When I listen to the song “Georgia on my mind,” I think of Georgia– not about the American state that Ray Charles and other performers were singing about, but about my beloved Georgia located at the foot of the Caucasus; the Georgia of the proud Queen Tamar, the Georgia of Shota Rustaveli... I simply fell in love with Georgia and its people. And I can’t help this love. There hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t for a second, given thought to my Georgian friends, its landscapes, culture, cuisine and wine.
My emotional attitude stands in stark opposition to scientific objectivism which I should follow. Perhaps this love covers my eyes and mind but isn’t philosophy love? And perhaps owing to this love, I can free myself from the cold judgement of the positivist who examines the reality by means of ‘the eyes and glasses’. I can’t distance myself from the reality of what Georgia is to me. I’m not free from subjectivism and fondness of writing about Georgia.
When I was writing my first article about Georgian identity, which was later presented during a lecture at Tbilisi State University, I was writing it coldly, from the distance of a few thousands kilometers and with the distance characteristic of self-confident, Western intellectualists. I know one Georgian man personally – my great friend George Gamkrelidze, whom I am so much indebted to. In that article, I was wondering whether Georgia was a part of Europe. At that time I tended to say that it was a part of European civilization even though it was still a long way from integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.
However, at that time I didn’t know the real Georgia. Today I can write about Georgia on the basis of my own experience, even though it is still a very humble one. And although in this matter I lost scientific objectivism and distance towards the subject of cognition, Georgia still provokes me to undertake attempts in order to find answers to the question concerning its European identity. Today I know by means of experience of a committed ‘field scientist’, that Georgia is a part of Europe and European cultural heritage. As a humanist I set myself a mission to convince Europeans, especially my fellow countrymen, about the Europeanness of a country that seems remote from the perspective of the center of European civilization. By means of my articles published on Georgia, I would love to convince the Georgians themselves of the roots of their culture in Europe so that they could speak of themselves as ‘we – Europeans’.
When during the meetings at Tbilisi State University and at Gori Teaching University, I asked local students about their self-identification, only a few rather shyly admitted to having a European identity. However, it wasn’t an indication of their dislike of Europe or disappointment with Europe, but rather a lack of self-confidence. The looks on students’ faces showed their embarrassment: can I really consider myself as a European?
Editor’s note: Arkadiusz Modrzejewski, PhD. Studied at University of Gdansk, where he obtained a doctoral degree. Currently he is working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Gdansk and the Department of History and Political Science of the Pomeranian University. His academic focus is political philosophy as well as identity issues.