Chapter

Europe and Southern Thought

Franco Cassano

in Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233649
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241750 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823233649.003.0008
Europe and Southern Thought

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It is not by chance that philosophy was born on the sea, when the word “being” came into existence, floating between being and nothingness. This chapter explores the centrality of the Mediterranean as it relates to Europe, and argues that Greece is polytheism and tragedy. Europe becomes a world power when its gravitational center shifts from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean; when the sea turns to its advantage the relationship with the land, accepting no boundaries and becoming ocean. The breach and eclipse of the Mediterranean coincide with the wane of moderation, and the rise of sea-based fundamentalism in complete opposition to land-based fundamentalism. The South anchors our desire to leave, and when the wrenching away, made inevitable by the sea, occurs, it charges it with nostalgia, with the pain of separation. Southern thought is tied to the idea that, for too long, the south has been thought by others, especially, with the full advent of modernity, more so by the North, by its artificial light, by its rational and disciplined life.

Keywords: sea; philosophy; Europe; Southern thought; South; Mediterranean; Greece; polytheism; tragedy; moderation

Chapter.  4220 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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