Questions about the essence of man and the meaning of his existence, both today and in the past, are not primarily the product of scientific curiosity, which wants to know more. Anthropological problems burst into existence, intervene almost without one realizing it, and impose themselves by their own weight. These problems exist not because someone has endeavored to study the essence of man, but because life itself poses the problem of man and forces us to confront it. This does not happen sporadically in some privileged person but is normal – at least in a certain way – in the life of a man who is open and eager for authenticity. Philosophical anthropology does not pull man’s problems out of his sleeve. It finds them already there, recognizes them, assumes them, studies them critically and tries to find an answer that can illuminate the concrete and existential problematic.
The anthropological problematic appears in concrete life in very different ways, which can be grouped around these three themes: astonishment and admiration, frustration and disillusionment, experience of the negative and of emptiness.
Reflection on the fundamental dimensions of man can be due to astonishment: astonishment at the courage that conquers nature, the seas and the mountains (see the choral song of Sophocles’ Antigone), at the artistic genius expressed in music, poetry, painting, literature and architecture, etc., or at the fascination of friendship (see the choral song of Sophocles’ Antigone), or at the fascination of friendship (see the choral song of Sophocles’ Antigone), or before the fascination of friendship and love, of the innocent eyes of a child, of a noble work, of the sacrifice of one’s own life for the sake of a great cause; or before the admiration felt before the universe and before man and his creations.
The stupor somehow reflects a contemplative attitude, deeply repressed in contemporary civilization, but not extinguished, which pursues the recognition of the mysterious greatness in man, independent of human work and prior to it.
I invite everyone to read Matias’ post with the theme of the day.