Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 19, Issue 11/12, 2009

Towards Universal Civilizations

Roman Zawadzki
Pages 99-106

Values as Determinants of National and Historical Identity in Individual and Community Life

The main goal of this paper (presentation) is to prove the thesis that the attempts to transpose the cultural differentiation into the social and economical universalism and globalism must lead to repressive psychosocial totalitarianism on a large scale. Modern human sciences and politics tend to classify the individual in respect to his adaptive efficiency in interactive relation with programmed environment and to qualify him according to given imposed criteria of social functionalism. The correctly socialized individual is expected to be an exchangeable functional unit assessed according to its usefulness in performing a set of particular tasks, despite his cultural background being considered as a second-rate factor, which may affect (in a positive or negative way) the social acceptance and correctness of his behavior. However, no community is an exact representation of society because it is held together not by functions but by the values as well as the forms of their actualization and implementation into the common organization and their way of life. The community is not a contract upon which society is based. The identity of the individual must not be removed from the culture of the community in which he lives and from its constitutive values. It is also rooted in the past and history of striving for self-determination and cultural as well as personal subjectivity. Without these significant cultural and historical components the individual identity is nothing but an operational, programmable algorithm of functional living unit assigned to perform short-term utilitarian tasks. This approach stands in contradiction to the Aristotelian concept of wellbeing and happiness considered as striving for the common good of spiritual values by individuals as well as by human communities. Any extensive and effective civilization neglecting the higher values of moral, symbolic and religious sense of the individual, must face totalitarianism or extinction.