Printer Friendly

The fundamental starting point of transcultural communication.

There is no doubt that the modern epoch is accompanied by the phenomenon of worlds growing closer to one other and by the remarkable acceleration of the diffusion of cultural elements. This is what it means to say that the present time is characterized by globalization. However, the evaluation and interpretation of globalization is difficult. In this article I will focus on the implications of globalization for our understanding of the human person. More and more often, either in a realistic or utopian way, the current world is described as a global village. Many speak about the new identity of cosmopolitan citizenship, and about an emerging unity of cultures and religions, or about the unity of humankind.

In the following, I will attempt to consider to what extent the contemporary globalizing trend contains in itself fundamental assumptions for the possibility of transcultural unity in multiplicity. Then I will focus on modes of communication that participate in establishing this unity. Given that very diverse cultural and religious worlds are converging, it is necessary that we find a concrete and functional starting point for these worlds to communicate with each other. Culture and all its elements are the exclusive attribute of the human person. No idea can be implemented and become real without being communicated to those for whom it is intended and without being accepted by, understood, and accomplished by them. To communicate ideas effectively, it is necessary to know the recipients and the worlds they inhabit. As Ignazio Sanna has proposed:
   Someone might think that particular social and cultural unity could
   be generated, and more or less instigated, by the more and more
   powerful phenomenon of globalization. However globalization,
   planetarisation of economics and politics, strengthens rather than
   mitigates ethnic and cultural divergence, political and religious
   differences of particular groups and countries. The reason, among
   others, is the remarkable contrast between the speed at which the
   world unites itself and the slowness with which people manage to
   produce tools and institutions that would administer to the world
   as a united whole. (1)

The contemporary world is very complex; it does not have an easily definable identity. Therefore it is necessary to think about anthropological starting points and possibilities of transcultural communication that would embrace the whole scale of different cultural domains and particular cultures, religious convictions, ethical stances, political or economic systems, and so on. It is necessary to ask on what foundation we can build the real possibility of transcultural unity. Is our image of unity, of the closeness of all people, a mere fiction?

Globalization and Humankind

It is quite evident that various pieces of information--images, goods, capital--and even people circle the world with frequency and unusual speed. This phenomenon connects people globally by the mere fact that it shortens distances among worlds, cultures, and peoples. Convergence also occurs at the level of moral and civil consciousness. Let us call this phenomenon horizontal proximization. China is a striking example of this phenomenon. Yet globalization, through the movement of people and goods and through mass communication, social networking, and general technological participation, does not increase unity and social cohesiveness, but rather establishes an enormous market that offers numerous cultural and ethical perspectives, where differences of particular cultures, religions, and ethnic groups become more visible and available. On the one hand it seems that globalization leads to absolute unity; the whole world is engulfed in the whirl of a single society where everyone thinks in one way, practices similar customs, wears similar clothes, listens to the same music, and so on. Yet, on the other hand, we are witnessing the exact opposite motion of splintering and differentiation; collective ideals are crumbling on all levels, (2) people are mutually drawing away from one another in a bizarre, technological estrangement. Western culture is characterized more by the phenomenon of cultural and religious fracture, with increased postmodern axiological differentiation, than by the fact of deeper global unity. (3)

As we have mentioned, humankind is the recipient of globalization and the collective ideals connected to it. In order that these ideals could become effective, the presumption of a certain deeper level of understanding inherent in the human person must be fulfilled. But that is the problem. Martin Heidegger noticed the problem of fractionalism and estrangement on the anthropological level:
   No other epoch has accumulated so great a store of knowledge
   concerning man as the present one. No other epoch has succeeded in
   presenting knowledge of man so forcibly and so captivatingly as
   ours, and no other has succeeded in making this knowledge so
   quickly and easily accessible. But also, no epoch is less sure of
   what man is than the present one. In no other epoch man appeared so
   mysterious as in ours. (4)

Max Scheler expresses himself in a similar way: in his eyes "it is the current time when in the history known to us inherent problems of man reached their maximum ... man admitted himself that he has less than ever exact knowledge of what he is." (5) The truth is that the metaphysical question "who or what is man?" has ceased to be the essential anthropological question, and the social, cultural, anthropological, and historical question has become: "what is it, or what does it mean to be human?" A human person in this perspective cannot be defined on the basis of some universal essence; he or she can only be described in some historical perspective or in a historical process as indeterminate and indefinable.

Tolerance as a Unifying Principle of Humankind

It seems that there is a way to create unity among people inside the social, ethical, and political plurality of cultures and ideological concepts while avoiding the need to achieve a deeper level of knowledge of the human person. According to the liberal credo, we must create a so-called open society, meaning a liberal society. An open society demands "that the state must limit the freedom of the citizens as equally as possible, and not beyond what is necessary for achieving an equal limitation of freedom." (6) Redistribution of freedom should therefore be the unifying principle. Yet even here there is a big question mark. Toward what and to what extent should society be open, so that the element of openness could unify society? When and on what basis does openness become excessive; where are its limits and what designates those limits? (7)

We can also ask what the society should be open to, where are the boundaries of what we will tolerate? Giovanni Sartori points out that there is an inner relationship between tolerance and plurality, but he also warns of the contemporary trend of interchanging the terms tolerance and pluralism. Tolerance creates the presumption of possible pluralism but it is not identical with it. Respect for the values of others is the foundation of tolerance while pluralism makes an effort to assert its own values, a certain form of unanimity and consensus at the political and ethical level. Pluralism does not mean existing in the plural, in the sum total. (8) Social differentiation without some underlying consensus is not sufficient to constitute true pluralism.

Tolerance that does not reflect and that is not a part of pluralism shows its own axiological principles: uniformity and unanimity are not considered good, while changeability, dissent, and variety appear to be good. When the terms are considered interchangeable, pluralism comes to mean simply structural complexity. If that were true, it would indeed imply that all societies are pluralistic. Yet the term pluralism carries a particular value: it is a process of convergence of different concepts, not their multitude nor their sum total.

If tolerance divorced from real pluralism struggles for consensus without asserting a particular value, except for the value of respecting the values of others, then its logical consequence is an atmosphere of impassivity and indifference. Gilles Lipovetski speaks about the contemporary form of tolerance as apathy that rids man of responsibility and commitments; tolerance toward the different turns into disinterest in the different or the same and the inability to distinguish between one and the other. (9) We establish our own position and tolerate the "wrong position" of others as well as their right to hold that positon. It is clear that in spite of our indifference the question of the limits of tolerating distinctive positions is hanging in the air. If we are relativists, then our forbearance is the fruit of our relativistic vision. Then it is all the more complicated to lay down the limits of tolerance. Tolerance, that is to say, cannot be borderless; from the point of view of its potential consequences it cannot disrespect pluralism with its effort for consensus and be indifferent and disinterested. It is necessary that it should ask, "why tolerate this and not that?" What makes something intolerable? The standard of "do no harm" must inform our decision-making in terms of what is tolerable. But it should also consider the rational criterion of reciprocity. It is not until these consensual conditions are applied that we can speak about any constructivist tolerance at all; and at the same time about any joining together, convergence, sharing, and koinonia. (10)

Consensus is therefore the presumption of convergence, which nevertheless supposes a certain measure of reciprocity. Without the emergence of community (cum-unio) (11) consensus cannot happen. That is to say, finding the limits of tolerance cannot happen and that is why tolerance cannot be the fundamental basis of the converging, unifying, and joining of cultures. If cultures crumble into subcultures and communities into sub-communities that "work against each other and refuse basic rules of community co-existence," (12) then they cannot form the common unity. If the global convergence, interlinking, or unification is not to be merely rhetorical, it must be preceded by global communitarization. But what can be the foundation of communitarization in such a large scale of cultural varieties, differences, and contradictions, when tolerance itself is not enough?

The Return of the Metaphysical Question

Human communities form because of the immeasurable quantity of differences among people and cultures. This gives rise inevitably to the essential question of what the members of a community have in common. Or we might ask, is there any principle of equality among people? All measurable values are so divergent that they cannot provide a principle of equality and presumption of unity. Furthermore, it seems that new discoveries in the field of genetics and biology will soon lead to a new wave of dividing people into racial groups with scientifically "proven" differences at the level of intelligence, proclivities for particular abilities, and so on. (13) What basis exists then to defend the principle of equality of human individuals, which is the presumption of consensus and tolerance?

On the issue of how to approach divergent cultures, the methodological principle of cultural and social anthropology called cultural relativism is coming more to the foreground. It is possible to say that this principle has stepped over the boundaries of its domain and that it has become, to an extent, a certain social norm. Generally, this principle emphasizes that to understand some culture well it is necessary to regard it in its original context and to avoid applying the criteria of our own culture to it. The effort to overstep our own ethnocentric prejudices is a part of such an approach. It is necessary to apprehend each culture from the inside. An anthropologist should not answer the question of which culture or society is better; he does not raise such a question. Yet in the practical life this approach is remarkably problematic because it implies that everything is equally good, and therefore it constitutes the presumption of moral nihilism. (14)

Many anthropologists realize that there are some cultural practices that are so widely considered to be repugnant that they cannot simply be judged indifferently as an element proper to some culture without causing a kind of scandal to the concept of moral relativism. (15) For example, infanticide (the killing of individuals with handicaps), clitodectomy (in many regions of Africa, Brazil, and Peru partial or complete removal of the clitoris is performed on young girls), infibulations (sewing up the vagina entrance because the vagina is seen as an "alligator mouth" or as a "vagina dentata" (16)), mass raping of women (e.g., in Congo or India and their successive repudiating by a husband and society), cannibalism, incest, and the burning of thousands of witches during the second half of the twentieth century in Tanzania and Bombay (17) pose a significant challenge to the concept of moral relativism and make it evident that the "borderlines between cultural relativism and moral nihilism are unclear." (18)

Cultural and social anthropologists see human universalities that are present in all cultures, for example--sports, giving presents, decorative art, the division of labor, courtship, ethics, etiquette, eschatology, ethno-botany, folklore, gestures, feasts, games, the calendar, cosmology, body decoration, family, collaboration, taboos connected with food, dance, cooking, prophecy, dream reading, and others--as the foundation of unity. However, at the same time they realize that these universalities are disputable since they can have completely different meanings in different societies. (19) The presumption of a so-called psychological unity of humankind turned out to be similarly disputable and dubious. (20) In the framework of the field of social and cultural anthropology several universalizing theories attempt to grasp the so-called universalizing phenomena through different approaches. Structural functionalism supposes that all societies function on the same general principles. Structuralism claims that the human mind has a common architecture that is expressed in myths, affiliation, and other phenomena. Transactionalism concludes that the logic of human behavior is the same everywhere. And finally, materialistic approaches presuppose that culture and society are determined by ecological and technological factors. (21)

These approaches can be beneficial to us; nevertheless, it does not seem that they would bridge the differentness or variability so that transcultural reciprocity, transcultural community, and transcultural communication could be established through them. Anthropologists' disapproval and doubt with respect to the absolute validity of the method of cultural relativism is the important point. This doubt regarding the concept of moral relativism and the problem of the relationship between cultural relativism and moral nihilism gives rise to the return of the metaphysical question, "what is man?"

Dignity of the Human Person

The problems that emerge with the concept of cultural relativism reveal to us the "belief" of Western man in an implicit presence of a constant that is ingrained in the human person. This constant, which is often only surmised, and which expresses itself especially in doubts and uncertainty at the sight of some cultural phenomena and elements, is human dignity. Deeply rooted in the thought of Western man is the belief that the dignity of a human individual is something different from his worth. Worth refers to his abilities, performance, intelligence, and as such it is tied to the dimension of human individuality. Dignity is, on the contrary, given; it is not interchangeable with anything else. Kant distinguishes worth from dignity in his work Zaklady metafyziky mravu (Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals). What is above worth has dignity; there is nothing that would counterweigh it. The dignity of man has its foundation in the fact that it is the aim in itself; it is an intrinsic value of man. (22) Deriving the dignity of man from his specific qualities on the basis of species is not persuasive. Current Western civilization considers human dignity as a fundamental part of human existence. The preamble of the Charter of United Nations from June 26, 1945, reflects this perfectly: "We the peoples of the United Nations determined ... to reaffirm faith ... in the dignity and worth of the human person." (23) Respect for human dignity is the basic scheme, the norm, and the ethical claim of modern democratic constitutions. Dignity has become a widely spread political slogan that is used in a very broad context. In spite of such wide agreement in the matter of the fundamental importance of human dignity, the problem to determine its meaning precisely remains. How do we define it such that it applies to everyone? It can easily become a mere phrase, cliche, or empty word or be misused to cover contradictory meanings.

The term itself can be understood inherently, meaning that it ensues from the very substance of the matter, and therefore human dignity is unquestionable, untouchable, and indefeasible. It is in this sense that it was declared in the Charter of the United Nations. Otherwise, dignity is conceived contingently; it is joined to some feature or quality or a status (e.g., a dignified old man). In ancient cultures the inherent form of dignity was not known; it was not recognized until the time of the Stoics, who began to perceive human beings as sacred independent of social status. However, the concept was not fully developed and reflected until Christianity. Man was discovered by Christianity to be a person, which means an autonomous being with indefeasible dignity. (24) The unique substance, dignity, is inherent in a person. (25) "Person refers to that which is most perfect in the whole of nature." (26) The field of equality of all people is formed on the very universality of human dignity and at the same time the principle of brotherly belonging constitutes its basis. Instead of establishing gradations of dignity (based on social status, moral level, etc.) as in the case of a contingent conception of dignity, it asserts the universality of love toward man as a neighbor and equal. Thus, man has a privileged position in the whole of creation on the basis of his dignity as a person.

Kant confirms the utterly fundamental dimension of human dignity that constitutes the essential basis of the categorical imperative. Man carries in himself the absolutely intrinsic value that is identical to his dignity. (27) The ideas of global belonging and human rights are derived from it. Man, a person, is in this regard a revelation. He is a revelation unveiling an indefinable dignity. It is not possible to find a similar foundation of human belonging and unity. Being a person is by its dignity such a delimitation that it surmounts any naturalistic, historical, cultural, or social delimitation.

The Person as a Foundation of Transcultural Communication

The fact of dignity has led us to understand man as a person. It is in the person that the key to human reciprocity and unity is hidden. If consciousness of common bonds is to form on the global level, it is necessary to reveal the foundation of a common relationship. Understanding himself as a person belongs among the most important discoveries of man. Historically and culturally this discovery is tied to Christianity; the Greeks never came to the conception of man as a person, even if they had eminent concepts of the human soul. Christianity gives meaning to our entire thought about human dignity. (28)

The concept of man as a person is the paramount value to which all other values relate, and it is also the foundation of Europe's cultural heritage. (29) Jan Patocka in accord with Max Scheler, when he speaks about natural value theology, points out the essential interconnection of all lower values with higher values. Nevertheless, the absolute personal being, in which all others are anchored, is the highest value. (30)

The term person is derived from our understanding of being a person in the eyes of God. The semantic field of the concept of the human person is founded in Christian trinitarian theology. "Not before did the Christian theologians, who were searching for the expression for a unique being, divine being, give a new content of a being capable of the unique and permanent relationship to this word--and in this meaning it was then adopted by other Western European languages." (31) The relational dimension of person is not accidental; it is connected to the identity of a person. Man is not capable of grasping himself exclusively from the inside, he does not understand himself by himself in isolation; rather, he comes to understand himself from outside, through personal relationships. (32)

Dignity and relationality of a person are connected to each other substantially. The real relationship can be constituted only between two equal partners. As I mentioned above, equality of the partners is based on their dignity as persons. Such a relationship can be called a personal relationship. To be a person means to be utterly focused on being a person in relation to the other. In the personal relationship man realizes himself, and he realizes the dynamic substance of his own personal being. But man is a person even before he realizes himself personally. (33)

Man, through his focus on the other, through coming out of himself, (34) meets others in their absolute value. He feels the need to answer to the absolute value of the other by his own openness, generosity, devotion, unselfishness, and love. Acceptance of a value without purpose, only for it itself, is possible in a personal relationship with another person. Such a relationship is a relationship of personal love, pronouncing the free yes to the personal you. It is love that finds the absolute personal value. In the conditional man finds the value of the unconditional; due to the relationship, through love, man recognizes his own value, too. Being with oneself is realized and completed by being with the other. The greater the depth one finds within oneself, the greater the depth that is actualized with the other and vice versa. Any relationship that remains superficial, impersonal, based only on using another for one's own purposes, does not respect the dignity of a person, and therefore, such a relationship is not equal. Such a relationship is not able to serve as a foundation for convergence, solidarity, and unity. (35)

Global convergence of different cultural values and the unity of people is possible only on the basis of ordo amoris, on the practical effort to take part in the being of others in personal relationships. (36) We all have our own order of love, nevertheless all such orders point beyond and above ourselves. It is this transcendence, present in the personal relational order of love, that constitutes the potential for convergence throughout cultures.

The Relational Difference Inside the Trinity as a Foundation for Transcultural Communication

As I have shown above, the term human person is derived from the term divine person. I cannot examine trinitarian theology thoroughly here, so I will focus on the relational difference inside the Trinity that is most important for the self-realization of the person of man. It is necessary to mention that connectivity between the human person and the Trinity of divine persons is given on the basis of the conception of man as imago et similitudo Dei. In Christian theology God is perceived specifically as the hypostatic union of three completely equal persons--autonomous beings that participate in the unique divinity. The Trinity is an impenetrable mystery; nevertheless on the basis of Revelation we are able to disclose a certain plane of relational differences among the particular persons, which is consequently of remarkable significance for entering further into the semantic field of the human person.

The relations inside the Trinity are identified as a perichoresis, which is a cyclical movement, mutual permeation, and reciprocity of the three divine persons. We can compare the perichoresis to the paradigm of the hermeneutic circle. (37) The circular scheme reveals to us partly penetration, unity, and at the same time difference of persons inside the Trinity. (38) With God, nothing is of the accidental nature, everything is a part of the substance; in him the relation is twinned with subsistence paradoxically. The divine naturalness is identical with personal relations in the Trinity; it is a substantial community. (39)

Relational analogies that spring from the Incarnation and the facticity of the Cross help us to understand relationships in the Trinity. The ground plan of this scheme is based on the fact that the Son receives everything from the Father and reaches his fullness by giving back to the Father everything he received. The Son dies on the cross, thus the fact that the Father "first of all" donates everything (himself) to the Son shows that to donate life to the Son means to "lay his life down" for the Son. The Son, to whom the divine naturalness is given (the gift of everything, the gift of God himself) cannot act in any other way than "laying his life down" for the Father. (40) What they are giving each other is not an accidental gift but divine naturalness transformed into the Holy Spirit. (41) We can speak here about the mutual dialogue of love of the Father and the Son. Relationships in the Trinity are of a strong existential vigor. The divine naturalness, the essential community, is characterized by the relational force field of love. That is why the perspective and experience of love are the significant starting point for thinking of the Trinity. If God were not a community of persons, he would not be love; he would be everlasting loneliness, self-centrism, and self-love, which are features of egoism. (42)

Here we can see that the term person is substantively defined by the relationship. The person is not defined by the relation toward itself but it is defined by the relation of one to the other. A person in isolation is incomplete; the person in isolation cannot be oneself. The person is the one who loves, who gives himself, who identifies with the other on the basis of his dignity of being a person. "To recognize the Other is to give." (43) A person in self-giving is not engulfed by the other person; he remains himself, his identity is not annihilated by the other. Engulfment, annihilation, is the total opposite of love. If a person is defined by a gift and the gift means the gift of oneself, not a thing (object), then the person can be defined only in the negative: as non-object. (44) There is a diametric difference between the person and the object; from this perspective the definition of the relationship, love, convergence, unity, and so on finds its foundation. The person, the personal being, is the genuine foundation of transcultural communication.

If the Holy Spirit cannot be an object, then it is a person. In the Trinity the Holy Spirit is a personal being. Based on Trinitarian theology we can see personally reciprocal relational models that are portrayed in a circle, while the movement in the circle is progressing at the same time in both dimensions: see the following table. (45)
     FATHER           HOLY SPIRIT              SON

 Donating/Donee         the Gift         Donee/Donating
  Loving/Loved            Love            Loved/Loving
Relating/Related    the Relationship    Related/Relating

Given that we are concerned first of all with opening the semantic field of the term person and given that we have already identified the substance of the person with relationality, we will be interested in how the Trinitarian differences characterize the relationship.

The relationship is possible only between equal partners, therefore between persons that share the same dignity. This dignity generates the supposition of equality and equal worth of the persons. The relationship is an analogy of the spirit; it is not material; it is also an analogy of love, gift. At the same time the relationship is characterized by the potential of ecstasy and exit (coming out of oneself and self-giving, both of these meet in the sacrifice). The relationship is a real relationship if it is a relationship between equal persons, if it is filled by love and if it is the concretized realization of a gift of oneself to the other and at the same time unconditional acceptance of the other. The relationship does not engulf the other's identity nor one's own identity; on the contrary, in the relationship the identity of both is opened, revealed, and accomplished. The relationship is the essence of a person. In the sense of seeking a foundation for the possibility of transcultural communication the relationship plays the constitutive role. Communication is effective proportionally to the level of the relationship in which it is occurring. If it is realized on the basis of being a person, then its unavoidable condition is the platform of personal relationships. It applies especially on the level of transcultural communication, where the common starting point of unity in plurality cannot be found on the level of a purpose, which expresses itself by various types of purpose-built communication, but on the spiritual level, which expresses itself by the personal type of relationships.

The Relationship I--You as a Condition of Transcultural Communication

The relationship of "I--You" is the elementary unit of a personal relationship. This relationship is derived from the term person, therefore from the foundation of interdivine relations in the Trinity that are from its substance relations of the personal type, "I--You." (46) By addressing the other "You" within a personal relationship, the other is not experienced as a thing, an object, but as a partner. The personal character of the relationship "I--You" is what makes us human, where we pronounce "You" by our entire being. Any partial pronouncing means not only denying of the other's dignity but denying oneself as well. (47) "I indeed become myself only due to my relationship to 'You'; becoming myself I say 'You' ... the 'I' arises due to 'You.' ... Of course it occurs still purely in the fabric of the relationship, in relation to 'You.' ... The person occurs because he enters the relationship to other persons." (48) By addressing each other, persons can form a mutual responsibility for one another. Man is capable of sacrifice for the other. (49) Only on the basis of personal attachments that create bonds can people actualize transcultural cohesion.

Only on the basis of the transcultural relationship "I--You" can we speak about a dialogue among people and cultures. It is not possible to speak about a dialogue in any other perspective. "The dialogue activates our non-sovereign and non-pragmatic personal depths" and also "the avowal of human dignity." (50) The dialogue is not a method of convergence of worlds since the point is not to "make" a dialogue but to be dialogical, to respect the other as a person on the basis of the dignity that belongs to the person and to create a personal relationship. The most intensive and privileged place of the dialogue, addressing one another, is not merely the language uttered but also the expression of the face. The person is reflected in the face; the face speaks even before words are uttered. The face cannot be veiled, although speech and language can; the face is "nakedness itself, helplessness, misery, utter vulnerability and exposure to death." (51) The face reveals to us the fact that I am responsible for the other. Responsibility for the other is the consequence that flows from dignity in the relationship "I-You." (52)

The relational dimension "I-You" is possible only between persons. Personal relationships create mutual bonds and that way they build personal relational partnership: community. To accept the other means to establish through the gift of oneself common generality and universality. (53) Only the personal dimension "I-You" creates the world of relationships; it creates the functional and truly interconnected world. (54) Connecting cultures and people is not about counting up the sum total. (55) The essential fabric for the possibility of transcultural reciprocity and communication is the fact that man is a person, not an object. This is where he derives indefeasible dignity: as a person. The semantic field of the term person and the phenomenology of the person leads us to the relational dimension that is identical with the substance of a person. A person is a relational being and as such he realizes himself in the equal giving and receiving, caring relationship "I-You" that creates a basis for the real dialogue of people and cultures. Yet, "if the outer perspective showed the last facticity of plurality, then this plurality would be totality.... The stance of one person to the other must be stronger than the formal meaning of conjunction where degradation of any relationship threatens. ... Pluralism is not numerical multiplicity." (56) If man, in the name of cultural relativism, abandoned the starting position of the dignity of a person, he would be left with nothing more than to abandon the possibility of transcultural communication, and consequently, he would also abandon the possibility of communication as such, either on an interpersonal or intercultural level. What would remain would be merely the sum total of cultures and opinions.


(1.) Ignazio Sanna, L'Antropologia cristiana tra modernita e postmodernita (Brescia: Queriniana, 2001), 18-20.

(2.) People have lost their belief, not only in communism but also in capitalism, democracy, nation, in freedom, reason, and family.

(3.) Mauro Mantovani and Scaria Thuruthiyil, Quale globalizzazione? L'uomo planetario alle soglie della mondialita (Rome: Las, 2000).

(4.) Martin Heidegger, Kant a problem metafyziky (Prague: Oikumene, 2004), 185.

(5.) Max Scheler, Misto cloveka v kosmu (Prague: Svoboda, 1970), 43.

(6.) Karl Popper, Otevrena spolecnost a jeji nepratele (Prague: Oikumene, 2011), 104.

(7.) Giovanni Sartori, Pluralismus, multikulturalismus a pristehovalci (Prague: Dokoran, 2011), 14.

(8.) Ibid., 16-18; 21.

(9.) Gilles Lipovetski, Era prazdnoty. Uvahy o soucasnem individualismu (Prague: Prostor, 2008), 58. Lipovetski calls such a state of apathetic tolerance neo-narcissism. Ibid., 81.

(10.) Sartori, Pluralismus, multikulturalismus a pristehovalci, 29-32.

(11.) Robert F. Murphy, Uvod do socialni a kulturni antropologie (Prague: SLON, 1998), 126.

(12.) Sartori, Pluralismus, multikulturalismus a pristehovalci, 35.

(13.) Cf. the lecture by the evolutional biologist and phylogeneticist Jan Zrzavy spoken in the framework of Biological Thursdays in Vinicna: Jan Zrzavy, Paralelni zivotopisy Homo sapiens. Co k 6. prosinci 2012 vime, nevime, uz nevime a uz zase mozna vime o puvodu moderniho cloveka. (What we up to 6th December 2012 know, what we do not know, what we already do not know and what we again already might know about the origin of modern man.), December 13, 2012, (accessed June 11, 2014).

(14.) Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Socialni a kulturni antropologie. Pribuzenstvi, narodnostni prislusnost, ritual (Prague: Portal, 2008), 15-17.

(15.) Ibid., 18; Cf. Murphy, Uvod do socialni a kulturni antropologie, 29.

(16.) Jean Delimeau, Strach na Zapade ve 14.-18. stoleti (Prague: Argo, 1999), 145.

(17.) Peter Kreuz, "Carodejnicke procesy a pravo," in Carodejnicke pribehy, ed. Jindrich Francek (Prague: Paseka, 2005), 5.

(18.) Murphy, Uvod do socialni a kulturni antropologie, 29; Cf. Tzveran Todorov, Strach z barbaru. Kulturni rozmanitost, identita a stret civilizad (Prague: Paseka, 2011), 23; For example Ernest Gellner even suggests that cultural relativism is the descendant of romantic communalism and as such it denies science. He sees the relativistic thesis that all cognitive styles are equal as absurdity because in the world where the technological dominance of one style changed the world does not correspond to the truth. Cf. Hana Horakova, Kultura jako vselek. Kritika soudobjch pristupu (Prague: SLON, 2012), 41; In the spirit of hermeneutic rules it is more and more obvious that the researcher's objectivity and detachment is mere fiction, "entire knowledge is the expression of an interest, power or group belonging." Brian Fay, Soucasna filosofie socialnich ved. Multikulturni pristup (Prague, SLON, 2002), 260. Already Malinowski reminds us that "to understand the differences, clear common criteria of comparison are indispensable," which is the opposite of pointed relativism. Bronislav Malinowski, Vedecka teorie kultury (Brno: Krajske kulturni stredisko, 1968), 45; There is a universally human principle present in each examined culture; its comprehension is not only possible but necessary. Without it, no understanding of differentness is possible. Cf. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Antropologie multikulturnich spolecnosti. Rozumet identite (Prague: Triton 2007), 206-09.

(19.) Eriksen, Socialni a kulturni antropologie, 16.

(20.) Murphy, Uvod do socialni a kulturni antropologie, 21.

(21.) Eriksen, Socialni a kulturni antropologie, 16.

(22.) Immanuel Kant, Zaklady metafyziky mravu (Prague: Svoboda, 1976), 83, 92-94.

(23.) "Charta Organizace spojenych narodu," accessed June 14, 2014, (Charter of United Nations,

(24.) Tomas Akvinsky, Summa teologicka I, q. 75, a. 4 (Prague: 1937), 636-39.

(25.) Ibid., q. 29, a. 1-2, ibid., 275-79.

(26.) Ibid., q. 79, a. 3, 280.

(27.) Giovanni Reale, Kulturni a duchovni koreny Evropy (Prague: CDK, 2005), 146.

(28.) "An individual European may not believe that the Christian faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning.... I am convinced of that ... as a student of social biology. If Christianity goes, the whole culture goes. If we lose or throw away our common heritage, no organizations or projects of the most genial spirits can help to maintain our unity." Thomas Stearns Eliot, "Appunti per una definizione della cultura," in Opere 1939-1962, Thomas Stearns Eliot, 638-40. Cited in Reale, Kulturni a duchovni koreny Evropy, 147.

(29.) Reale, Kulturni a duchovni koreny Evropy, 91.

(30.) Jan Patocka, "Pokus celkove charakteristiky," in Misto cloveka v kosmu, Max Scheler (Prague: Svoboda 1968), 13-18.

(31.) Jan Sokol, Filosoficka antropologie. Clovek jako osoba (Prague: Portal, 2002), 19.

(32.) Ibid., 19.

(33.) Emerich Coreth, Co je clovek? (Prague: Zvon, 1996), 155.

(34.) Ibid., 185.

(35.) Ibid., Co je clovek?, 162-65.

(36.) Max Scheler, Rad lasky (Prague: Vysehrad, 1971), 55.

(37.) Ctirad Vaclav Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi. Nacrt trinitarni teologie (Kostelni Vydri: Karmelitanske nakladatelstvi, 2007), 391.

(38.) It is necessary to remember that aprioristic forms of time and space that are present in our thought do not apply to God. For this reason a point would be a better allegory than a circle; yet the circle provides us a larger possibility for understanding the character of relations inside the Trinity. Therefore, if we speak about a circle, let us keep in mind that it is the circle in the sense of a point and even this in quotes. Ctirad Vaclav Pospisil, Soteriologie a teologie krize Bonaventury z Bagnoregia (Brno: Marek, 2002), 207-24.

(39.) Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi, 353.

(40.) Ibid., 359.

(41.) Cf. Jan Pavel II, Donum et vivificantem (Prague: Zvon, 1997), 16; Cf. Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi, 360.

(42.) Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi, 375-77.

(43.) Emmanuel Levinas, Totalita a nekonecno (Prague: Oikumene, 1997), 60.

(44.) Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi, 378-80.

(45.) Pospisil, Teologie sluzby (Kostelni Vydri: Karmelitanske nakladatelstvi, 2002), 170-72.

(46.) Pospisil, Jako v nebi, tak i na zemi, 382.

(47.) Oldrich Matousek, Zaklady socialni prace (Prague: Portal, 2001), 74.

(48.) Martin Buber, Ja a Ty (Prague: Vysehrad, 1969), 13, 27, 55.

(49.) Ibid., 51-53.

(50.) Jolana Polakova, Smysl dialogu (Prague: Vysehrad, 2008), 10, 14.

(51.) Levinas, Byt pro druheho (Prague: Zvon, 1997), 17.

(52.) Levinas, Byt pro druheho, 18.

(53.) Cf. Levinas: Totalita a nekonecno, 60.

(54.) Buber, Ja a Ty, 9.

(55.) Levinas, Byt pro druheho, 38-41.

(56.) Levinas, Totalita a nekonecno, 102.
COPYRIGHT 2015 Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Burda, Frantisek
Publication:Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture
Article Type:Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Previous Article:Eros and contemplation: the Catholic vision of Terrence Malick's To the Wonder.
Next Article:The formal and moral challenges of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters