Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Ok, poemless, I tried several times to write a non-snarky comment, but it is really, really hard.

The problem is that most of the "usefully objective" notions, be they geographical, economic or cultural all tend to exclude a few grey areas/peoples who I do not wish to exclude. I don't want to put the limit on what Europe can be through what it is now. (Especially culturally.)

[Turkey is a great example of this, it is definitely only partly European in culture and in organisation. But I like to think it can become part of Europe. And when it does, that changes what Europe is too, but I think those changes do not alter the essence of Europe, even if I cannot articulate that essence well.]

So, an attempt to state some of what Europe represents to me and maybe some others too:

It is "first world," a sense of prosperity and organisation.

[I guess the implication here is of a sense of modernity and a sense of a place to have a good life. Sadly, in the end some parts of the world don't have that association in our minds. I think Europe, generally, does. There are some other ideas here that I hesistate to state because I am not sure how universal they are, but I think there is something else to the modernity. Something about the relations between people and institutions? Corruption is limited in some ways? Religion is present for many people, but not allowed to dominate the public sphere? Already it gets contentious perhaps, but there is something there.]

It is a collection of nations/peoples. The states of the USA have lesser conscious history before the USA existed, the myth of China is of a nation reaching back into the mists of time. But Europe is clearly a coming together of proud, independent peoples of long and powerful lineage.

[To me, this has requirements in terms of tolerance and consensus. Europe necessarily has to deal with diversity in a different way to the US or China. The other issue is that in essence it seems to me to be a collection of small nations. This forces? implies? relationships with other nations. The US or China have large sections who dream of isolation, who would happily claim no need to leave the "mother country" for any single thing. Europe is not like that. At the big level it is business and trade, but at the individual level it is perhaps just tourism, but still, if you want some variety in your holidays and you live in Europe, you will have to leave your nation eventually...]

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 09:20:08 AM EST

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