Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Society of Descendants

 ...I can provide simultaneously for my own good and that of all my descendants. This is a bond of society, which I form with them. It is a society in which every member who arrives thereafter into the world contributes to the common good. Each shares his work and profits in common, providing for the good of the future members, and performing filial duties towards the departed by respecting their memory and honouring their tombs. Only the materialist mocks a religion which honours the dead and breaks the bond which holds generations together. For the believer in immortality the person does not perish; divested of its body and made invisible, the person co-exists with members of the family who come to live upon the earth. The human race believes this and has a profound understanding of it. This truth gives rise to customs, religion, literature, laws and art which speak both to and of future members. They do not yet exist, but they are protected and represented; they receive rights and duties, and a heritage of memories, teachings, support and riches produced by the arduous labour of others. The end of this society of descendants therefore is all the good that it brings to all the new members, everyone of whom must share in this good.

[Antonio Rosmini, Rights of the Individual (Vol. 2 of The Philosophy of Right), Cleary & Watson, trs., Rosmini House (Durham: 1993) p. 208.]