Arquivo para a ‘Information ethics’ Categoria

Love in Saint Augustine

20 Oct

This was Hannah Arendt’s doctoral thesis with direct influences from Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, initially his supervisor, who later passed the guidance to Karl Jaspers due to his personal involvement with Arendt, so some understanding of phenomenology and existential ontology is needed.

We ended last week with a reflection on politics and religion precisely from the compilation of Posthumous Works by Arendt herself, and what we want to point out is the possibility of a civilization based on the principles of Love, in the sense of charity (theological virtue) and as Augustine saw it.

Far from being an apology for this elevated form of Love, it sees contradictions and will develop the question of love for God, love for one’s neighbor and oneself, and uses phenomenology to deepen this theme, but it is a hasty conclusion to say that phenomenology opposes or even favors these feelings, which in themselves are rather contradictory, for example, love for one’s neighbor and oneself has different nuances for the vast majority of people.

His conclusion is that it is not possible to form a human society based only on charitable love (always remembering that it is a theological virtue and not simple generosity) and the central point is to analyze Augustine only from a philosophical point of view, since Arendt he had no interest in the theological aspects.

Arendt for dividing his dissertation into three parts is due to a desire to do justice to Augustinian thoughts and theories that run in parallel. Thus, each part “will serve to show three conceptual contexts in which the problem of love plays a decisive role” (this quote is taken from an English translation that Hannah Arendt herself works with and differs from Portuguese).

The first part Arendt will analyze “What do I love, when I love my God?” (Confessions X, 7, 11 apud Arendt p. 25), in the second part she discusses the relationship between the creature and the creator, she titled the chapter “Creature and Creator: the remembered past”, and in the third part she discusses social charity.

In the first part, the author discovers that God is the quintessence of his inner self, God is the essence of his existence, and when he finds God in himself, man finds what he lacked: his eternal essence. Here, love for God can relate to self-love, for man can love himself in the right way by loving his own essence.

In the end, the second part will discuss the relationship with others, how to love them as God’s creation: “[…] man loves the world as God’s creation; in the world the creature loves the world as God loves. This is the realization of a self-denial in which everyone, including yourself, simultaneously regains its God-given importance. This achievement is love of neighbor. ”

In the third part of the dissertation, entitled “Social Life”, which Arendt dedicates to what she calls “social caritas”, the relevance of the neighbor, and the love for neighbor gain new justification, will discuss the adamic principle of sin and will say that this is the principle that will link us to Christ, who comes to redeem us from this sin.

Here the contradiction with Augustine appears: “It is because all men share this past that they must love each other:“ the reason why one must love one’s neighbor is because their neighbor is fundamentally their equal and both share the same sinful past ”, so it is not the foundation of Love, but of sin that makes us equal to others nearby. ”

By choice, man must deny the world and found a new society in Christ. “This defense is the foundation of the new city, the city of God. […] This new social life, which is based on Christ, is defined by mutual love (diligire invicem) ”, there is a work by Augustine dedicated to this:“ city of God ”, and the thesis that is only so philosophical it focuses only on the mundane (or human, as you wish) relationship, it does not see man as having a divine origin and made for Love.

For Arendt what makes us brothers and I can love them in caritas, in true love, and this is expressed in Augustine, according to Arendt, reconciles the isolation generated by the commandment to love God with the commandment that says to love your neighbor, ending the dissertation.

According to Kurt Blumenfeld, a friend of Arendt who had great importance in his involvement with Judaism and politics, the answer to the question was Zionism and a return to Palestine, but emigration there was never part of Arendt’s plans. vita socialis your answer about Love, did not understand caritas.

Arendt, Hannah. (1929) On the concept of love in the thought of Saint Augustine: Attempt at a philosophical interpretation(PDF) (Doctoral thesis, Department of Philosophy, University of Heidelberg) (in German). Berlin: Springer. 


The party and the guests

09 Oct

Babette’s party is an allegory to a divine party, and the mysterious cook who humbly works for a long time in a house until she can announce and hold the party, although suspicious guests accept and feel their lives renewed.

What we live in pandemic times is the absence of the party, but the real party to which we have all been invited is that of fraternity for all and a greater balance in the distribution of incomes, in the treatment of different cultures and respect for human dignity. far from being a party.

Who were the guests, primarily those who claim to have these principles and who are not always practiced, that is, they participate more in the parties of wealth, power and their benefits than promote the party that everyone could participate.

The pandemic should be an awareness, deprived of the party, we should think about those who have always been deprived, and not try to promote even in the pandemic our private party where friends participate.

The biblical parable (Mt, 22,1-14) of the wedding feast in which a king calls the guests and they make excuses for not attending, is a good explanation for what happens to those who were invited and who were not and the excluded who are called to the party and they go, we would say one last awareness.

The guests, we would say in biblical terms the elect, were not, so the king sends his servants to go to the squares, at the crossroads of the paths and call as many as they find for the party, but at the party he still notices someone who is not wearing the right clothes (picture is engraved of Jan Luyken).

The biblical allegory is to say that among those who are not invited there are also those who are not worthy to participate in the divine feast


The unexpected and the action

23 Sep

Among many thoughts that impacted me on the almost centenary Edgar Morin, his relationship with the unexpected is the most interesting and wise, he said this relationship “makes us prudent”, and he said this referring to science.

The virus took us by surprise, but the arrogance of many media people did not fail to analyze the pre-pandemic, the pandemic itself and the post-pandemic, there are no mysteries in life for them, but what we see is still very mysterious.

Morin says, “as much as it is known that everything that happened and important in world history or in our life was totally unexpected, it continues to act as if nothing unexpected has happened from now on”, and it is very likely that more things unexpected happen if we know some laws of complexity or chaos theory.

It is true indicates the thinker, “complexity needs some strategy”, we would like to have “segments programmed for sequences where the random does not intervene”, but this is a situation that automatic pilotage is not recommended, says the thinker: “simple thinking solves simple problems without thought ”, is not the case.

The complex thought is “to give each one a memo, a brand, to remember: don’t forget that the new can come and, in any case, it will come”, I found what I wanted because my intuition says this, something new is going to happen .

It is at this starting point that Morin points to “a richer, less mutilating action”, which would be, says “the less a thought is mutilating, the less it will mutilate humans”, but many do not think, ignore the future.

Abnormal and simplifying would be if after an absolutely abnormal year in the history of mankind, everything went back to everyday life or the “triviality” that some mutilating thoughts insist on saying, and the term “new normality” is also mutilating, because the question is whether there will be normality after this year.

The possible action that should be thought of by each one in particular, but by everyone as a society is how to minimize losses, how to reorganize life, how to overcome pain or at least bear it, and help those who cannot bear it.

It will take an abnormal fraternity, one that only a few have ever lived, and those who preach them live for real.

MORIN, Edgar. (2008) Preparar-se para o inesperado (prepare for the unexpected). In: MORIN, Edgar. Introdução ao pensamento complexo. Tradução de Dulce Matos. Lisboa: Instituto Piaget, pp.120-122.



Number of covid grows in Brazil and vaccines

14 Sep

The number of data has returned to grow, if we look at the valley of September 7, national holiday in Brazil, we see the valley of decrease with 10 thousand cases, in this short-term evaluation is better the number of infected, because the number of deaths will only be affected from 7 to 14 days, which in this period also returned to grow.

It was a scandal and commented throughout the country the descent of São Paulo to the coastal beaches, coincidence or not, is a real and scientific data, the number of cases has returned to grow and the number of deaths has returned to close to a thousand daily.

While the vaccine does not come, we will have to live with this reality, the period of a possible lockdown passed the virus is in every country and the only isolation that works is the social to prevent infection among people close, starting precisely from the idea that everyone can be carriers of the virus now and all care is necessary.

Now we are waiting for the vaccine, and the case of a side effect of a woman in London of the Oxford vaccine, which uses the viral vector principle, the effect was a transverse myelitis that causes a neurological problem and high blood pressure, being possible that the cause was an external factor the formula, the woman passes well, there is evaluation of the case by a committee that is independent (see how complex and serious the tests should be) , and the resumption of testing has already been authorised, there are 6 more in testing phase.

It is important to note that the problem was the side effect and not the infection, the vaccine from Oxford and the Laboratory Astrazeneca, which has participation of the laboratory of Brazilian Fiocruz, has no possibility of infection, it does not replicate the virus, so it is considered safe, but side effect exist in any medicines and vaccines and should prescribe cases, such as those we found in the leaflets , of type, children or adults cannot take, etc.

The case was important for all of us to be aware of the seriousness and slowness of the tests, which are necessary.

Other vaccines go up in the “quote”, the Pfizer vaccine. which follows the nucleic acid (RNA) principle, and with good quotation in the medical area, but this is also subject to testing and without the evaluation of “contraindications” should not be rushed its use, therefore, the delay is necessary and this phase cannot be dispensed with.

Socially what we expect, after a period of help (it should go until the end of the year, but that is already there), we must already start thinking about the economic, social and educational consequences, they will be strong and will require the effort of all and one should think not as a weight, but as a social need that certain groups have protection.

This is the case of the elderly, children and socially marginalized groups, if society and public policies do not embrace these people, the social consequences that are already serious, could go to the field of out of control and it would be a tragedy.


Forgiveness, utopias and change

11 Sep

Not only personally, but mainly socially, forgiveness can move history in the opposite direction of hatred, war and oppression, this is no different in many religions, after all the “golden rule”, does not make the other here who would not like it was done to you, it is present in the great contemporary religions and cultures.

There are several texts and speeches about forgiveness that are not connected with reality, for example, those who forgive do not always forget, forgiveness must repair the damage, but it does not mean that this is proportional, often it is not.

Each repeated offense should not be forgiven, let us remember Jesus’ teaching: “seventy times seven” (Mt 18, 21), just to say many times, and if we understand that the error is more common than we imagine (see several posts in this week) one can better understand the prayer given by Jesus himself: “forgive our offenses, just as we forgive those who have offended us”, this is the possible way of Love in many dimensions.

I remember that this passage comes right after the passage that Jesus asks for the unity of the people (they don’t need to be Christians, but be “in his name”), “where there are two or three in my name, there I am in their midst” (Mt 18 , 20), so there are no owners of this “presence”, even it may not be among people who are religious.

Karl Jaspers (1883, 1969), who influenced many of the modern thinkers like Hannah Arendt and Heidegger, in their book Introduction to Philosophical Thinking, asked about the path that we had trodden many years ago:

“We irritate each other. Deep psychology appears as an all-obscure refuge. Scientific superstition leads us to resort to pseudosciences for the search for salvation. And they tell us: when all fictions and ideologies have disappeared, man, until now sick and alienated (in etymological sense), will recover health. And health is happiness, the ultimate end ”(Jaspers, 1965, p. 30).

It is clear that there is true science that is not pseudoscience, and that happiness that has no bull or formula, can and should be desired, but the recovery of emotional health depends on reviewing history and then moving forward.




Where does anger lead and where does forgiveness lead

10 Sep

One can consider the first idea of ​​Western political wrath, from the 8th century BC, Homer’s Iliad the one that raises the first voice about wrath, already in the first sentence: “sing, O muse (Muse) the wrath (mènin) of Achilles”.

It seems that this is the current voice of the West from Zizek to Sloterdijk everyone seems to agree with this, except Edgar Morin and of course some pacifists, but who are embarrassed in the face of such contempt by conservative leaders.

But there are very few chronicles that speak of the success of these leaders, and it seems that the pandemic has helped them, fearing the idea of ​​a strong government that takes care of the weak is stronger than the voice of insurrection and liquidity.

The idea of ​​forgiveness is ironic and revenge and anger seem to be the potential for change, but the feeling of compassion and forgiveness is inherent in human ethics, however confused it may be with the ethics of the state, which often dispense with morals, it is the only hope that the cholera situation can be reversed, of course with regret from the oppressors, but the current discourse is that this is impossible and that people would never change, and with the pandemic!

It is clear that forgiveness without repentance and without reparation is not acceptable, and it is not true that it is enough to confess and show repentance that you are “saved”, there are social effects and punishments that can lead the oppressor to his reparation, even though this may be very less than the damage done, but there is no way to change the route, the course, without forgiveness.

What we need to understand is that offenses when they spring up around a polarization they can rarely favor those who dont have a defense, social, political or ideological, and this favors the strong, fear punishes the weak and never the cruel, accustomed to doing with him a game of risk and sadistic pleasure.

Edgar Morin clarifies that: “Understanding neither excuses nor accuses, asks that we avoid the peremptory condemnation, irremediable as if we ourselves had never known the weakness or made mistakes. If we know how to understand before condemning, we will be on the path of humanizing human relations ”, and it is the other way around at the moment, which favors authoritarian leaders and those who want hate to grow.

To be in solidarity with the Other, who is not our mirror, we have to “become aware of the uncertainty of the future and of its common destiny”, the pandemic can also make us aware that we must take care of the Other.

Forgiveness does not change events, but it can change the feeling towards them, it does not change the course of history, but the destiny of personal and / or collective stories when the problem is faced head on, overcoming anger and resentment.

If we are honest in the mirror, if we are capable of self-criticism, as we posted earlier, as stated by Popper: “Self-criticism is the best criticism”, it is from her that a criticism with positive consequences can be born.




Error, cholera and thymós

09 Sep

Just as scientific error is assumed to be part of scientific research, errors in human and social relationships should not lead to disruption and the return to connection between people or groups will inevitably involve some type of forgiveness.

It is often possible that the error is not assumed, but implied, this is because, we justify the path we take and make considerations about our lack and end up not assuming it, but the return should always be tried once forgiveness sana, and allows the dialogue to move forward.

Peter Sloterdijk wrote about the “timotic” situation of our time, Thymós is at the base of Plato’s theory to designate the “organs” from which the impulses, the excitations, the most inflamed affections are born, it seems something present in our time and so its book Ira e Tempo (Cholera and Time, in Portuguese translation by the publisher Relógio d´Água).

The preferred subject could not be anything other than politics, it is undoubtedly the pole of catalyzing hatreds and grudges, where forgiveness and dialogue seem to be increasingly a distant point that will never be reached, and the reverse of this is …

These impulses cross not only social networks, they pass through political journalism and polarize between parties, people and social groups, what Sloterdijk does in the form of “analysis” is that there is a state of proliferation (attention, it’s not what Byung Chul Han will call it psychopolitics, or the old “mass politics”), we have already drawn attention to Karl Kraus, who in his time between wars, drew attention to the discourse of the press and intellectuals.

In one of his comedies, “Walpurgis’ third night”, he said that “about Hitler nothing comes to my mind”, it is logical that he did not ignore the danger of that speech, but he warned journalists and writers who insisted on just mocking and he said that the media seemed to like the indignant but impotent citizen, so it has the opposite effect of the desired one.
An analytical look at the psychopolitics that Chul Han does is not dispensable, even though we are equipped with little knowledge on this matter, it would verify that the state of high tymotic tension, established by the media to guarantee the success of individuals who are charged with “ thymós ”, leads us to an endless (apparent) civil war.

It is as if all anger finds its “political economy” only in what Sloterdijk calls “rational” cynicism, a kind of “world bank of anger” that catalyzes, not by chance, opposite sides of the current polarization. Just look at politicians of different trends to see how attached they are to this trend, so resentment and legitimation of crimes make popular indignation impotent, claiming appetite and becoming a blank slate for any conversation, even if it comes from one. liberating feeling that should point to the new.

The absence of forgiveness or at least tolerance, makes violence and false radicalism visible and hides impotence.

SLOTERDIJK, P. (2012) Rage and Time – A Psychopolitical Investigation. USA:  Columbia University Press.



Error and better world

08 Sep

Karl Popper was concerned with science, with nature but mainly with ethics and error, and established twelve principles to be observed in his book “In search of a better world” (Popper, 1995), we only comment here some:

The first is to understand that our knowledge is conjectural, that is, “it always goes beyond what an individual manages to master, therefore there is no authority. This is equally valid when it comes to specializations ”, as authors warn about Transdisciplinarity, specialized knowledge can become a new type of obscurantism, say Edgar Morin, Barsarab Nicolescu and Lima de Freitas in the Arrábida Transdisciplinarity Letter.

A second principle that we highlight is that it is ‘impossible to avoid all mistakes or even all mistakes in themselves avoidable”, idealism and perfectionism lead people to disappointment because they do not consider this essential aspect of human nature.

The third principle states that one must try to avoid mistakes, even if creative scientists who follow intuition can and should avoid mistakes, but it is almost inevitable that they will make it.

Even the most confirmed theories, those that may seem perfect hide errors, this should be thought of for those who live in “bubbles”.

This should lead us to what Popper proposes as an “ethical-practical” reform that leads to a way of thinking that it is impossible to avoid all errors, which changes the old notion that it is possible to avoid errors by “scientific criteria”.

The sixth principle is that the “new basic principle is that in order to learn how to avoid mistakes as much as possible, we have to learn precisely from them”.

So it is healthier to look for mistakes, and the attitude of self-criticism and sincerity are consequences of this duty.

So accepting to understand and accept mistakes, even thanking others to warn us about them, Popper recalls that the greatest scientists made mistakes, and always bear in mind that we make mistakes, that is, not neglecting our vigilance, proposing the author.

We have to understand that we need others (and the rest of us) to be able to understand our mistakes, in particular those that have added with different ideas, but in different environments, which means increasing tolerance. Self-criticism is the best criticism, but criticism through others is the most necessary, according to Popper, as useful as self-criticism.

Here comes the crucial end point of Popperian ethics-practice, rational criticism must always be specific, it must indicate specific reasons why certain statements, certain hypotheses appear to be false and certain arguments cannot seem valid, rational criticism provides an approximation to the truth objective, in this sense it is impersonal, and although Popper does not say, it must be above beliefs and ideologies to be the basis of some ethical truth.

POPPER, Karl (1995). In Search of a Better World: Lectures and Essays from Thirty Years. NY: Routeledge.



Hatred, disdain and reflection

07 Sep

It is not by chance that the brain region of structures such as the medial frontal cortex, whose capacity to argue and therefore to dialogue is there, has as its core the putamen, the pre-motor cortex and the insular cortex, whose structures also participate in the perception of disdain and disgust, that is, the activation of hatred is physically in the brain close to those associated with judgment and reasoning, so you can both activate one as the other, there are both options.

Those who want to justify hate are full of arguments, are capable of even deep reasoning to act against the hated, but if the premise is dialogue, the same reasoning can be used to understand, care for and divert the violence of the other, as some martial arts teach, bypassing the “body”.

Hate will not disappear in the hope that external circumstances change, in general it does not happen, it is not a magic, to cure it, it is necessary to recognize diversity, its problems, as Gadamer would have to be aware of preconceptions, that is, of the fundamentals that start a disagreement or a type of credit, to recognize the Other in its bubble and to recognize ours, both as having preconceptions.

If we actually activate the reasoning, thinking part and put the disagreements on this level, we mitigate the hate part a little, but it is essential to ask and a part of our hatred would come down to reflecting in this way: “Why do I hate? What do I intend to achieve with this? What do I gain and lose from my hatred? ”.

I do not know of a situation that has been resolved in this case, in general it has led to a greater conflict, to a greater mutual hatred, if the objective is war we will probably get there, but I believe that for most people it is not, so what remains is to reflect , analyze the origins of such “evil” in its deepest bases.

Hate must be combated with the understanding and mainly that it leads to a new type of action, which implies to recognize in the first place that it exists and it is fostering on two sides and not by only one, in the manifestations of people and in their advertisements, denunciations are recurrent to say the whole truth is on this side and on the other just a lie, it is necessary to explain the consequences and that in fact those who benefit are those whose reason for existing and thinking is really “hatred”.

Wise people of various shades such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa of Calcutta with wisdom and intelligence in the face of enormous and absurd conflicts have been able to show that kindness and generosity, creativity and respect for others can lead to seeking a larger collective good and although a little longer will have more lasting fruits, with less violence and deaths, but because even in serious groups hatred persists, the answer is very simple. Encouraged by leaders and groups that live in political, ideological or religious bubbles, the main resource is the demonization of the adversary, identified with some disgusting aspect of evil: death, corruption, sexual, racial or gender violence, weakening of values ​​or something of the like.

And once united in a group the fear disappears and this reduces the inhibition of those who hate to act in other ways not that of argumentation and exposure of facts, but violence against violence.

The leaders who incite this hatred, say they can no longer control it, but deep down they wanted it, develop this part of the reasoning that we say at the beginning near the part of the brain of the putamen, and released the hatred will be executed by the people who use the other part with less reasoning and more visceral, so the hate “explodes”.

What we should think about in face of unworthy facts, and at this moment there should be none greater than the pandemic, is that the feeling of fear and exhaustion by confinement is exploited not in achieving ways of relaxation and anti-stress, but in releasing it in violent ways, what are the consequences? and who are they favoring?

I think of the hateful ones, and not the loving ones who in fact have love for humanity and the most fragile appreciation. It seems like a path of no return, in the midst of a pandemic and with two tense elections approaching, the United States national and municipal elections in Brazil, I see little or no discussion about the pandemic and about those who die every day, bereaved families and compassion for them, neither on one side nor on the other. Fortunately, mortality levels have decreased, but the long weekend promises crowds, the village of cars to the beach was huge, and the pandemic?



The unit and the included third

04 Sep

Polarization, dualism and binary ontology (being is and non-being is not) are so present in the human relations of the present that it is difficult to think of a third hypothesis, but quantum physics has already described it and more than its effect ghostly (Einstein, Podolski and Rosen called it and this effect was then known as EPR), there is an effect in real life, quantum computers are coming, and it would be good for philosophy to wake up from its rational sleep (which has no liquid) or solid), and awakened to a new reality.

The classic Aristotelian logic justifies the exclusion of a third term and it prevailed until recently it is it that is at the base of fundamentalist, racist and scientist philosophies, which also underlie the principle of the excluded third that separates “good” from “evil” (the manichaeism) according to this logic:

  1. Axiom of Identity: “A is A”
  2. Axiom of Non-Contradiction: “A is not non-A”
  3. Axiom of the Excluded Third: “there is no third term T that is both A and non-A”.

The logic of physics and also of scientism (it is not true science) establishes this, however the contradiction between identity and non-identity is observed by quantum physics, being called the principle of quantum superposition, whose effect was studied within physics called “Tunneling” observing particles that transpose the classically prohibited state.

The logic of the excluded third was first enunciated by the philosopher Stéphane Lupascu (1900-1988), where there is a third term T that is both A and non-A, its axiomatic formalism predicts that it coexists with the dynamics of heterogeneity (to which it belongs living matter and the complex universe), with that of homogeneity (which governs macroscopic physical matter), and thus there are different “levels of reality”, of course all scientism is in check.

This new logic (level Q) does not abolish the Aristotelian logic of “yes” and “no” (level C), since only two terms are not considered, but in addition to these a third (T) (see figure). The first to establish the different levels of reality was Barsarab Nicolescu (1942-), he described a change from one level of reality to another with laws, new logics and concepts specific to each level, and thus established the concept of transdisciplinarity, which also encompasses complexity.

This logic admits three pillars for transdisciplinarity:

  1. Different Levels of Reality
  2. Third Term Logic Included 6.
  3. Complexity

So it must be admitted, for example, that between two people there is a third level of reality in which none of the personal logics are subjected and can and must have sufficient openness to a new reality, from which a new horizon and a new perception emerges. of the truth.

 It is not a matter of relativism where the truth does not exist, but rather a state of rigorous equilibrium, accepting that between the poles of a contradiction, there is a semi-actualization and an equal semi-potentialization for both poles, this is state T.