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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Are you the majority of first person singular?

Natalia, at her exquisite blog, quotes the words of one of her esteemed professors:

He said that now with the enlargement of Europe he believes, he wants to believe, that there will no longer be "Germans who harmed Polish", no longer "Russian guilt" no longer, no more. But there will be "European shame", that we will speak of "Europeans who harmed Europeans".

Do I agree with the professor?

The very notion of grouping people together brings members of societies again and again to the state where that their individuality is not called upon to take responsibility.

We had this rally last Saturday, under the slogan, "Harov Kovea'a!" - The Majority Counts(is the one to decide). But even if the settlers were the majority, I would still see their presence in the occupied territories as wrong.

A majority or a minority - all are groups of people who find it convenient to put their individuality at rest.

Evil does have a name, a first person name. I hope that one day we'll reach this stage of personal responsibility. Each member of a nation who co-operates or is silent when crimes are committed in the name of his nation - of himself/herself - is responsible. This applies to the past, to our present, and hopefully will be the norm in the days to come.


  1. Dear Corinna, to this argument I cannot find a good reply. I even couldn't once I was writing my post. Nevertheless, I don't think that the evil has only one name. Every event in the history is due to several reasons. Giving them just one name may lead to prejudices or to injustice.
    I don't know whether such way of thinking may result in smothering the individuality. I hope not, especially as my favourite motto is the one I heard from Erga: "Individualists all over the world, unite..." But, see "unite" doesn't mean "become uniform" as much as univeralism doesn't mean homogenity. I do hate nationalisms, but it doesn't mean hating the cultural differences. Using the word "Europeans" or farther "humanity" allows for being free from prejudices, provided everone consciously percives himself a human and not just a member of a crowd or of an unidentified mass. At least I hope so. Long time ago I went to Auschwitz, everyone who goes there becomes sick and full of hatered towards Germans. So did I. But should one hate Germans (or rather Nazis) for all the atrocities or should one rather hate Polish as everything happened on their land. Or maybe Americans who having the plans of concentration camps in 1940 didn't even react? Or maybe French and British who in 1939 broke the alliance with Poland? Or Czechs and Austrians who without a shot submitted their countries? Or Italians?


  2. Thank you for your response, Natalia.
    Of course I agree with you.
    The problem is that the group, be it a political party, a nation, or a religion - is too well employed as a tool for erasing individuality, individual responsibility.

    It leads to a way of thinking - "It's not me, I must obey orders as the nation/group is above the individual. Who am I to judge, maybe they know something I do not know, etc."

    On the other hand you are held responsible for misdeeds you oppose, just because you belong to that certain group: "No need to get to know the person, to use my personal judgement. Why bother? I know who the person is because I know to what group or nation the person belongs."

    Therefore I think that the danger with all these unifications and globalization is indeed to local cultures, yet no less so, actually to a much larger degree, to the individual's freedom to be first person singular.

    Therefore, I would rather say, Let's hope that from now one the unifications will result in a better understanding of our responsibility as individuals.

    Sometimes dreams do come true...


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