Does the project “New Bulgarian University” succeed?
It does. It integrates many people and there is a good concordance among them. The meaning of enormous project such as NBU is the reform of the education, so that it could be on a higher lever, and the state should not be expected to drop something from above, as the changes are thought in the old communistic way. Such a project runs along with a mass of concreteness that can be articulated. It is comprehensible in the professional circle. And such a professional circle does exist in Bulgaria. I mean people who can talk rather concretely about issues. And the point is that these people must be found because they are not always initiative enough to go out in the public sphere. There is a deficit of communication between the public sphere and the real strata where things take place.
What makes students in NBU different?
They are given the opportunity for better mobility within the university. They can quickly move from one program to another, they can combine several programs. They can go abroad, than come back, than go abroad again, make different combinations. It is advantageous for them and, as a result, some of the students really obtain higher intelligence. For the intelligence is ability to understand and use the external sphere.
In the traditional universities there are disciplines that sound inadequate…
There are such things everywhere, perhaps here as well. The point is that the university must be set up with regard of the market. This does not mean that anyone from above would consider something as inadequate and make raid against the lecturers, it is enough if the students would not enroll in a program. We are talking about people over twenty. They are supposed to decide by themselves.
The social anthropologist Haralan Alexandrov talks about enclaves in Bulgarian society, professional and moral communities that sooner or later will bind together.
Exactly said! NBU is such an enclave that he knows perfectly well. In the amount of professionally framed things, said by Haralan Alexandrov, he conforms to the expectations of the public sphere, and prefers to talk about deficits rather than about availabilities; he usually discusses negative issues. He prefers the rebuking standpoint of the gap.
At least for the journalists there is the rule that one cannot make a report about a train that goes at schedule…
So the positive event does not count, does it?
What positive events would you like to report about NBU?
For ten years we have succeeded to build an inner diversified space. Such is the space of every normally developed society. NBU is a small society consisting of 10-12 000 students, 350 professors, 250 people in the administration, 700-800 part time lecturers. All these people move in that small society and the regulations for moving in it are supposed to be transparent and comprehensible. The Bulgarian society is at the moment in a process of diversifying. This diversification advances, and the perception falls behind that process, for it cannot embrace it in a positive manner. In NBU it is more discernible than in the Bulgarian society – diversification of powers, of relations, slow making of functional rules, regulations, coordination. NBU, as the whole Bulgarian society, has problems with coordinating rules and regulations. For there are a lot of regulations, a lot of laws, at that contradictory, and this produces a certain chaos in their interpretation. A clear structure of regulations is very important thing, so that everyone could follow his obligations and the responsibilities could be discernible enough. In Bulgaria we prefer speaking generally, in a moralizing way. But it is difficult to act as a citizen does on the basis of such morals.
What is to be a citizen?
It means, to have values in high degree, to be able to act along with other people consciously; to be able to achieve along with others. A citizen, for example, is the person who, when he must turn to the court, uses this right and does not give up. When he must do something because the community demands it he does not turn his back. “Citizen” means to be connected with other people in regard of distinguished aim.
What is to be a personality?
Easy question! To be a personality means as far as possible to rule your own acts. It means that your acts should be conscious. Personality is one who becomes conscious why acts in a certain way. Because ordinary people do not become conscious enough and there is no reason to be pushed to become conscious. While personality is disposed reflectively, one understands why acts in a certain way. So one can change his behavior, can do something actively, while people who are not personalities, are not supposed to do so.
What is urban man?
The urban man is definitely more mobile than one who is not urban. Mobile means that he is able to act independently within a mastered space that holds out more goals and more opportunities for achieving. I use this phrase positively. Bulgarian ideology, however, feels a little bit ashamed of urban principles, of speaking on a high level. But now the biggest part of the active people is those who have come from smaller towns. They are, let me put it this way, in business. You can hardly ever see man born in Sofia who is in business. So this word “urban” has particular place in our culture.
What are the gaps of our space?
They are too many. But they are gradually supplied: everyone now travels around the world, communicates with more texts, more objects. This fact bit by bit causes change. But the gaps are significant. They are not particularly gaps in the material, for everything material can be supplied, but it gives very slowly an outcome as something ideal. In regard of ideas, of way of behavior, of fineness, of dress code, of manner of talk this accumulation is rather slow. Well, it works. It works by the ways of imitation – anyway, it works. Not necessarily everything will be produced here. Usually first come the forms, than comes the ingredient.
What subjects have been of interest for you lately?
My book “Separate and Together” has been published recently, containing worked up articles, published after the year 2001. I am interested in the situation, in which, at least in respect of the European space, it is equally positive to be on your own, to be personality, and at the same time to be along with other people with whom you have something common to do. These other people might be a small community, as well as big community – a whole nation or all the Europeans.
A certain writer has recently recommended that all the Bulgarians would better get into the European Union with their passports close to heart…
Slogan phrases! To talk about all the Bulgarians is easy. Anyway, getting into the European Union, we will be with the European passport as well as with ours. Greeks are in EU. Greek province is dear and splendid, and it has not been significantly changed by the membership in EU. The one thing is not necessarily contrary to the other, these are just different life levels. The crucial point is that when one speaks publicly, those who speak, in order to be clear, choose one level. Things, however, takes place on more levels.
Taken by Iva Rudnikova, “Dnevnik”