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Pain - ‘It is a matter of survival of our civilization.’

I have had the privilege to be in a concentration camp. I learned where law ends and hell begins.
– Max Kohnstamm

…the place of Europe in the world, is again highly topical. After the end of the Cold War the world has technically become more and more united. But the political divisions remained, which causes immense tension over-time. From the beginning [the start of the European Union] it was more than just a Coal and Steel Community, more than a common market, more than an economic and monetary union, more than friendship between the participating States: it was a revolution in international relations.

Thucydides describes the relationship between States as a world where the strong do what they want and the weak suffer what they must. Power and domination are the basis of that system, even if there is a balance achieved. But neither the hegemony of a superstate nor a balance of power has ensured a lasting peace.

The big question is: is it possible to replace ‘power’ by ‘right’ as a matter of conduct within the international relationship setup. And how can law, of not becoming a paper illusion, still be backed by power? Should there be a development of other forms of power-concepts between states, power-concepts which serve the law.

That question is more urgent than ever, now that the modern day weapons make wars increasingly dangerous and lethal. … In this world, the massive destruction power is more and more ‘privatized’. The power to destroy, once the monopoly of the state, is now in the hands of anyone who is able to use the Internet.

It is a matter of survival of our civilization. Of creating and managing a strong international legal order. This is not utopian thinking. Europe, for half a century, shows that it can be done.

Another generation than mine, and perhaps other generations, will all have to answer new questions. Peace, security and prosperity are as expensive as fragile. The concern for the survival of it will not let me go. Yes, sure, that has to do with that snowy field in [concentration camp] Amersfoort.
– Max Kohnstamm [1]

‘..have to answer new questions..’

…Human society is an intellectual and spiritual phenomenon. It is the outcome of a purposeful utilization of a universal law determining cosmic becoming … As with every instance of action, the recognition of the laws of nature is put into the service of man’s efforts to improve his conditions.
– Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, page 145

…How to we deal with, and learn from, pain?

That was how we all were, close to each other, if only we would allow ourselves to be so.
– Laurens van der Post, Venture to the interior, New York 1961, p. 222/223 (Consensus Haptonomicus)



[1] Interview In Europe - (translated from Dutch with ‘the help of’ google translate)