America in Europe, Europe in America

A Shared Disease

What the Europeans call America—that is, Canada and the United States—was fostered by what we usually refer to as Europe.  If men and women had not left the Old World, there would not be any New World as we know it.  Hence, any investigation into the relationship between Europe and America must begin with an investigation into the nature of Europe itself.  Only then can we ponder the extent to which the child has been faithful—or unfaithful—to the mother or speculate about the countereffect of the creation on its creator.

I could argue that Europe is nothing but a word, an easy way to refer to a vague and rather fluctuant geographical area—the westernmost part of the Asian continent—in which, over the course of many centuries, the lives of a rather imposing number of men have been more closely intertwined than in other parts of the world, an area where the intensity of interactions has been particularly high, but an area which has never been able to achieve a real, lasting entity.

There is no material proof for the existence of an easily recognizable being called Europe: no definite borders, no common language, no structural body of similar political behavior, no economic unity, no uniform pecuniary or dietary habits, clothing, styles, manners, and so forth.  From an empirical point of view, Europe must be recognized as something...

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