Volume 9, Issue 2, Spring 2019
Br. Reed Frey
Personal Incommunicability and Interpersonal Communion
Newman’s anthropology duly appreciates the individuality and subjectivity of the human person, identifying each person as having “an infinite abyss of existence” within. Each person has thoughts and experiences that can never be fully understood by another. Yet Newman balances this focus on the radical irreducibility and individuality of the person with the inextricably social dimension of personhood, which is important for belief and value formation and moral development. He recognizes that we are social beings, discovering ourselves and growing through the influence of community and interpersonal relationships. This essay proposes, through a presentation of the personalist thought of Newman, that the radical individuality and subjectivity of the person does not need to be seen as an alienating or isolating reality but can rather be viewed as a basis for the development of interpersonal relationships.