Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 17, Issue 5/6, 2007

The European Spirit of Polish Culture in the Perspective of Universalism

Józef L. Krakowiak
Pages 5-25

Instead of an Editorial
The European Spirit of Polish Culture and Universalism as a Metaphilosophy

For my part I seek the metaphilosophical in universalism in the interdisciplinariness concept typical for ecology and system and information theory. I reject monologue as a form of hegemony and propose dialogue as an interpersonal path for seekers and cocreators of truth. I accept relational and reject substantialistic ontologies and all absolutism, including virtues, in an attempt to make room for the quest for common values attainable by those who identify with them on multiple levels (the universalism of Paul of Tarsis). Hence, basing on humanity’s cultural and civilizational multiplicity, I analyze the Europeanism idea through the prism of centripetal and centrifugal forces, locating “Polish” elements on this path. On one hand I approach Europeanism as the most immediate of the environments which reflect and make understandable the spiritual aspects of Polishness, on the other hand I suggest that many of its aspects should be avoided. Nonetheless I commend the disclosure and sustainance of the separateness of ethical norms developed by the ancient Greek from the legal norms instituted by Rome and the religious norms imposed on our western civilization by Christianity. This is something other civilizations lack and what bars them from more intensive participation in humanity’s advancement towards universal civilization—no longer seen as monopolistic, as in the ecological perspective this would only enhance mankind’s destruction. From the Polish perspective the most valuable Europeanism aspects are diversity, methodology in the quest for truth in philosophy, religion and science, openness to the objective products of the human spirit (which Islamic civilization opposed), and a strong accent on praxis. To close I will allow myself reference to Janusz Kuczyński’s Polishness Decalogue, an attempt to analyze the Polish “national spirit” and pinpoint those universal aspects of “Polishness” which—as clusters of empirical, social, theoretical and cultural facts—still fill Polish hearts with pride. Here, as we can see, the initially concretized universality criterion ultimately becomes an applied valuation category. Hence, universalism as a meta-philosophy appears to be a philosophy of essence, not fact, and therefore not subject to valuation.