On Personalism

A stone
is not an individual.
You can make little ones
out of big ones.
A tree
is an individual.
It comes
from a germ.
“Only God
can make a tree,”
says the poet.
A horse
is an individual.
The horse is not
an individual
the way the tree
is an individual.
It has animal life.
Man is an individual
and has animal life
like the horse.
Man has also reason.
which the horse has not.

As an animal,
man is an individual.
As a reasoning animal,
man is a person.
The difference
between an individual
and a person
is the power of reasoning.
Through the use of reason
man becomes aware
of the existence of God.
Through the use of reason
man becomes aware
of his rights
as well as
his responsibilities.
Man’s rights and responsibilities
come from God,
who made him
a reasoning animal.
Man’s primary duty
is to act
according to reason.

To guide himself
man has
not only reason
but also faith.
is not opposed to reason,
it is above reason.
The use of reason
leads to faith,
but reason
cannot understand
all the faith.
The truths of faith
that reason
cannot understand,
we call
the mysteries of faith.
To use reason
is to philosophize
and philosophy
is the handmaid of faith.
Some truths
we get through reason
and some truths
we get through faith.

Emmanuel Mounier
wrote a book entitled
A Personalist Manifesto.
Emmanuel Mounier
has been influenced
by Charles Peguy.
Charles Peguy once said:
“There are two things
in the world:
politics and mysticism.”
For Charles Peguy
as well as Mounier,
politics is the struggle for power
while mysticism
is the realism
of the spirit.
For the man-of-the-street
is just politics
and mysticism
is the right spirit.
In his Personalist Manifesto
Mounier tries to explain
what the man-of-the-street
call “the right spirit.”