I think this is my all time favorite quotation from a European philosopher.
“There lies something unique [in Europe humanity], which all other human groups, too, feel with regard to us, something that, apart from all considerations of expediency, becomes a motivation for them – despite their determination to retain their spiritual autonomy – constantly to Europeanize themselves, whereas we, if we understand ourselves properly, will never, for example, Indianize ourselves.”
– Edmund Husserl
Why do I like this? No, not because I am racist. Because, first of all, Husserl is not a Francis Bacon who thought that non-European people were cannibals by nature. Neither is Husserl a right-wing, conservative, neocon, colonialist with his self-indulgence in his European superiority. Keep your Sartre away. Nor is he a French leftie who indulges in self-flagellation, who affirms his superiority by claiming a monopoly on evil. He is none of these. He does not babble. He is crystal clear. Of course, there are always those non-Europeans who are already Europeanized enough to strictly disagree with his claim. But they only reinforce his claim. Anyways. I love this quotation not because I enjoy the fact the Europeans in general never Indianize himself – if they were to Turkishize themselves I would be terribly sad though (I used the fact that I am Turkish in order to justify this racism – which is not something that only Europeans are privileged to do). Rather, I love this quotation because it has the courage to say what it already is without any reservations, shyness, or, slyness, and, as such, it puts a problem before us with its all gravity. It speaks the truth. You like it or not, Husserl does not in the least care about it. He has greater concerns than some’s petty, multicultural, hypocritical, liberal concerns. So, I love this parrhesiastic moment – to have the courage to say what everybody already knows because by saying this, by revealing what is already being evinced, he also problematizes it. Then you start asking asking yourself, why? Why is this so? Why are we all being Europeanized? Some politically-correct forms of life cannot even bare such an utterance. Why? Because as long as you keep it as a secret, it would “function” like a tyrant ruling a nation challenged by nobody. These people were always there, and will always be there and comprise the majority. But their existence had never impaired and will never impair the truth.
I love this quotation because it speaks the truth without any reservations, without any undeserved pride. Hence, it raises a tremendous challenge: Will we all turn into little Americans (as Europeans are already becoming Americans) not because being American is bad by nature or something of course it is not, but because there must be some alternatives, for a world without alternatives, a world in which we all watch the same youtube videos.. I don’t know, I think it will an unbearable world. But of course, you can disagree and call me that I am a racist. After all, you will be right, whatever you say: this is your beautiful world and it seems it will be always yours.