Now, more than ever, human reflection needs unifying responses which can contribute to alleviating the problems besetting humanity in our time and healing the painful cultural, religious, social, and political divisions which have marked modern history. Science, together with technology, cannot exhaust the field of culture by itself. Economy alone is not a sufficient basis for community life. Not even the religious dimension can claim complete autonomy, a self-sufficiency in thought which leads along the pathways of integralism and fanaticism, which in the end are destructive.
The metaphysical attitude, as a deep stirring of the spirit, not only has been observed since the dawn of humanity until the present, but it resides in the very constitution of the human being, as we see even in early childhood: “Children, with the tenacity of their continual attempts and specific mode of analysis—to the point of destroying their toys—display a desire to know and possess what is within their reach and then reject it, for they do not in fact seek fragmentary knowledge or wish to possess anything in just any way; rather, their search for possession reveals a constant: ecstatic, loving, affectionate communication, not with “something,” but with “someone” who can fulfill their aspirations. For this reason children personify animals and even inanimate objects. This is the first index of the genetic character of the tendency to investigate and possess the ultimate reason for existence, which becomes manifest in different ways at each stage of human life. From infancy on, human life, afflicted by physical, familial, environmental, and social pathologies, will undergo an educational orientation or accentuate deforming tendencies at the varied stages of development (cf. Fernando Rielo, The Genetic Model in My Thought).
We human beings ask about what goes beyond specific fields. We therein observe both our greatness and our limitation. We in fact seek the foundation or absolute origin—and rational intelligibility—of the multiplicity we encounter. Our thought cannot halt arbitrarily at a given point in its trajectory without suffocating, without inflicting a wound upon itself, for its dynamic is unlimited. And yet we realize that we cannot reduce the ultimate foundation of reality to our formulas, and here we observe the unequivocal reason for modesty which must characterize our life and thought. It is very healthy—indeed, necessary—for us and for culture to carry out this twofold movement of expansion and humility in our vision.
Metaphysics thus performs a healing function, providing balance and intelligibility for human society, along with culture, religiosity, and science. If we accept such a mission, in this time of frequently spectacular advances in all areas of knowledge, we must determine how a formulation of metaphysics can contribute to real progress in all fields.
There is surely something significant to be “corrected” or “improved” in order for this discipline to be situated once again at the heart of culture as a guiding beacon which grounds and integrates each area of research applied to life: physical, biological, and social sciences; reflection on medicine, law, and economics, on the arts, and on the peaceful coexistence of peoples; and, in special way, the varied religious traditions which channel human beings’ most intimate aspirations in this time of globalization and nearly universal pluralism brought about by worldwide migration. More than ever, we need to interpret and evaluate different kinds of experience adequately and develop a valid interpretive model dealing with the central issue of our age: the definition of the human person, with all of its social, juridical, and spiritual implications.
Metaphysics—joined to a mystical theology and epistemology which promote enhancement of our vision, inclusiveness, and dialogue in relation to all fields—can stand at the summit of a vital, creative humanism called to clarify all dimensions of the human person and impede every manipulation and threat.