Celebrations of the centenary of the rebirth of Poland induce in-depth reflection on what allowed us to survive the most difficult moments of our history, preserving our own identity and spiritual independence despite the various attempts by the invaders and later occupants who were aiming to eradicate them. That something was our culture. This was clearly expressed by John Paul II during his first pilgrimage to Poland in a semi-rhetorical question which he posed in Gniezno: “What is culture? (…) Culture is the expression of a human being. It is a confirmation of humanity. Man creates it – and man creates himself through it. He create himself with the inner effort of the spirit: thoughts, wills, hearts. And at the same time, man creates culture in communion with other people. Culture is an expression of interpersonal communication, co-thinking and cooperation of people. It is born in the service of the common good – and it becomes the basic good of human communities.
Culture is first and foremost a common good of every nation. Polish culture is a good on which the spiritual life of the Poles rests. It distinguishes us as a nation. It has determined who we are through the whole course of history, more so than material power, more than political borders. It is known that the Polish nation has gone through a difficult time when it lost its independence, a condition which lasted over a hundred years – and yet Poland remained itself all the time. It remained spiritually independent because it had its culture. “
The organizers of the conference “Culture and Identity” intend to subject to analysis both these interpenetrating and mutually inspiring realities shaping the thoughts and acts of the Polish society, in their historical perspective over the last 100 years, and from today’s point of view, along with a look into the future both on the national and European level.
This reflection on our culture and identity, as well as the Polishness that it moulds, is also an inspiration to start a debate on the cultural subjectivity of the Polish society and its contemporary forms, as well as on the essence and contemporary shape of the dimension of the common good that they jointly co-create.