By Denis Guénoun
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Extra resources for About Europe : philosophical hypotheses
If the only world is the world subjugated to the empire, and if the only image is of the world, then the image is imperial, or post-imperial, in its very possibility. The imperial sway of the world is putting on shows of the world that it subjugates. The world must be imaged, imagined, presented as a spectacle, as soon as one is no longer dealing with this we involved in politics, and that the assembly—as coming-to-be-common—constitutes. Politics is always the affair or coming-here of a we. 71 By contrast the world is what presents itself—there—as a spectacle.
Europe’s identity forms vis-à-vis Islam, facing it. 77 First, it amounts to saying that Europe is not a patch of land confronting various exteriorities (Asia, America, and so on), of which Islam is simply one. What I propose is to think that Europe comes about in the way it does (which is to say, as this figure we call Europe; this conformation of the return to self of the universal) in the confrontation with a determined and specific otherness, namely, Islam’s. Second, this posits that Europe’s relation with Islam is not a secondary exteriority affecting a Europe that is already formed, but rather calls on 34 Europe Crossways Europe’s memory (a repressed memory or anamnesis) of its own identity constitution as a return—positing, then, that this repression is a kind of primary repressed memory, as it were.
And therefore, even if it was “born,” even in Greece (which is debatable), the universal was not—at all—born in this Europe. 19 No doubt, what we call Europe somehow relates to what the Greeks designated in this way, and this is obvious, as in any heritage or etymology. And surely, we have to question this relation: when our “Europe” came to configure itself (and got its name), it was obviously neither indifferent nor fortuitous that this name reappeared; and by way of it a certain “load”—Greek ammunition—was transported all the way to us.