Self and world are correlated, and so are individualization and participation. For this is just what participation means: being a part of something from which one is, at the same time, separated. Literally, participation means “taking part.” This can be used in a threefold sense. It can be used in the sense of “sharing,” as, for instance, sharing a room; or in the sense of “having in common,” as Plato speaks of the methexis (“having with”), the participation of the individual in the universal; or it can be used in the sense of “being a part,” for instance of a political movement. In all these cases participation is a partial identity and a partial nonidentity. A part of a whole is not identical with the whole to which it belongs. But the whole is what it is only with the part. The relation of the body and its limbs is the most obvious example. The self is a part of the world which it has as its world. The world would not be what it is without this individual self. One says that somebody is identified with a movement. This participation makes his being and the being of the movement partly the same. To understand the highly dialectical nature of participation it is necessary to think in terms of power instead of in terms of things. The partial identity of definitely separated things cannot be thought of. But the power of being can be shared by different individuals. The power of being of a state can be shared by all its citizens, and in an outstanding way by its rulers. Its power is partly their power, although its power transcends their power and their power transcends its power.
The identity of participation is an identity in the power of being. In this sense the power of being of the individual self is partly identical with the power of being of his world, and conversely. For the concepts of self-affirmation and courage this means that the self-affirmation of the self as an individual self always includes the affirmation of the power of being in which the self participates. The self affirms itself as participant in the power of a group, of a movement, of essences, of the power of being as such. Self-affirmation, if it is done in spite of the threat of nonbeing, is the courage to be. But it is not the courage to be as oneself, it is the “courage to be as a part.” The phrase “courage to be as a part” presents a difficulty. While it obviously demands courage to be as oneself, the will to be as a part seems to express the lack of courage, namely the desire to live under the protection of a larger whole. Not courage but weakness seems to induce us to affirm ourselves as a part. But being as a part points to the fact that self-affirmation necessarily includes the affirmation of oneself as “participant,” and that this side of our self-affirmation is threatened by nonbeing as much as the other side, the affirmation of the self as an individual self. We are threatened not only with losing our individual selves but also with losing participation in our world.
Therefore self-affirmation as a part requires courage as much as does self-affirmation as oneself. It is one courage which takes a double threat of nonbeing into itself. The courage to be is essentially always the courage to be as a part and the courage to be as oneself, in interdependence. The courage to be as a part is an integral element of the courage to be as oneself, and the courage to be as oneself is an integral element of the courage to be as a part. But under the conditions of human finitude and estrangement that which is essentially united becomes existentially split. The courage to be as a part separates itself from unity with the courage to be as oneself, and conversely; and both disintegrate in their isolation. The anxiety they had taken into themselves is unloosed and becomes destructive. This situation determines our further procedure: we shall deal first with manifestations of the courage to be as a part, then with manifestations of the courage to be as oneself, and in the third place we shall consider a courage in which the two sides are reunited.