Andrei Pleșu

North and South, East and West, centre and periphery – the dichotomies with which Europe’s constitution is riven have profound cultural-historical roots. Particularly the schism between the Byzantine and Graeco-Roman cultures is a persistent source of friction, writes the renowned Romanian art historian and philosopher Andrei Pleșu.

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For Adam Michnik, resistance to communism took many forms: reproaching another for their lack of heroism is impossible. Talking to Andrei Plesu in Bucharest in February 2011, he called for an end to the logic of accusation and warned against instrumentalizing the quarrel with communism.

“Undoubtedly, leftwingers exist who can find excuses for the Soviet penal universe. But I don’t regularly discuss matters with them”. Thus responded Hungarian political scientist Gáspár Miklós Tamás to Romanian philosopher Andrei Plesu’s assertion in Dilema veche 243 (2008) that “The Left […] hides the Gulag behind a veil of intelligence, nuance, and ‘historical necessity’.” “Quite honestly, you are too equidistant for my liking”, writes Plesu in his concluding comment.

One almost wonders what Christianity has added to Roman writers’ reflections on old age, writes Andrei Plesu. The answer: a much greater emphasis on transcendence. But how might the dimension of transcendence contribute to a better understanding and use of old age?

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“The Right is culpable. Reactionary. Slightly ridiculous”, writes Romanian philosopher Andrei Plesu in Dilema veche. “The Left, in contrast, is impudent, cheeky. It can’t remember the bad things. It hides the Gulag behind a veil of intelligence, nuance, and ‘historical necessity’.” A provocative statement that has prompted a response from Plesu’s leftwing counterpart, the Hungarian political scientist Gáspár Miklós Tamás.