beings that have – or havers that are had

(The excellent documentary that got my brain going down this – excellent or not so excellent – train of thought is ‘Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast‘) ((And no, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t notice the parallel language to John the Seer in chapters 17-18 of his Apocalypse!))

Erich Fromm is known in large part for his contrast between the ‘being’ and ‘having’ modes of existence, as expressed in his 1976 book (partial preview here), To Have or To Be?  The basic idea is that humans, having estranged ourselves from our environment or the other(s), try to restore this relationship either by way of some kind of dominating possession (‘having’) of the other, or by way of relating to or existing (‘being’) with the other.

The speculative thought I wanted to explore via blogging (one of blogging’s best uses) is thus: Only ‘beings’ can actually ‘have’; and ‘havers’ are actually ‘had’ by the things they think they ‘have’.

The haver is defined by the act of possession of the other, and is thus enslaved to his desire to have this other.  The being, however, is defined by, not possession, but relationship to other (and self), and is thus free of needing to have the other.

It is worth pausing and considering the many things we can desire to possess – the many things which can thus begin to possess us.  Status.  Wealth.  Comfort.  Knowledge.  Satisfaction.  Power.  Relationships.  Affection.  I reckon all of these things are good things which are nonetheless distorted when we seek to found our being upon having them.  i.e. “I am one who has knowledge, friends, wealth, etc.”

I believe the ultimate Being is the Creator, whose ontological (Gk. ontos = being/existence) status is wholly distinct from, and transcendent of, our world.  The Creator did not need to have a creation ((which would make the Creator contingent upon the creation!!)), but rather simply is a creative Being, and thus a) relates to creation as being the Creator, and b) therefore truly has it.

Thus, we most reflect this ultimate Being when our being is grounded by relationship to the other, rather than established by possession of the other.

had to be chance?

chance & necessity | random & planned | chaos & order | freedom & determinism

The phrase ‘by chance’ refers to an event/result happening without compulsion or determination – we say the situation/result ‘did not have to be that way’.

The phrase ‘of necessity’ refers to an event/result happening according to compulsion or law – we say the situation/result ‘had to be that way’.

So.  The universe or ‘the world’ or ‘things’ or ‘stuff’… Chance or necessity?

Interestingly, both answers can be used to argue for some form of theism. Continue reading “had to be chance?”

humane sex

Conversations about sexual ethics often are had without reference to assumed/unstated/unconsidered ideas about:

  • (in particular) goals for human(e) sexual acts – ‘what is the telos (end, goal, purpose) of human sexuality?’ (i.e. ‘what is sex for?’)
  • and (in general) the relationship between sexual acts and being a human – ‘what is the relationship between sexual actions and human identity?’ (i.e. ‘how dependent is human identity on sexual actions?’) Continue reading “humane sex”

india trip

Not that I always maintain regular posting, but I’ll not (probably?) be posting for a couple weeks, as I leave Sunday night (or Monday morning, actually) for Kolkata, India with a group from my church.  We are helping Freeset refurbish their new building to expand their business.  Freeset make fair-trade, organic, eco-friendly and pretty stinkin’ classy jute bags; and they are expanding to making t-shirts with the new building.  Their reason for existence is to provide alternative employment for Indian women who want out of the sex trade – a form of human trafficking.

Team 1 (3 people) is already over there now; our team (Team 2 – 11 people) goes this weekend; and Team 3  (4 people) go later in February.  We’ve got a great range of people going over, from tradesmen to those just willing to pitch in wherever needed.

freedom

I’m really appreciating how significant the theme of freedom is in the Bible.

Freedom is opposed to compulsion, captivity or slavery.

Utterly free of compulsion, God freely acts to create and sustain a free creation, particularly free and dangerous human beings, which constantly, continually and consistently become enslaved, manipulated, captive or otherwise enslaved to and by various kinds of anti-freedom things (aptly summarised as sin and evil).   Continue reading “freedom”