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14th Annual Summer Seminar
July 14 – July 19, 2024
The human person only finds the fulfillment of his nature in spiritual contact with other persons, in union with them—in short: in community.
Dietrich von Hildebrand
The Metaphysics of Community
Why are people connected with each other as never before, even as they suffer from crushing loneliness? Why do people have a deep need to be sheltered inside a community but feel condemned to remain outside of all deeper solidarity with others? Or if they do belong to a community, why is it that they can put down roots in it only by taking other communities as enemies? Why is it relatively easy to help others in need, but very difficult to be present to them?
The great Christian personalists have something to say about these contradictions; we find in their works much wisdom about the brokenness of our life with others.
Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote a major philosophical treatise, The Metaphysics of Community, in response to the earlier crisis about the nature of the person and community in National Socialism and Communism. His personalism leads to a strong affirmation of the selfhood and solitude of the individual person, but also to an equally strong affirmation of the deep orientation of persons to interpersonal relationship and community. We also find in Karol Wojtyla, Max Scheler, Edith Stein, Romano Guardini, Henri de Lubac, and other personalists rich and nuanced accounts of the communal nature of the person, accounts that speak to us in our need.