Every now and then, we all feel the need to slow down and reflect on the values that drive the human endeavour of our time.
This time motivated by Mr. Timmermans’ thoughts in the political aspects of that matter, I also wanted to think about the imminent Brexit from the EU.
Regarding Victor Hugo’s elaboration in 1875, on the values of Egalité, Liberté and Fraternité, I felt compelled to complement and contradict Mr. Timmermans and Monsieur Victor Hugo by saying that I see:
Economical Equality (1D) as a DUTY (in our current in equal world, inequality is the hard fact), Political Liberty (2D) as a RIGHT, the long forgotten or disregarded value of “Cultural Unity” (3D) as an OBLIGATION and Religious Fraternity (4D), that lays beyond the other three, as an OPTION.
Therefore, if we cannot meet our obligation to Unity, then Liberty and Equality become irrelevant, and Fraternity becomes impossible. Because all of us are interconnected, while we travel together and share a common spaceship, the weak must be the concern of the strong and the protection of their rights is a sacred DUTY.
Yet, it seems as though we as a society, have still to learn this VITAL lesson.
Even if technology and infrastructure is getting us closer, we occupy ourselves building: barriers, walls, channels and moats that divide us; and demolishing the few bridges that help to unite us.
In my opinion, the main reason why EU progress has been slow, and today is in danger, is because Europe suffers precisely, from a profound lack of Cultural Unity, regardless of the relative success in achieving some economical, and political unity. The pervasive lack of trust that Mr. Timmermans mentions, is just a symptom of this lack of Cultural Unity. If, as Mr. Timmermans mentions, solidarity means “sharing something” because it makes us stronger collectively, and will also be there tomorrow when we need it, then solidarity is closer to equality or liberty than unity, never mind fraternity.
Since I was one in the past, I loved his football analogy to help understand the reality of immigrants.
I will then try and borrow his idea and recognize Equality rules such as: 2 identical fields and goals, 1 ball; 11, 2 legged hands-off players a side, and 1 referee; Liberty rules such as: 1 single set of football rules; only one Unity rule for each team: one for all and all for one; and no Fraternity rules since Fraternity is OPTIONAL.
Getting back to the EU issue, we have to say that the lacking Unity lays beyond the necessary Equality of individuals and states, and Liberty of individuals and governments; because Unity is not an individual but a Personal issue and therefore is a necessary and Wise Connection between the People of the different EU countries.
Religious Fraternity, as mentioned before, lays beyond Unity, and therefore when existing, only inspires and reinforces existing Unity, Liberty and Equality. On the other hand, isolated pseudo religious fraternity, fundamentalism or fanaticism, reactive to the factual lack of Unity, Liberty and Equality is a serious threat to the whole of society.
If the European Community, and by extension the western world, have been inspired for almost 150 years, by three dimensionally mixed-up values: Egalité, Liberté, and Fraternité, our generation has the historic OBLIGATION not to abandon them, but instead reshuffle and complement them with the still unrecognized Egalité, that the French 3D thinkers simply disregarded in the past.
Until then, the UN, the EU and the USA will just have a fake U in their very acronym.
Frans Timmermans is first vice president of the European commission.