Deutsch Magyar

The next step

Evening discussions of the Hungarian Pax Romana
at the
Kossuth Club

The recent past of Hungarian social history - a process still incomplete - clearly indicates (in the context of the Central European societies) that the establishment and the consolidation of the rule of law is a particularly important fact in the development of the Hungarian society. It involves a large number of tasks, but of course it cannot be regarded as a point of conclusion of a process from which no further steps are necessary or, indeed, possible to take. As the concept of the rule of law became reality, it gave, and still gives a chance to those members of society in creating a better world who had become uncertain concerning their culture and their values. And it gave a chance also to those who believe that contemporary Hungarian society has fallen in a trap of contradictions between aspirations and actual achievements, self-esteem and actual behaviour [?], and who think that these traps are set by society itself through concealed facts, through complacency, through reaching consensus concerning fake or knowingly embellished situations rather than the true ones...

However, when it comes to taking the following steps, we need ideas additional to that of the rule of law. An example is the fact that consensus and cooperation may not only be based on agreement concerning the acceptance of certain conceptions, but also on agreement concerning the implementation of these conceptions; in other words, one should not agree only on voicing these conceptions and tolerating their continuous violation as we do it today [?]. We should leave behind an attitude of 'no consequences' that largely characterises current conditions. It seems that the majority of contemporary Hungarian society fail to feel the need for that.

The evening discussions of the MPR aim to ensure an opportunity (and the MPR shares this view) to hold up the necessary conceptions in a hope of forming an issue of them in Hungarian public life. With its modest means, the MPR wishes to contribute to the unfolding of a society wide process of bargaining on what those necessary conceptions (one could say ethical maxims) are that have the potential of serving the happiness of all of us in the Hungarian society regardless of social status, religion, world view, political affiliation, and plenty of other set features. There should be consensus also concerning the ethical standards based on which we may account for our past. By raising a few key issues that determine our everydays we would form a subject of discussion out of the current situation of Hungarian social dialogue, its strengths, and weaknesses, and the pre-conditions of its success. This approach must not reject the idea of an outlook on societies and their experiences where social dialogue works better than in contemporary Hungary. Through its evening discussions the MPR wishes to contribute to upgrading these needs into an issue of society, and does not believe that its evening discussions themselves would solve if even a tiny bit of our insoluble conflicts.

The MPR hopes that it itself will benefit from these evening discussions as we anticipate that they will contribute to enabling us to phrasing our point in a clearer and more appropriate manner.

Each of the evening discussions (Tuesdays 16.30-19.30) will be introduced by a thematic paper handed round ahead of time. István Síklaki will tell us about the presence and the modality of that presence of the individual subjects in the public life of today's Hungary in published papers likewise handed round prior to the event. The evening discussions begins with diagnoses promoting understanding (rather than those aiming at imposing a view on the audience) that assess the Hungarian presence of the issue as in a case study. Each of the three diagnoses will be followed by discussions (facilitated by Özséb Horányi), which, in turn, are followed by a concise tentative summary (in each case by Péter Scharle) aiming at finding the MPR context for the views voiced, which views will not necessarily square with those of the Pax Panorama. But they will be by all means based on Christian values and will strengthen the approach that the point of the evening discussions is a kind of ethics, the ethics of public creation of conversation issues, and that of discussing the issues known to the public rather than 'handing out justice'.

29 October 2002: Cooperation or competition

One must sooner or later reach concensus on when is it cooperation, i.e. joint effort that serves the purpose of social integration (and the happiness of the members of society), and when competition, i.e. a race. Are these mutually exclusive strategies? In which cases is competition more 'lucrative' than cooperation and the other way round? Can one suppose that only one (today it seems it is competition) is a possible way along which social development may be promoted? Do social development strategies built on cooperation have a realistic chance? Cooperation along with solidarity, and competition along with the analysis of the notions of politics may lead, in a society tuned to competition, to an interpretation of the phenomena related to atomising politics.

Subject raiser: István Schlett

Schlett István: Kooperáció és/vagy kompetíció

Diagnosis: Vilmos Csányi and Tibor Dessewffy

Síklaki István: Egy eset a sajtóból

12 november 2002: The conditions of cooperation

Consensus must be reached sooner or later on what conditions must be met before we can hope that true cooperation will begin among the members or certain parts of society. One should realise currently existing local and partial instances of cooperation. One should realise what triggers, what enables, and what keeps alive cooperation, and what benefits are lost or become accessible depending on the level of cooperation. Is it at all possible to speak about the situationally independent conditions of cooperation, i.e. those that do not work in the function of specific situations, but seem to work in general or at least in many different situations. Can we regard such the hope of saying the truth or the hope that a given contrubution constitutes a relevant addition to the elaboration of the subject, etc. Is there a chance that parties ready for cooperation will find each other in this stratified Hungarian society, and that they are able to discuss the validity of each other's views even if the views themselves are discrepant, and that these efforts can break free from the particular subject?

Subject raiser: Gábor Felkai

Felkai Gábor: Az ésszerű együttműködés formális feltételei és szociális-politikai korlátai

Diagnosis: Béla Buda and János Wildmann

Síklaki István: A kooperáció feltételei

10 December 2002: Self limitation as a chance for cooperation

One must reach agreement sooner or later on the fact that cooperation only has a chance as soon as we commit ourselves to taking the first steps on our own rather than waiting for other people to take them. How is it possible to live in a self-limiting manner so that we should not land on a disadvantageous situation? And when is it the reasonable choice to shoulder even a disadvantage? And how does self-limitation work in a context of principles adopted by the EU such as solidarity or subsidiarity? An important, perhaps the most important 'message' of the EU is commitment to bargaining on interests. This paradigm, however, does not exclude competition as it places the establishment of and compliance with the rules within the scope of the bargaining process. And one of the most characteristic features of Hungarian society (and regarded for centuries as the feature needed for survival) is the autonomous interpretation, and breaking of the rules of the game, and, in the context of successful competition and fair play, an attraction to the former.

Subject raiser: Beáta Farkas

Farkas Beáta: Az önkorlátozásról

Diagnosis: Rudolf Ungváry and István Janáky

Síklaki István: Az önkorlátozás mint a kooperáció esélye


Further information:

Hungarian Pax Romana
Catholic intellectual movement
Address: 1431 Budapest, P.O. Box 136
Phone: +36 (20) 4240028 Facsimile: +36 (20) 4297979
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