The Urgency Of The Anthropological Question (4)

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Most importantly, it is the only man that is conscious of his self-consciousness; he alone subjects the phenomenon of consciousness to a critical study; reflects on his consciousness without losing sight entirely of his perception of an object and without totally grasping himself, the subject. Consciousness of the self-consciousness is the quality of the intellect found in man which he puts into action with extreme frequency, emerging superior over animals.

Furthermore, man’s self-consciousness is an immaterial act(spirituality), given that; through it, he returns to his own operation and his own being and gathers it directly- a property of the spirit. As such, man tends to go beyond every point of his arrival, in his consciousness of his self-consciousness which reveals that there is a metaphysical component in man.


Man is essentially free (homo volens); he is gifted with the will. The will is immaterial, like the intellect, but it affects the life of man physically through the choices he makes. His decisions and his desires so much variedly and dynamic, given the intellect, that man emerges superior to animals.

Yet the insatiability of the human will with anything finite, of this physical world points to that tendency in man to go beyond everything he wills; never being content with that which it has performed, or acquired according to his wish.

3.8 Work.

Animals labor, man also labors, but beyond laboring man also, works. Since labor is mainly for survival and work gears towards self-enjoyment and self- fulfillment, animals labor but man works. Beyond farming to grow food, man has developed methods of farming not for the sole purpose of growing food, but also, for other reasons, which include: the pleasure he derives from farming; not to be idle; to compete with another farmer; to improve or master farming techniques etc.-all, geared towards self-fulfillment.

Work is an aperture; through which we see man’s continual self-transcendence. He is never satisfied with any point of arrival in the products of his work. Continuously, he tends to go beyond whatever he does in his work, even the way he works. This points to the fact that there is a metaphysical component of man which tends towards the infinite being unsatisfied by anything finite.

3.9 Culture

Culture is another great window (together with language and work) that has been opened in our century to overlook the mystery of man. Culture as a way of life includes animals and man.  but given man’s knowledge, his will-power and conventional language which enables a higher social organization, a man beats animals hand down by going beyond the normal natural activities, as he conventional creates his own culture: knowledge acquisition, food storage, cultivation, etc.

Human culture, then, is a conventional way of life.

At birth, nature gave man hardly the necessary minimum, the essentials; to live his life to the fullest but with his intellect and will man creates his own way of life, adapting nature to his favor and needs.

Essentially, culture is the spiritual form of a society; through the creation of a common custom, technique, and values, man not only surpasses animals, but distinguishes one group of human society from another. It is only this basis we talk about Italian culture, Roman culture, etc.

Yet, man tends to go beyond any point of his arrival as regards culture, moving from the creation of external values like cultural artifacts to spiritual and moral values- tending towards the infinite-revealing that there is a metaphysical dimension(component) of man.

3.9.1Basic characteristics of human action

From the phenomenological analysis of man’s dynamism (anthropological windows) emerge these important data, which according to Mondin, constitute a reliable foundation from which the metaphysics of man can take off. They are:

Somatic: derived from the Greek term “soma” it explains the fact that, there is no act of man in which the body is not involved. This indicates that all human actions develop and are carried out through the body.

Spirituality: This points to the fact that there is no action of man which can be totally and exhaustively explained only in terms of his material component. This implies that the action of man is thick with spirituality, for there is always something that evades the sphere of materiality in all aspects of man, be it speaking (language) or hearing, etc. and that is the soul.

Emergence: what is meant here is that, in comparison to animals they beat us hands down in many things due to the fact that naturally they are gifted with single senses that to a great extent surpasses that of any human being, for instance, dogs perceive better that man. However, there is some capacity of which man is endowed with, by which he can develop instruments that by far supersedes that of any animals. this endowment points to the fact that there is something in man not seen in animals, that makes man emerge and beat animals no longer on the natural plain but on the artificial and technological plain. This is what we mean by emergence.

Transcendence; it is the movement in man that makes him transcend or wanting to go beyond every point of his arrival.


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