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.
Romanian philosopher, art historian, essayist and journalist. As a dissident under Ceaușescu, he was banned from teaching during the 1980s. After 1989 he took a number of political posts, including Minister of Culture (1989–1991) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997–1999).
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?
Adam Michnik and Andrei Plesu discuss "resistance through culture"
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.
“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.
Andrei Plesu responds
“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.