THE HUMAN DIGNITY BEYOND ABORTION, EUTHANASIA AND THE LIKE
The definition deals with the constitutive features of a man, and not with his or her status (especially material), behavior (good or bad), or age (before birth and/or after death). These species traits might be scientifically proved. Their existence is not connected with any evaluation, is neutral-value.
My definition of the Human Dignity is conservative in literal and figurative senses. I regard a man as something exceptional in the Universe. If we are of the opinion that a human being is a part of the animal world, we should stop speaking of his (her) dignity. Human dignity cannot be identified, compared or equalized with whatever on the Earth.
An individual is the sole component of the nature that considers and shapes his existence. He admits a possibility of self-annihilation or even its total transformation (alteration). A child (suckling) or very old men (lady) are only the stages of their lives – not an expression of any different creatures.
Human dignity or better the dignity of the human being is a “sum of unique attributes of person, differentiating him or her from animal and plant worlds”. That the individuals have such characteristics establish the sciences: natural, medical or exact. This approach to dignity makes impossible to ascribe it to animals, even the most developed (mammals), without saying of other fauna elements, of the flora or even of the inanimate nature (sea, rocks). The human being’s dignity is vested in persons as such – regardless of their gender (sex), self-consciousness or the attitude towards himself. All these persons are representatives of humankind.
This is a so-called ontological dignity, enshrined in the constitutions of the countries of the world. It might be defined in short as “the whole of inalienable properties of individuals”. They exist irrespective of subjective conception of ourselves (our self-image). This dignity is opposite to the so-called personal dignity. The latter means a self-respect. This self-respect is embodied in the civil law countries in personal goods, like honor, good name, reputation, and so on. The modern disputes or controversies turn out to be the litigation about the dignity. Paradoxically, this elevation of personal dignity to the ontological one underlines the importance of the second.
The personal dignity is linked with a given person only. The ontological dignity is connected with the whole mankind. The first is subjective and relative, whereas the second is objective and absolute. In other words, the first is dependent of self-valuation. The second is the object/subject of different branches of scholarship.
Human dignity is always defensive. It protects individuals against a violation of what is the most human in them. For that reason, the human dignity should be separated from freedom. Despite the connection between the two notions, it is impossible to put them at the same level. The individual is decent because he is free, but there is not dependence in the opposite direction. The dignity is total, overwhelming. When appears a collision between the dignity and the freedom of speech, the preference should be always with the first. On the other hand, it is important to point out that the 2
dignity has nothing to do with the quality of life. If we accept such an approach, we should recognized that the dignity (or more dignity) will be invariably only with the rich, not with the poor.
At present, the most serious threat to the Dignity is its narrow – prevailing not only in Poland – civil-penal understanding. There are less and less lawsuits (judicial controversies) about honor, good reputation, and so on. Now, every person taking part in the judicial proceedings supplement readily its arguments with the grounds based on human dignity. Therefore, our Constitutional Tribunal claimants in order to strengthen their motions or complains make references to the thirtieth article [section 30] of the Polish Basic Law.
The other essential danger for the human dignity – now happily prospective (potential) only – is the announcement of the creation of the hybrids of men and machines, of the so-called after-humans. If this project will be realized, we will to do with the automatons (robots), not with the humans. These mechanized men will be the antithesis of human being, as we know today.
I would be grateful for whatever comments on this proposal of new look at the above concept