Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe
Edited By Jacek Kurczewski
The Culture of Coexistence in the longue durée. On Practising the Ethos of the Borderland
The contemporary culture of co-existence cannot be built on lies, wishful thinking or other baseless attitudes and ideologies, especially if they are realised through one-off, short-term and media-friendly events. The power of its authenticity should draw from a firm grasp of reality and care for long-term effects, and should be organically grounded in the everyday life of the community. Hence, it is best not to speak about resolving conflicts, but rather about an ability to live with conflicts, and instead of removing borders, to think about crossing them.
We brought down the Berlin wall, we opened up our borders, we popularised the Internet, most of us live in multicultural metropolises. And yet, walls remain a familiar experience to the modern European. These are no longer walls running along national borders, between political systems or languages. The contemporary wall stands in the midst of society, on the same river bank, and it serves to divide confronting cultural identities. The ever-increasing proximity of the Alien, not outside of our world, but within the intimate space reserved for the familiar and the accepted, raises a new wall in which all our fears and inadequacies are sealed. We are realising ever more clearly that identity does not mean community and that in our battles to preserve the former we have lost much of the spirit of the latter. The problem of modern Europe, which increasingly resembles an archipelago of separate cultures, is not the presence of diversity and differences, but that which...
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