Dear NSK Citizen,

With this letter we are contacting a wider body of NSK citizens, as we would like to address as many NSK citizens as possible. We are asking for your help in order to construct a majority view upon the position on refugees in relation to the state as it is taken in the Apology for Modernity text below. We would like you to read through the text and respond back to the email address with one of the two answers. Your responses will give the NSK State in Time an opportunity to begin to speak as an entity for the first time in its history.

Apology for Modernity

It is cruel to refuse shelter to refugees. But it is much more cruel to make people refugees. The refugees fleeing to Europe are put in an impossible situation of seeking help with the perpetrators of their suffering and misery. We, the liberal Western world, have destroyed their life world. The governments of our states in space have done it. We as their citizens are all complicit in the crimes our elected and unelected leaders have committed or assisted in the regions from which the refugees flee. We as citizens have done nothing effective to prevent or stop those crimes from happening. By this omission, we have not only condoned the destruction of the lives of others but utterly corroded our own moral and political world as well. In the process, we have become stupid and ugly. How are we supposed to help the refugees when we, reduced to powerlessness, cannot even help ourselves?

NSK, as the state in time, understands that the state is the actuality of the ethical idea. The state is the basic condition for individuals’ moral and political life, for their freedom. In today’s world, a human being is nothing without the state. But the Western liberal governments have violated the borders and destroyed the states from Afghanistan to Libya. The people from those countries were forced to flee our bombs and the violence of our terrorist proxy armies. When we destroyed their states, we reduced them to nothing. For as an old humanist adage goes, si nisi cives nisi homo. Having annihilated these people as citizens, we are degrading them as humans even when we give them shelter. Much more often, however, the refugees have to submit themselves to insults after they have suffered injury.

For the state in time, transgression of the bounds of the ethical idea is as serious as the violation of the boundaries for the state in space. It is imperative for NSK as the state in time that we take a categorical stance toward these developments. Since we cannot expect our Western leaders to act ethically, we take the burden of moral responsibility and guilt on ourselves and sincerely apologize to the refugees, as well as to those who were unable to or chose not to flee, for all the crimes and suffering we have inflicted on them.

For the state in time, taking an ethical stance means opening a political perspective. We need to figure out politically what is to be done. We must begin to work hard on ceasing to be stupid and ugly, on redeeming our mind and soul. We need to address the causes of evil instead of getting lost in fighting culture wars among ourselves over the effects of the crime. We need to alleviate the humanitarian crisis–that is self-evident. But it is of no lesser urgency that we articulate and bring about a long-term political solution. We need to free ourselves from the ultimately criminal powers that rule us and reestablish democracy in our home countries, and commit ourselves with all due humility to help restore political life in the countries from which the refugees have fled. We need to stop the senseless business of destruction and reaffirm the majesty of the state both in time and space.

Please respond back with one of the two answers:

yes (I agree with this statement)

no (I don’t agree with this statement)

The results of this inquiry along with the text Apology for Modernity will be presented as part of the installation in the NSK State Pavilion – 57th Venice Biennial and published on the website

Your answers will be kept strictly confidential.

Please respond with email to as soon as possible. As only citizens are allowed to vote please Include your NSK passport number and name so that NSK Information Center will be able to identify you.

Irwin, April 2017