No man is an Island; Man is a social being. Ivy T. Negro Philosophy of the Human Person PH 15 CSB, 2nd semester, S.

Y 2008-2009 Introduction It was a cold morning with nothing to do or to say, and I was crying and sitting on a lonely corner where no one knew where I was, upon that moment I was about to open an old book, and I was able to read a phrase about John Donne’s phrase, “No man is an island.” Then and there I was able to recall my Philo 15 class. Since man is a subject-giving body, a being in link with his environment, man (a person) is therefore never to be the only thing that exist in this world and is bound to be a social being. In everyday setting man always co-relates with men. The individual himself is the social being. Man is a species-being is man conscious not only of himself as an individual but also of his own species and of his own being a member of his species. (Dy, 1982) Man is dialogue, man is in I-Thou relationship (Buber, 1947) in this relationship each is involved in giving meaning to one another. Man cannot give his essence of existence without somebody who is a witness to his life. Man just can’t be developing a relationship with another without love for the other. Max Scheler tells us that in order to have harmonic relationship with the other; we need to develop love, a love that is romantic but a love that nurtures the other’s existence. In Johann’s The Task of Man. He wrote, “To be a man is therefore to be a person. But to be a person is to exist only as appeal and a response to the other persons. As persons we are each

of us responsible to and for the other, and only in the mutual fulfillment of this responsibility do we secure ourselves a place in the real. Literature Review In I and Thou, Buber introduced his thesis on human existence. He explained this philosophy using the word pairs of Ich-Du and Ich-Es to categorize the modes of consciousness, interaction, and being through which an individual engages with other individuals, inanimate objects, and all reality in general, these word pairs express complex ideas about modes of being particularly how a person exists and actualizes that existencech-Du ("I-Thou" or "I-You") is a relationship that stresses the mutual, holistic existence of two beings. It is a concrete encounter, because these beings meet one another in their authentic existence, without any qualification or objectification of one another. In the Ich-Es relationship, an individual treats other things, people, etc., as objects to be used and experienced. Essentially, this form of objectivity relates to the world in terms of the self - how an object can serve the individual’s interest. (Buber, 1947) Here Buber states the fact that human existence is composed of human interactions, without this there is no such thing as human existence. In Ich-Du there is a mutual relationship between beings a fact that instills that man does exist with the other and not alone, this relationship forms an encounter between individuals with different personalities and situations, an encounter that serves as a reflection of what our existence truly meant. According to Manny Dy, that man alone with himself is also being social, in Ich-Es of Buber’s here we can apply it with Dy’s that man alone is social with himself. When we see an object there is this connection between a man and an object, here man thinks, man engages himself with questions that he only can answer with him alone and out from this conversation with himself he was able to come up an answer that satisfies his question, a realization of what it meant.

In Johann’s The Task of Man, it is stated there that, “this world which alone provides a home for man, where he can be himself and yet not alone. …. Without the other, an other who takes account of me and for my free response means something, I do not exist.” The world is the man’s crib, it is where he can express his own self but when he expresses his own self they are bunch of people who are involved, and in this world man is not alone. The presence of the other makes it fulfilling for the other, in this course of relationship each one who is involved can deeply penetrate into the other, each would give meaning to one another and mostly they learn from one another. Without anyone to stand witness of your life it is as if you don’t exist because no one learned and shared something from you, it is as no one knew you and your world does not exist because no one was able to see the beautiful meaning of your existence. In Manny Dy’s a Phenomenology of Love, I was able to read a certain verse that caught my attention. “Love is union under the condition if preserving one’s integrity, one’s individuality. Love is an active power in man, power which breaks through the walls of which separate from his fellowmen, which unites him from others, love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity…..that two beings become one yet remain two.” I strongly think Love is innate in all men, yet it takes shapes in different forms. In love man conquers it all; we love because in this sense we all feel secured and taken care of, because love is therapeutic and soothing. It dwells us with many people, it let’s us to express out from love, it doesn’t let us be in doom of outcast, but it draws us nearer to the people we value and from people who makes the best in us. Two people in finding true love doesn’t start in happy “kilig” moments nor finding the partner attractive to his tastes but it is the constant encounter between the two of them that made them fall for each other. It is also accepting one’s faults and failures wholly and maturely, this comes where no walls would divide

between the two of them. In love man isn’t left alone as love exists in man so never would man be left alone. Reflections/Discussions Man has always the freedom to choose to be alone or to be with others. The fact that we want to do something alone doesn’t merely restrict ourselves just with ourselves alone. We always have the flowing river of thoughts, thoughts that always involve with ourselves and the others that we interact in every situation. If man does want to be alone, alone that no one exists except him alone that’s absurdity. A fact that makes him selfish of all the creations around him, he must be man full of disgust and hate, a man that restricts himself from the freedom of beauty and creation. Every man has a time to be alone but not to live alone, but being alone is to recollect his self from others, a time where he puts his principles and grounded values back together. Since man lives in a world full of interconnectivity and influence, he must pause for a while to see whether these would enhance the values he had or these would distract the moral values he had with him. It is somewhat an evaluation of one’s self. If we try to live alone without the help of others we eventually be in an emotional state called “despair” then here follows the essence why man should not live alone because in living despair we restrict ourselves from the help of others, the others a side from man himself would perhaps give man an idea better than his on how would he improve his of living. Each one of us needs the cooperation of others to fulfill ourselves, not just ourselves but also fulfilling the live of others that enriches each other’s potentials. It somehow an act of love that makes man united with other men, that each one of us has responsibilities to hold with one another. If a certain man would not exist the balance of nature would rock since we all live on one planet everything that would take place in this world

would take another effect onto the other, it just like the domino effect. We all hold responsibilities with one another, in love, justice and existence. Conclusion Man and the social world are two inseparable things. Since man in nature is a social being. It is naturally man’s own hold to co-exist with the other. Man just can’t live alone, and even living alone doesn’t always mean being alone. Man is a subject-giving body, an existing being that brings out the best of the other. In this man can’t be fulfilled living alone, with the other, man’s journey comes out its best when others are involved in making it at its best. I recalled the moment where I sat and cry and the book where John Donne’s famous line was written, “No man is an island.” Then I realize that it is okay to just sit down and cry on a corner just for a while, not for the rest of my life. I am a man, and man is bound to live with other men, that I can’t live alone for myself, but I live for others, and for living with others I make out the best not just for me, but to the others. No man is an island, we all need the others to stand and witness the beauty of life.

References Buber, Martin. Elements of Interhuman. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings), 2nd Edition. 2001. Quezon City, Metro Manila: JP Printers & Co., Inc. Dy, Manny. The Phenomenology of Love. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings), 2nd Edition. 2001. Quezon City, Metro Manila: JP Printers & Co., Inc. Johann, Robert O. The Task of Man. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings), 2nd Edition. 2001. Quezon City, Metro Manila: JP Printers & Co., Inc.

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