Tuesday, May 11, 2021

There are many rooms in my Father’s House

I am not sure how the “unrepeatability of the human person” fits the theme of Karol turning to phenomenology, at least from this week's readings.  More so, I found these quotes of Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka and Roger Duncan’s paper curious: ”Wojtyla came to phenomenology, contrary to a popular assumption, entirely on his own” and “[The Acting Person] manifests an independent and ingenious reflection of the author’s own, expanding the issues of personal and social ethics, grounding them in an analysis evidencing a strong kinship with the methods of the phenomenological school” (Anna-Teresa Tynieniecka and Roger Duncan, Karol Wojtyla, Between Phenomenology and Scholasticism, page 487).  I know that Wojtyla studied Scheler in the early 1950s; is it possible that he was already practicing something akin to the “method” of phenomenology?

I am led down this path as I think about the idea that Wojtyla appeared to experience people in an unusually intense and present way, apparently deriving the “meaning” of the people he met intentionally.  Did he practice “something akin” to the method of phenomenology simply as part of whom he was?  Weigel speaks of “. . . ongoing pastoral concern and his sense of priestly ministry as a matter of ‘meeting someone wisely.’  Wojtyla’s openness in his encounter with others was a way to ‘see’ into his philosophy . . . Other philosophers remembered texts.  Karol Wojtyla always remembered persons”.  (George Weigel, Witness to Hope, page 129).

I think that Wojtyla’s style of relationship--developed in the quarry with other workers, in the Rhapsodic Theater with other actors, in the underground seminary with other seminarians, and at St. Florians with the Srodowisko—was quintessentially phenomenological as his subjectivity richly perceived and described the people he met and knew.  He then used his metaphysical training to provide meaning to their lives through the context of his intellect.  In a strange way I think he contextualized each person he met as “unrepeatable” and unique and, then, gave them the dignity of their personhood by receiving them, each and every one of them, as a gift.  He provided the drama of who-they-could be from his metaphysical perspective of who-they-were, allowing the best of each person to appear in receiving them as a gift.

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