There is a difference between that which is and that which is to be. Anthropologically: there is a way I am, and the way I am to be, or not to be. How are we to explain this? This book presents the argument that human nature is both complex and complicated in at least two specific ways--ontologically and ethically. In our being we are indisputably good, dignified, worthy, important, or even noble. But in our morality we are ambivalent--capable of both good and evil, the humane and the inhumane.
In his paramount work Jan Amos Comenius expresses the goal of his lifelong endeavor: “to help keep man from falling into a non-man” (Pampaedia). If human beings are to become what they ought to be, they need to be educated towards humanity, says Comenius. But the fundamental question is, what is a human being? And what ought one to be? “Salt ought to be salty. A river ought to be clear. A knife ought to be sharp. But what ought a person to be?” What is the essence of our humanity? And how can that be cultivated or educated? This book presents Comenius's answers to these questions.