The current crisis of Europe from a phenomenological/psychological perspective

James Mensch

pp. 97-110

Eighty years ago, in his Vienna lecture, Husserl wrote: “The European nations are sick; Europe itself, they say, is in critical condition.” Asserting the “obvious difference … between health and sickness … for societies, for peoples, for states,” he turned his questioning to Europe. How do we distinguish between its “healthy growth and decline”? Can we find within Europe a recognizable shape, an identifying characteristic whose loss would be a symptom of illness? Then as now, such questions turn on the objective identity of Europe and the disturbances that rend this. Such disturbances recall the most basic sense of crisis (κρίσις), which is that of a dividing or separating. In what follows, I shall analyze the crisis of Europe in this fundamental sense. The context of my remarks will be its current division. This is the divide between economic and political senses of its identity as a monetary union, I shall begin with a psychological and phenomenological description of the splitting of self-identity and then attempt to apply this to Europe’s current situation

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