All writing is needed, since through them you are heard and thus you exist. The human nature is about sharing. Every one of us feels that he/ [she] is in the situation of being effective or effected by another. There is no such closed person. I understand that the French Revolution confirmed the individual, since it rejected the subordination to the kings. However, it established the individual within the community. A community is not a crowd, it is the meeting, since we exist through meeting. The meeting characterizes and confirms each of us, since no one exists unless with others and through others. That is so since you are a face, which means that you are in a continuous situation of encounter. [In our theology] the Father confirms the Son and the Spirit [of God], and the Son confirms the Father. Trinity is not an accumulation, it is an encounter. That is why it is love and unity. The writer is the one whose inner reality obliges him/[her] to write. He/[she] is the one who exists by speaking. You write to those who love you, otherwise no one would understand you. Existence is not possible without meeting. This is what Christians call a church. Life is not possible by the accumulation of individuals. You either love or come into conflict [with others], and both [require] a meeting. You do not despise the Other unless you confirm him/ [her]. And before you eliminate him/ [her] you acknowledge him/[her]. Abhorrence requires as well acknowledgment, on the way to death, or in the flow of life. Acceptance or rejection, both require a recognition that life is sharing. You might either want to share or no, nevertheless there is life because there is sharing.
No one lives in isolation. Whoever isolates him/[her]self, he/[she] detaches him/[her]self from people whom he/[she] despises, i.e. he/[she] admits their existence. Whoever kills does not kill other than for his/[her] feeling that the one being killed enjoys a reality which he/[she] despises. The word community has a psychological or humanistic significance, that is not found in the word society, which usually refers to a number. People are not numbers. There is intimacy among them, namely acquaintance, and that is belief in two things: the independence of every face and the meeting of the faces.
The human being is a face which sees and it is seen, i.e. he/[she] is in encounter with people. Abhorrence is itself a kind of meeting. People are similar to a forest, the difference between them and the forest of trees is that the trees are not aware of their meeting, while people are. The upright person acknowledges the humanity of the Other, namely his/[her] uniqueness, value and ability to give. All who give do meet and sometimes they are friendly. A society is not an accumulation; rather it is a union and even a unity.
Unity is not merely a legacy; it is an existence in our nature. That is why we were in the Qur᾿anic understanding a nation [᾿umma], and in the Christian understanding a church, and the two words have the same denotation. And the society which does not aspire to that [namely being an ᾿umma or a church] is [itself] fragmented. A society is not given unless as a starting point. It becomes through love, otherwise it would have been a cumulation of people who have no identity.
A society, whenever it acknowledges its nature, aspires to become a church, and I do not refer exclusively to a Christian sense, rather every biological existence strives toward its unity in love. Away from love it is [mere] statistics. Every society is a plan for the meeting of the hearts; otherwise it would have become the combination of occupations. People, whenever secluded, become a forest of people. They do not become a society unless they meet with a certain level of love and cooperation. The modern notion of syndicate stands on the cooperation of the people of the same occupation. Even the notion of competition aims at cooperation and improvement for the sake of cooperation. The meeting of the people of the same occupation in a single market in the European Middles Ages, or by us, does not stand on the notion of competition but rather on cooperation. And the people have aimed at cooperation [though] through competition.
A syndicate, though in fact involves competition among the people of the one profession, strives toward collecting the skills in order to point up the occupation and also the cooperation. The condition for cooperation is love, which is mainly the recognition of the necessity of the Other for you, for your life and your feeling.
All this is about cooperation, which in its depth means that you exist whenever you love. In other words that you exist through the Other, you are safeguarded through his/[her] face, when you see him/[her] and when he[she] sees you. Thus, you have denied yourself and you have loved [the Other], namely, you have poured yourself in the Other in order that you and the Other grow. It is not that you deny your face; rather you realize that your face exists in order to see the Other and be seen by the Other. And then, according to the utterance of the Book, you become one body, and in modern language one existence.
You love whenever you find yourself that you have made the Other strive toward God [who is present] within every human being. You love that the Other becomes whatever he/[she] should become, namely existing in love in order that his/[her] selfishness might be eliminated. Whoever has loved only him/[her]self dies in his/[her] closed ‘I’. Whoever loves others, for whatever they are becoming, he/[she] accompanies them toward the highest desirable [state], and he/[she] him/[her]self moves toward that desirable [state].
Whenever you do not move toward the highest, you would be moving around your own self, and so you would bring about nothing. The [one] above you gives you, namely [that one] descends grace upon you.
When [your] faith calls you to forget yourself, it does not call you to neglect it, but not to exaggerate in your fondness of yourself. It wants you to rejects its seclusion, in order that you [might] rise to embrace all the souls through God and in God. That is so since you actualize yourself through the Lord who transcends you, you expand and become high. This is the departure from [the state of] being stifled by the ‘I’. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 16: 25)
You exist through the Other, in the sense that if you keep turning around yourself you will stifle. You do not exist by affirming yourself. You exist through perceiving the Other and you are being formed through this perception. You exist through your departure from looking at your face in the mirror, and through perceiving the Other as God perceives him/[her] in love. Anything other than perceiving the Other in love is laying hold of him/[her].
The human being exists through that which he/[she] gives and not through what he/[she] takes, unless when he/[she] takes in love. People do consort, namely our words give and are given. Without such reciprocity there is no society. A society is about meeting and in its highest states it is love. Accumulation is a state-project and not a love-project, since you do not actually take unless you give yourself. This is what God, through God’s anointed one, asked, namely that you give to the end, which is to say that you sacrifice your life in order that others might live. Then, your offering will be transformed into your receiving of a new life and into a manifestation of God through you.
Translated by Sylvie Avakian-Maamarbashi
Original Text: “الحياة الجديدة” –An Nahar- 03.08.2013