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SOCIUS AND THE NEIGHBOR

A. Definition/Comparison
SOCIUS
human relationship that you have
with an organized group or the
person that you can encounter
through his/her social function
has a social function

Approach: works their charity in a


direct manner, through a man-toman relationship with others

love

NEIGHBOR
the personal way that you can
encounter another as a person,
the interpersonal, with varying
degrees of intimacy
real attitude of a person and has
no social function
in an indirect manner. They can
be of the same charity when they
work at the same time. Charity
must come hand in hand with
justice.
justice

B. Application: The Parable


A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among
thieves, who also stripped and wounded him... and it happened that a
priest went down the same way in like manner a Levite also passed by
but a certain Samaritan being on his journey came near him: and seeing
him, was moved with compassion. Which of these three men, in thy
opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves? (Luke 10:3037)
Visitor: Who is my neighbor? How is my brother related to me?
Jesus: Which of these men acted like a neighbor?
Jesus answered a question with a question, but with a question that has become
inverted by means of the corrective virtue of the narrative.
Visitor: making a sociological inquiry concerning a certain social object. Definition,
observation, explanation.
Jesus: neighbor is not a social object but a behavior in the first person. Being a
neighbor lies in the habit of making oneself available.
I make myself someones neighbor.
In relation to the biblical passage:

PRIEST and LEVITE


o Two men who did not stop

o
o
o
o
o

Defined by their social category


Living parable: man as a social function, absorbed in his role
Social function occupies them to the point of making unavailable for
the surprise of an encounter (neighbor)
Institution bars them to open up themselves
Refers to categories

SAMARITAN
o The man who stopped
o Does not form part of a group
o Not burdened by his social responsibility
o Available for encounter and the presence of others
o Direct relationship: man to man
o Conduct takes place without mediation of an institution

Who is my neighbor?

Implied here in the lawyers question desire to hear that


not everyone is his neighbor
not everyone deserves my charity

Jesus response: indirect in a form of a question


Not the one who needs help, but the one who provides it
Samaritan proves himself neighborly

But there is a problem we are defined by our roles in society


Teacher, student, constituent, taxpayer, voter, rather than a person.
Why there is no sociology of a neighbor?
1. Neighbor is the personal way which I encounter another, over and above
all social mediation.
2. Significance of this encounter does not depend on any criterion immanent
to history.

Go and do likewise

Bible advocates charity: Whatever you do to the least your brothers you do it
unto me.
o The least are representatives of Christ.
o Theological/Christological intention of prophecy

Ricoeurs modern response to the command Go and do likewise

We cannot simply act like the Samaritan did. Those who help the (apparently)
stranded by the side of lifes road do so at great risk to their own safety
and well-being, and encourage exploitation of benevolence.
However, as time passes by, the society gets complicated in terms of
relationships and social institutions.
Culture arent the same yesterday and today.
There has to be a balance.
Today: society in disorder, society full of plundering.

C. Focus

The focus of this course, as such, will be Ricur's ethical thought. We will
see how he visits the theme of Responsibility of the self, who is
considered in relation to another person and involved in particular
institutions.
It attempts to understand being-with-others-in society. Our life is social in
everything. By everything we mean everything that is subject to human
responsibility.
The change from representable solidarity to unrepresentable solidaritythe
individual person is coresponsible for all other individual persons in the
collective person not only as the representative of an office, rank, or any
position in social structure but also as unique personal individual and as
bearer of individual conscience.
D. Socius and neighbor interwined?

1. neighbor relationship via socius

a social structure or institution may have been the reason why a


person comes to my life and becomes my friend (PASSES THROUGH
THE SOCIUS RELATIONSHIP)
Meeting a close friend via the school, meeting future wife via office
my experience with others develops from a condition and function into
a higher level of relation that is free from condition and so-to-say from
having strings attached
has always the potentiality of transcending into a deeper neighbor kind
of relationship
does not depend on status and function of a person or group.

2. Neighbor within the fringes of the socius

the relationship between persons or group depends only to their status


and function
does not tend to develop more than from being connected through
functions and institutions

Ex. 2 - classmate-classmate relationship


o could be possible without the growth from being a classmate to a
friend relationship.
o Persons intention study
o But because of school - came to develop friendships with the
most unexpected people
o School: didnt really have that in purpose, but then,
unintentionally, the school gave way to us to interact with them.
o person decides if he will treat his classmate as mere classmate
until the end without having the intention of building a
relationship of friendship and brotherhood
o status-based and conditional type of relationship.
3. neighbor relationship rises up against the socius relationship
o Even the relationship works out in the fringes of the socius, the
relationship of the neighbor could still be against the socius in
some instance.
o corruption issue
o student rallyists and adult activists, able to gather, interact, and
rise up against a common enemy,
o If Fr. President will corrupt - will not follow blind obedience and
tolerance as long as I have the right and capability to object
against unbecoming actions of the president.
o would give importance to the relationship of being a neighbor
even though it rises against the relationship of the socius.
E. Socius and Neighbor Two Faces of the Same Charity
o Socius and neighbor: distinct but interconnected
o They make the society alive, humane and in order.
o
o
o
o

they can be as ONE to help us to be "FULLY HUMAN".


two faces of the same charity
my own neighbor might be more dear, but this does not release me
from responsibility to all other children.
different approaches

The neighbor is whom we knew to be the primary mover of such


charity, we thought that they are the only one who is capable or who
possessed this deed. But we also have to consider that the socius also
had their own face of charity and we can see this through their
institutions.

o Socius is not negative unless and until it is going over from what
is right and just taking advantage, misuse of authority, and the
like.
o neighbor relationship is more than just treating the other as a
subject. It has to go beyond than that and is a continuing event.
o Too much neighbor - may lead us to being too other centered and
make us people pleasers
o choice and balance
o Too much socius - makes us too impersonal when it comes to
relating to other people
The theme of the neighbor: primarily an appeal to the awakening of
consciousness
absurdity of condemning machines, technocracy, administrative
apparatus, social security and others.
All technicity has the innocence of the instrument.
The vice of the social existence of modern man does not lie in being
against nature: what is lacking is not naturalness, but charity
Condemns a vertical extravagance, tendency of social organisms to
absorb and exhaust at their particular level the whole problematic of
human relationships.
The theme of the neighbor: permanent critique of social bond.
o Compared to love of neighbor, social bond is:
never as profound
o social mediations will never become equivalent of encounter or
immediate presence
or never as comprehensive
o group only declares itself against another group and shuts itself
off from others
Responsibility

The ultimate meaning of institutions is the service which they


render to persons.
Responsibility - key to the link between love and justice--two seemingly
contrasting values--and consequently between justice and truth.

Justice is genuine only if inspired by a non-partisan interest, if it is a


beginning love conceived as responsibility.
o For there can be as much love "hidden in the humble abstract
services performed by post office and social security officials" as
between friends and intimate persons; the "ultimate meaning of
institutions is the service which they render to persons.
Love can easily become false charity if the service rendered does not
answer to the real demand of justice, or is made an alibi for a lack of
justice.
o Justice is the minimum of love, and love the maximum of justice.
The minimum demanded in justice is the basic dignity of the
human person which love enhances.
o Justice and love then have a common root in responsibility.
o inhumane justice vs. hypocritical charity
o charity can be exhibitionism
o

The dignity of the human person in turn provides the link of justice to
truth. Justice and truth (and love) are grounded on the value of the human
person as sacred and inviolable. Truth as a value is a call to bear witness
to some light, a vocation to shed light on what is revealed. Insofar as man as
man is given the word, he shares in the sacredness of this revelation and the
response-ability to bear witness to it. To refuse to testify is to do injustice not
only to others in the community, but also, and worse, to oneself.
Conclusion
It is charity which governs the relationship to the socius and the
relationship to the neighbor, giving them a common intention.