Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.
Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.
“I am quite sure that the European crisis has its roots in a mistaken rationalism”--Edmund Husserl, University of Prague, 1935)
Modern Western Civilization presents us with a Janus-like face: On one side Renaissance Humanism which begins in Italy in the 14th century with Petrarch, on the other side Enlightenment Rationalism which begins in France in the 17th century with Descartes.
On the European side of the Atlantic one hardly ever hears mentioned the contributions of American academics to the fierce debate on multiculturalism going on in Europe. Given that America is a symphony of cultures, or a nation of nations, it seems obvious to me that the American contribution to such a debate would prove at the very least valuable, if not essential.
It was Thomas Jefferson who first introduced the metaphor of “the wall of separation between Church and State.” That metaphor eventually was widely accepted almost as an icon of a strict uncompromising separation, almost a secular dogma, championing any secular polity wherein religious influences are systematically eliminated from public life. Freedom of religion, or from religion, continues to be respected but it is understood as confined to the private sphere of one’s home, or the churches on Sunday, the synagogues on Saturday, or the mosques on Friday.
Between the years 2005 and 2012 I published three books on the European Union. They are titled A New Europe in Search of its Soul: Essays on the European Union’s Cultural Identity and the Transatlantic Dialogue (Authorhouse, 2005), and Europa: an Idea and a Journey: Essays on the Origins of the EU’s Cultural Identity and its Present Economic-Political Crisis (Ex Libris, 2012), and Europe beyond the Euro (Ovi magazine e-book).
There is a popular myth being promulgated by some misguided professors inside academia, usually late-comers to academia, which needs to be explored and duly debunked and it is this: when academia engages in theoretical issues and neglects the commercialization of applied research it becomes the proverbial irrelevant “ivory tower” isolated from the everyday workaday world.
A brand new Europe was created after World War II: the European Union. A union based on purely neutral, that is to say, non-ideological, economic, scientific, educational foundations. This leads to a crucial question: are those foundations reliable and solid enough by themselves, or is there something sorely missing? Is the absence of spiritual foundations a sign that a more perfect union transcending nationalism and economic-political considerations will forever elude the European Union?