Arquivo para a ‘Politics’ Categoria

Exercises for political reflection

03 Oct

When we enter Manichaeism we only perceive opposing forces without clearly discerning where evil and ethics lie, every philosophical exercise about evil is seen from a moral perspective.

However, what is moral has become confused, precisely because power has become confused with violence, and Hannah Arendt’s reflection on this is quite enlightening: “Power and violence are opposites; where one absolutely dominates, the other is absent (ARENDT, Between the past and the future: Eight exercises for political reflection, 1961).

The philosopher’s argument is simple, difficult to understand in a polarized world, but I would say it is the first of her reflections on politics when power is exercised legitimately, violence is absent. This means that in a healthy political system, power must be based on consent and voluntary cooperation, rather than resorting to violence to impose the will of one group over others, as there is no consent by others.

Much of political reasoning today is to exercise violence against opposites, this is its own denial, Arendt argued that freedom and political action are synonymous, since politics has no meaning enclosed in itself, the famous bubbles, being free is a necessary condition for political exercise, the exercise of citizenship, any limitation becomes violence.

Freedom exists as a plural condition of man, in religious terms it is free will, in social terms it is the possibility of acting freely as a citizen and having protection for this, if this condition is removed there is no other definition to the system other than the authoritarianism.

Just as in the arts: music, dance and theater, political action is valued as a “virtue”, all serious theories since Plato aimed at this participation in the “polis”, even Machiavelli’s amoral concept of virtú, performance requires a “audience” and a space for the spectacle to take place, in Arendt’s view, the Greek polis was “a kind of amphitheater where freedom could appear (Arendt, 2001, p. 201).

Listening to the contradictory, allowing it to express itself is a necessary condition for politics, the model of excluding opponents is nothing more than a euphemism for dictators.

Arendt does not fail to analyze the violence advocated by Marx, and returns to Aristotle’s zoon politikon, poorly read by hasty readers: “… which may be difficult to perceive, but what Marx, who knew Aristotle very well, must have been conscious” (ARENDT, 2001).

And he continues: “Aristotle’s double definition of man as a zoon lógon ékhon, a being who reaches his maximum possibility in the faculty of speech and in life in a polis, was intended to distinguish the Greeks from the barbarians, and the free man from the slave. The distinction was that the Greeks” (Arendt, 2001, p.50), living in a polis […] conducted their actions through discourse, through persuasion, and not through violence and through mute coercion.

For philosophy it would have been a contradiction in terms to “realize Philosophy” or transform the world in accordance with Philosophy without it being preceded by an interpretation, thus Heidegger warned that Marx’s statement “philosophers have interpreted the world, now it is up to transform it” is contradictory, because you must think about what transformation you want.

ARENDT, Hannah. Between the Past and the Future Trans. Mauro W. Barbosa de Almeida. 5th ed. Brazilian edition, São Paulo: Ed. Perspectiva, 2001.  Em english (pdf)



War attrition and peace in Nagorno-Karabakh

02 Oct

As the Russian/Ukrainian war enters a phase of attrition, a border region has a sign of peace, even if it means a loss of territory.

The struggle for dominance over the Armenian-majority region of Nagorno-Karabakh goes back centuries, however the president of the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Samvel Shaharamanyan declared that it would cease to exist from the 1st. January 2023.

In the 18th century, when the region was under pressure from Persia, Russian Tsarina Catherine II issued letters of protection to them, but the conflict was never fully resolved.

The signed decree dissolved all state institutions that will be vacated by the beginning of 2024, and more than 100,000 Armenians have already left the country, which already has the presence of military personnel from Azerbaijan, with a Muslim majority and supported by Turkey, Armenia is Christian and supported by Russia.

The region has geopolitical importance because since Russia’s war against Ukraine, Azerbaijan has supplied millions of barrels of oil to the European Union through the Caspian Sea along the Mediterranean coast, and recently Russia announced that it will no longer supply it.

The Armenian genocide of 1915-1916 during the Otman Empire led many Armenians to flee to this region of Nagorno-Karabakh, since then they have been called Azeris, during the Russian revolution the region continued in conflict with Azerbaijan, although both were Soviet republics, the anti-Armenians in the city of Shusha killed 30 thousand Armenians.

With the end of the Soviet Union, the Armenians once again established themselves as a nation, but the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remained, there were several periods of fighting in the region, now with the session of the territory this autonomous republic ceases to exist.

Despite the fears of separatist Armenians, this new situation is a great sign of peace.

Russia and Ukraine can be inspired by this model or something similar, the world wants peace.



Narrative and ethical coherence

27 Sep

Polarization has led to ethical relativism and ethical relativism leads to social instability, there is no coherence between what is said and what is done, everything is done to justify this or that view.

Ethical coherence must accompany all of our lives or it is not ethics, just a convenient behavior, we need to cultivate it in social, professional, religious and family terms, it is not just in one area because the behavior becomes a habit.

The nudity at a university volleyball game (sporting event at a university), the discussion about abortion, the logic of ideological political punishment and the emblematic speeches in the country’s official bodies are not a mere coincidence, they are not autocratic attempts, they are the lack of results of a long social process where ethics does not predominate.

An ethics professor at a university, after discussing a subject in class, asked students during the break to write down at least one unethical act in the canteen: feet on the wall, papers on the floor, jumping in line, etc., when all students returned from break they had something to tell.

It is also not about exaggeration or the absence of punishment, but the fair measure, what in law is called disproportionate punishment, but the absence of punishment is also dangerous.

The problem is that Discipline and Punish is a process that can lead to the logic of a madhouse, Foucault in his famous book shows that justice in his time stopped applying deadly torture and started seeking the “correction” of criminals, but the practices Educational measures are rare and today even worse, it has become unilateral, that is, the punishment depends on the condition and situation of the defendant.

It is what Byung Chul Han called psychopolitics, a kind of return to torture through propaganda and a distorted view of true social problems, it is about fighting the “enemy”, and the law only applies in this case.

The narratives confuse society, create religious holes and animosities, are not conducive to any healthy social process, create more division and injustice.



The good and wars of Darius

26 Sep

The separation between secular and religious human historie´s is not always possible without an adulteration of both by those who do it in a particular way.

This process also includes the question of good and evil, it is common thought that those who are in this or that religious confession will be “saved”, or even, who have somehow accepted God in their lives, this is just a part of the truth .

The biblical reading says: “not everyone who says ‘Lord Lord!!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 7:21) and so the understanding of what it actually means to do good pleasing to the heavens is not even remotely the simple formal or nominal religious commitment requires the will.

The will is also not like a belief that spreads today, the daily reaffirmation of the desire for a certain thing, called the law of attraction or “the mystery”, nor is it also the will to power as Nietzsche thought, for the philosopher everything in the world it is Will to Power because all forces seek their own expansion.

Will is, in a spiritual sense, that which is in line with the power that we are and that we must develop, one would say a vocation, but in everyday acts that require the ability to discern between one’s own will, often impetuous, and that which is a good thing.

We can better distinguish between evil, the absence of good, and good, which we developed last week as the inadequacy of good: illicit enrichment, being superior to others, judging by our own non-universal criteria, in short, an infinite number of issues can be an evil. not apparent.

A universal story cited in the Bible is that of Darius in the Persian Empire, not being religious, he appointed the prophet Daniel to one of his provinces (called satrapies), determined that the Hebrew people be repatriated and authorized the reconstruction of the temple, as per narrates the book of Ezra.

Without being religious, he recognizes the Hebrew people, so Darius has a privileged place in biblical and religious history. Another curious event is the war of the Medes and Lydians, after an indecisive battle, on May 25, 585 BC, both armies end the fight by a sign in the sky, which was actually a lunar eclipse (a similar one will occur on October 14).

This date was confirmed by scientific calculations, being one of the first recorded annular eclipses.

Thus, one can understand historical and divine designs even without belief, as King Darius did, and do what is fair and good for people and humanity.

In times of threat of war, finding this asset can prevent major disasters.



A cold and dangerous European winter

25 Sep

We are entering spring in the southern hemisphere and autumn in the northern hemisphere, in Europe the concern about fuel stocks for the winter due to the Russian embargo is growing, there is a danger of rationing and a rush to use coal, in Poland for example there is already queues to buy stocks.

But this is not the only aspect, the reduction in the supply of diesel by Russia will affect the entire world market and the price of fossil fuels could skyrocket, according to Abicom (Brazilian Fuel Association) the defense in Brazil is 7% in relation to the international market and 12% in the case of diesel, and may increase.

Another crisis is that of food, because Ukraine has maintained a large part of its production, which helps the international market, but there is a conflict over the flow through Poland where the country’s producers have protection and the port of Gdansk is famous, since in Black Sea military clash in Crimea grows.

The geopolitical crisis is the most serious problem, if Ukraine loses part of its territory, Baltic countries such as Estonia and Latvia which border Russia and Belarus, and Lithuania which borders Belarus feel threatened (map), and the question is who will be the next target.

The news talks about NATO’s help, but these small countries, due to their fragility, have supported Ukraine militarily and materially, there are even several reports of military enlistment in the war in Ukraine.

The United States announced long-range missiles (ATACMS type) and winter is always a strategy during war due to difficulties in logistics and troop mobility, now also due to supplies and heating energy.

Ukraine proposed a peace plan that was rejected by Russia, Zelensky went to the assembly that was taking place and had bilateral talks, including with Brazil, which certainly irritated Russia, but beyond the principles of peace and mutual aid there is no indication of a Brazilian position in the confrontation.

What can be expected for winter, if there is no peace, it is dangerous not only for the countries in conflict, but for all of Europe due to its proximity and everyone due to economic issues, fuels are just one aspect.



Administer the common good and peace

22 Sep

I thought about keeping silent and just writing PEACE, PEACE, PEACE today, but that would be silent.

Managing the common good is making peace prosper, disregarding it is allowing a large space for hatred, intolerance, violence and on a larger scale: war.

The 21st of September was established by the UN as an international day of Peace, the secretary general António Guterres cited in a video the effect of conflicts that expel a record number of people from their homes, and did not fail to also talk about these factors people, other factors such as: fatal fires, floods and high temperatures, combined with poverty, inequalities and injustices in a reality of distrust, division and prejudice.

In Italy, a group with numerous social initiatives launched a campaign “Italy united for peace”, the Community of Sant’Egidio stands out for a dispassionate and bilateral vision on the problems of wars and peace, it has the authority to talk about peace.

On the 10th to 12th of September in Berlin, Germany, they had already promoted a religious meeting that they called “The boldness of peace”, and there was no shortage of reflections on social inequalities, intolerance and injustices present in various areas across the planet.

We need to manage what Nature, the Planet and human development itself have given us to allow for a more fraternal, more just and more humane world.

For those who believe, all this is a divine gift, but it is necessary to manage it well as we will be charged in some way for the consequences of our actions, as the biblical parable says of the employees who were entrusted with talents through the owner of a vineyard.

The contract workers arrived, but as he needed more he went to the square and also hired those who were unemployed, and asked why they were there without work, they replied: “because no one hired us” (Mt 20,7) and then they were also hired.

At the end of the afternoon he paid the same salary, 1 silver coin to everyone, and some who were there from the beginning didn’t think it was very fair, but the boss remembers that the agreement was a silver coin so everyone was receiving the agreement.

So the meaning of the common good is that everyone has the right to a decent wage, but correct administration and honesty and zeal on the part of those who pay are necessary, it is fair for everyone to receive a decent wage.

But peace also requires a heart open to the just and dignified rights of the excluded other.




A voice for peace

18 Sep

There were few writers and journalists who did not become involved in the mid-20th century in the ideological and nationalist appeals that Europe was making amid the weakening of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the growth of militaristic sentiments that led to war, Karl Kraus, a playwright and writer Austrian (they were born in 1874 in a village in Bohemia (today the Czech Republic), then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Unlike the journalism of his time that he criticized, those that judged seers like Raphael Schermann who was in evidence in Vienna and who criticized him, Karl Kraus’ criticism was directed at the political-ideological engagement of the journalists of his time, which he criticized since the vulgar language that they used even the moral decadence of their time that they mirrored.

Famous and known today for his book “Aforismos” (Arquipélago Editorial, 2010), which he defined as “Aphorism never coincides with the truth; it’s either a half truth or a truth and a half”, he had several works published recently in Portuguese, there were the releases in Portuguese of the works “The last days of humanity” by the Portuguese publisher Relógio d´água and more recently of texts from his newspaper “ Die Fackel” (The Torch or The Archote, as the Portuguese prefer) which were written during the First World War, which was one of the most prominent opponents.

There was an incomplete edition of The Last Days of Humanity, edited by Antígona in 2003, by its Portuguese translator Antônio Souza Ribeiro, recalls the young man who arrived in Vienna and had already written “Literature in Demolition” in 1897 and “A Crown for Zion” in 1898, as “In fact, what will be the distinctive mark of Kraus’s position in the Viennese literary field, defined by Edward Timms as a “combative isolation” is clearly outlined here” (pg. 96).

While the “media” of his time engage in ideological discourses of his time, his translator writes “… on the contrary, Kraus is laying, in a pioneering way, the foundations of what could today be called a critique of the media, in which constitutes one of the most strikingly topical dimensions of his work” (pg. 97).

Although lonely, Karl Kraus did not close himself off: “The reality is that, throughout his life, while facing irreducible hatred within the Austrian and German literary field, Kraus cultivated a very wide circle of relationships, which intersects with relevant intellectual and artistic circles and with several prominent names from the first decades of the century…” (pg. 97).

With the outbreak of war in August 1914, only one issue of the Magazine “Die Fakel” would appear in December 1914 with the 20-page text “In this great era”.

After publishing a new short text in February 1915, the magazine “…republished itself, in October 1915, with an extensive number of 168 pages, to establish itself as a space of violent rejection of the war policy in all its aspects” (p. 101).

In addition to his importance for the history of journalism, Karl Kraus brings great reflection to the present day.

RIBEIRO, Antônio Sousa. (2003) Os últimos dias da humanidade (The last days of humanity – reading manual), Portugal, Porto: Ed. Teatro Nacional de São João (Manual de Leitura Últimos Dias final.pdf (




Stoics, Epicureans and Cynics

14 Sep

Seneca was a lawyer and a great writer, but he was questioned a lot and is still Nero’s tutor today, it is good to remember that legend or fact Nero condemned him to suicide for treason, and the philosopher was consistent with his theory against anger and did so patiently.

His phrase is also famous: “If I decided to go through one of the current republics one by one, I would not find any capable of tolerating the wise man or one that the wise man could tolerate”, he was thus aware of his time and perhaps this is the reason why he is returning “the fashion”.

He was different from the Epicureans because he defended the public involvement of philosophers, after all this was the first argument in Plato’s time to found his academy, but Seneca even stated in “The Retreat”, that in certain circumstances it would be better to withdraw from public life, but this never meant an omission, and he explains it in “The Withdrawal” this way:

“We float, being tossed from side to side; desired things, we abandon; what was put aside, we resume. Thus, we alternate in a permanent flow of voluptuousness and regret. We are entirely conditioned by the opinions of others.”

In times of polarization, not always rational, it is also a reason for him to come back to the fore.

In addition to the Epicurean “purists” and the “retired” Stoics like Seneca, there are the Cynics, while the former valued “natural” aspects, the behavior of the Cynic philosophers pointed to a philosophical distinction between natural aspects (physis) and human customs. (nomos), a problem that permeated all the philosophical thought of Ancient Greece, reaching, in a certain way, also to the nominalists and realists of the Middle Ages.

I remember the critique of cynical reason, the work of Peter Sloterdijk, to say that the problem is current and it is no coincidence that these currents resurface, although updated by social and political problems, they point to a civilizational crisis.

The society that tries to eliminate pain, suffering, that worships “nature” is also reminiscent of the Stoics, those that try to destroy human culture and customs are reminiscent of the cynics, it must be said here that it does not mean the common sense of saying the which is not true.

Antisthenes, from Athens, and Diogenes, from Sinope, were the first cynics, they lived despising the customs and “sages” of their time, Sloterdijk says that today “is not a time suitable for thought” and in a way he is right, Cynicism comes from the Greek word kynikos, which means dogs because of the way they lived abandoned on the streets and often begging for alms.

In these thinkers there is a background of reason why they should be studied, they knew the crisis that the civilization of their time was going through, they were looking for a happy life within a troubled society and away from the false problems of their contemporaries, but Seneca and others did not omit themselves in public life, which is why they taught to value suffering and understand why.




The cold war is heating up

11 Sep

It seems like a paradox, but it is not, as the fact is that Europe and the entire northern hemisphere are heading towards autumn and then winter and in the middle of the cold the limits of ideological polarization seem to go beyond, new weapons, narratives of victories on battlefields, etc.

Not even the tragedy in Morocco (photo), despite the condolences, seems to awaken a greater feeling of solidarity among the people, sub-Saharan Africa itself is heating up with coups and new military dictatorships.

The expansion of the Brics economic bloc also strengthens this polarization, despite the G20 meeting, a more diverse bloc, the possible creation of a new currency and new geopolitics point to a conflict that has already resulted in coups and authoritarian regimes, it does not mean that this diversification of currencies and new economic and political forces should not exist, but they should favor the diplomatic field and the establishment of peace.

On the front of the most declared battle, Russia announces an imposing weapon, not by chance called Satan II, capable of transporting several missiles at the same time without bothering with demonic names, on the front of the war a general called Armageddon, Sergey Surovikin, was sent. , who worked in Syria and against demonstrations in Russia, is now at the front.

On the side of Ukraine, whose counteroffensive is slower than expected, new weapons with weakened uranium have been received from the USA, while it trains pilots of its allies’ new fighters, a more aggressive change of tactics should take place before winter.

There is a weakened peace front, the president of Turkey tried to reach a new agreement to release the grain leaving Ukraine through the Black Sea, but apparently without success and a large grain producer in Ukraine died with his family when a missile hit his house in Odessa, Olesky Vadatursky.

Propaganda of deeds in war are also growing on the Web, peace seems distant and the spirits and voices of balance and common sense seem suffocated, there is always hope and peace.



Language, truth and error

07 Sep

The most common is to understand truth as the logical tautology that derives from the conception of scientific empiricism and mathematical syllogism,

Modern philosophy has developed several conceptions of truth, currently seeking the adequacy of truth to ideological systems that came from Hegelianism and a conception of History, on these mistakes is the elaboration of Hans-Georg Gadamer, which in turn comes from the conception of truth as Heidegger’s Being.

From syllogism and logicism come idealist concepts of judgment and positivist law.

Truth is for Descartes: “Never accept anything as true that one does not know evidently as such” (Descartes, Discourse on Method), is thus the opposite of falsehood, very close to formal truth.

The utilitarian pragmatism of Stuart Mill is the opposite extreme of this (is ilogic), and is close to the conception of Hegel and Nietzsche, it is the relativist truth that dominates many current discourses.

Nietsche also remakes the Hegelian concept of historical truth for the concept of existence, although the positive concept seems simple to be refuted, the difficulty is to establish what is true and real, which in reality would be the same thing, but what is real? Often this adjustment is made ideologically, thus the narratives arise.

It is because of this difficulty that the true conjugate with morality arises, it makes sense in the context of moral realism. For example, “Oppression and exploitation are malevolent” is a moral truth within a humanist morality, and “Unholiness is sinful” is a moral truth within a religious morality, and this conjugation is resolved in relation to Being and language, and one can withdraw the veil, the concealment through a-letheia, the unveiling.

The Western conception of truth, so difficult to have a single definition, can be combined in the Western case with three roots, the Greek “aletheia” (a- no, occult lethe), which comes from what comes from the definition of what being is: “language is the house of Being” (Heidegger), Veritas, the Latin concept conjugated between logic/language (true and false) and Emunah (the ethical-moral concept) truth/fidelity and its negation infidelity, Augustine of Hippo: “ in the interior of every being dwells the truth”.