“Being human is the experience of being human as a whole. And the only experience of being human is being human”, Américo Pereira wrote. This philosopher’s sentence evokes the breadth of the experience of being and living of each individual human being, and at the same time it allows the launching of the theme of the extent and intensity of this same experience: which dimension has the totality horizon of the human being? What are their limits?
Generally speaking, we associate the concept ‘limit’ with boundary, milestone, end, goal, fixed magnitude, obstacle, restriction, repression (social, physical, psychic, legal); with the line, real or imaginary, that signs a division (space, time, feeling, capacities, forces). The limit inserts man in the universe of the known, the lived, the dominated or possessed, of what is reached. The limit becomes necessary, for it is before a limit that each thing defines itself, takes shape, is said, is what it is. In parallel, and in a different sense, the modernity that Zygmunt Bauman called ‘liquid’ has fast temporality – the liquid time, in which nothing is meant to last – as its matrix, and seems to consider that any solid relational state with is an unbearable limit to freedom. Limit is therefore subject to dissimilar perspectives and heterogeneous assessments.
On the other hand, various dimensions of our time experience a socio-political dynamics of questioning and resistance to change, to the cultural expansion of the human beyond borders, ant this fact might express the value of identity or the fear of differences. Avoiding uncertainty, the limit reflects the already tested extent to which one can safely go, in contrast to another dimension of the human: the constant desire for the new. Now, if the human being and his work are limited to the real or imagined lines of finitude, the globalized world which most of humans now inhabit allows us to project this same work to an extension that seems to be beyond their original limits, in its multiple domains of expression – science and technique, culture and communication, religion, politics, art.
For all this, today as never before ‘limit’ is offered to the human being as a starting point, a beginning, a challenge to the beyond. This projection is an experience to come, the unknown to reveal, the real to create. And the overcoming of finitude – this challenge to the bio-psychic-socio-cultural-spiritual condition of human beings – already contains the question of its limit as something to happen, to reveal, to create. Therefore, the concept of limit is correlated with the concepts of eternity, immensity, incommensurability, overcoming, liberation.
The II International Congress Limit(s): Experiences and Challenges of Human Condition aims to continue the practice of convening cross-disciplinary and inclusive debates and listening to the reflection of academics and professionals in a space of freedom and quest, of constructive perspectives and mutual enrichment.