Thursday, August 21, 2014

JPII wants YOU to Destroy your Inner Cyberman

There seems to be a misconception that I've encountered where people (specifically women and girls) are given the idea that we need to shut off our emotions. We're "too emotional," we're "not guarding our hearts," and we "aren't using reason-just be rational!" We see relationships where men and women only are emotionally invested, and we don't want that. So, as a result of this train of thought and other fears we may have, there's a temptation to shut down emotionally, trying to disregard various feelings and attractions that arise.

What does this look like? 
Of course I can't resist referencing Doctor Who, since the new
series starts this week!!!
For those of you who don't recognize this picture, these are Cybermen. A group opposed to the Doctor, it goes around trying to "upgrade" human beings: replace body parts with plastic and steel, and insert emotion inhibitors. So, where a living, breathing, feeling human being once stood, an emotionless steel man now stands. Terrifying, isn't it? Huge hunks of steel following orders, destroying and "upgrading" people. No love, no compassion, no community.

I think we can all safely agree that Cybermen have got it all wrong. How do we fix this problematic thinking? Are we supposed to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum, letting our emotions and feelings guide all of our actions? 

Let's take a look at Love and Responsibility, by that epic man, Karol Wojtyla (St. JPII the Great!). In the section titled, "From Sympathy to Friendship," he discusses the presence of sympathy in our lives. Literally, form working with the roots, "sympathy" means "experiencing together." It brings people together emotionally who experience things together. When people's relationships  thrive solely upon sympathy, their joint emotional experience, they ultimately are driven apart, because when "sympathy breaks down they usually feel that love has come to an end." Wojtyla also mentions how oftentimes, men and women leave their relationships at the level of sympathy, feeding off of pure emotion.

What does Wojtyla say that we should do instead? Move from sympathy alone to friendship. In a friendship, we utilize our will. "I desire a good for you just as I desire it for myself, for my own 'I'." Friendship requires commitment, a movement of the will, a choice. Now, some of you might be thinking, "Clearly, friendship-relationships are much healthier than sympathy-relationships, so we should put aside the sympathy." Looking at Wojtyla's writings and wisdom, I don't think we really want that. In fact, Wojtyla says that a friendship without sympathy "will remain cold and incommunicable." Like our giant, steel, emotionless Cybermen. 

We need a balance. "Love cannot be merely a matter of 'consuming' sympathy, or of finding an outlet for one's feelings in it. No, love consists in the thoroughgoing transformation of sympathy into friendship...Sympathy and friendship are two processes which must interpenetrate without hindering each other." Sympathy brings warmth and communion into a relationship, and friendship focuses us on the other person as the object, not emotions as the object.

We need to destroy our "inner Cybermen," letting ourselves acknowledge our emotions as a gift from God. At the same time, we must not let ourselves be ruled by emotions, but using our will, order everything into its proper place. Emotions and sympathy can be a great way to bring two people together, so that they can start a relationship of some kind. But we shouldn't stop there--we need to build a friendship.

"A dawning sympathy between two persons brings with it as a rule the possibility or even the modest beginning of friendship. Sympathy, however, is often intense right from the start, whereas friendship is faint and frail at first. The next stage is to take advantage of the emotional situation created by sympathy to fashion a mutual friendship, thereby endowing sympathy with a solid and objective significance."

Speaking from personal experience, when trying to place emotions in the proper place, asking the saints for help is always a plus. We need supernatural help in so many areas of our life, and they are ready and happy to help us!

Have an abundantly blessed and epic day!

No comments:

Post a Comment