IT’S crazy out there, no doubt about it. Hard to know how to orient yourself, in what sometimes feels like a rattling-apart of many established structures.

In this moment, I think there are psychological benefits in pursuing Scottish indy politics. It allows you to grab on to some of the biggest topics – economy, technology, energy, welfare, the utility of force – and at least connect them to some real democratic forces.

Indy contains the ambition that citizens can turn to each other and affect their times, rather than just be subjected to them. The link between a sense of autonomy and feelings of well-being are long established in social science. So we give ourselves a gift if we clear some time to think through even the gnarliest issues about Scottish power and control.

In the aftermath of the recent UK General Election, one topic can’t be suppressed: whether we should still pursue an “indyref2”, contingent upon the final Brexit settlement achieved by the UK Government in the next few years.

And, more precisely, we should ask if that referendum should be framed as a choice between a harmful, limiting Brexit, and a Scotland aiming to eventually become an EU member state.

Now, your eyelid may already be flickering with tensions stored up all the way from 2014. You’d hope that our increased literacy about the situation would allow us to park some obvious falsehoods. If we headed for entry, no, we wouldn’t have to join the euro. Nor would the EU place us at the “back of the queue”. Nor would there be disruption in terms of harmonising with EU laws and institutions.

That’s the one thing to be said for Brexit: it makes massive constitutional change seem thinkable and practical.

The deeper question is whether we really understand the intent and vision of the entity we would be bidding to join. From my own library, I re-read Alyn Smith MEP’s EU referendum “Wee Bleu Book”, and Chris Bickerton’s The European Union: A Citizen’s Guide, in the last few days. (The first is Remain, the second somewhat Leaver-ish, both are highly recommended).

The central message of Smith’s paper is that the key benefit of a Scotland in the EU – apart from access to a single market, various European subsidies and common standards – is that we can “influence” all those structures and institutions from the inside.

However, the central message of Bickerton’s book is that this insider process makes itself deliberately opaque to the citizens of Europe. As he writes: “The virtue of the EU for national politicians and officials is the freedom it gives them to discuss with one another … They are guided by the need for compromise and the search for consensus, but unencumbered by their domestic politics”.

If indy is rooted in democratic power, we have to stay close to such questions (our military and secret service commitments would demand no less thought). How much trust would, and indeed should, we put in “our leaders and representatives” if they have to embed themselves in the muffled decision-making chambers of the EU?

It strikes me that we have to be bold enough to articulate our EU “reforms” – definitely including more transparency and accountability – even at the heart of our wishes to “remain”.

And even among the biggest possible visions of a reformed EU, there are more or less palatable options for a Scottish citizenry to consider. Take philosopher Jurgen Habermas, Germany’s (and some might say Europe’s) leading intellectual, who is a zealot for European integration.

Habermas sees the gradual ceding of national powers to the EU as part of a giant sweep towards creating a world society, populated by world citizens – which, for him, is the inevitable endpoint of modern times. Europe creates transnational, indeed universal standards, from the willing agreement of the nation states which make up its members. For Habermas, this makes it a mighty force and exemplar for good.

Again, one might imagine idealistic indy-in-EU Scots happy to sign up to such a cause. Except, as it turns out, Scotland is not exactly welcome in Habermas’s scheme.

Back in May 2014, in a presentation at Princeton, the eminent German professor suggested that one way to give the EU greater legitimacy would be a US-Senate-like body – in which each member state would have one representative, with each nation’s “senator” having equal weight.

Jonathan Israel, a noted historian of the European Enlightenment, asked Habermas whether some nations should have two or more senators, given the historic nations that exist within them. Did Habermas notice the irony that a social-democratic Scotland, with all its distinct Enlightenment traditions of law and education, might be more enthusiastic about his project than the British nation-state they’re currently inside? The eminent professor’s reply was, as recorded by the German newspaper TAZ: “That’s because the Scots do not like the English!”

Writing in Open Democracy, Andreas puts this surprising crudity in some context. In the past, Habermas has described both Scottish and the Spanish regions’ national aspirations as “forms of small-state nostalgia”.

We live in a world of “spontaneous proliferation of global networks in all directions”, said Habermas earlier this year, in a discussion with the soon-to-be French President, Emmanuel Macron. “Against what the Brexit slogan suggests, we will not regain control over these forces by retreating into national fortresses. On the contrary, politics must keep pace with the globalisation that it set in motion.” Which means “expanding the spaces for democracy, for political action, and for legal regulation beyond national borders”.

Another big-picture thinker about the shape of Europe, the ex-Greek finance minister and self-described “erratic Marxist” Yanis Varoufakis, is someone you’d imagine had every reason to want to see the EU unravel. The harsh and punitive treatment of Greece at the hands of the Eurocrat bankers has been meticulously charted in Varoufakis’s recent bestseller The Adults In The Room.

Yet he has set up his DIEM25 movement to try to kickstart a European-wide party. Its “European New Deal” proposal, launched in March, makes a case to end the austerity currently pursued by the EU. It pushes for investment that both raises employment levels across the continent, and will help to reduce migration movement within it.

Varoufakis is at pains to say (in an interview with Jacobin magazine) that this doesn’t require “any fundamental change in EU institutions, just redeploying existing institutions in a sensible and progressive way”.

But when it comes to the structure of Europe in general, he thinks “this should be an open-ended debate. I don’t believe in borders. I would like to see a federal structure, which is democratic – fundamentally democratic in a way that the United States is not, in a way that Europe is not.”

“But if a different view prevailed”, he continues, “that we need to go back to loosely associated nation states, as long as our common problems are Europeanised, we’re open to that discussion, too.” At all costs, Varoufakis wants to avoid what he calls a “postmodern 1930s”, where a potential collapse of the European economy drives desperate communities, at whatever scale, to turn on each other.

This is only a small (and admittedly idiosyncratic) sample of the “future of Europe” discourse we would be compelled to engage in if a post-Brexit-deal vote on Scotland’s ultimate options came to pass. I think Yessers need to be prepped to make our case at this level.

It might well be the case that a “soft Brexit” just isn’t possible. The “four freedoms” of movement in the single market – goods, capital, services, and labour – might well be unequivocally asserted by the EU negotiators. This would lead to a Norway option: all the costs and openness of Europe, but with no input into its structures.

Both the Tory Brexiteers and Corbyn’s Lexiteers would be left high and dry at this point. This would be an obvious opening for an SNP, and a wider indy movement, that had held its nerve and, indeed, developed its confidence and ambition around the pro-EU option.

To be very European about it, let me quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” When it comes to indy and Europe, this is beginning to feel like wise advice.