Is “Modern Heritage” an Oxymoron in Europe? *** Oximoronnak tekinthető-e a „modern örökség” fogalma Európában?


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Civilisation has always been about striking a balance between cultural identity and capacity for creativity, tradition and innovation, legacy and destiny. We live in the reality between the two, the “transit shed” where newness morphs into familiarity, or oblivion. The test of time is short and lacking in objectivity; how can we know whether something is worth keeping – worthy of being cherished as a totem of what we stand for, not just what we are capable of? History is the record of what has happened, but heritage is the value we place upon it. History is the story of facts; heritage is commentary on their meaning. Even the most intrepid of us has an innate need to glimpse over our shoulder for reassurance about the journey; who we are is shaped by where we have come from. Modern history, as the last chapter off the press, is a working draft and we therefore struggle to see heritage in the making. Is that why we in Europe in recent generations have not experienced any collective sense of identity – can we not express who we are because we do not yet appreciate from where we have just come?

Keywords: tradition, heritage, values, modern, civil society, authenticity, history, fiction, European, materiality, ornament, skills