Anthony de Mello says not really.
So I’m having this conversation with someone, on whether we need each other or not, and whether our happiness depends on anyone else other that us and God. And de Mello keeps coming up.
I don’t have his writings in front of me for exact quotes, but my memory is that de Mello posits that most unenlightened human interaction is all selfishly driven, and that when we say “I need you,” what we mean is that we expect “the other” to cater to us in order to keep us happy. To need others is really to chain ourselves to them, and abdicate responsibility for our own happiness, fulfillment, etc. He goes on to point the absurdity and selfishness of our own expectation that others–the ones we need–actually place our happiness above their own, and how we often accuse “the other” of being selfish when they place their own happiness above ours.
Okay, so there’s some truth to all that. However, de Mello would leave us isolated, cut off in some way from the vital relational connection that is deeply embedded in our very nature–in fact, relationship is implied in the Imago Dei, a needed relationship. The very processes of life are all dependent on relational exchange between various components. It’s all well and good to say that we depend on God alone, but He exchanges energy and life with us through many, many portals, our fellow human beings being primary among them.
I think we need each other.
That’s all the time I have for now, so I’ll leave it with you.
What do you think?