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Archive for Noiembrie 2007

Andruska’s Ten Commandments for a True Intellectual

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[Note. Of course, no intellectual I know has succeed to comply with all these ten commandments. This is not the worst thing. The worst thing is not to try…]

1. Keep your sense of self-irony alive! [Some intellectuals have the tendency to believe that their truth is “the” truth. This kind of fundamentalism seems to be as bad as religious fundamentalism. Practicing self-irony will help you not to become a fundamentalist]

2. Keep your sense of irony alive! [Be an “agon” (i.e., fighter)! The same irony you should engage against other’s “fundamentalist” attitude. Be the “devil’s advocate”! If you see a religious fundamentalist, shake his / her beloved opinions! If you see an atheist fundamentalist, do the same thing! Try to persuade them to be more relaxed in what regards their own views – the only way to build a better self and a better world]

3. Try to be a moral person! [If the books you read don’t make you morally better, then you read them for nothing. It might be the case that your perspective on morals is different than other people’s perspective. You might be a utilitarian, or a Kantian, or an intuitionist. Or you might be a Christian, or a Buddhist in what concerns moral issues. Be that as it may, try to be moral in your sense, and respect other’s moral sense. You won’t succeed to be a moral person every time. But the important thing is to try]

4. In every conversation, respect the ethics of dialogue! [First, don’t cover your identity! Secondly, take seriously what the other has to say! Thirdly, respect his / her opinions: remember that his truth is not less a “truth” than your own truth! Fourthly, don’t deviate the discussion to other subjects (don’t elude the topic under discussion)!]

5. Respect the freedom of thought! [Remember this: “Freedom is not the freedom of the thought you love, but freedom of the thought you hate – hate the most!” (Larry Flint). This means that even a Nazi has the freedom to say whatever s/he wishes. This also means that everyone has the right to be politically incorrect, if s/he chooses so. This also means that everyone has the freedom to reply to what you have said]

6. Don’t adopt a view only because it is a mainstream one! [Unfortunately, many intellectuals really do this (in politics, as well as in philosophy). Be honest with yourself!]

7. Be an active part of the civil society! [The intellectual has the knowledge and the means to “enlighten” people. Not in the patriarchal sense, of telling them what to do – but in the moral sense, of presenting them alternatives. Even if the mainstream idea is that intellectuals do not have a social duty – I think they have! So come into public space (be it virtual or not) and let the others know what you think! There is a marketplace of ideas, so test your ideas here!]

8. Don’t let the days pass by without doing some non-intellectual stuff! [This is against what I call a “cultural fanatism”. To be culturally fanatic is to consider all other things – except the cultural ones – as being less worthy of your attention. I know some persons that are culturally fanatic. They are monsters. So do whatever you want: take your dog outside, make love, cook something…]

9. Take care of your look! [Be trendy! The worse thing I ever know is a fat intellectual, dressed in some outmoded clothes, with outmoded glasses, thinking that to take care of his / her look would be a thing not worthy of his / her attention]

10. Bring the nature into your house! [Take care of an animal (I recommend you a dog)! Take some plants into your house (I recommend you some cactuses). They will really change your worldview – it will make it better! Sigmund Freud, Konrad Lorenz, Lord Byron and many, so many others did that – and they didn’t regret it!]

Anunțuri

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 30, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Cum NU ar trebui sa fie un intelectual. Un exemplu

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[Aceasta paranteza este adaugata dupa publicarea postului de mai jos. Se pare ca postul a stirnit multe pasiuni si… „indurerari”. Vreau sa subliniez ca ACEST ARTICOL ESTE UN PAMFLET (in cazul in care unii poate nu isi dau seama). Si mai vreau sa subiniez ca modul in care raspund cei vizati de un pamflet spune multe despre ei insisi]

In ultimele doua zile am avut o discutie interesanta si decenta cu doamna europarlamentar PSD Gabriela Cretu. Schimbul de idei poate fi urmarit aici. Cred ca dialogul a fost de folos amindurora: eu am aflat ca PSD-ul are si oameni mai interesanti decit m-as fi asteptat, iar doamna Cretu cred ca a inteles macar unele hibe pe care acest partid le-a avut in campania electorala (cel putin asa cum au fost ele vazute prin ochii unui simplu elector). Cred ca a fost un adevarat dialog, unul din care amindoi am cistigat ceva (dumneaei o idee, eu un reprezentant in PE dispus sa dialogheze direct cu cei pe care-i reprezinta) si deci amindoi am iesit imbogatiti.

Despre altceva vreau insa sa discut aici. In schimbul de idei a intervenit, la un moment dat, un user numit Cathy, care – dupa ce mi-a tinut o scurta prelegere despre cum as fi putut afla mai multe informatii in recent incheiata campanie – scrie urmatoarele cuvinte: “In alta ordine de idei, toata lumea intreaba de tine la Filosofie, la Iasi: tu nu trebuia sa termini doctoratul anul acesta? Ce faci in Ungaria? Nu interpreta gresit: este vorba doar de simpla curiozitate colegiala. Eu, de exemplu, mi-am incheiat socotelile cu doctoratul, si lumea, stiind ca am fost admisi in acelasi timp, ma intreaba de tine… Sa stiu ce sa le spun…:)”

I-am raspuns acestui user ca o etica minima a dialogului (si am adaugat aici: a dialogului “gadamerian”, ca sa fie mai clar la ce tip de dialog ma refer) cere cel putin doua lucruri: 1) un adversar (in sensul cel mai larg al cuvintului, care include adversarul de idei si deopotriva adversarul la o partida de sah) trebuie sa se identifice, in asa fel incit sa stie cel care a initiat dialogul cu cine vorbeste; 2) o discutie nu poate fi productiva decit daca raminem pe subiect. Noi discutam despre campania electorala, deci doctoratul (doctoratele) mele nu cred ca aveau ce cauta aici. Am adaugat ca acesta este un argumentum ad personam. Daca user-ul Cathy (pina la urma am aflat ca este vorba de Catalina Raducu) chiar voia sa vada ce mai fac (desi nu imi aduc aminte sa ne fi cunoscut vreodata personal), nu vad de ce discuta aceste probleme pe site-ul unui parlamentar european. Cred ca putea foarte bine sa ma contacteze pe mail, prin intermediul acestui blog.

Dupa cum se poate citi pe link-ul aratat mai sus, raspunsul meu a fost, zic eu, deopotriva un raspuns respectuos si o rugaminte sa fiu tratat cu acelasi respect. De aceea contra-raspunsul acestei domnisoare / doamne m-a lasat perplex:

Eu am amintit de Gadamer ca sa arat cum trebuie sa existe o etica a dialogului – dumneaei a inteles ca as fi considerat ca nu am ce discuta cu ea, atita timp cit nu l-a citit pe Gadamer (???). Eu am spus ca e normal ca un partener de dialog sa isi dezvaluie identitatea – dumneaei se ratoieste si spune ca ce, “trebuia sa ma recomand lector universitar doctor Catalina Daniela Raducu?” (???). Nu, domnisoara, nu trebuia – era de ajuns sa va scrieti numele complet, din moment ce asa mi l-am scris si eu. In fine, eu am spus ca nu e normal sa discutam chestiuni personale pe site-ul unui europarlamentar – ea spune ca ii raspund urit la urarea ei de bun veit pe site (???).

Nu am mai continuat discutia, pentru ca, e clar, nu are rost. Oricum, ramin cu un gust amar. Inca o data, imi dau seama ca a citi mult si a-ti da doctoratul nu inseamna automat a deveni mai inteligent, si nu implica a-i intelege mai bine pe cei din jur. Mai departe, a fi intelligent nu inseamna neaparat a fi intelept. Intelepciunea presupune in primul rind o atitudine morala (in care este inclusa si o etica a dialogului). Altfel spus, daca pe un om muntele de carti citite nu il schimba fundamental, nu il face mai bun, mai intelept, mai dispus sa il asculte pe altul fara sa se isterizeze, mai capabil de ironie si autoironie, mai destins si cu mai mult umor chiar si in discutiile care nu-i convin – atunci, zic, degeaba a citit acele carti. Precum Gigi Becali, mai bine crestea oi. Ar fi cistigat mai mult.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 28, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Na votare!

with 4 comments

Aseara, in jurul orei 18:30 (ora Romaniei). La Ambasada Romaniei din Budapesta oamenii stau la coada sa voteze. Dupa o numaratoare rapida, par sa fie mai mult de 120 indivizi.

Coada aceasta mi-a amintit de primele alegeri libere din 1990, cind parintii nostri se imbracau frumos si asteptau rabdatori la cozi kilometrice sa voteze cum ii taie capul, pentru prima data in viata lor. Ce s-a ales de sperantele lor? Si ce spera oamenii care asteptau ieri cuminti, in frigul budapestan, pentru a-si exprima votul?

O ultima remarca: in mod ciudat, la acea coada toata lumea vorbea in maghiara…

abasada1.jpg ambasada2.jpg ambasada3.jpg

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 26, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Publicat în Politica în România

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Un articol fain despre vot

with 2 comments

Semnat de Emilian Isaila. Il puteti citi aici

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 25, 2007 at 9:52 am

Publicat în Politica în România

De ce (si cu cine) votez duminica!

with 2 comments

Desi sint mai mult decit dezamagit si scirbit de clasa politica din Romania, desi duminica e chiar ziua mea (Happy Birthday to me!), am hotarit sa merg, totusi, la vot. Din respect pentru cei care au murit in Revolutie pentru ca eu sa gindesc si sa votez liber. Din datorie fata de rolul meu de cetatean (puteti ride, n-aveti decit!). Si din teama ca, daca nu actionez, vor ajunge in Parlamentul European numai paparude, care ma vor reprezenta volens-nolens, si care ma vor face sa imi fie rusine ca sint roman. Datorita acestor motive, am ales sa votez.

Personal am decis deja ca nu pot vota lista unui partid, pentru simplul fapt ca nici un partid, luat ca partid, nu ma reprezinta. Ma consider un om de dreapta, un liberal convins, dar PNL este departe de a-mi satisface dorintele mele in ceea ce priveste doctrina liberala, the welfare state, si asa mai departe. PNL-ul nu ma reprezinta, la fel cum PSD-ul nu il reprezinta pe un bun prieten, socialist pina in maduva oaselor. M-am gindit deci sa renunt pentru aceste alegeri la ideologie si sa studiez constiincios candidatii propusi de fiecare partid in parte. Am hotarit sa votez lista care contine numele cele mai potrivite pentru a ne reprezenta in Parlamentul European. Asa ca m-am inarmat cu rabdare si am intrat pe net.

Ceea ce m-a socat in primul rind a fost indiferenta partidelor fata de promovarea propriilor candidati. Cele mai importante formatiuni politice (PD, PSD, PNL, PLD) si-au postat pe site-urile proprii listele propuse, si atit. Daca vrei sa afli cite ceva despre fiecare candidat in parte – macar un CV, acolo – nu gasesti neam. Probabil ca oamenii au presupus, dintr-o prea mare stima de sine, ca indivizii propusi sint personalitati atit de mari, incit nici nu mai merita prezentate. E treaba lor, dar eu cum sa votez nume care nu-mi spun nimic, sau de care am auzit in treacat, la televizor?

PSD vine cu o lista cuprinzind cele mai multe nume rasunatoare: Titus Corlatean, Adrian Severin, Rovana Plumb, Daciana Sirbu, Mircea Pascu, Gabriela Cretu. In afara de Adrian Severin, a carui activitate politica internationala se intimpla sa o cunosc relativ bine, si pe care sincer imi doresc sa il vad europarlamentar, nu vad de ce as vota celelalte nume. Ce studii are Corlatean? Cu ce atu-uri europene vine Daciana Sirbu? Ce vrea sa faca Gabriela Cretu in Europa? Liniste totala, si de aici nu pot decit sa concluzionez ca le e teama, din acest motiv nu sint prezentati pe larg: probabil daca le-am citi CV-ul am afla cum nu avem nici un motiv sa-i votam…

La PNL cam aceeasi situatie. Capii de lista sint Renate Weber si Daniel Daianu, oameni pe care iarasi ii vreau in Parlamentul European. Sa spunem ca, un om pus serios pe treaba cum sint eu, are dispozitia si timpul necesar sa caute pe net, pentru informatii suplimentare despre acesti doi candidati. Nu stiu insa citi alegatori chiar fac asta. Undeva la mijlocul listei o vad pe Zvetlana Preoteasa, si imi aduc aminte ca are ceva treaba pe la ministerul educatiei. La urma (evident fara sanse, pusi acolo doar ca sa aduca un plus de notorietate listei) ii vad pe Norica Nicolai si Bogdan Olteanu.

PLD-ul iese in fata cu Theodor Stolojan (nimic de zis, il vad mai bine europarlamentar decit politician in Romania), apoi Dumitru Oprea, rectorul Universitatii “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”. Dar asta o stiu eu, pentru ca am absolvit aceasta universitate: stie cineva din Caracal cine e Oprea? Si in plus, de ce sa il votez pe el, daca deja are atributii pe care moral ar fi sa le duca la bun sfirsit, sau macar sa se ocupe de ele pina la terminarea mandatului? Urmeaza Nicolae Vlad Popa (am auzit de el, e parlamentar, dar nu stiu nimic altceva), iar la finele listei, tot numai pentru notorietate, sint listati Cristian boureanu si Raluca Turcan.

PD-ul m-a enervat cel mai mult. Din toata lista, am auzit doar de Sorin Frunzaverde, Roberta Anastase, si Jean Marinescu. Dar ce au ei in CV ca sa poata fi considerati eligibili pentru PE? Nu aflam, de pe site, decit data nasterii si profesia…

Urmeaza partidele mici, care sint mult mai motivate sa isi prezinte candidatii pe larg: studii, profesie, viata de familie, uneori hobby-uri. La UDMR singurul cunoscut e Gyorgy Frunda, insa restul candidatilor sint prezentati pe larg, si daca vreti opinia mea, oamenii aia, in general (desi exista exceptii), par mult mai bine pregatiti pentru posturile pe care candideaza. PC-ul vine cu informatii in plus, in sensul ca primii trei candidati au pagini web personale. Pacat ca Maria Grapini este absolventa de textile, Irinel Popescu medic, iar Mihai Leu sportiv. De ce sint ei importanti pentru Parlamentul European? Nu ni se spune, evident… La PNTCD, candidatii iarasi sint prezentati pe larg, pacat ca au expirat de mult timp: chiar vreti sa ii vedeti in PE pe Vasile Lupu sau Petre Marian Milut? Sau pe ratatul politic Aurelian Pavelescu, traseist convins? Pacat de Gheorghe Ciuhandu, aveam o impresie buna despre el cind a intrat in politica, dar de atunci nu am prea auzit mare lucru despre el.

In fine, ultima lista pe care am studiat-o a fost cea a PIN. Sincer, o surpriza placuta, desi doar Lavinia Sandru reprezinta un nume sonor. Restul sint oameni foarte (surprinzator de) tineri, cu studii interesante sau job-uri faine. Pacat ca n-au sanse, si pacat ca sint uneltele sefului lor de partid, care mi se pare sincer complet idiot.

In rezumat: as dori sa votez o lista care sa-i cuprinda pe Renate Weber, Daniel Daianu, Adrian Severin si Theodor Stolojan. Pe restul ori nu-i cunosc, ori nu sint convins ca au ce cauta in Parlamentul European. Din pacate insa, o asemenea lista e imposibila. Asa ca voi vota lista care ii cuprinde pe macar doi dintre ei – adica lista PNL. Dar ma grabesc sa spun ca asta nu inseamna o sustinere directa pe care o dau PNL-ului. In nici un caz.

Cit despre uninominal… Pentru ca sincer cred in virtutile unei reprezentativitati mai mari a optiunilor populatiei, si in consecinta, pentru ca sincer nu imi place un parlament cu doar doua partide politice, pentru ca nu vreau sa vad un parlament cu personalitati de genul Irina Loghin, ajunsi acolo doar datorita notorietatii lor – voi vota impotriva uninominalului lui Basescovici. Eu unul prefer proiectul Pro Democratia.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 24, 2007 at 2:05 pm

Religion and the Public Space. A Response to George

with 2 comments

It is striking for me to realize that, although they are supposed to be the masters of human reasoning, most philosophers generally do not / cannot understand each other. Probably this is what is happening now to me and George and to our debate concerning the relation between religion and the public sphere.

Although I started this debate in Romanian, I am writing this time in English (a poor English, to be sure), not because of my audience (if there is such a thing), but because I respect George’s “larger audience” 🙂

Let me first explain the context. George considers that he has a say on the recent public debate in Romania regarding the problem whether we should keep religious icons in our public schools, or we should take them out. He thinks that we should take them out – period.

A few days ago I felt like answering George, because it seemed to me that there are some very interesting points with this debate. While recognizing that the questions George is raising (about the segregation potential of keeping Christian Orthodox icons in public schools, for example) are very important, I had a problem with the following excerpt from George’s post. The translation is mine, so probably it only approximates his words:

“I tend to think that the problem of the equilibrium between the majority’s right of taking decisions and individual rights is a tangent one here. I thus refuse to transform a situation that is related to the lack of education and obscurantism in a subject of political philosophy. The neutrality of the public space cannot be negotiated – especially when this space is extremely fragile”.

Now I had three problems with George’s ideas:

1) I do not think that religion is something related with lack of education and obscurantism, as George seems to think. From his assertion, it logically follows that every human being cannot be religious unless he or she lacks education and live in obscurantism. Conversely, there is no intelligent, educated individual who can be at the same time a religious person. So it seemed to me that, in order to refute George’s assertion, it was enough to show that there was at least one individual who was at the same time an educated and a religious person. And I think, in fact, that there are many persons in this situation. Unfortunately, in his response to my critique (that can be read here), all George is doing in order to answer my objection is offering an example of an educated, former religious person, now an atheist – Anthony Flew. But I really don’t see how George’s example is destroying my critique. George still didn’t prove that there is no educated individual who can’t be at the same time a religious person.

2) George says that he doesn’t want to transform this problem, which according to his views is related to ignorance and obscurantism, into a subject of political philosophy. I tried to show, in my critique, that the problem of neutrality of state in what concerns religious practice simple is a topical debate in political philosophy (whether we like it or not, many political philosophers discuss it at length). What is striking for me is that George, in his response to my critique, still thinks that it is not a problem of political philosophy. Well, I really recommend him to read more books in political philosophy (try Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka and others)…

And this is the response to another problem of George. He writes: “I said the scandal about icons shouldn’t be treated as a problem of political philosophy. I stick to my guns. I don’t know what parties Andrei would have in a debate. Secular and religious intellectuals? Should I remind him about the intellectual stars of the day maybe?”. Well, I cannot believe that George (who really knows logic much more than I do) is making a logical fallacy, called “the appeal to authority”. Be that as it may. Anyway, if Sandel, Taylor, Kymlicka, Raz, and Waldron are not the “intellectual starts of the day”, then maybe I AM between those ignorant persons with which George fails to communicate….

3) Concerning the neutrality of the state: George thinks that it must not be negotiated. In my critique, I tried to show that state’s dealing with religious practice (and with the presence of religion in schools) is not that neutral as it seems to be. I tried to show that, far from being an implementation of neutrality, taking religion and its symbols (icons, or Bible reading) out of public schools might well be a sort of discrimination against a social group and against a way of life. For example, if it is OK to teach the Darwinist theory in public schools, it is not clear at all why you cannot also teach the Creationist doctrine, too. Maybe teaching both doctrines is “more neutral” than just throwing religion out of school. This is not my example; in telling you this, I was / am relying on some lawsuits within the American jurisprudence, quoted from Michael Sandel’s Democracy’s Discontent (the quotes from Sandel are in English, so check my post in Romanian Scoatem icoanele din scoli? (Do we take the icons out of schools?), if you are interested).

But take now another example. As we all know, the secular state’s economic activities are build upon Christianity’s religious practice. In other words, we all work from Monday to Friday or Saturday, and we all rest on Sunday. The problem is that there are some religions which claim that their followers should rest or pray in another day – for example, Muslims have to pray a lot on Friday. Now, what we are supposed to do with a Muslim teacher? According to the idea of state’s neutrality, we are supposed to do nothing. This is because the state is considered to be neutral to the religious practice, so it is not interested in this problem. But the state is organizing its economic activity according to Christian religious week, not to Islamic religious week. So state’s neutrality is not… that neutral! What I wanted to say with all these is that neutrality is not something fixed. Sometimes state’s practices are neutral only to the surface. And because the meaning of neutrality is not fixed, it is and it must be negotiated, as long as we think that liberalism and democracy still mean something.

Instead of discussing these problems, George says that it is not the time to talk about them. Because “the public space in Romania is fragile”, he thinks that „before debating subtle issues of negotiated neutrality of the state, we should make sure we still have something as a public space in which issues can be discussed”. Two things I have to say here. First, George seems to make a step backwards and seems to accept that neutrality can be negotiated, after all. That is a progress. But second, he thinks that now is not the time to do this in Romania. George cannot understand that creating a public space is the same thing with negotiating a common accepted neutrality. You cannot just throw away different religions, cultures, and so on, and say that, after throwing away all these, now we have a public space. This is a theoretical, as well as a practical impossibility. The terms of neutrality are negotiated every day – and this is what creates public space. We cannot just create first the public space, and talk about neutrality only afterwards.

(Just a small comment about the public space in Romania: I am not that pessimistic about this problem as George is. I really don’t think that the public space in Romania is a “ruin”, and this debate, its mere possibility and occurrence, shows that the situation is getting better and better. I know that being pessimistic is a good rhetorical figure, which makes you very popular, but I do think that being realistic – or at least neutral? 🙂 – is a better thing to do)

Besides these topics, in his response to my critique George is making some further points. I try to respond now:

1) I accused George as being arrogant (well, I didn’t actually used this word, so this is his personal interpretation), in the sense that he believes that his truth is the only truth. In his answer, he complains that he cannot see “why it’s arrogant to hold some things to be true. E.g. that there is no anthropomorphic God”. And he goes on: “I struggle to communicate with people that have such beliefs and sometimes I fail – that was my point”. Well, the answer to George’s first question is simple, and it can be found in his last remark: nothing is wrong in holding some things to be true. What is wrong is to hold that your truths are “the only ones in town”. I think this is why George sometimes fails to communicate with religious people. In fact, George’s strategy of communication is identical with the religious individual’s strategy of communication: both of them hold some things to be true. But both of them are also emotionally related to their truths, both of them are fundamentalists, and none of them is ready to accept that he could be wrong, or at least ready to bracket for a while his truth. George is accusing religious people of having the same problem he has: the incapacity of being self-ironical. Irony means here accepting that you might be wrong, or at least the capacity of bracketing – or even laughing at – your truths. At least for a while…

George is saying: „Andrei thinks I’m wrong to associate religion on the one hand, and obscurantism and ignorance on the other. Well, I’m not so sure that the association is illegitimate”. Well, I am pretty sure this is not a good way to begin a conversation with a (religious) opponent. Yes, is arrogant. Yes, believing even from the start that your opponent is ignorant only because he holds some specific views is not respecting him. And the conversation cannot be possible.

2) Take another idea: “Religion as form of life and what not? Sure, it’s your time and your money, go play. But don’t think you have the right to put that in public schools on tax money. Not only that it is against the law, but this silent move – with all its hypocritical justifications – can only have [morally] dubious effects”. As I have already explained, I don’t see why you can teach the Darwinist doctrine in school, but you cannot teach the Creationist doctrine. I think teaching both of them is the real neutrality we are looking for. Of course, no child should be compelled to learn the creationist doctrine. Here George has a good point. This is why I think that, where applicable, the state should sustain religious schools (Muslim, Christian and other religious schools), with public funds (at the end of the day, religious parents pay taxes for education, too). In this way, every parent can decide to what kind of school he sends his child. I think this is the real state’s neutrality: not excluding some world views from schools, but incorporating them. And I don’t see why this should necessary mean segregation.

Just a note: I don’t say that this is the best solution; I am only saying that it can be taken into account. So I can exercise self-irony. I hope George can do this, too…

3) George’s final words: “Take a look at the photo embedded in the ‘fara icoane’ page. Fact is, I’m not open to negotiations with these guys. Sorry to make you sad, Andrei, if that shows I’m not a liberal, so be it”. Well yes, this makes me sad. Because I really believe in communication and negotiation. Even with these guys. Otherwise you have war.
One more thing. Maybe you are wondering, together with George: “I don’t know what parties Andrei would have in a debate. Secular and religious intellectuals?” I am telling you that I don’t take sides. I think that George and religious intellectuals are both right, nevertheless at the same time they are both wrong. What do I believe? Take another look at my blog’s motto: I believe I will have another glass of wine… really!

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Scoatem icoanele din scoli? (ro)

with 3 comments

UPDATE (13 Iunie 2008): „Instanţa supremă a decis că prezenţa icoanelor în şcoli este legală, admiţând recursul Ministerului Educaţiei la decizia instanţei inferioare, care a menţinut recomandarea Consiliului Naţional pentru Combaterea Discriminării (CNCD) de scoatere a simbolurilor religioase din unităţile de învăţământ.” (Mediafax. Cititi intreaga stire aici.)

In anul 2007, in Romania, opinia publica s-a divizat in jurul unei probleme principiale: au ce cauta icoanele in scoli, sau nu? Las deoparte modul in care a fost pusa problema, si cum a debutat discutia publica (un profesor obscur de filosofie dorind sa se faca remarcat, a apucat foarte inspirat un ciolan gras). Ma grabesc deci sa trec direct la fondul chestiunii. Si mi se pare ca partea “contra” icoanelor in scoli poate fi bine reprezentata de ideile lui George Tudorie. Citez dintr-un post ce poate fi citit pe blogul lui aici:

“Inclin sa cred ca problema echilibrului intre dreptul majoritatii de a lua decizii si drepturile individuale este laterala aici. Refuz asadar sa transform o situatie care tine de lipsa de educatie si obscurantism intr-o problema de filosofie politica. Neutralitatea spatiului public nu poate fi negociata – mai ales cand acest spatiu este oricum extrem de fragil.”

Trei chestiuni as avea de comentat, cu privire la acest pasaj:

1. Nu cred ca problema religiei poate fi vazuta drept “o situatie care tine de lipsa de educatie si obscurantism”. Cred ca, fie si la nivelul cel mai pur laic vorbind, religia este cel putin o atitudine culturala, un mod de autodefinire al unui grup cultural (nu sint neaparat de acord cu aceasta definitie pur laica, dar mi se pare “workable” in acest context). Si chiar daca nu ar fi asa, faptul ca anumiti indivizi brilianti (departe deci de a putea fi considerati lipsiti de educatie) imbratiseaza o credinta religioasa, distruge din start afirmatia lui George. Religia e o chestiune de autodefinire, un mod de viata (bun sau rau, nu stiu!), dar in nici un caz o chestiune care tine de lipsa de educatie si obscurantism. In orice caz, a crede sincer acest lucru (si sint sigur ca George nu o crede cu adevarat, probabil a fost “luat de val” in timp ce scria…) inseamna a-ti aroga o pozitie intransigenta de singur detinator al adevarului (cultural, pedagogic, stiintific…).

2. Spune George: “Refuz asadar sa transform o situatie care tine de lipsa de educatie si obscurantism intr-o problema de filosofie politica”. Poate el refuza, dar altii nu au refuzat. Si asta pentru simplul motiv ca aceasta problema este o problema de filosofie politica, si una foarte importanta: este problema neutralitatii statului privind diversele conceptii despre “a good life” si despre “public good”, pe care publicul le poate adopta. Explic mai jos de ce.

3. Si mai spune George, referitor la aceasta problema a neutralitatii: “Neutralitatea spatiului public nu poate fi negociata”. Trebuie sa-l anunt pe George ca aceasta neutralitate: a) nu este ceva bine definit, cu limite fixe, si ca atare b) se negociaza in fiecare zi.

Si ca sa imi suport afirmatiile, cum zilele astea citesc din Democray’s Discontent a lui Michael Sandel (Harvard University Press, 1996), iata un citat in ceea ce priveste neutralitatea statului fata de religie:

“Two years later the Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning polygamy, a practice the Mormons regarded a religious duty. In Reynolds vs. United States (1878), a Mormon convicted under the statute complained it denied him the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment. After citing Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance and Jefferson’s ‘wall of separation’ [between state ad church –nota mea], the Court nonetheless upheld the conviction, arguing that the first Amendment protected religious belief but not practice” (p. 58)

In acest caz, statul american a lasat deoparte ideea neutralitatii, si a interzis o practica religioasa, fara nici un temei legal. Intr-adevar, poligamia este interzisa si acum, dar cauzele sint obscure. Daca, pe de o parte, atit barbatul cit si sotiile lui o accepta si daca, pe de alta parte, dreptul la poligamie este acordat prin lege si femeilor, atunci nu vad ce motive strict legale exista pentru a interzice aceasta practica. Statul in acest caz nu a fost (si in continuare nu este) neutru.

De asemenea, exista inca multe alte probleme care se discuta astazi in legatura cu relatia dintre biserica si stat. Indienii Sikh din Canada, de pilda, cer dreptul de a-si purta turbanele (cerute expres de religia lor), in timpul serviciului in cadrul politiei, iar evreii ortodocsi cer dreptul de a-si purta “bascutele” (yarmulke) in timpul serviciului militar. Desi nu sint tocmai un aparator al comunitarienilor, nu vad de ce aceste drepturi pe care eu le consider “weak” (in comparative cu cererile Nativilor Americani privind drepturile de autoguvernare, de pilda) nu ar putea fi acordate Sikhs-ilor si evreilor ortodocsi, la fel cum nu vad de ce poligamia nu ar fi acceptata in cadrul religiei mormone. Adevarata neutralitate a statului nu inseamna a-l obliga pe celalat sa adopte “religia secularismului” – ci a-l lasa in pace sa isi exprime credinta, atita timp cit nu incalca drepturile altora.

Iata si un alt citat, privind problema citirii bibliei in scoli (foarte aproape de ideea pastrarii icoanelor in scoli in Romania):

“In 1963 the Court ruled that Bible reading in the public schools was a religious exercise at odds with the requirement ‘that the Government maintain strict neutrality, neither aiding nor opposing religion’. Justice Potter Stewart dissented, but in the name of neutrality. Permission of religious exercises is necessary, he argued, ‘if the schools are truly to be neutral in the mater of religion. A refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism, or at the least, as government support of the beliefs of those who think that religious exercises should be conducted only in private’” (p. 59)

Si inca:

“The contest for the mantle of neutrality continued in 1985, when the Court struck down a moment-of-silence statute permitting voluntary prayer in Alabama schools. The Court held that since the purpose of the law was to restore prayer to the schools, it violated ‘the established principle that the Government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion’. Chief Justice Warren Burger dissented, arguing that the prohibition ‘manifest not neutrality but hostility toward religion’” (p. 60)

Citatele de mai sus arata cum neutralitatea nu este ceva atit de clar pe cit pare la prima vedere, si cum ea se negociaza. Si mai este o problema, tot pe directia relatiei dintre stat (presupus laic si neutru) si religie. In Occident, unii profesori musulmani cer dreptul sa aiba vinerea libera, intrucit in religia lor vinerea este o zi extrem de importanta pentru rugaciune. Statul insa si-a construit intreaga activitate economica pe saptamina vazuta din punct de vedere crestin, cu duminica libera. In acest sens, este destul de lipsit de bun simt si chiar de baza legala sa vii si sa ceri evreului sa renunte la ideea de simbata libera, iar musulmanului la ideea de a avea ziua de vineri libera, si asta bazindu-ti cererea pe faptul ca statul e laic si este neutru fata de orice religie. Pai nu este neutru deloc, pentru ca favorizeaza crestinismul.

(O problema interesanta, in paranteza: statul american a refuzat acordarea dreptului fiecarei religii de a-si desemna ziua libera din saptamina (Thornton v. Caldor, Inc. (1985)). Motivatia a fost ca, in acest caz, se deschide o slippery slope: nu numai cei bine ancorati in religia lor, ci si altii, care detin convingeri la fel de puternice, dar non-religioase, isi vor cere dreptul de a-si decide singuri ce zi isi iau libera pe saptamina. Michael Sandel e impotriva acestei decizii a Curtii Supreme, si isi bazeaza argumentul pe faptul ca exista o mare diferenta intre libertatea constiintei si libertatea de decizie: “conscience dictates, choice decides”. Altfel spus, exista o diferenta intre omul religios si cel non-religios: primul se vede pe sine in primul rind ca subiect al datoriei, in timp ce ultimul se vede ca subiect al liberei alegeri. Libera alegere care, pentru omul sincer religios, nu exista. Ideea ar fi ca “where freedom of conscience is at stake, the relevant right is to perform a duty, not to make a choice. Religious liberty addressed the problem of encumbered selves, claims by duties they cannot renounce, even in the face of civil obligations that may conflict” – p. 66. Ideea e total impotriva atasamentului meu liberal, dar recunosc ca argumentul e destul de puternic)

Ca sa inchei: cred ca nu e bine sa ne grabim sa punem etichete. E facil sa spui ca problema religiei tine de lipsa de educatie, dar e profound gresit. E facil sa spui ca statul trebuie sa isi pastreze neutralitatea, dar ar trebui sa vedem intii daca si cum este posibil sa faca asta. Nu stiu daca icoanele ar trebui sa fie pastrate in scoli sau nu – ceea ce stiu este ca discutiile publice trebuie sa continue. Lista de intrebari pe care George o propune este una foarte serioasa. Dar tocmai de aceea e bine sa dezbatem posibilele raspunsuri. Daca insa ne grabim, sub impulsul emotivitatii, sa dam raspunsuri asumindu-ne o pozitie de superioritate (asa cum pare sa faca George uneori, poate fara sa o intentioneze cu adevarat), atunci nimic nu poate fi mai departe de atitudinea liberala pe care, spre bucuria mea, inteleg ca si George o sustine…

P.S.: …Sau nu o sustine? M-am intristat foarte mult sa citesc ce scrie George aici, mai ales urmatorul fragment: “Usually, I’m not very vocal about my views – if only because I’m pretty sure truth does not always helps or heals. Truth has a talent for being inopportune when it comes to such matters. It might also be that an appeal to truth here might miss what’s at stake, or what’s relevant”. Nu cred ca e tocmai intelept sa ne consideram noi detinatorii adevarului absolut. Dupa cum nu cred ca e intelept sa inlocuim incrincenarea fundamentalistilor religiosi cu cea a fundamentalistilor secularisti, sau Inchizitia catolica cu Noua Inchizitie Stiintifica. Poate calea lui Descartes, indoiala radicala, e o pozitie mai inteleapta, mai lipsita de incrincenari, mai constienta de propriul context si propria finitudine. Si poate mai ironica, deci mai liberala…

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Noiembrie 11, 2007 at 8:41 am