mercredi, juin 22, 2005

Demos Inside

Have you ever noticed the sudden silence that pervades an office just as you turn off the computer and switch off the printer? The silence that is deafening and relaxing at the same time, like that plunge into the sea head first and as your body slows down after the impact there is that second or two of absence of noise. That same silence that is present in the countryside, the absence of that ubiquitous static that dominates our lives thanks to modern technology.

I would imagine a similar kind of silence were the big project called Europe to suddenly stop working. That barely perceptible but irritating background hum would suddenly vanish with one pop like an exploding bubble. The bureaucratic machinery of the uncontrolled masters would fade away like the white spot on my grandfather's television as it reluctantly vanished into the background. The headaches of summits and horse-trading and British vs Franco-German impasse would disappear as instantly as the disappearance of that static sound once the off-switch is pressed on a non-responsive radio with a faulty antenna.

The next few moments are filled with idyllic heaven. That long drawn sigh of relief that inevitably follows the surprise brought about by the sudden silence� the stretching of arms and the refocusing of the brain which finally manages to hear itself. The awakening of senses that had been numbed by the repetitive buzz (as irritating as that lone mosquito in a summer night of sweat, humidity and no electricity) brings about newfound joy and energy if but for a moment.

Then comes the realisation� that with no buzz, no communication, no vision, no sound, no information� no modern luxury. Unless you are Amish, you begin to recognise that One Great Step For Silence has meant A Few Hundred Steps Back from modernity. The opportunity cost of the silence is daunting. How long before the plug is put back in place? The return to the hum is almost preordained� destined even!

The European project is definitely having its moment of crisis. The moment where the hum is unbearable, where the static is driving us mad, where, due to the background noise we cannot understand exactly what brought us here in the first place. The problem is that if the plug is pulled we will soon notice the absence of all the commodities that are brought about by the hum. "What has Europe ever done for us?" And "The Cost of Non-Europe" will then become a reality again. The pre-ordained destiny of this Europe will return. This time however, before replacing the plug and getting the machinery going again it will be important to define why it is being done.

This time, the framers and drafters of the new Europe that is to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of this crisis must remember to strengthen the existential ratio of this project. They must, above all remember that this machine has a very important part without which the hum becomes a very useless exercise and nuisance. This Europe MK II must work with the latest processor� there must be a People Inside �.

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* for an interesting discussion on the new Europe after the Constitution go here.

2 commentaires:

J a dit…

This is worse than the Empty Chair crisis!

Antoine Cassar a dit…

I like that about the People / Demos Inside!

What do we have in Malta? A democracy or a kleptocracy?