On March 12, 2017 Professor JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI passed away, at the age of 87 (1930–2017). He was the founder of the journal Dialogue and Universalism and over 42 years its Editor-in-Chief. He was a co-founder and President of the International Society for Universal Dialogue.
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Charles Brown Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emporia State University, USA Chair of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (2016– ) I will forever be grateful for the support given to me by Janusz Kuczyński. After telling him I was interested in researching the history of the development of his philosophy of universalism, he graciously provid-ed the resources and connections to make this possible. After learning of my interest in environmental philosophy, he invited me to attend the “Earth as Human Home” Conference in Warsaw. His encouragement for my work never diminished. He touched the lives of many people through his efforts to promote intercultural dialogue as a means to make the world a better place. We will miss him. The world will miss him. *** Jean Campbell PhD, former officer and board member of the International Society for Uni-versal Dialogue Professor Janusz Kuczyński was a rare scholar who both inspired and concretely directed an internationally coordinated effort to scientifically fathom and promote human potential for its own goodness. A successful future is entirely dependent on this task. This is what he means to me. *** Rev. Mother Marie Pauline Eboh Professor of Philosophy Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Nigeria THE EXIT OF A PHILOSOPHICAL ICON: JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (William Shakespeare) Professor Janusz Kuczyński was a philosopher king, the indefatigable intellectual giant, and a former editor-in-chief of Dialogue and Univer-salism. He deserves a glowing tribute. The University of Warsaw will miss him dearly. The common run of men is to retire and get tired but rare gems are re-tired but not tired. Janusz Kuczyński was one of such rare gems. When I first met him at the Fourth Symposium of the International Society for Universalism, Polish Cultural Institute, London, May 15–20, 1992 he was not in the best of health. In fact during a tea break his friends were consoling him as he lay on the floor. Much later I learnt that his heart was running on a pacemaker. Someone like that would have had thou-sand and one excuses why he should not work hard. But Kuczyński worked very hard. He was an erudite scholar, one of the most prolific writers I have ever met. He left his enviable academic footprints on the sands of time. Age brought out the best in him; he was so academically mature that he could take philosophical criticisms with equanimity. He must have been an ardent believer in the dictum “The best tribute to an author is to criticize his work.” He was an achiever. Supremacist views are a failed option and here lies the merit of Kuczyński’s call for Universalist ethics. He had great respect for the sacred, which I found enigmatic. It earned him my deep respect. He avidly read and quoted papal encyclicals, espe-cially those of his compatriot, St. Pope John Paul II. Each time I attend-ed ISUD conferences either in Warsaw or Cracow, Kuczyński booked me into a convent. The Sisters had great regard for him, referring to him as the professor. He equally invited me as a guest lecturer to the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw and gave me opportunities to guest-edit special issues of Dialogue and Universalism. He was open-minded. Adieu great mind, adieu noble soul till we meet to part no more in a world where there will be no more sickness and therefore no more pacemaker, a world where there will be no more denial of the existence of God because we shall see God face to face, a world where the quest for truth will cease because we shall face TRUTH itself. You have now at-tained your real “ENDISM”—end of philosophy, end of metaphysics, end of history, etc. You have joined the ages and you have no more need to seek knowledge of ultimate causes for God, the efficient cause, is all in all. BEING IS ONE. Pan-en-theism—all things are in God. God has the final say. He is wonderful, great and worthy to be adored. His name is exalted forever. Ad majorem Dei gloriam. *** Józef Leszek Krakowiak Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, the University of Warsaw, Poland Dialogue and Universalism Deputy Editor JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI, A MAN OF DIALOGUE Over his lifetime Janusz: — Headed the History of Contemporary Philosophy Department at the University of Warsaw and presided over the university’s informal Centre for Universalism; — For a decade headed the Philosophical Studies periodical; — In 1989 co-founded the International Society for Universalism, an international universalist movement seated in Boston, then trans-formed into the International Society of Universal Dialogue (ISUD). In July of last year ISUD hosted the 11th ISUD World Congress at-tended by more than 120 foreign delegates from 39 countries on six continents. Janusz did not hear the meeting’s over 140 papers—after initiating and founding ISUD, and heading it for two terms, he re-tired, remaining an Honorary President. — Founded, and since 1973 headed, the Dialectics and Humanism pe-riodical, since 1994 published as Dialogue and Universalism. Three hundred issues of this interdisciplinary English-language journal ap-peared, often in double volume at the time when it was an annual. Human life has meaning when it leaves something behind—the ISUD companion periodical Dialogue and Universalism is quite certainly a valuable Janusz Kuczyński legacy. — Authored 21 books, including three in English. — During the German Occupation he was a soldier of the Home Army. How Janusz worked: Janusz was not only a theoretician, but also a tireless practitioner of dia-logue between cultures and ideologies. Here I want to focus on his activi-ties in Poland, which he pursued simultaneously with his international exploits. Janusz helped promulgate the thoughts of more than a thou-sand eminent theorists. Over forty years, he first held frequent editorial meetings, then, for twenty, hosted fortnightly debating sessions at War-saw University’s informal Centre for Universalism. In this Socratic way Janusz successfully propagated the most valuable thoughts of Poland’s leading personages—including leading politicians, outstanding sociolo-gists and historians clerical luminaries and Christian thinkers of differ-ent hues, philosophers, oriental scholars, biologists and physicians, physicists, technology researchers and ecologists. With all those figures Janusz, a veritable institution, spoke in about three hundred dialogue meetings, with some more than once. Quite often such sessions would be opened by two speakers representing dif-ferent study fields or with widely differing religious or ideological beliefs. The fruit of these sessions is contained in thirty publications, including five in English, by the International Library of Universalism under Venant Cauchy,1 head of the Federation Internationale des Societes de Philosophie. How Janusz understood universalistic involvement: A universalist is someone who visits the graveyards of past ideas and images not only to light candles on the graves of his relatives and people he knew well, but also to dialogue with “deceased” of other provenance and from other eras. Thus, the universalist consciously and practically feels himself a citizen of a “state of dialoguing persons”—persons open to the never-ending quest for, and co-creation of, universal values, to building bridges between different cultures in the quest for their common, uniting essence. This is the not-only-private hope of the uni-versalist. Janusz Kuczyński never ceased in his efforts to reinforce this synergy, to bring to awareness the universalistic traits present in Polish past and present events and philosophical ideologies. Here he employed a dialogi-cal method of interpreting contemporary writings by John Paul II. Janusz Kuczyński sought after common, uniting and universal—but not absolutistic—human values, and was driven by an indomitable desire to “build bridges.” Through the praxis of dialogue he taught how to work together towards integrating sciences,2 cultures and civilisations. And accompanying all this was his mounting ecological awareness, his knowledge that in the globalisation era Earth, humans and life in general could only be salvaged by the collective, above-national efforts of the world’s gardeners3 and guardians. Janusz and I totally agreed with the view expressed by Husserl in The Crisis of European Culture: “... man is a rational being (animal rationale) only insofar as the entire human community he belongs to is a rational community.” It was precisely this collective rationality—not just in small groups, but also large societies, including the human race as such4—that Janusz was most concerned about. And for him concern was what it had been to Jacob: As the body is dead without spirit, so is also faith dead without deed. Janusz’s deeds and their intended and intersubjective meaning was what I was speaking about here. Janusz! By continuing your lifework we will uphold your being-in-the-world, a world whose recent only passive existence failed to please you. *** Michael Mitias Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College, USA Former President of the International Society for Universal Dialogue JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI: THE PHILOSOPHER I KNEW Janusz Kuczyński was a philosopher, a universalist, and a moral activist. He was a philosophical mind par excellence. His knowledge of the histo-ry of philosophy is panoramic and his comprehension of the basic philo-sophical concepts and questions is deep, provocative. But more im-portantly, he was not a student or an advocate of a philosophical tradi-tion or school but an independent philosophical thinker. He never shied from criticizing or commending philosophers regardless of their views of the world and the meaning of human life. His primary allegiance was to the truth the way he understood it. He stood stubbornly on this ground and he never left it until you made him leave it, and the only you could make him leave it was sound argument. It is, I think, reasonable to say that Janusz Kuczyński was the author of philosophical universalism, in the sense that reality is an ordered whole, that it is a dialectical process, that this process is purposeful, and that humanity is its highest emergent. This is the nucleus of the vision of uni-versalism I gleaned from my conversations with him and from the works which were translated into English. This vision is the basis on which I cooperated with him for many years. For him, humanity is intrinsically valuable. On more than one occasion he remarked to me that the recent emergence and gradual development of globalism in the domains of eco-nomic, politics, morals, art, and culture reflect the validity of this vision. He tried to analyze and articulate the basic principles in the spheres of government, education, ethics, economics, and social life from the standpoint of this vision. Unlike many philosophers who thought and wrote in some ivory tower, Janusz Kuczyński never lost sight of the relevance of philosophy to prac-tical life, to the need to translate philosophical insight and understand-ing into principles and modes of action. One of the basic ideas he em-phasized and analyzed in detail was praxis. His preeminent concern, when I met him in the middle of 1980s, was world peace. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, his focus expanded and included the condi-tions under which a decent world order, namely, justice, freedom, peace, and prosperity, can be established. He did not only offer Dialogue and Universalism, then known as Dialectics and Humanism, as a forum for the analysis and development of these and related ideas, he also found-ed, along with a group of enthusiasts, The Society for Universal Dialogue. Janusz Kuczyński was a living torch of the human spirit. This is, in a few sentences, the Janusz Kuczyński I knew. *** John Rensenbrink Professor Emeritus of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College, USA Former President of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (2007–2009) Janusz Kuczyński: I first got to know him on a visit to Warsaw, and to his office, in the early 1990’s. I was thrilled by his open-ness to my ideas and with his philosophical understanding of the enormous importance of ecology to contemporary affairs and to the advancement of dialogue as a prime source for human survival. We’ve been good friends ever since. He has been, and is, a lion of critical thinking and probing insight, a bea-con of hope. I regret the loss of his voice among us but realize as well how much his spirit and his words will sustain and enliven us as we carry on the struggle to save the planet, our species, our families, and our-selves. *** Andrew Targowski Western Michigan University, USA President Emeritus of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (2007–2013) A huge loss, not only to his family but also to us, Professor Janusz Kuczyński’s friends and academic associates. We have lost the greatest contemporary Gardener of the World—a Polish Plato, whose vision of a universal human world based on tolerance and dialogue appears to be the only rational way to bring today’s world out of its chaos and ideological idleness. Janusz pursued this vision tirelessly, passing it on to very many (thou-sands, in fact) people worldwide. The best proof of this are his crea-tions—the Dialogue and Universalism journal and the International Society for Universal Dialogue, whose July 2016 Congress in Warsaw showed what great esteem its founder enjoyed. Professor Kuczyński inspired me to develop a universal theory of truth, and enabled me to publish many articles on the subject in Dialogue and Universalism. For this he has my extreme gratitude. Janusz Kuczyński had a difficult life—the war, the Home Army under-ground, the Stalinist years, then the thaw, the transformation to democ-racy and its corrections—all this called for attention and response. A true philosopher, he was not an onlooker locked in an ivory tower during all those years. He always saw well what was happening, and responded Platonically to the various deviations in social life. I bid my friend farewell in sadness.
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