cannot refer to man as Homo sapiens, Homo videns and Homo communicans irrespective of the other “I”, of community and of union with others. A person’s essence comprises a person’s relational nature and vocation to be a part of community.

The human person’s dynamism with its all self-determination structure makes it possible to state that a human person who is self-owned (self-possession) and self-governed (self-governance) is able to make “an objective gift to others” and at the same time can be accepted as a gift and thus experienced by others[2]. This is the criterion of assessment and a true personal unity called communio personarum by Wojtyła. This is also the criterion of true interpersonal communication in which persons make and accept mutual gifts. Or in other words ”people in interpersonal and media communication and through communication take a mutual part in the other subject’s life. This is done on the basis of the gift of myself to the other person, of responsibility for the other person, of solidarity with others. This is the rule of exceeding oneself towards the other person. The rule of exceeding oneself is the dominium of thinking, the dominium of image and action, including communication. Do these rules mean that we give ourselves up? Certainly not. What sets the basis for participation which is the essence of man’s “I am” and at the same time its realisation as Persona communicans? What is the reason for man to take part in the other person’s life and in the life of the community? What may be the invitation for this participation? These are the questions we will be seeking answers to in the last part: “I Participate, Therefore I Am”.


[1] See G. Dogiel, Antropologia filozoficzna, p. 67.

[2] See M. Drożdż, Osoba i media, p. 51.

Autor: Jarosław Jęczeń
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 12.04.2014, godz. 00:16 - Jarosław Jęczeń