The colours of transition
Şerban Anghelescu

Transition as a notion implies the existence of two different, consolidated structures, between which a society, an individual, an object moves and is becoming. Transition is an intermediary period of time meant to disappear once the passage1 ends. It is a fluid bridge between the stage left in hindsight and the desired stage. It represents a fascinating field of study for sociologists and anthropologists because of its richness in ambiguities, paradoxes, tentative to regression, loss of identities, frauds and impostures. Historians have agreed to define transition as the period of time when a certain situation slowly or violently dissolves, while in the meantime a new system is being formed.

Social actors of the past, either voluntarily or non voluntarily engaged in disintegrating old empires or religions, do not have a clear consciousness of their limited existence, while millenialists and socialists have a rational and relatively clear image of the community or society they want to achieve. The latter are inexperienced novelties up to the moment when we exclude imaginary times and the edenical spaces which utopists claim to reconstitute. The passage conform a revealed model or science and law will torture the social reality for making it to coincide with the ideological project. It will invent a linguistic screen that it will present as the only coherent and controlled reality.

In the case of Romania, transition leads to a lively liberal, known, society that is not utopic at all. What is missing is the tyranny of a unique and frozen model. The temporary advantage of a unique structure is that it mobilizes all energies in a single direction, contrary to the competition between alternative models. It is interesting to notice how the notion of transition has been accepted in official language and that this very fact represents an elementary precaution. Political blunders, stagnations, mistakes that our leaders make during the passage will be blamed on transition, which by definition implies risk and being out of line; a no man?s land where everything is permitted. Moral responsibility is perceived differently or completely disappears.

A word also about ritual transition, the only perfect notion because its symbolic process of transformation is codified uniformly and produces in masses adults, deceased in peace, monks, shamans, etc. We will let now personal memory speak, leaving aside any kind of theory

1 Passage is a concept defined and theorized by Arnold Van Gennep, 1909, Les rites de passage (Librairie critique Emile Nourry, Paris) and Victor W.Turner, 1969, The Ritual Process. Structure and Anti-structure ( Aldine Publishing Company).

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