By Denis Guénoun
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Additional info for About Europe : philosophical hypotheses
It is an invitation to think of Europe in a double fashion: within the movement of the universal (as the moment, course, and tracing of this movement), as well as (indissociably) in the retreat of this drive—its closure and sealing. 10 Constitutionally (“always-already,” “originating there,” so to speak, but inasmuch as its origin fails it), Europe comes forth, producing worldhood [mondialité]. With its return, it wants to represent this universality that carries it (it wants to be its representative), and with this gesture, it gives shape to the universal—and misses it.
The first and older one is the age or epoch of the assembly. It does not encompass all that precedes Rome, but only the phase that I shall conveniently term “Hellenic,”66 determined as a political era; that is, the era of the city-state as polis, able to form an assembly, which we should call ecclesial, reviving in this word all its pre- Christian semantics, which Christian ecclesiality inherits and yet conceals and masks. The second and modern era is the age or epoch of the world, the imperial era of the world, the time of the world as an area of submission to the empire.
No, it is the backcountry into which one enters, penetrates, and sinks, and that one will discover. 47 * The second formulation to challenge, the one about the origin or birth, is close to the first, but subtler and more powerful. It appears in a text by Edmund Husserl, the justifiably famous “Vienna Lecture,” which one is bound to come across frequently in this context: Spiritual Europe has a birthplace. By this I mean not a geographical birthplace, in one land, though this is also true, but rather a spiritual birthplace in a nation or in individual men and human groups of this nation.
About Europe : philosophical hypotheses by Denis Guénoun