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Where Do You Go, Europe?

There are many theories which have occurred recently and which deal with the idea of what the future of the world will be like and which direction will the mankind follow. Among these theories there could be found both optimistic and pessimistic visions.

Contemporary, we are being witnesses of a huge and very dynamic development of science and technology. It means that our possibilities still grow in a sense. We can overrun long distances quickly, almost immediately we are informed about events in different parts of the world, we can graft organs, genetics and genetic engineering are being developed significantly, there have been achieved significant „improvements“in cloning, new and still more and more efficient computers are being developed and it is only a matter of time that the man will land the nearest planet. In order to make the list of the newest technological and scientific improvements complete there would be great plenty of pages used. However, one question should be stated here: is the man ready for so many changes? Is he mature and conscious enough to use the latest improvements for the benefit and not for damage or even destruction? The question may be stated also in another way: Are there any control devices, either external or internal, that would prevent the man from misusing the great potential he has thanks to the development in science and technology? The problem becomes more complicated since there are no relevant ethical or philosophical answers to some of the questions. And because of this quite a big deal of freedom and responsibility lays on the man. In such circumstances a healthy conscience as an inner control device of acting should have an important role.

Although the significant development of science and technology is present in many parts of the world the fact that roots or assumptions of this development can be found in Europe must not be neglected. The world in its contemporary state is thus influenced in a great measure by the spoils of European spirit. In such context it is also important to notice another fact closely connected with Europe - Christianity. We can say that Europe lies on Christian roots that have very significantly influenced nature of the whole European culture.

Certain problems related with the development of science and technology have been mentioned above. And religion may play an important role in solving the problems. The task of the religion is not only to control man’s behavior where legislative is not efficient any more but also to provide answers about meaning of life and its values. Problematics of the man’s nature and his authenticity is related to the topic as well.

The present times show that man can really achieve a lot and that he can operate with plenty of knowledge. But sometimes it seems that the biggest problem he has is the problem he has with himself, with looking for his own „place“ and with answering one of the essential questions: Who am I and why am I here? The above mentioned questions dealing with human morality are connected with this statement as well. Very commonly we can meet such „feeling of being lost“ exactly in mature European culture (but also in other cultures). Thus it may seem that moral improvement of man tails away when compared with the harsh science development.

Stating the given questions in contemporary times is the more exigent the more we hear opinions about moral failure of European culture, eventually the western culture. The crisis is caused in a great measure not only by modifying the general values to own purpose but also by thrusting „self-created ideals“ as behavior models upon people. Also Christian values as well as Christianity itself are often being attacked. The roots upon which the Europe has been created are being destroyed in a way. Media and their strong influence upon the contemporary man play an important role in such a situation.

The ongoing crisis of the European culture, which has been built upon Christian roots, points at the fact that denying and questioning these roots causes imaginary illusion of happiness, freedom and inward repletion. However, in every crisis something positive could be found because it forces us to self-reflection, to reflection of what we do and what can provide us with real happiness and inward repletion. Europe finds itself at such a crossroad. Either it will deny own roots and follow a brand new direction (but this would negate everything that was typical and characteristic for it) or it will realize the roots and will develop them. The problem interferes every one of us because it is up to us how the future of the Europe will look like.

author: Jozef Palitefka, assistant lecturer (2007-02-13)