Poiema Communication


We have gone a long way; starting from man’s interior (the thought, social nature) to what the external world is made up of: the word, image, action. Along this way we have been accompanied with R. Barthes’ thought that everything already exists; it only needs to be discovered[1]. Man’s eternal thought which originates in the Eternal Thought has been the starting point; that has been followed with the word and the image that are the fruit of man’s thought, then the Word and the Image that have been born by God’s Thought.

We found the starting point in the endless human thought which originates from the Everlasting Thought. It was then followed with the word and the image that were created by human thought, then the Word and the Image created by God’s Thought. Persona communicans and communio personarum have been the objective of this creation; these are heading towards the place they were born–Unio Personarum. This journey of man as an individual and as a community is possible owing to the communication process. I communicate, therefore I am. My “I am” has its origin and its end; my communication has its origin and its end in the Perfect Communication, the Holy Trinity. Not only “I am” but also I am Somebody, I am a person. Communication is a kind of process, action, creation, journey, creation. The internal, invisible structure inside man, referred to as self-determination by Karol Wojtyła is the basis of the process. This structure is the creator of every kind of action, including communication and is based upon the two fundamental and principal values: freedom and the truth. This structure allows man to exceed himself towards these values and towards true good. Exceeding oneself, or transcendence in other words, is the person’s other name. To be yourself means to exceed oneself towards the values indicated above and in consequence towards the other person. To be yourself means to communicate with others. This lays the foundations for the new communication model which can be referred to as a personalistic model. We might also coin a new notion to describe interpersonal communication, “Poiema Communications”. The old Greek poieo (ποιέω), in addition to the everyday uses of “create” and “make”, also meant some other meanings which have also been incorporated to other languages. These meanings, to a large extent, express what we understand as communication.

Cz. S. Bartnik enumerates these meanings:

  1. to produce, create
  2. to invent, compose, organised in a different way
  3. to create a word, use the word
  4. to give rise to a thought, acquire and expand knowledge, create the word-based world
  5. to create an ideal image, to assume the existence on another world, to transform people and things into colourful images
  6. to play a role, to assign new roles to people and things, to aspire to establish a new order of the world, to free oneself from material determinism, open up for a better and everlasting world
  7. to create deep interpersonal, internal and community communication
  8. to express oneself, to express the world of words, to present and express some of the unattainable, divine world
  9. to sacrifice oneself for somebody or something, to transfer one’s personal world onto somebody, to sacrifice everything for the sake of beauty.

The aspects which seem to be the fundamental ones are: creation of new reality, discovery of the new word with the use of the word, discovery of man’s infinity dimensions, the idea of human person’s self-realisation, a radical makeover of the world so that it becomes a “better world” of the future. Thus poiema and poiesis signify cognition and creation of another world—the beauty, good, the truth, peace, freedom and eternity[2]. In the context of our reflection, poiema and poiesis signify new communication--the interpersonal one. They also signify a new sphere of man’s life--the personal media sphere. An important element of this activity is the word and the person. And what about the image? The word or a collection of words is the image. A person is the image. The image can be expressed with words as the blind, unable to see, are forced to do. Sometimes you need thousands of words to express an image and it is still impossible to express it. The word and the image are the unity, the foundation of today’s world’s universal language. A person is also the image. This was described in the context of man’s creation or non-verbal communication. Thus the word (and the indispensable part of man’s history and man’s companion – the image) and a person constitute the interpersonal communication – namely Poiema Communication. What is the reason for the word and the person coming into being? This is the thought. What is the result for the word and the person coming into being? This is the action, the act.

Martin Buber (1878-1965) quoted Hasidic teaching and claimed that man’s life is composed of three components: the thought, the word and the act. Our objective is to unite them, to “make them one piece”[3], to care for the integrity between speaking, looking, acting and being[4].

Thus the cause (the thought) and the result of the word and the person coming into being (the action) create a unity. And upon this unity the person and the community are created (fieri).

Karol Wojtyła’s Personalism, which was further developed during John Paul II’s pontificate, places the good and person’s development in the centre and makes it the main principle. All particular good realised by man as the result of his freedom is assigned to this principle and the good[5]. A person and a community ought to be the objective and the measure of interpersonal and media communication[6]. Communication ought to be the person’s affirmation for the sake of the person, and more particularly, for the sake of the person’s dignity[7]. Persona humana est affirmanda propter seipsam – this personalistic norm which is the basis for interpersonal and media communication as presented in this reflection was put forward by Karol Wojtyła. All other norms have their basis in the following injunction: persona humana est affirmanda propter seipsam. Communication, dialogue and relationship with the other person built upon these norms allows the subjects engaged in communication to discover the field of moral responsibility for their own fieri and the other man’s moral world. This responsibility is visible in a disinterested gift of oneself which comes into being at the thought – the word – the image – the action line. In his communication with the other person, man should continually exceed himself towards this responsibility for his own “I” and the other’s ”I”. In his freedom man ought to strive to make his relationship with the other person a personal gift expressed through love and solidarity with the other. These relationships become an immanent part of communication which in the course of this dissertation, was referred to as God–human communication: God has become a gift to man and showed man his way towards the other man and his own destination.

The whole dissertation on communication assumed the perspective of an anthropologist, theologian as well as a person employed in the media. Thus this is the synthesis of theory and experience. This work stems from the need to have a say in today’s debate on man’s place in the media sphere. The personalistic idea of Karol Wojtyła is aired here. It seems, or it is better to say, that it is certain that in the era of cultural pluralism, personal and media communication depend on the definition of man, on a specific concept of man. Man is the beginning, the way, and the objective of understanding what communication is. “The human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media of social communication; communication should be by persons to persons for the integral development of persons”[8]. It decides whether man as a person and as a community develops, becomes and is: I Communicate, Therefore I Am.



[1] See R. Barthes, La retorica antica [The Ancient Rhetoric], Milano 1972, p. 59; A. Milano, Persona in teologia [Person in Theology], Rom 1996, p. 355.

[2] Cz. S. Bartnik, Personalizm, pp. 279-283.

[3] M. Buber, Hasidim and Modern Man, New York 1958, pp. 154-157.

[4] M. Filipiak, Komunikowanie informacyjne i perswazyjne, Wydawnictwo UMCS, Lublin 2004, p. 41.

[5] W. Chudy, Filozofia personalistyczna, p. 233.

[6] See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World “Gaudium et Spes”, no. 25: “Man’s social nature makes it evident that the progress of the human person and the advance of society itself hinge on one another. For the beginning, the subject and the goal of all social institutions is and must be the human person which for its part and by its very nature stands completely in need of social life. Since this social life is not something added on to man, through his dealings with others, through reciprocal duties, and through fraternal dialogue he develops all his gifts and is able to rise to his destiny”.

[7] W. Chudy, Filozofia personalistyczna, p. 234.

[8] John Paul II, Message of the Holy Father for The World Social Communication Day “The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples”, Vatican City 2005, no. 4.

Autor: Jarosław Jęczeń
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 07.05.2014, godz. 00:07 - Jarosław Jęczeń