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NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS (A response to Eugene Prescurea) - Mircea Vulcanescu

NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS - A response to Eugene Prescurea By Mircea Vulcanescu In a letter addressed to Paul Sterian on July 28, 1927, Eugene Prescurea was pointing to his friends from Paris, a problem, in the following terms: 1. Lately, a lot was written and mostly talked about a moral crisis. There is not an individual who calls himself an intellectual without pronouncing these words in fashion. We all agree in our statement, that a moral crisis exists. 2. When the time comes to be more specific in what is all about and to define it - there is no agreement 3. This fact makes you wonder if it is or not a moral crisis. Also, he is adding some more questions that were asked, regarding this crisis, which will be included in a thorough review on this topic, and I will transcribe them here for the use of those further interested in a response. 4. Omitting the circumstances of the place and time, is the moral crisis a downgrading of the morality below an average level, as well as if it is preexistent or established...? 5. Maybe is the chaos, the insecurity, of a society being disoriented, leaving one kind of morality and being pushed toward a different one, unknown and misunderstood? 6. Can we make an analogy with the word in medical world or economy, in order to circumscribe the meaning of the word - Crisis from a moral point of view? 7. In that case when the moral crisis means - sinking below a certain average level of morality, we ask the subsequent questions: a. What is the average level? b. Has been lowered in time? Is it higher now? c. What was the level right before this change occurred? d. Is it compared with the ideal form of Christians, taught by Jesus Christ? - In this case, this world has been in a continuous moral crisis. e. In a way, if we admit the existence of a such average level, ideal and absolute with the moral and social crisis being an exceptional and pathological fact, but no more then a difference of nuances or intensity, is the term of crisis false?Were not the glorious times of the

NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS (A response to Eugene Prescurea) - Mircea Vulcanescu

Christian societies moments of moral crisis? So was the Russian mysticism few centuries ago, as well as the one in the western world f. Finally, if we think that is a downgrading, is that a skepticism, a cynicism or an exaggerated optimism? 8. On the other hand, mostly, if we must observe in the crisis a collective disorientation, how is this different from the individual life, for him, our corespondent, to believe that will become totally separated? A. If in the individual crisis we understand the spiritual context where the soul of the individual has to live and he has lost the ability to evaluate, to have control on his actions (good from evil ones) or he might still have the qualities but he is not working in accord with himself or anyone else We must add - the crisis would not exist without the conscience of the individual in relation with his decadency. One cannot say that, the ordinary criminal, or better said the senseless man, goes through a moral crisis, because this is not the case. The same thing cannot be mentioned about the Historical Pithecanthropus. B. The difficulty arises, when it comes to define the social character of the moral crisis: - Is any need for a collective spiritual conscience...? - Are the writings and discussions - on the crisis - today in fashion- and the best proof of such a conscience? - What is the meaning behind, when so many articles in the legal and civil code regarding the humanity, fall in obscurity? Is this an indication of the crisis or a progress? C. It seems that our corespondent realizes the possibilities to connect this individual disorientation with the moral crisis, or social, to be more specific. Later he is asking: - The social environment represented by the legal and political organization does not need physical expression to be obliterated, and the weak people will need lifesavers, to be prepared by the right social environment Should we have in mind just the politico-social life in order to define the moral crisis? How is the life within the entities like groups and individuals in report with these groups state, region or corporations? What about social classification or the personal life of the people considered all together as mankind? This is the proposed agenda with many questions to be answered. Before we try to do any research, here are some preliminary words on the conditions to discuss this program.

NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS (A response to Eugene Prescurea) - Mircea Vulcanescu

First, we have to confess that we are facing a real, grave and difficult problem. For this to be resolved in a satisfactory way, we need the complete understanding of the world and life. Our own thoughts are watching the symptomatic phenomena of our times, or as better said the signs of the times. Any questions we have, do not lead anywhere other than the thoughts that we dismiss as being nave, and not worth to be discussed. As we are earnestly amazed by the above mentioned inquiries, like long known trails, we give here an approximate sketch of an educated response, which in fact is the center of our preoccupations for quite a long time. In general, our corespondent has made good points. The questions are clear and suggest to the reader the appropriate response. We maybe wished, that the style should be more organized, in order to avoid the so many parenthesis. From here, is just to remember that, these lines are part of a letter and were not meant to be published (Our corespondent has even to excuse us for using his arguments.) We cannot avoid the immediate comment on two of the assertions that our corespondent has inserted between his questions; these statements have to be discussed before anything else. His response is related to the question captioned in the paragraph #3, in what it concerns the divergent view of some authors, which makes him wonder if the moral crisis is a real issue. We will see later what a meaning is in the divergence revealed during the process of phenomenological interpretation when we proceed to define the term of crisis. Here is to mention only, our opinion that, contrary of this divergence being a sign of doubt regarding its existence (3), it appears more like a symptom of generality and conformity, which makes this crisis obvious. Therefore, the task of the person, preoccupied to discover the true sense and the essential meaning, becomes much harder and interesting to accomplish. However, our corespondent seems to be close to this point of view (B,2). We will dismiss the second assertion from the list of basic conditions for our process of research, as mentioned in the final statement of the point 8,A. Our corespondent writes - One cannot say that, the ordinary criminal or better said the senseless man goes through a moral crisis; because this is not applicable neither for the Historical Pithecanthropus. The individual moral crisis as mentioned few lines before, is now in question, for, either the conscience is aware of moral impossibility, or the senseless man is in a moral disorientation (per point 8, A). I stated that, we do not agree at all on this point of view. We are surprised that he does not sense this concept, after reading Dostoievsky from whom he quoted, in that letter, where the above questions have originated. Can he still believe that, according to the conditions exposed before, there are people of no value, without a personal spiritual crisis? Here is the consequence of not coming in a close contact with such criminals, as well as a more grave aspect for which we will make a short stop. Our corespondent does not realize that, if is considering the people convicted by the judgement in the name of the social moral standards, those Incapable of the individual spiritual reaction like the Beast, as he compares them, in fact, is to impose a psychological life over a moral life. In the other words, we must consider a single possible type of relations between the spiritual life of the individual and the moral life of the community. This stereotype insertion of the complete immoral individual in the

NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS (A response to Eugene Prescurea) - Mircea Vulcanescu

social environment is maybe characteristic today to the spiritual structure of United States of America. (Where the originality is qualified as immorality and the term shocking means the same thing as impudent, immoral.) First of all, does he not realize that, by reasoning this way, the right to ask the questions, contained in the paragraph 8, is basically revocated (all of them are generated by the hypothesis where - a spiritual crisis of the individual is different from the moral crisis of the community). Does his negative statement in response to the previous dilemma eliminate this hypothesis? Here, could be about the consequence when the judge who, instead of having a human attitude, tries to play the Protestant minister, as our corespondent wrote, on the representative of that partial justice, not succeeding to crucify Christ for official reasons and free Barabas. This is only to prove that the main cause of confusion for him is the misunderstanding of the two concepts The plan, to follow for the next exposition, will be borrowed, to be the program, proposed two times to the Congress for Federation of Christian Student Associations, with the amendments required by these circumstances. The content is: 1. The process to define the general concept of crisis separate from the particular categories with the same name used in medicine, economy, social and moral life, idioms of the day, etc. 2. A search for the social crisis of our times in general, as well as each of the aspects to be isolated from the social life: a. The economic crisis, lack of balance, impoverishment of Europe, etc. b. The cultural crisis, to subvert the values, etc. c. The legal and moral crisis, the transformation of the norms and usage. d. The political crisis, the actual conflict between the authority and the anarchy. 3. The examination into the crisis of the individual life in our times: the aspect of the above mentioned social turmoil reflected in the individual life. a. Disorientation or the crisis of goals assigned to the individual. b. Powerlessness or the crisis of means to reach the goals. 4. An attempt to disengage the causes of context, particular to the crisis and to determine the fundamentals, in a process to capture the physiognomy of the present historical crisis. We begin by separating in a certain order: a. The effects of the Great War. b. Symptoms indicating a structural change of this social world. c. The tendencies of the new spiritual orientation. 4. A purpose to elevate these examinations to a metaphysical distinction by defining the essential meaning of the crisis as follows: a. The definition of the general concept of the crisis in the nature. b. The examination of rational and natural interpretation of the crisis. c. The examination of its own Christian meaning. d. To explain on how to use the Christian interpretation, in a metaphysical mode, to integrate the historical sense of the crisis (as a conclusion).

NOTES ON THE MORAL CRISIS (A response to Eugene Prescurea) - Mircea Vulcanescu

Note: Due to the age of the essay, it is fair to assume that the original bibliography as it was indicated, might not be available to the present time reader. 1952- October 28: In the prison located in Aiud, at the age of 48, he dies of pneumonia because he slept on the concrete in order for a sick comrade to be able to sleep on his body. He translated from Rilke and many times he came back to the verse God, give everybody his own kind of death. Therefore, his last message was Do not try to revenge us. The apostle said: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends- John 15,13.