One of the characteristics of this time – called by many as postmodernity – is the loss of the meaning of life, arising from the existential void that is produced in the human being for multiple reasons, among them, the disappearance of the other in the relationship. Although human beings are in the measure in which they relate, relationships are humanized when the subject is capable of attributing meaning to the other in the relationship. When such meaning disappears, relationships become a search for the self and are transformed into narcissistic expressions of the subject.
One of the signs of postmodernity is the transformation of the capacity to signify the other. The need to subjectivize experience has turned the postmodern subject into a being who thinks in terms of himself. Thus, the meaning of the relationship is not oriented towards the other but revolves around the self. Relationships have become a vindication of love for oneself. In this way, the paradox of postmodernity is established, which consists of what Freud calls the symptom of the subject, and which can be expressed with the phrase: «tell me what you presume, and I will tell you what you lack».
The postmodern subject boasts of self-love and, paradoxically, it can be seen, on the level of experience, that what these subject lacks most is self-love, which is visible in the way he treats himself and how he treats others. He who does not recognize himself in the relationship with the other -because he annuls him- finds it very difficult to recognize himself in the relationship with himself. In this sense, today’s culture, in its eagerness to vindicate subjectivity, ends up annulling it because it is constructed within the framework of the relationship that necessarily requires the other, whether real or symbolic. The subject constructs his intimacy on the basis of the meaning he configures of himself for the other in the relationship; if the latter disappears, the subject is left in lack, that is to say, faced with the reality of his own emptiness.
Every human being’s question about the meaning of his life is also a question about the transcendence of being. In this sense, theology, which has as its object of study the Revelation of God that reaches its fullness in the person of Christ, has an answer to offer to the deepest questions of the human being; for example, the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes indicates that Christ reveals man to man; in him human reality is illuminated by the mystery of the incarnate Word. In this way, the fundamental questions of man about the meaning of his life and about transcendence find a particular echo in the theological task and, likewise, due to the current context in which they are presented, they become a challenge for the Christianity of the 21st century.
I invite everyone to read Matías’ post with the theme of the day.