Godność ludzka – wartość ocalona?Autor: ks. Janusz Mariański
|Rok wydania: 2017|
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Godność osobowa, osobowościowa i osobista
1. Godność ludzka jako wartość fundamentalna
2. Godność ludzka według społecznego nauczania
3. Uwagi końcowe
Godność ludzka jako wartość społeczna i sytuacje
1. Godność ludzka z perspektywy psychologicznej
2. Sytuacje społeczne naruszające godność ludzką
3. Uwagi końcowe
Wychowanie do wartości godnościowych
1. Pojęcie wychowania moralnego
2. Rodzina jako środowisko kształtowania
3. Uwagi końcowe
Human Dignity – Saved Value?
SummaryHistorically, the first views and theories concerning human dignity go back to the times of Greek philosophy and culture. Then human dignity was understood as honor, recognition, and respect for virtue, expressed in ideals, and was attributed to four patterns and categories of people: the aristocrat, the warrior, the citizen, and the sage man. Dignity thus, was a measure of human perfection, viewed as an ideal and conditioned by social and cultural expectations and sanctions.
From the Middle Ages through modern times to the present (especially in ethics) the idea of dignity has been reflected in philosophy and theology. However, it was mainly in the 20 Century that the theory of the "human person” evolved, based on the insights drawn from phenomenology, neo-Thomism, existentialism, hermeneutics, dialogue philosophy and personalism. But, depending on how these philosophical trends interpret the sense of being a person, they adopt different methods of describing, analyzing and explaining the dignity of the person.
Although the issue of dignity as an autotelic value owing to its humanistic character has been growing in importance in recent years, it is disproportionately small compared to the role that is universally and publicly attributed to values and dignity-based stances and behaviors. This is especially apparent in sociology, where the category of human dignity has a weak theoretical and empirical interpretation. The issue of human dignity is one of the most important moral problems of present-day disputes. There is no other notion of such great importance for the cultural and moral future of Europe and the world as the notion of the dignity of the human person.
Human dignity, or dignitas hominis, is a fundamental value; it is a value in the ontological sense, and its violation is a morally reprehensible act. Moreover, practically no one formally questions the rule of respecting human dignity as the foundation of civil society. It is also acknowledged as such in national constitutions, in UN documents, in publications of international and non-governmental organizations, and in daily newspapers. Dignity is attributed to all people and is considered to be the basis of all morality, as well as of normative legal principles. Because it is considered as a universal value, it is generally conceded that everyone has the right to dignity, regardless of their health, education, social status, religion, profession or material situation. People simply cannot be insulted, humiliated or deprived of their dignity.
In the last two decades, a great deal has been written about human dignity; we even speak about the "revolution of dignity” in modern societies. Nevertheless, there is a discrepancy of opinions on this matter. Human dignity as a fundamental value is the object of study for many scientific disciplines, including psychology, sociology, pedagogy, ethics, and theology. Human dignity is a fundamental principle of sound legal order, enshrined in many constitutions and other legal acts. According to the position taken here, the dignity of the human person is not only a desired value, but it above all, a necessary, indispensable and inviolable value, and no one from outside can deprive us of it or take it away from us; it is a "saved value”. The emphasis in our discussion rests on Catholic Social Teaching, taking into account certain sociological (sociology of morality), and above all, pedagogical aspects pertaining to human dignity.
From a scientific point of view, a very important event in Poland regarding human dignity was publication of the book "Human Dignity as the Basis of Human Rights” by Franciszek Janusz Mazurek (Lublin 2001) and two books by Janusz Marinski: "Human Dignity as a Social and Moral Value: Myth or Reality” (Toruń 2016), and "Human Dignity in the Social Context: Sketches from the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church” (Lublin 2017). Even though – as some say – human dignity cannot be expressly defined, the near-avalanche of publications on the subject in the field of theology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, pedagogy and other disciplines slowly bring us closer to the overall conceptualization of a notion of human dignity. It should be noted as well, that in recent times, politicians and many social actors are eagerly referring to this concept, even if some of them can not define or explain its exact meaning.
At the same time human dignity as a fundamental and core value has been frequently attacked from many sides, and sometimes even considered as an uncomfortable or unnecessary idea, belonging to empty phrases or mythological constructs. Some would prefer to have it removed from the encyclopedia, lexicons, or social dictionaries. Yet, for others, human dignity is such a great value that it is worth even the shedding of blood to defend it. Indeed, in Poland, a plaque inscription on a monument erected to the Gdańsk workers killed in December 1970 is illustrative in stating: "They gave their lives so that you could live in dignity.”
Dignity values for various reasons are not always and everywhere accepted and respected, but concurrently, they are necessary for individuals and societies to achieve happy lives. Constant effort is needed to save these fundamental values, both in personal and in social life. Human dignity as a common good, linking people from near and far, having individual and social dimensions, national and global, should be protected and supported especially, in the context of new threats and new forms of enslavement and human dependence.
In the book, we attempted to discuss a number of burning questions concerning human dignity. From a sociological point of view one can ask what human dignity is as an essential value, as personhood, and as a personal value? What exactly includes human dignity and what are its components? What daily activities and practices violate the inherent dignity of the human person? What is moral education of pro-dignity nature? What factors and social institutions are conducive to moral education, and what are destructive or at least unfavorable to personalistic education promoting dignity values? How does the present moral condition of society affect the diminution of the sense and state of human dignity on the level of consciousness and human actions, and how can it be rebuilt in individual and community dimensions? Can sociology undertake research on the social aspects of human dignity?
From a pedagogical point of view, we ask whether, and how do we appropriately convey our moral values to the next generations, and what world of values do we create for their future? What should be done so that on a day-to-day basis, people live life happily and in dignity? What, and to what extent should pro-dignity (personalistic) education become an integral part of moral education at its various levels and scopes? If in modern societies human dignity is subject to erosion processes, what should be done to rebuild it, and above all, to reduce whatever limits and challenges it?
Dignity values should occupy an important place in the ideal of a "good life” of an individual and a society and in moral education. Human dignity cannot be a value lost to future generations; rather, it is a value that should be saved. If it is true that the Polish society inherited from the socialistic system profound economic crisis, and along with it severe ethical crisis, the tasks facing society and the Catholic Church, as well as other Christian denominations and religions in Poland have been enormous. And indeed, it is the pro-moral values that should play the leading role in moral education of individuals and society.
The truth about the dignity of every person regardless of his or her origin, sex, race, nationality, age or religion cannot be forgotten. It must be saved in order for society and the Church to be able to play successful roles. The discussions presented in this book do not ultimately resolves the question of what dignity is, but shows the complexity of the subject matter and the richness of the problems that comprise it. The question of human dignity still demands cognitive exploration, both in normative and descriptive sciences, an in particular by psychology and sociology.
Translated by Stanisław A. Wargacki, SVD
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