Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

In search of continuity between the Fourth and the Fifth Seminar (2)

(Part one of "In search of continuity between the Fourth and the Fifth Seminar" is here)

After 1945 the German philosopher Habermas picks up again this theme, and after asking which sciences still fulfil the demand of self-understanding, he concludes that only psychoanalysis really does that. The above mentioned modesty by Freud, when it comes to explain human aggression and therefore war, seems to support this interpretation of Habermas.

Other examples can be given, for the real meaning of Nietzsche's philosophy around that time shows that the theme of Dostoevsky, 'what happens when God is dead, does that mean everything is allowed?' had been transformed into a moralistic nihilism or more directly, as Bertrand Russell described it, into sheer usage of power by highly intelligent people (technologists or the 'homo faber' of Max Frisch) acting without any moral considerations.

All this is said as a critical comment to the introductory note, for there is a risk to overstretch the concept of 'nationalism' by making it responsible for everything and equally for nothing what took place in history. By leaving out those considerations mentioned up to now, that would explain historical things only in terms of an overt notion of nationalism. For instance, it would mean overlooking the desire of those who wanted to regain the power and the social status in society they thought to have enjoyed during the past, in particular during First World War. As Bertrand Russell puts it in his essay 'The Fathers of German Fascism', they could only achieve this by declaring war against society, not against other nations. The importance of that thesis is to see that 'war against society' cannot be called nationalism and that Fascism was much more an internationally organised terror against civil society by those who wanted power, but felt inferior to the ruling aristocratic class (see, for example, not only the conflict between Hitler and von Beck, chief of staff of the German army until he resigned, but also Chamberlain's decision to deal with Hitler rather than the aristocratic opposition around Beck in Germany, for the latter too wanted expansion to the East, but not by means of war; rather they wanted to achieve that only by means of economic expansion, something taking place now after the Berlin wall came down 1989 and which gives them the wrong conclusion, they were always right, so that they do not have to learn out of history).

In other words, fascism and even more so, the causes of Second World War, are not to be found solely in the mere extremities of Italian or even more so German nationalism. Rather power becomes unleashed at times when democratic institutions fail to check abuse of power in time, that is, before it is too late to do anything about it.

Thus, the conclusion that nation states as being no longer able to function as building stones for Europe is in need of more substantial and critical reflection, before really being acceptable as a 'cultural premise' to act upon in future. Two aspects must be considered, if future actions are guided by something else than doing things for the sake of the nation.

Firstly, 'nation states' were indeed the causes of many disruptions in the past, but people believed in them due to having derived their cultural identity from them, including the national language spoken. Belief reappears when discussions focus on the prospect of a European identity. As a minimum condition it is always stated that people must believe in it. Independent of the 'dialectic of secularization', it suggests that belief involves also the role of churches and religions on the one hand and value assumptions forming a powerful cultural premise for especially the arts and the education system on the other. Picht calls them rightly so 'national styles' difficult to shake off.

Secondly, even if Europeans agree among themselves to use culture, more precisely 'cultural diversity within a larger unity' as building stones for the Europe of the future, then Europeans must ask themselves why the American foreign policy continues to address Europe as a union of nations in relation to itself as being a 'nation'. In other words, the 'Europe of Cultures' was not the subject recognised by President Clinton in his most recent and first visit to Europe not as a student, but as the President of the United States. The revival of nationalism in Eastern Europe adds to that dilemma.

The comment is made to show to what extend history has to be scrutinised much more carefully and not, as does the introductory note to the workshop 'culture and identity' of the Fourth Seminar, be pressed into a three phased model leading towards European unification almost automatically. It reminds one too much of Hegel's history of philosophy.

The simple causal connection between Versailles treaty and Second World War has to be refuted. Certainly Hitler could exploit among many other factors resentment amongst German people that they had to pay too many war reparations. However, to overemphasise this fact, that would make Hitler look almost innocent and ignore that many people drew the wrong conclusion out of the stock market crisis of 1929 reminding them that even their own quiet life in some German provincial town depended upon world wide economic developments. The cry for national sovereignty was just that, a strong reaction, but a costly mistake in its attempt to secure existence through national assertion in order to continue ignoring international dependencies.

Without wishing to go further into details, all of this reminds one strongly of the historical debates in Germany and which Habermas has tried to keep critical. For the kind of explanatory patterns used by Nolte and others as to how Fascism came about through historical circumstances like the Versailles treaty tends to clear Germans of any responsibility for what had taken place in the past. Still, right wing ideologies insist clearly such actions are justified when others have pushed their luck too far. This reference to some kind of provocation means the own responsibility is shrugged off while attesting the will to fight back. Here already enters into the historical picture of contemporary Europe a misunderstanding as to what emancipation entails. Certainly it cannot mean emancipation through assertion of one's own strength and power at the cost of everyone else.

When speaking about dangers with regards to historical interpretations, then in particular in reference to oversimplifications which help to transport grossly exaggerated notions about what really happened. In that sense, the difference between eye witnesses of a certain crime and citizens living in a specific time is not so great. In both cases, the usage of oversimplified notions in claims as to what has taken place is like refuting the existence of the imagination. The latter does not allow the making up of any story, but it is a much more precise way of feeling the contours of reality. The very absence of the imagination is a criterion of truth: something is wrong with the explanation. In that sense, only once the imagination is involved, then there is some historical memory restored and not everything that really took place, forgotten. And once the imagination in relation to reality has been activated, the indeterminate future is not negated nor reduced to an already determined pattern in life itself. Life itself is not a leaning back and seeing what will happen anyhow. That means a conservative attempt to reconstruct history deterministically would only add to the replacement of conscious decision making processes by seeking security in a habitual behaviour following pre-set rules and patterns. In the end, it is but a negative attempt to close in on the very forms of life needed to exist at all. As if there is a wish to suffocate the will to freedom and not the wish to be free.

It shows what forms of destruction are reproduced by holding onto values not always easy to recognise at first sight. Like the sea gull touching briefly the surface of the water, before going up again into the sky, the question remains how historical oversimplifications can be overcome for the sake of remaining in touch with human reality?

There is always some kind of uneasiness in discussions of these kinds, when it should be really a matter of concern about different forms of expressions of that reality. It may be a poetess expressing herself through a dance, while still wondering to what extend she has made the right choice to leave her country in order to live in Belgium? That lingering doubt depicts as much a dilemma, as it describes the nature of conflict between personal knowledge and living within social norms. The abiding by the rules is always based upon some kind of self-denial, even though the focus can shift quickly towards some other entertaining thoughts in need of further clarification. If the dreadful elongation of a negative European life continues, the more the people will become confused about their future destitute. Too many lives have come and gone, in exchange for dangerous illusions of being someone in a historical setting, that even the modern media does not realise to what extend it is playing on very dangerous grounds.

A remark about such dangerous illusions must be allowed in such a critical context. No doubt, it was Napoleon who failed to fulfil the expectations of many Europeans to emancipate them from petty and provincial grasps of power, by not giving them the freedom they had hoped for and which he overrode with his desire to control everything. It follows from there that he made the mistake to march all the way to Moscow as did Hitler later in history when he committed the same folly. An indication of the possible misuse of ideas about emancipation was that many ordinary German soldiers were convinced by the march into Russia for Hitler and Goeppels had made them belief that they were going to rescue the Russian peasants, the Russian people who they declared to love, from a disposable form of power called Communism, especially one in the hands of Stalin.

That it was not Hitler alone who believed in what he was ordering the army to do that is shown in conversations with German soldiers who went to Russia and came back alive. Still today, they cling to the romantic notion that they actually had nothing against the Russian people. Indeed, they would forcefully argue that they had reached a common human understanding by even sharing cigarettes and smiling together when the children played in front of the tanks. That dangerous illusion has as a father the wish for redemption even before confronting really what one was doing there. In other words, redemption should never be ruled out, but if it comes too early, it turns culture into manipulation of people rather than letting them be free, that is, critical of what was and is going on around them.

That is not to say, that there are some idealistic notions about freedom or other values that can inspire people to do concrete things. One term given to that is utopia, but knowing one's goals has always been a practical involvement in both philosophy and politics. The latter has turned, however, into something very negative in recent years. As Daniel Cohn-Bandit explained it in a talk show, this is expressed by no longer discussing things openly, that is by coming to terms with different consequences based on realistic assumptions, if certain actions are undertaken. Instead, politics has copied marketing strategies and transformed the culture of the critical dialogue into more or less a sales strategy of already made decisions or else it succumbs to a rationalization of postponements of the most important decisions. At the same time, there is the general impression created that politics is nothing but corruption. This is all the more believed, since everyone knows out of personal experiences, that the role of money dominates almost everything else.

Disillusionment in politics is accompanied by many more illusions in life. The 'culture industry', as Adorno and Horkheimer called places like Hollywood already 1944 in 'Dialectic of Enlightenment', makes sure that it stays that way. Since early childhood, Walt Disney ensures that the high level of fantasy relates to what are considered to be the most important values for capitalism. Through 'European integration' and the need to respond at a world level to negotiations like the GATT treaty, this has extended the capitalistic value system to all cultural domains. It has led to the introduction of a commodity language, transforming as it were 'culture' into viable 'products' crossing borders like any other commodity. It reflects new defining powers of what is art are moving into cultural spheres, in order to organise them in a business like manner having to do with sponsoring, tourism, services, etc. That means 'happiness' is in, sadness is 'out' (except for the melancholic songs of Leonard Cohen), and the 'images' projected within the halls of consumption no longer real derivatives of a living imagination. Still, good artists would say, even though it is impossible to fight the trends of the market, including the fact that many Europeans wish to see American films, there is only thing to be set against all of this: one's own creativity. Indeed, in the recognition of this fact, the 'cultural diversity' of Europe can be discovered.

Hence to ascertain the kind of cultural involvement needed to locate oneself within the imagination, in order to ascertain the truth of what is 'real' within the language one uses, there is a need for 'critical theory', in order to be able to use at a conceptual level the crucial reflection of perception possibilities. Otherwise diversity is lost in the wish to have a unified form of perception. This problem has governed far too long in a one-sided manner the philosophical debate about the so-called 'Crisis of the European Mind' to which not only Husserl, but also Nietzsche responded. They overlooked the fact that the main concern of people is not so much the continuity of history, but life. The latter depends upon generation logic capable of committing people to life and able to hand on 'values' in such a manner, that others can respond to. This depends fore mostly upon the cultural orientation given through the scope of memory, trust, recognition and the actions undertaken to secure that continuity of knowing about one's identity. It includes memory what was thought the day before yesterday as much as parents taking their children to school, in order that they can join and later help create society on the basis of friendship, neighbourhood, but also trust in others.

Written records helped to improve that memory tremendously. Today there has been added the possibilities of computer technology, but the impact of which upon common cultural understanding of history has not yet been really assessed. We do know, however, from Freud's theory about unconscious conflicts that not everything can be brought back to memory, especially if unresolved conflicts of conscience stand in the way. These conflicts may be in part with human values bringing about within one's conscience disagreement with what one has done; it may also be the outcome of having gone completely against human principles such as the respect for the freedom and human pride of the others. Especially critical conscience, while connected to self-esteem, once lost, cannot be overcome alone through 'conscious lies' about what happened. There is really no alternative but the real work of redemption: bringing about true memories for the future (Habermas). Culture is the outcome of the narration about that ongoing work in daily discourses. Therefore, Lenoble's theory about the end of the great narrations, as expressed at the Fourth Seminar held in Bruges, has to be taken seriously as a reflection of what is possibly amiss in Europe towards the end of the twentieth century: no living culture of redemption.

For redemption to work, human language is needed, or to put it more precisely a 'language of experience' expressed in terms by which human beings can recognise themselves in a differentiated, not stereo typed manner. Not only Cassirer, but above all he connects such a language to the ever present phenomena of 'fear of death', in order to explain the true differences in societies: whether or not the conscious notion of mortality plays a role in the attitudes mankind adopts in its relationship to the world. Cassirer would add, there is a difference whether or not such fear dominates, for what matters most in any kind of perception is that it is carried by a 'friendly' as opposed to a 'hostile' attitude towards the world. Thus, it is a matter of what kind of tones, regards for the others, the various European languages convey to one another, in order to be in touch with the warm stream of 'humanity'. Picht would add to that the condition of ‘rational communication'. As the sinologist and translator Franz Kuhn said once in the introduction to his translation called 'Chinese State Wisdom's', 'there are many Machiavellian streams in Chinese literature, but he wanted to carry with this work the warm tones of humanity into European literature'.

There are some other problems when conservative patterns make themselves felt even in common speech. That is when things are said in such a manner, that it really denies humanity in general and in each individual person. Jean Pierre Faye, in his analysis of 'totalitarian languages', describes this process of negation as a search for a suitable object to unload upon all hatred build up inside by going against the 'self' when forced by the very same language to adapt to everything else. Extreme or fanatic hatred of others is but a sign of a final revolt against having really no 'self': the difficulty of saying 'no' (Klaus Heinrich) to self-destruction but externalised by destroying others first verbally, then physically, as the Chinese do when crossing first through the name of the person and only then to the execution.

Furthermore, one has to be weary about the kind of certainty claimed in what the speakers using such a language profess to talk about. The 'conscious lie' reveals itself when the others being referred to, appear in the language not as really living persons, but rather as suitable objects of hatred, useful as scape goats for not self-realised and self-admitted 'failures'. Even worse, what became in history an object of hatred, namely the Jew, repeats itself today in anti-foreigner ideologies of the extreme Right.

In other words, it may be one of the unusual discoveries about European life that it has not up to now understood what individuation means. It may explain why the typical street scenes remain for writers, poets and even all kinds of social scientists, community related politicians and activists so empty handed. They appear to be no longer places of history. The European streets despite of having been built in the past for quite different purposes are especially due to the usage of the car nowadays mere places suitable for passing through, but not for staying on. Bruges is here an exception within a limited sense when it comes to use cars as transport means.

Marx was correct in this sense that a society defines itself through how it dictates to everyone the means of transportation and communication. In that sense, the proletarian protest of the past has become itself a victim of change which increased productivity and in turn brought about general economic wealth, including the over importance of the car as vehicle of mobility. While there is no longer any state, society or trade union to really take care of workers as 'class subject', they have lost also all intellectual support. The latter group seems to find no certainty in any critique whatsoever; rather academics tend to work nowadays hand in hand with governmental agencies to profit from changes towards privatization of everything, including public policy formulations. That makes the efforts since Kant to develop the art of criticism as a means of promoting progress in vain. Kant wanted to develop the art of criticism out of the difference between public and private reason, for criticism should always involve the former reason and hence address itself to the literary and hence cultured public.

Kant believed a system governed by this kind of critique over and beyond daily practises would be for the profit of all. The latter always implies a private reason can be applied, insofar putting something into practise would mean to interpret according to the best of all knowledge that, what holds for a particular job. This is, however, not true. More and more jobs are taken not to be 'value free', yet the reintroduction of values involves public consciousness and possibilities to refer to critical, that is independent knowledge from what one is doing. No doubt, no one will find his job that bad, if his or her existence depends upon it, despite of the fact that working for a nuclear plant may not be that safe either for the individual worker or for the entire society. It marks the 'failure of enlightenment' in the light of so much irrationality in history to consider those structures turning true intentions into something quite the contrary. Michel Foucault gives a brilliant example of that when discussing the reform intentions of the humanist psychiatrist Pinel in 'History of Insanity', for everything turned out to be the opposite. This kind of structural contradiction has happened since the eighteenth century. Today, it is acknowledged that there are simply other possibilities of reflections (relationships to texts for the understanding of what one is doing) and forms of interactions by which the necessary critique becomes audible, at least for those who retain knowledge at a personal level and who have not forgotten about the linkage of man to nature. If so the case, that means according to Adorno and Horkheimer, society has not as of yet succumbed to mass deception due to loss of substantial goals, but still retains a critical notion of a possible existence as being perceivable through the culture which supports that very society.

This is to say, European unification cannot be made subservient to the goal of survival by those who claim to possess the 'land'. That would make the supportive system of European cultures impossible and life itself into a nightmare. Sarejevo and other Yugoslavian cities, towns and villages torn between hope and resignation reflect how highly cynical such loss can become. This crisis lets one recall how the fights about borders were overturned already in the twelfth century by a militarised church moving to the countryside, in order to prepare better the crusades. There is this dream of a unified Europe brought in connection with Charlemagne the Great, as if something to be desired still today. Here is a myth in the making. When a newspaper article states such a dream is something the Spaniards fear nowadays, then in the sense of a revival of notions leading to the dominance of Northern European culture. That could be the case with the entry of the Scandinavian countries. Yet these dreams of unification's are in need of more precise interpretations. For instance, why do conservatives prefer them to real dialogues with people? As if in children's fairy stories, there is still this nonsense of kings and princes, of a world ordered by the good and the wicked, but not anywhere close to a democratic society. Why are there no stories about those many silent heroes of democracy? After all, the Gothic period began when artists and architects could find a stable income in the urban centres of their times, that is they became independent from even the need to possess land. This is to say, possession or not had an impact upon the voting franchise and voting behaviour. Decisions can always be analysed in different terms, when it comes to seeking and making alliances.

Thus as stated above, it is a key element of the extreme right that it is consistent in its denial of any West orientation, but while favouring expansion to the East, in order to form at least partially an alliance with those aristocratic rests wishing to reclaim their former land holdings, they cannot overcome their wish for symbolic actions of highly explosive, but also doubtful character. The cries of the Hooligans during football matches is but a training ground for accepting violence as an everyday element in the competition for the appearance of being a winner by 'clean and honest' methods. At the same time, something worthy to be noted is a report by the newspaper 'The European' about land reform in Hungary: while the old aristocratic class is getting back its former land holdings, the management of those estates is well in the hand of former communistic managers. As if the Treuhand affair in Germany with regards to former East Germany sets an example, money laundry systems seem to work everywhere in Eastern Europe when it comes to buying off time and bankruptcy. The consequence for the stability of European currencies cannot go unnoticed, and yet the question remains to be answered, where has all the money of the European Union gone to? And why does the 'Right' attempt to move now independently from the European Union? Is it afraid of more public control over the spending powers of that largely administrative set-up in Brussels with but far removed controls by the European parliament? Or has the 'Right' accumulated so much money independently from its original source, that with the renewed economic expansion to the East other forms of economic transactions have been found, but not as of yet really visible to the public consciousness of all Europeans?

Historical fallacies should be overcome by not reproducing lies about European history, and this means to seek alternatives to the past, if not an endless chain of useless suffrages strangles any notion of freedom only because some upper class (or aspirants to become one of them) wants to expand its property and wealth at the expense of everybody else. Imperialism and colonialism is, however, according to Hegel the outcome of bourgeoisie society. It can only survive, if it expands. And this means the crossing of borders if not by economic, then by military means.

There seems to be that one constant in European history, namely the fight about borders. To be more precise, aside from taxes, the main source of incomes of states then and now are custom duties. One could see the impact of that in former Yugoslavia. A lot of money was taken in due to custom duties and people started to wonder where all this money was going to. Since they could not follow all the channels, they simple suspected a misuse of the funds. Then the easy calculation was made: given all that money, what if we keep it to ourselves and do not pass it on anymore to the people down South, then we would be more powerful, even if it means, as the German writer Peter Handke put it, cutting one's house in half. This sense for economic independence as sign of strength is strengthened by a world view believing everything else has gone wrong, thus there is no one to rely upon and only deep cynicism will help one to survive. The kind of plans put into action by such vindictive spirits, that can be seen in the case of terrible civil war of Yugoslavia. It is contained by a world looking passively upon the affair out of fear to get directly involved. The fact that this confirms only their negative believes that the world wishes only to punish them for taking steps towards greater autonomy, this adds to the vindictive spirit. Underneath all the bargaining tables, it has become the dominant force to safeguard failure in the direction of peace. It may be the tragic reason why the crisis in Yugoslavia cannot be resolved so easily.

People would have first to admit that living in this world means also sharing wealth, and hence accept working on a system of just distribution. Yet if the city of Munich came to wealth by burning down the bridges of Augsburg over more than 800 years ago, just so that all the salt had to be brought from the Alps to the north via Munich, then this lesson of violence as integral part of survival has been what most people learned from history. And not only from there, for the media plays a great role here as well. It is a negative, but to them a realistic example.

In a perverted sense, survival has and always will mean for many people to take really the law into their own hands. Competition of high professional sports demonstrates that amply with immediate impact upon the wide audience; constantly it is demonstrated, that if one is to get any further, then the other must be attacked, weakened and even put out of action (since the Seles' case in tennis, there is now the Harding one in the United States).

As a historical maxim, cultural indifference to strategies of survival shows break-downs in common or human self-understanding. Too little value is given, on how someone seeks salvation not at the cost of others nor at his or her own expense, but as an outcome of long and critical deliberations between dependencies and will for independence. In the various forms of mediation such a model finds only its equivalence in a strong form of critical respect, understanding and imaginary participation. Human lives and values are often looked upon as mere sentimental factors which no one can afford to have, if there is a fight for survival. Yet no one can really communicate without them. However, anyone knowing how to control this sentiment, the rudimentary forms of life, believes a concise control through the system will make sure that such lessons are learned well and not forgotten, namely not to use this as a force to question political power, that is, the 'right' thing to do at the moment. Mitterrand demonstrates that perfectly well in his aloofness based on the belief that people expect him to act in that 'sovereign' way. Inscribed roles and abuse of power can easily be put together in order to fit into this anachronistic European political scene. It is not what 'rational communication' (Picht) is about when trying to bring about 'cultural actions', in order to take the European Union beyond the Maastricht treaty.

There is indeed a general European viewpoint. Culturally speaking, it is easier to overcome conflicts of conscience, when the world as not regarded as being hostile to oneself. It forms a basis of trust in institutions safeguarding democratic rights by bringing about conditions for internal and international peace. This is said in the light of what kind of attitudes prevail, for instance, among members of the Mafia in Italy as much as in Eastern European gangs; there seems to be not so great a difference between the two, but there is one sharp contrast: the Eastern Mafia did not think at all about the international implications when they started to play around even with nuclear weapons. A James Bond movie as to 'From Russia with Love' only distorts the critical implications of real life being threatened by all kinds of coercion's. The illegal smuggling of atomic materials indicates really a change in scale of criminal actions people are ready to commit for the sake of making fast big money. It is linked to a terrorist usage of power linked to a material or weapon potential which can destroy humanity.

In general, it is difficult to judge to what extent people are only interested in getting money as cheaply as possible, but the daily output of the media suggests just that. Once people have no longer as a background for their practical judgements any convincing alternative to that suggestive picture, they tend to become cynical and to move beyond real, lived through experiences. A part of their world becomes fictitious fears reminiscent of the past and over time will play an ever greater role in controlling their thoughts and actions. This makes them become also completely ignorant of political facts, because they have been too busy with only learning on how to work productively for a decent income within a secure society. If that security starts to show signs of cracks, they tend to panic and to overreact accordingly. The deeper reasons for such panic-stricken people must be perceived, if one is not to be fooled by the appearances of normal behaviour in daily encounters. Relationships and consciousness do depend upon 'rational communication' linkages, but these linkages have to be renewed through the realisation of failures by 'works of redemption': art works, novels, great literature and films. That would mean to put oneself on the side of humanity like Vincent Van Gogh. Yet the opposite has been taught by the media, such as it does not pay to do things for other people, or to have a social conscience.

Confirmation seems to be given only to the kind of security reached by means of crooked and violent means, that if one can live without one's own critical conscience. It is not only a dangerous illusion, but grows over time dependent upon 'negative feedbacks'. Popper would say this is a state of a closed mind never accepting any more any refutation, positive or negative, of what is believed. In turn, the illusion created in the media about such crooked, illegal and even criminal actions is the lie that one can attain a liveable paradise on earth; for no one cares as long as you are king, that is, with plenty of money and a mind crafty enough to out dodge the stupidity of people. It puts things if done well above any law. Since stupidity is ruled according to Adorno by fear, these Mafia like developments feed on fear and the bleeding never stops. Yugoslavia attests to that.

On the other hand, Western Europe seems to succumb to the fears of new waves of immigrants coming from the East to the West to seek that paradise anyone with a family longs for, namely a decent income, house and good school for the children, while outside the car is parked and the friends can look upon one as having achieved something in life. Legal status and respective forms of recognition play an enormous role in European societies, for the pressure is on everyone to fulfil these social norms, and if not possible legally, then by illegal means. It is, therefore, an odd contradiction that the flow of commodities is wanted, but not the flow of people. Or maybe it is not so strange in the end, if one perceives in what sort of contradictions those beating on the drums of fear are entangled in. Most of them came themselves once from the East and in trying to be more than 100% Western oriented people, they threw not only their children into a frenzy of a pseudo-revolt against these apparently false or fake values of the West by keeping traditional values alive (i.e. refugee groups in Germany), but also they themselves outdo any other extremist when it comes to demanding 'law and order'. One such example is Lummer who served under Richard von Weizsaecker in the Berlin Senate as Senator of Interior after the conservatives had taken over office from the until then ruling Social Democrats in that city 1981.

The implications of such extremist demands by right wing people need to be fully understood in the light of recent developments in Russia. After the last elections 1993-94, the chances of anti-democratic forces gaining the upper hand have risen considerably, and no one seems to notice what foolish, but also dangerous game the Right of Europe has played all along. That begins with the agitation of Otto von Hapsburg and LePen, and does not end with the neo-fascistic movement in Italy where, for example, the niece of Mussolini is exercising herself in resurrection attempts of an ideology that led to Second World War. One thing has to be said though. This time the neo-fascistic ideologies cannot utilise a blinding ambivalence between Socialism and extreme Nationalism, even though not only in the past, but nowadays as well there has been this coalition between Fascists and Communists, or presently between right and extreme left-wing inclined people. Where this 'irrtum' (mistake) comes from, that is a great mystery.

In describing all of this, there is also another notion in need of some cautious reflection due to many implications and consequences, if not understood fully. The extent to which Fascism was connected with claiming 'living space', it was a cover for the need to break out of the narrow and sterile confines of petite bourgeoisie living forms. Fascists used at the same time connotations of mythical binding forces stemming from the soil and the blood of people, as if such a symbolic gesture could alone overcome the negative impact of an enforced industrialization upon the entire population. That is why the First World War was so modern. It liberated incredible forces and let some anticipate what else could be done once so much power was at their disposal. It is no accident that 'fascination' precedes succumbing to power. A piece of arbitrariness is entailed in such showcases of history. There is no turning around once the mistake has been recognised, for the way had been made free to drop that last scrutiny of human conscience. One needs only to be reminded that it was Heidegger who said in his book 'Time and Being', published 1929, 'great men have the right to make mistakes'. The point was that such mistakes cost not hundreds, but thousands of human lives and still there is little political progress in sight. Instead and ever since, European unification is beset by a range of problems not easy to handle due to their vicinity to such lunatic premises as acted upon by the Fascists of the past and transformed by those who have learned to veil only better their true political motives into further obstructions for people to feel safe.

In turn, there are people who have made the lack of such safety into a virtue. Their slogan has become one of being a refuge in a wider sense, for they say their homelessness in Europe is their true home. They form the new intellectual cosmopolitan class with virtually ties to everywhere, except to that what may be a translation of 'cultural roots', namely the sense of belonging somewhere to a society caring also about them. If any metaphor can be useful here, then in adaptation of Conlin Wagner's speech in reference to 'Changing Trains', for there is the figure of speech about 'no trains arriving, nor trains departing' used by Peter Stein in his 'Hoelderlin: Empedocles' theatre play during the seventies in Berlin. It could suggest that here ends the dialectical relationship between identity and culture. Three outcomes can be depicted: one, everything is so wide open, that everything seems possible, including the most negative; two, the corrosion of power is experienced as loss of binding forces in language making the contact to and the communication with the other that much weaker, than what human linkages ought to be, if they are able to sustain life; and three, autonomy means but a different position at the bargaining table while the rest of those being represented by the new leaders succumb to the vindictive powers of those who could not react quickly enough, in order to grasp some of the spoils spilled out in the process of reformulating needs of the system now that the West-East conflict has abided to a low level of suspicion about different schools of not thought, but survival strategies. It has not made things easier for the European Commission nor as a matter of fact for the American administration when it comes to dealing with a Europe of not nations, but a European integration underneath of which there is this struggle for culturally linked regions.

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