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Humanizing: A Current Challenge

© Leander Syrieix.

© Leander Syrieix.

Usually the verb “Humanizing” is used to define the action to make human something that is not. This is for example the case when one wishes to humanize working conditions. The etymology of this term then indicates that derives from “humanitas, atis, f., Humanus, human nature, all the qualities that make man superior to the beast”[1]. But we lay everyday actions that are contrary to human dignity; we advance remarks can hurt or even kill each other. So does it not legitimate to believe that humanizing is a current challenge?

The news today gives us many examples that indicate urgency to humanizing. We note for example the string of terrorist attacks throughout the world, the rise of many extremist tendencies of any kind that generate fear and violence against each other, etc. However, these publicized facts can disempower us and blame others. Yet we are all concerned every day through our words and actions, through the concrete of our lives.

Indeed, the individual and collective silent to injustice, violence, both verbal and physical towards the weakest, discrimination of all kinds of minorities based on gender, race, social status, etc., show that all and all, we are called to humanize us more. In this sense, become human means to recognize the other, pose the same glance of love on the other, to be put on yourself. It also applies to the other as it would address oneself is taking action toward the other, to be put towards oneself. In such a dynamic, where the other becomes oneself, it is possible to dialogue, to jointly seek consensus, to take care of our “common home”, that is to say of the Earth, with the same interest.

This is a program of life, a possible project that, far from being unrealistic, can be realized in practice. That is the Christian program that is at the heart of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday). Indeed, Christ, after washing the feet of his disciples said, “This is an example that I gave you so that you do, you also, as I have done for you.” (Jn 13, 15) To humanizing is therefore, following Christ, serving the other. But serve as we would use ourselves. Furthermore, the service has no preference, it is unconditional and turned to everyone beyond any barriers (social, racial, etc.). Become more human is also sharing with each other what was superfluous, “If the household is too small for a lamb, she will take it with its nearest neighbour, according to the number of people.” (Exodus 12: 4) In other words, become more human is sharing with the other goods both material and immaterial. Also, humanizing this solidarity with each other in all their living conditions as to oneself, because “it costs the Lord to see his dying! ” (Ps 115: 15)

Christ, the first, humanized himself through concrete actions such as his proximity to marginalized people his social and political implications, etc. He gave us a practical program to become truly human to each other. Obviously, it is not enough to stand (on two legs) and being endowed with reason to be human. In fact, being human is not possible alone, but with the other. One can therefore be truly human in the presence of other, in relation, in Alliance. This is inscribed in the very genesis of humanity, because no one fell from nothingness but anyone coming into the arms of his fellows. So our humanization urges us, for the peace that the world needs today is not possible without it, the management of our “common home” is not possible without it.

Christ through his words and gestures, as well as his relationship with his followers, was humanized and drew us directions to our individual and collective humanization. Dare we recognize in each other and the host like oneself so that we were all one body and all, a true human family.

© Leander Syrieix.

[1] Dictionnaire Gaffiot, latin-français (1934), « humanus » [] (consulté le 2016-03-23).

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