Saturday, January 1, 2011

On Communal Sacrality

On Communal Sacrality: In Homo Viator (1962), French existentialist philosopher Gabriel Marcel espoused a kind of communal philosophy that specifically pertained to sacrality. As a former atheist who converted to Catholicism around his fortieth birthday, Marcel focused his thoughts on the idea of reciprocity. Central to this idea was the sacred inter-subjectivity (common grace) of all human-to-human relationships. Marcel's communal sacrality, therefore, originated with the reciprocal nature of humanity's common grace. His communal philosophy was also akin to Emmauel Levinas' conception of face-to-face contact whereby individuals became enraptured by the Divine spark evident in each others eyes. But the phenomenological concerns raised in Heideggerian philosophy (Gelassenheit) were diametrically opposed to communal sacrality. In effect, the essence of a community stemmed from a spontaneous amalgamation of people who did not necessarily coalesce through inter-subjectivity. And even though Marcel and Heidegger attended the same academic conferences on occasion, they never openly debated their philosophical qualms.

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