Understanding the twentieth century is mandatory for grasping the meanings of the twenty-first: Special thanks to Krisztina Kós and Central European University Press. It’s been a wonderful collaboration and I look very much forward into the next projects. These volumes owe a lot to the conferences organized in Washington, DC by the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with support from the University of Maryland, Georgetown University and the Embassy of Romania (2007-2012).
Minima moralia: “August 14, 1982. Dear Olga, Orientation toward Being as a state of mind can also be understood as faith: a person oriented toward Being intrinsically believes in life, in the world, in morality, in the meaning of things, and in himself. His relationship to life is informed by hope, wonder, humility, and a spontaneous respect for its mysteries. He does not judge the meaning of his efforts merely by their manifest successes, but first of all by their ‘worth in themselves’ (i.e., their worth against the background of the absolute horizon).”– Václav Havel, “Letters to Olga,” 1982
Me duele Venezuela. We are all entitled to more than one fatherland. In my case, I love these countries dearly, I rejoice their happy moments and I lament their predicaments: Romania, where I was born and grew up; France, where I first experienced real liberty; Venezuela, where I understood the meanings of intellectual fraternity; and the US, this great republic of hope, tolerance, and inclusion. This is why I suffer for Venezuela and I raise my voice in support of those who, against terrible odds, defy the Maduro dictatorship. Let me also say that I’m still waiting for the enthusiastic minstrels of the Chavista “Bolivarian socialism” to spell out some regrets. Better late than never…
A terribly sad day for all the friends of an open society…
“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.” (Liu Xiaobo, “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement,” Nobel Lecture in Absentia, December 10, 2010, Statement of December 23, 2009, read by Liv Ullmann)
If I were to say who I am, my first response would be that I’m a democratic intellectual. In other words, one opposed to any form of collectivistic and totalizing “group thinking.” I’m proudly a non-belonger and I abhor all forms of regimentation. I enjoy and practice eclecticism. I dislike stigmas, labels, straitjackets, Procrustean beds. I don’t identify myself with abstract…ions such as tribe, nation, class, race, etc On the contrary, I regard them as insuperably and insufferably fallacious, conducive to ideological and political follies. They surreptitiously invade and cynically enslave our loyalties, allegiances, and emotions. I love the Republic of Letters, increasingly beleaguered and absolutely indispensable. I don’t idealize Reason, but I know that without it we are lost in the forest of superstitions, lies, and prejudices. So, I take Settembrini’s side in his struggle with Naphta. I dedicate this post to the memory of S. N. Eisenstadt (1923–2010), a great Weberian scholar, a mentor and a dear friend, the author of a most insightful essay titled “Multiple Identities”. I learned from him what it means to defend open spaces. Meeting Shmuel was one of the luckiest moments of my intellectual life. Blessed be his memory…
Este loc pentru toată lumea sub razele soarelui. Dar iată, subit, out of the blue, se naște o nouă ofensivă impotriva celor numiți, cu teribilistă și deloc inocentă lejeritate, “boierii minții”. De ani de zile tot aștept marea contribuție a unui Sorin Adam Matei la filosofia comunicării. Se visa un Abraham Moles, mi-e teamă că a fost doar un vis. Este, neindoios, dreptul oricui de a contesta pe oricine. Dar, in măsura posibilului, fără intenții p…ersiflatoare, cu argumente logice și verificabile. Nu mă refer la veleitarii care fac din indoielnica Wikipedia o sursă bibliografică pentru un doctorat susținut in centrul Europei. Ei atacă, pretinzând că se ocupă cu critica.
Nu mă număr printre aceia care cred ca igiena stupidă numită “corectitudine politica” este echivalentul totalitarismului. Dar nici printre cei care o ignoră sau o neagă. Totalitarismul inseamnă un număr de lucruri, au fost conceptualizate de Hannah Arendt, Raymond Aron, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carl Friedrich. Iar cenzura face parte din atributele acestui despotism ideocratic. Horia Patapievici a spus acest lucru. Aveți contra-argumente? Oferiți-le! Asta inseamnă civilitatea dialogului. Altminteri, alunecăm in imprecații, acuzații și diabolizări.
La Mulți Ani cu sănătate, noroc și bucurii, dragă Ioana Bernard! Ne leagă o veche, incasabilă prietenie, angajamentul comun pentru valorile in care au crezut și pe care le-au apărat Noel Bernard, Monica Lovinescu, Virgil Ierunca și Vlad Georgescu. Am fost fericit să pot spune aceste lucruri la lansarea cărții tale acum câțiva ani. Da, Ioana, ani și ani de zile, vocea ta a fost vocea libertății. Iti mulțumesc și iți mulțumim…