SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
08
October
2013

The Wound & the Blessing/The Economy of Communion Project Post

Text #1: In "The Wound and the Blessing," I was struck by Aristotle's association of a happy life with tragedy. Aristotle says that communitas carries the mark of suffering within itself. He says that the other person is a blessing but that he or she is the one who wounds me and whom I wound in turn, since the wounding and blessing are reciprocal in nature.

Response #1: This follows Tzvetan Todorov's theory that interpersonal relationships are a necessary evil. Machiavelli states that the social life was not a blessing but a curse and a wound. He further states that "the good life, the blessing, then depends on others who can hurt me." I agree with this to a certain extent. In order to truly reap the benefits of a happy life, one must be vulnerable to the different friendships that life has. It is through our most difficult trials that true happiness can emerge, and this often times occurs with friendships and relationships. In order to experience life lessons, one must interact with others and risk the chance of being emotionally wounded. The one who wounds and the one who is wounded are experiencing a reciprocity that is unlike any other and is the essential backbone of a relationship. The ability to overcome trials and tribulations are the making of a true relationship that Aristotle intended, given man's nature.

Text #2: In "Religious Values and Corporate Decision Making: The Economy of Communion Project," I was very moved by the focus on interpersonal relationships. The Economy of Communion Project is based on equal consideration for all. Those who receive help are not considered "assisted" or "beneficiaries," but as active participants in the project.

Response #2: I love this attitude towards communal participation. This places the focus from the philanthropic actions to the actual shared gifts that each member of the community brings to the table. This article goes on to explain how it is not always about the material gift, because the gift of self is the most precious gift of all. Those who cannot contribute material gifts are not considered a burden, but rather a means for the community to understand how to stand in solidarity with its members. This theory emphasizes the initial mission of the Focolare Movement, which was to "Love one another as I have loved you," which was Jesus' most important call. The equal distribution, the dignity given to all, and generosity to the community represent an understanding of this exact teaching.



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