Home > Daily Logos > Logos [6-11-2010]

Logos [6-11-2010]

Freedom and truth, truth and freedom determine the spiritual imprint which marks the various manifestations of human life and human activity.  They penetrate the remotest recesses of human action and experience, filling them with a content of which we never meet the slightest trace in the lives of animals.  It is to this content that love between persons of different sexes owes it special consistency.  However powerfully and explicitly it is dependent on the body and the senses it is not the body and not the senses alone that form its peculiar base and its peculiar character.  Love is always an interior matter, a matter of the spirit.  To the extent to which it ceases to be an interior matter and a matter of the spirit it also ceases to be love.  What remains of it, in the senses and in the sexual vitality of the human body, does not constitute its essential nature.  The will is so to say the final authority in ourselves, without whose participation no experience has full personal value or the gravity appropriate to the experiences of the human person.  The value of the person is closely bound up with freedom, and freedom is a property of the will.  It is love, especially, that ‘demands’ freedom–the commitment of freedom is, in a sense, its psychological essence.  That which does not derive from freedom, that which bears the mark not of free commitment, but of determination and compulsion, cannot be acknowledged as love, lacks its essential character.  Therefore, the process of psychological integration which accompanies sexual love within a person involves not only commitment of the will, but unconditional commitment of the will, demands that the will should commit itself in the fullest possible way, and in a way proper to itself.

A really free commitment of the will is possible only on the basis of truth.  The experience of freedom goes hand in hand with the experience of truth.  Every situation has its own psychological truth: sensual desire has one truth, emotional commitment another.  It is a subjective truth: a man truly desires x, since he discovers in his inner life an explicit feeling, directed specifically towards her, originating in the impression which she has made on him–just as a woman may be truly committed emotionally to a man because she finds in her life such emotions, such a disposition to emotion, such a desire to be near and to lean upon him, resulting from the impression made by his male strength, that she must recognize her interior state as love.  Looking at the matter in its subjective aspects, we have to do in both cases with true love.

Love, however, also insists on objective truth.  Only thanks to this, only on this basis, can the integration of love take place.  As long as we consider it only in the light of its subjective truth, we can obtain no full picture of it and cay say nothing of its objective value.  But this last is, after all, what matters most.

[From Love & Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla]

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