January 1st 2014. Sounds of the Wienerwald, forests, moonlight, romanticism, Blue Danube Waltz, Radetzky Marsch, Strauss: for us, there is significance in each of them, we do feel their meaning in our soul. Each New Year they are reminding us that Life is Nice. Enjoying the traditional New Year’s Concert of the Philharmonic of Vienna… broadcasted in more than 90 countries: millions of humans around the World are getting a feeling of what means Europe. This Concert makes you proud of being a Central European, being home in this Natural and Cultural Landscape. It is a nice way to start something fresh… in the old Austro-Hungarian tradition.
What is Central Europe? A combination of geographical areas, cultures, past and future together…. Central Europe is a feeling. You can recognize it in the architecture of the buildings in the old-centers of the cities, you can feel it in the aspirations of the cultural and scientific elites, and you can find it in the archives documenting a thousand years of existence. The deep roots of our presence here, our ancestors creating a culture able to survive in the harsh disasters of the 20 century… now fresh and renewed and ready to thrive, open to the World but also being contained in itself. By the way, Austro-Hungarian geographers once have calculated the location where the geographical center of the European continent is situated, and this point is in the Upper Tisza/ Tisa Basin in the Carpathians, in Máramaros/ Maramureș/ Марамуреш now in Ukraine, close to the town of then Máramarossziget (Austro-Hungarian Empire), now Sighetu Marmației (Romania).
“Thinking the past” and looking into the Future, you can ask Yourself… what will be here? We have seen what the Communism can produce, also what the Capitalism is able to put in place… both have failed. There is clearly time for a more environmentally-friendly approach, to create the basis for sustainability of the human happiness. Connecting with our cultural roots of the Central European excellence and aspirations, we can imagine a Human Future in this Landscape. From the Alps to the Carpathians, in the Danubian Basin we do need a new blueprint for Environmental Sustainability of our Society, an economic base for our human needs and aspirations. But, at the same time, we do need the Cultural, Artistic and Scientific environment in which the Human Life is able to have a meaning. Can this Central European Landscape become a new and sustainable Paradise? Can we create a globally relevant model for environmental sustainability, social justice, cultural life, scientific innovation and artistic expression at the level of the 21st Century? We will see.
© dr. Peter Lengyel
PS. The pictures from Vienna were created in different working sessions and policy events of the environmental structures dealing with the Central European realities.
PS2. In the same day’s evening you can see the New Year’s Performance from the Hungarian Opera House of Budapest. Here we have an institution able to promote the musical education of this Nation, not focusing only on old-style opera with some modern redesign of the performances, but including classical music… and postmodern poetry. It’s a pleasure to hear and see the 160 years old philharmonic, playing Beethoven in the marvelous neo-Renaissance Opera House building… More than that, in this evening at the Opera House, dr. József Hámori, neurobiologist/ brain researcher and member of the Hungarian Academy of Science, had a speech on the interrelation of science and music; he mentioned the transsylvanian János Bolyai as the most important Hungarian scientist of the 19th century, dealing with mathematics and playing Paganini on the violin… and he also mentioned Einstein daily exercising 2-3 hour on the violin. Dr. Hámori was talking about the beauty of the truth, searched in different ways by artists and scientists… but he said: in our brains there is a combination of science and culture, both of them being sources of pleasure. What Zoltán Kodály has stated… there is no human being without music. The Opera House of Budapest was opened in 1884 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austro-Hungary. You can feel today the style and life of The Opera House, the presence of high quality arts & culture in this region. These aspects are not GDP-dependent, they are not only a result of money… but of a living European Culture.