Volume 30, Issue 2, 2020
Janusz Kuczyński (1930-2017) - Work and Life
First Impressions—Lasting Memories: “As I Remember”
This essay is divided into two parts. The first part is an account of my own very personal impressions and memories of my encounter with Janusz Kuczyński’s vision of a “new form of universalism.” I focus on Kuczyński’s attempt to interpret “the meaning of recent history” in his day and times. This account does not aim at a definitive account of Kuczyński’s thinking but rather at my interpretation of what I consider to be the most promising and defensible version of his ideas. This is an account of my impressions as I remember them filtered through personal experiences over the past three decades. Other interpretations are possible and perhaps even necessary for a more complete account.
The second part attempts to articulate what I consider to be the lasting relevance of those ideas. I attempt to say something about the meaning of “this moment in history,” unfolding in my place and in my times. I hope to point toward the lasting relevance of Kuczyński’s thinking by relying on those ideas to say something insightful about the ecological, social, and political events occurring as I write this essay, events that are shaped by a historical pandemic as my country erupts into massive political demonstrations seeking social and racial justice in my country.