The ‘thingness’ of a person

In a manner of speaking follows St. Pavel on Love parts I,(II is an accidental repost of I) III, IV, V, VI and VII

The modern, illusionistic understanding of life is dominated by the psychological interpretation of love…This new understanding starts, it appears, with Leibniz…For Leibniz, “monads have neither windows nor doors” through which real interaction in love would occur. Therefore, doomed to the self-enclosedness of ontological egotism and purely internal states, they love only illusorily, not going out of themselves through love. …
According to this definition, “love is a rejoicing in the happiness of another or others, considered also as one’s own happiness.” [cf. the “social gospel”, etc.] …“Charity is universal good will, and good will is a state of love or estimation.” …for Spinoza, the essence of our soul lies in knowledge and…he calls the soul mens, which, strictly speaking, means mind, thought. “Love is pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause” [“The soul is a thinking thing (res cogitans)”] …For Leibniz and his followers, love, as we have seen, is conditioned by the idea of the happiness of another. For Spinoza, “the idea of an external cause,” i.e., the idea of some not-I, only accompanies enjoyment as a purely subjective state of I. But in both conceptions, love is interpreted exclusively psychologically and thus is deprived of its significance as a value. Love can even be considered undesirable. If love does not lead anywhere metaphysically, if it does not really connect anyone with anyone else, if it is not ontological but only psychological, why should we then see in it anything more valuable than a mere titillation of the soul? Being a source of false ideas about the interaction of that which exists, love turns out to be false and harmful. For the psychological understanding, love is the same thing as desire. Here, this confusion is not at all an accidental and secondary feature of rationalistic essential principles of this understanding of life. For love is directed toward a person, whereas desire is directed toward a thing. But the rationalistic understanding of life does not distinguish, and is not able to distinguish, between a person and a thing. More precisely, it has only one category, the category of thingness, and therefore all things, including persons, are reified by this understanding, are taken as a thing, as res.
Fr. Pavel Florensky


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