Archive for the ‘Summa Theologica’ Tag

Seeking Concord Over Discord   1 comment

Living in Tanuri Ridge — Concord vs. Discord

We have lived in Tanuri Ridge now for over a year. Like all communities, it has a culture, which is an organization of learned behaviors and products of the behaviors that are shared and transmitted. The culture represents a style of life that includes information, governmental patterns, and ways of thinking and speaking to a lesser degree. Each person in the community exists in an interactive relationship with the community as a whole. Even though some interact more than others, as John Donne states in his poetic passage:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man

Is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main:

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the

Less, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine

Own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I

Am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to

know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.

Having spent seventy-plus years developing who I am (self) through social interaction, the last year of which has been in my new community. During that time, we have sought many opportunities to interact, which have included (1) social situations providing cooperative associations and communication with others and (2) opportunities to “get into” the experience of the other. The latter allows me to get outside myself to come back to myself. By doing so, I can become an object of myself, just as others are objects to me. By revealing my true self to others, in turn, I’m able to see myself as I truly am. This past year, however, it has been difficult accepting the pains of discovery inherent in this objectification process.

As with any experience, there have been a series of events on which I acted. Since each person’s experiential history is different, the interpretation of a given event will vary from person to person; therefore, each may choose to act differently. This can lead to discord.

In seeking a better understanding of human acts, I often turn to the writings of Thomas Aquinas and his work, Summa Theologicain which he wrote on discord. Discord means a jarring of acts since the act of one party is set on one thing and the act of another on another, which results in a lack of charity and unity. There are two ways in which clarity is destroyed – ordinarily and incidentally. “In human acts and movements, that is said to be ordinary, which is according to the intention of the agent. Hence a man is at ordinary discord with his neighbor when knowingly and intentionally he dissents from the good of his neighbor, to which he ought to consent.”

On the other hand, discord is considered to be incidental when both sides share an interest in a good end while differing on the course. In such a case, the discord can produce charity from a union of acts, not a union of opinions. To the demise of charity, however, we too often stay focused on a union of opinions.

— kenne

 

Related articles

%d bloggers like this: