Rene Descartes, the rationalist philosopher, wrote, “I think; therefore, I am.” I would add,
I hurt; therefore, I am. I fear; therefore, I am. I weep; therefore, I am. I care; therefore, I am.
My feelings, not merely my brain, make me a human person. To remove a person’s capacity to feel is to put a him or her on the level of a rock or stone, a tree or an inanimate object, which neither feels anything nor cares about others. Emotionally, then, it is better to hurt, even to weep, than to not feel anything. Trees, soil and rocks have no fear of rejection, but humans do. It is a fear worth having. It is also evidence of being alive to the world of other persons. It is better, too, to risk being rejected than to live in isolation, being locked in the “solitary confinement” of oneself.
I feel; therefore, I am. I am alive to myself and I know it. But woe to the person who feels nothing at all. It is the tragic, psychical condition of being dead and not even knowing it. He or she desperately needs an “internal resurrection,” a coming alive to himself or herself and the world of other persons. Breathe, O Breath, O Spirit of Life, into that person, bringing him or her back to life!