America americas, 1984: The impossible tolerance?
Meeting '84 looks to America. The new world has always repre-sented the myth of the promised land. This yearning for a promised land which brought Europeans to the Americas. From the adventure of Christopher Columbus to the present day, the western sho-re of the ocean has become a gi-gantic stage on which men of the old continent have contended with adversities in order to build a new world, a new civilization. It was the myth of the promised land which spurred the Pilgrim Fa-thers to reach the coast of what is today Massachusetts and to at-tempt to create their ideal of a per-fect society. It was the ardent desire to spread the truth among unknown peoples which spurred the Church to evangelize South America. Again, it was the dream of a promised land which guided the pioneers west. It was the myth of well-being and happiness which spurred many Europeans to emigrate across the ocean. And is it not true to say that America still continues to represent the idea of a land where everything is bigger, where everything happens first, where man is constantly striving to establish new goals and demolish frontiers? ‘‘America Americas’‘ has something of all this: economic power and dependence, technological efficiency and fantastic resources, growth of democracy and construction of ghettos, melting-pot, myths and contradictions. You could say that everything has been done ‘‘in a big way’‘. Meeting '84 looks at all this with fondness. Between August 25th and September 1st, the Rimini meeting will not be producing the usual foregone sociology, but will be attempting an encounter with what America and the Americas mean to Europe and mankind as a whole. It will be an encounter with history and pre-colombian civilizations, with the artistic expressions of the past and present (from Latin-American baroque to action painting), with the different types of North-American music (jazz, gospel, etc.), with all the best the two Americas have produced in the worlds of culture and show business. 1984: the impossible tolerance? As a "promised land’‘, America has been rather a disappointment which brings us round to asking: Does a promised land really and truly exist? Are human beings condemned to impossible desires? These questions do not only concern the possibility of tolerance, but also of ideals, happines, peace, friendship and hope. The Meeting represents an occasion to make the ideal of the promised land possibile and real.