A healthy theory of personality development strives toward the goal of living fully. It requires a conscious attempt to grow in living out one’s human existence in its most healthy expression. This process thereby requires a systematic effort on the part of the individual to live a psycho-spiritually integrated reality, based in the nature of being and embracing true freedom in the congruity existing in the homo rationalis.
The existential and essential nature of man are not in opposition, one to the other, but are found holistically in the fully functioning person, the homo rationalis. As society presents to us the piecemeal version of man, we must make every effort to engage secularists, and present the psycho-spiritually integrated person. In this series of posts I will offer an attempt to raise the bar, be thought provocative and engage all believers: Agnostics, Atheists, Christians, Non-Christians, etc. Let's begin...
I. Psycho-Social Expressiveness: Ingredients of Humanness
Scholar, Dr. John Morgan, claims that there are four essential characteristics to being human: aesthetic expression, education, a sense of community and speculation about the nature/meaning of life.[i]
A. Aesthetic Expressiveness:
Art is uniquely human in that it unfolds out of the drama of human life and one’s own experiences. The Upper Paleolithic period (ca. 12,000 – 20,000 years ago) demonstrates this quality as expressed in the drawings found in caves near southern France and northern Spain, which illustrate various animal species.[ii] The significance of this artistic expression, is that it paints not just an external expression of what the Cro-Magnon’s experience of life was at that time, but a reflective nature innate to being human. As Dr. Morgan writes: “The insuppressible human urge to express ourselves artistically is validated by these cave paintings.” [iii]
It is evident from Cro-Magnon cave art that there were species of animals that are now extinct, such as: rhinoceroses of the Ice Age of Europe with shaggy coats, and a deer with gigantic antlers that had a dark colored hump behind the shoulders.[iv] The preservation of such artifacts gives contemporary humans a glimpse into the external affairs of the first European Homo sapiens, as well as their conscious awareness indicative of the human propensity to reflectivity and intentionality.[v] According to Clifford Geertz, the vocation of anthropology, as expressed in the symbolic dimensions of social activity, such as artistic expression, is by no means a movement away from facing existential reality, but a plunging into it.[vi]
[i]Morgan, John H., “In the Beginning…” Paleolithic Origins of Religious Consciousness. South Bend: Cloverdale Books, (2008) 13.
[iv]Tattersall, Ian, Becoming Human. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, (1998) 7.
[vi]Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, (1973) 43.