A Proustian project for Europe: exploring a possible future (April 2020)

The case of Europe/ European Union

In this short essay, I explore some of the factors propitious for the success of constructing Europe and, especially, its public space: to reinforce its identity by means of a culture of civil conversation, which includes the recurrent exercise of anamnesis, that is to say, the memory of experiences from the past combined with perception of experiences in the present. In other words, constructing Europe by means of the exercise not so much of willpower, in overcoming resistance, but of intelligence and moral feelings or affections, in order to be able to recognise what there is and to understand it. This involves overcoming both the tendency (and the temptation) of imagining that we create what we perceive, and that of responding to otherness with a hostility tinged with indifference.

In this respect, I emphasise the importance of controlling the use and avoiding the abuse of binary interpretive frameworks such as AEuropeanists versus nationalists@, and I try to discern how the complex experiences of identity of a European demos and of the distinct national demoi could be articulated.