Echoes of the Radetzky March: It Is Urgent to Start the Dialogue

ECHOES OF THE RADETZKY MARCH: It is urgent to start the dialogue
Yannis Dimitrakos

We, Europeans, are the inhabitants of this improbable
Babel that the diversity of language and traditions
continue to enrich and enthusiastically animate.

Emmanuel Macron, The Speech at the Pnyx

While thinking about the end of the multi-ethnic Hapsburg Empire, at least as Joseph Roth has conceived it in his masterpiece novel, The Radetzky March [1] a question emerged: Are we, too, living a similar “moment of dissolution” in Europe today?

Because the questions remain. How is it possible to unite national individualities with different ideals and diverse traditions so that each one of them continues its own singular life and, at the same time, limit their national sovereignty sufficiently in order to enable peaceful and effective international cooperation?[2] How is it possible, as psychoanalysis teaches us, for so many different ways of jouissance to find a common way of co-ordination and co-existence? For those of us who know that we are being jealous of something in the other to the point of hatred and the need to destroy, [3] that the true lack of tolerance is nothing but the lack of tolerance of the jouissance of the Other; for those of us who face “the jouissance of the parlêtre with l’apparole, seeking the possibility of an existence that is not without the pathway of some desire”;[4] for those of us who interpret: What is our duty as psychoanalysts? It is urgent to start the dialogue.

On 20 March 2019, in Stoa tou Bibliou, the Hellenic Society of the NLS posed these questions for which we did not have a predetermined response, but just the desire to start a conversation with other interlocutors coming from different fields that are focused on democracy in Europe, its crisis and its future.

1 Roth, J., The Radetzky March, Granta Books, London, 2003.

2 Krastev, I., After Europe, Papadopoulos Editions, Athens, 2018, p.16 (in Greek).

3 Cf, Lacan, J., The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII, tr. D. Porter, Routledge, London, 1992.

4 Aromi, A. and Esqué, X., “The Ordinary Psychoses and the Others, Under Transference”, Scilicet, NLS, Paris, 2018, p. 41.