Person and individual


“[The individual] is the result of a process of cutting off a traceable and useful part of the human being … The individual is an abstraction …

The person comprises the complex skein of relationships that is constitutive of man” (Blessed Simplicity)

One of the most important anthropological and terminological clarifications of Raimon Panikkar is that the human being is a person, not an individual. While the individual is an isolated entity, the person, in contrast, is pure relationship, “is a knot in a net of relationships”.

These threads connect us with each other, with the earth and with the divine. “The more conscious a person is, the more he realizes that he extends to the ends of the earth. This is the realized man.” Individuality is merely the abstract knot, but a knot without threads is not anything. “Reality is the net, reality is relationship”; God himself is relational; God is not a “supreme Individual like some Other who scrutinizes our identity, like some alienating stranger who dehumanizes us”. If we are to be able to continue calling God person it is on the condition that we understand the person as relationship, the constitutive relatedness of reality. Person is relationship because Being is relationship” (The Fullness of Man). The individual and the Western desire for individual perfection are a fiction: not so the person. Panikkar rejects the reductionism of Western Culture that has led us to identify ourselves with individuality.


Raimon Panikkar

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“Writing, to me, is intellectual life
and also spiritual expirience…
it allows me to ponder deeply the mistery of reality.”