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Objectifying People

“The normal mode of “seeing” in our daily world can be called “objective.” We see things as objects, and nothing more. Indeed, we see most people as objects unless we have reason to do otherwise. Sometimes we see people as objects in order not to see them as otherwise. But this objective viewing is an extremely limited and limiting way of seeing anything. Veneration brings us to a different form of seeing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“When we employ the terms “creation,” “creating” or “creativity” in relation to personhood, we must not have in mind the idea of “manufacturing” with which we usually associate man’s ability to be a creator. Admirable as it may be, man’s capacity to manufacture and produce useful objects even of the highest quality, such as the machines of our modern technological civilization, is not to be directly associated with human personhood.” (Metropolitan John Zizioulas)

“It is carefully noted in the accounts of Christ’s resurrection that he is unrecognized at first, and on more than one occasion. Mary Magdalen mistakes Him for the gardener. The disciples on the road to Emmaus talk with Him while they are walking but do not recognize Him until the moment at which He disappears. The disciples who are fishing do not recognize Him until after they have a miraculous catch of fish. The silliest explanations of these failures to recognize are the ones that try to attribute it to grief. The stories clearly have something else in mind. That something else is particularly revealed in Christ’s encounter with Mary Magdalen. She thinks He is the gardener and wants to know where the body of Jesus has been moved to. But suddenly this “gardener” calls her by name, “Mary.” And she recognizes Him. What has taken place is the change from an objective seeing to a personal seeing. It is only in the realm of personhood that we experience communion. We do not commune with “mere” objects. The Resurrection, among many things, represents the triumph of the personal over the objective/material.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“When the bond [of our relationship] is broken with other people, we tend to objectify them and judge them, not seeing them as persons, but only as objects of our anger and hurt. This is our sinful reaction. We categorize people in terms of their transgression against us. The longer we nurture the anger and alienation, the more deeply the resentment takes hold in our heart, and the more it feeds on our soul. Thus, resentment becomes a toxin for our souls and poison for our relationships. The only treatment is forgiveness ” (Hieromonk Jonah)

“…icons are not simply works of art, and cannot be reduced to their aesthetic features or to the historical and cultural circumstances of their production. Indeed, to objectify the icon in this manner is to see only its secondary, superficial qualities, which have little meaning or purpose when viewed in isolation from the icon’s mysterious and unfathomable depths and its beautiful message for human existence…every human person is an icon of Christ. To see them as anything less, or worse yet, to treat them as objects for manipulation or gratification is among the most prevalent and worst kind of sins we often commit.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Sacramental Living Ministries)


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