LeitgedankenPrefaceLeitgedankenLeidende Gedachte


”Europe is a ‘community of destiny’. The process of European civilisation set in motion by our generation and generations before has led to a stage in our development in which we are all dependent on one another. We can accept this common destiny, or we can shape it. The maintenance of peace, the conservation of the environment, and the means to enable all people to live their lives with dignity demand common policies. Unifying Europe is our response to past suffering and the challenge of history. All Europeans are called upon to work responsibly together to build a peaceful European order.”

On attentively reading those haunting lines from the “Charter of European Identity” we understand that the House of Europe cannot reach a sphere of peace and agreement by the creation of structures and institutions alone. European tradition and organisation should be dependent on one another. No European automatism will preserve human rights, conjure up an European feeling of togetherness, protect the natural living conditions or establish a strong European identity. The foundation of living together in peace and liberty rests upon social and cultural values that should not just be accepted, but actively and wholeheartedly advocated by every European.

Money, power and status as the sole realities of life cannot replace the existential consciousness of true liberty. This applies to both the individual and the community, for, as the Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard writes, “a nation that takes its own reality more seriously than a concrete vision, accepts a life-threatening spiritual impoverishment, a dictatorship of the mean pursuit of mediocrity.” So an overdosed portion of pragmatism, combined with a vague pessimism and an ailing lack of ideas cannot necessarily be declared the European ideal of life, or a collective vision. Facing possible challenges, threats or insecurities, we should look out for potentials in order to meet this newly-made world with fresh ideas and visions of a better future.

Our mental freedom obliges us to recognize and realize anything possible for the civilized progress of suffering people, regardless of any ideological denomination. We are now in a process of a global transformation of consciousness and therefore in dire need of a renaissance of Europe’s ongoing cherished values. Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, writes: “Should there ever be a renaissance in Europe, it will be a spiritual one that is complex and will take place in multi-fold cultural varieties, with a fresh political ethos, spirit or style, bringing forth a new civil behaviour. It is the spiritual dimension that connects all human cultures and reveals their transcendental origins.” In Europe, we need this spiritual renaissance; the European consciousness must undergo this spiritual, conscious metamorphosis. An integral consciousness creates a new reality because it will free us from the constrictions of self-definition by identifying with the larger whole and the general environmental realities are restructured under an integral perception of the world. P. Hugo M. Enomiya-Lassalle SJ says aphoristically: “Man has changed numerous times throughout history. Humanity has to become one, otherwise we will perish.”

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