Proud To Be A Duns (Dunce): Food For Thought

Jun 18th, 2009 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth
John, Doctor Subtilis, of the village of Duns in Berwickshire, Scotland, (1266-1308) developed the notion of “Haecceity” as a way of giving expression to the uniqueness or the indivisible “thisness” of a person. His followers were called “Dun’s Men” from where we get the notion of a “dunce” or stupid fellow who believes himself subtle.

I don’t know about the subtle part, but I do believe in the importance of appreciating the uniqueness of a person.

A great debate rages in my family whether each of us must first focus on becoming individuals and only then submitting to God or vice versa. Is the submission of a person who does not have a sense of self, worthwhile? Is it too risky to focus on self-development? Even if we acknowledge the importance of developing ourselves: Do we consider the challenges of our times so terrible that we must sacrifice our self-development in order to fight for the Jewish people?

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