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Culture and the great crisis

20 Oct

After analyzing the aspects of homogenization and cultural colonization, Morin will analyze who the average man is and what culture he consumes, he says:

“The language adapted to these anthropos is audiovisual, a language of four instruments: image, musical sound, word, writing. Language is all the more accessible insofar as it is the polytonic involvement of all languages” (page 45) and, therefore, it is not specific to new media that only enhances them, and it involves more an imaginary than “of the game that overflows the fabric of practical life” (idem).

This is because “the borders that separate the imaginary realms are always fluid, unlike those that separate the realms of the earth” (ibidem), so a man can participate in the legends of another civilization than adapt to the life of this civilization, and so Morin prepares to talk about the great crisis or great civilizing night, which Morin calls “great craking”.

As technical quality improves, it mediates artistic quality, says Morin: “they go up in industrialized culture (writing quality of articles, quality of cinematographic images, quality of radio broadcasts), but the irrigation channels relentlessly follow the main lines of the system (page 50).

Morin separates the cultural currents coming from Hollywood into three main currents: the one that “shows the happy end, the happiness, the success; the countercurrent, the one that goes from The death of a Traveling Salesman to No down payment [AC/DC Rock], shows failure, madness, degradation” (p. 51), but there is a third current that he calls ” black”.

This is “the current in which fundamental questions and contestations ferment, which remains outside the culture industry: it can partly usurp, adapt to itself, make publicly consumable certain aspects of, say, Marx, Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Freud, Breton , Péret, Artaud, but the condemned part, the antiproton of culture, its randium is left out” (idem).

Morin describes this anti-climax at the beginning of chapter 5 “The great ‘cracking”: “long playing records and radio multiply Bach and Alban Berg. Pocketbooks multiply Mlaraux, Camus, Sartes. The reproductions multiplied Piero dela Francesca, Masaccio, Césanne or Picasso” (p. 53), culture seemed to be democratized by the cheap book, the disc, reproduction, as recommended by Walter Benjamin, but the result was vulgarization, because the “culture cultivated” is neither the mainstream nor the specific in mass culture.

The imaginary leaves the rites, parties and dances and goes to radio, television and cinema, there “those ghost spirits, geniuses who permanently pursued archaic man and reincarnated in his parties” (page 62), now they are “rushed away by printed culture”, mass culture breaks “the unity of archaic culture which, in the same place, all participated at the same time as actors and spectators in the party, rhythm, ceremony” (p. 62), spectator and show are physically separate.

This transformation of a “party man” follows what we call audience, audience and spectators: “the immediate and concrete he becomes a mental tele-participation” (p. 63(, this mass media (now confused with the networks, which is something else), while “reestablishing the human relationship that destroys the printed material”, “it is at the same time a human absence, the physical presence of the spectator is, at the same time, a physical passivity.” (page 63 ).

Mass culture maintains and amplifies a “voyeurism”, more broadly: “a mirror and glass system, movie screens, television videos, glass windows in modern apartments, Plexiglas in Pullman cars, airplane shutters, always some something translucent, transparent or reflective separates us from physical reality” (pages 72-73) and all this was prior to the new media, depositing to them only this great “cracking”, is to ignore the construction (or historical deconstruction) of the imaginary , folklore and festivals, which began even before the last century with printed culture, enlightenment and idealism.

Attempts to reactivate “cultivated” culture are not lacking, as we have already discussed, through the same mass media that vulgarize and destroy the substance of human culture, there is no lack of vivid works by Van Gogh that Akira Kurosawa animated in cinema, of large public events with “ animated video-mapping” by Vang Gogh (made at the Atelie des Lumiéres, in Paris, photo), who presented in 2018 the work of Gustav Klimt, also animated.

The cultural crisis is not just its own work, its root is the thought and development of a mass culture of idealism, of an objectivism that ignores the human.

MORIN, Edgar. (1997) Cultura de massas do século XX. (20th century mass culture). trad. Maura Ribeiro Sardinha. 9ª. edição. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Ed. Forense. 

 

 

The night of culture and humanism

19 Oct

Edgar Morin considers contemporary culture something broader than what is considered and was theorized as mass culture, for him it goes beyond media culture, which is in full decline, despite reactions from the art world in some segments, in general it deals with death, the dark and contempt for symbols, values, myths and images related to everyday life and the collective imagination, but regional, religious and humanist cultures persist in an act of resistance.

The industrial process and the success of performance and productivist values ​​hide what is processed in the spirit, something Morin calls “industrialization of the spirit”, this second colonization is not processed horizontally conquering territories, but vertically penetrating the human soul and obscuring it.

The cultural industry has set in motion a third culture (in addition to classical and natural, I would call original), but there is a human resistance that comes from the original culture of each people and each specific culture, but the idea of ​​colonizing is alive.

The multicultural realities present in mass culture are not autonomous, so the idea is to demolish (or erase) the institutions that can resist this new “colonization”, and resistance can only arise from the cultures of peoples, from their original development of culture and its religions and beliefs.

Although one can criticize the current media culture, social networks are a ties between actors that can be made through them, it does not find a society devoid of culture to be omnipresent, it contains social values ​​and symbols, beliefs and ideologies , and in them the transcendental factors are still impregnated, it is not a separate culture.

In Morin’s view, mass culture integrates and disintegrates at the same time in a polycultural reality, it makes contain, control, censor (also in many cases by the state and by the churches) tending to corrode and disintegrate other cultures.

It is now a cosmopolitan and planetary culture, and it will constitute the first truly universal culture in the history of mankind, while conservative thought considers it plebeian barbarism, left-wing critics consider it an opiate of the people and deliberate mystification , and so the only perspective seems to be the authoritarian one.

In the authoritarian case, the state must control the production and distribution of “cultural goods”, while in the democratic case the large cultural groups must dictate the media controlling the production and distribution of content, here digital media is present.

Both currents agree in the criticism of mass culture, classifying it as a poor cultural product, of low aesthetic quality and without originality (kitsch).

The great solution pointed out by Morin is in the structure of the imaginary: the use of archetypes that order dreams, without the standardization of mythical and romance themes, art is a great reaction in this field, the cultural industry was reduced to archetypes and stereotypes, who outside of these there is no cultural “insertion”, and her prisons are individualized products.

It’s not about accepting diversity, but increasing consumption, just as it did with the pop culture of the 60s, movies, radio or TV shows (now lives and stories) are solely aimed at maximizing profit and audience (likes and fanpages).

In religious terms, syncretism is the most suitable word to translate the tendency to homogenize culture and dictate values ​​and the comicity used to these themes plays the role of destroying its essence and originality, everything is similar or equal.

Children’s cultural content is invaded by themes of adult consumption: they are presented in a simplification that takes them (to adult viewers too) as children.

Even leisure is not just a way of allowing a balance of life, but it is invaded by mass culture, the so-called “resorts”, the beaches and leisure places are invaded by the “cultural industry”, everything within reach, just by an app.

This crisis is neither temporary nor fleeting, a great civilizing crisis may emerge from it, but it is necessary to have hope despite the public blindness.

MORIN, Edgar. (1997) Cultura de massas do século XX. (20th century mass culture). trad. Maura Ribeiro Sardinha. 9ª. edição. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Ed. Forense. 

 

 

 

Covid falls and worrying cases

18 Oct

Covid 19 already shows signs of decline worldwide, but there are still worrying cases such as Russia, the first country to launch a vaccine and had on Saturday (16/09) more than a thousand deaths from Covid 19, the reasons are several, the main thing is the low rate of vaccination, Russia reached 218,362 thousand deaths for a population of 145 million inhabitants.

The whole world has almost 48% at least one dose and just over 36% fully immunized, it is possible to consider that we are not out of danger, something around 60% would be desirable, at least until the end of the year for the Christmas parties , in Brazil the number of vaccinees is 73.4% at least one dose and close to 50% fully vaccinated, but the infection curve still drops very slowly.

The consequences of Variant delta are not yet known, in a balance made of the pandemic by neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, he stated that in Brazil we have not yet seen the face of this variant.

Winter is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and the WHO intends to consider the possibility of a new pandemic, so that we are not surprised as this one has not ended, in November it will hold a World Health Assembly where it will study the possibility of a “treaty for pandemic”, it is necessary to consider greater solidarity and more effective combat.

The deputy director of WHO Mariângela Simão was emphatic: “there will be a next pandemic”, and added: “This is something we already know and which is inevitable, it’s a question of when it will happen” said according to the Instituto Paulista of Medicine.

Simão alerts that there is no approved vaccine yet for children, so there cannot be a national policy using vaccines that have not been approved for children under 12 years of age, and he points out that we only have one vaccine approved for use by adolescents from 12 years of age, which is the Pfizer.

He highlighted the importance of the Covax consortium that helped vaccination in poor countries, stressing the importance of donating 500 million doses from Pfizer, which will allow the entry of 200 million doses from Pfizer this year, France also made available the make donations and more countries are expected to help because, for now, it is the only vaccine for teenagers.

 

 

Act, potency and agape

15 Oct

What Aristotle defined as potency was conditioned to the act, so the act is a current manifestation, in the example of the figure beside the seed), while potency is what could be (virtually, while virtú) the seed in potency is a tree could its manifestation as being to produce fruits and new seeds, while virtual, in the sense of virtue, is to transform it into a table or even a house.

Actual potential actualization is not just the seed that becomes a tree and bears fruit, the main source of change must be completely real and not only correspond to natural potentiality, but that which completes the rest, and this depended on Aristotle’s The first motor that gave meaning to everything, and that Thomas and Aquinas claims to be God, enters the question of conscience.

Here comes Logos or Pathos, since consciousness is always a dictate of reason and will, so for Thomas Aquinas Ethos depends essentially on human will and consciousness, while Logos leads us to a more primordial reason for Being , Pathos moves towards disordered passions and drives, while Logos should lead us to agape and balance.

Potency is thus characteristic of Being and Pathos its distortion, power seen as Pathos is authoritarian and passionate, while power as Ethos is ethical and agapic, in the sense of service done out of gratuitous love to those they are subordinate, so it can until there is asymmetry, but it will only be diversity and never authority in the sense of absolute power as it is united with the Logos.

It is not by chance that Aristotle was tutor of Alexander the Great, and his form of power spread to the peoples, as well as Plutarch in his text “Alexandre (in Parallel Lives”, 1st century): “After this battle of Issus… Macedonians form to take a liking to the other, silver and women, and the way of life of the Asians, becoming so fond of it that, as if dogs, they set out on the trail in search and pursuit of the opulence of the Persians”, is likely. which also influenced the Romans.

That’s how we reach the second war and the dangers of post-modernity, will we leave our childhood civilization and will one day be able to coexist with peoples with different cultures and cosmogonies, we seem to be heading in the opposite direction: polarization.

It was also no different for Jews and Christians, in the nascent community many wanted to have “power” alongside Jesus, in the reading of Mark (Mk 10:36-37) the apostles James and John make a special request to Jesus: “He he asked, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They replied, ‘Let us sit one on your right and one on your left, when you are in your glory,’ and the master tells them they don’t know what they’re asking for.

Ai asks if they can drink from the cup that He will drink (referring to their type of death), they keep saying yes, then rebuke them and tell the form of power that exists in civilization (Mark 10: 42-43): “Jesus called them and said: ‘You know that the heads of the nations oppress them and the great ones tyrannize them. But among you, it must not be like that: whoever wants to be great, be your service and whoever wants to be first, be the slave of all”.

So those who govern believers in the same way as the temporal power have not yet understood the potency of the agapic Logos.

 

 

Will to power and civilizing childhood

14 Oct

A well-known concept of Nietzsche is the will to power, as a “natural” driving force of man, we have already developed that the natural is different from the cultural, this being one of the infernal dichotomies as Latour said, the other is objectivity x subjectivity coming from rationalism/idealism of modernity.

In fact, this led people to expand from the primitive world, I would say in the infant civilizing age, the wars and empires of Alexander the Great, of which Aristotle was tutor, and later the Roman Empire, and the empires of modernity: the Portuguese, the French, Russian and American and the two world wars are in fact the great crisis of modernity, we were not able to overcome the civilizing childhood.

There were other great empires little mentioned in history: the great Manchu Qing dynasty of northern China invaded and defeated the Ming dynasty, it was a minority ethnicity but it dominated all of China and even had a brief restoration in 1917 and the great Mongol Empire was one of the largest in terms of area, reaching Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.

One can think of potency as a form of growth to overcome both individual and civilizing childishness, so there is an act and potency, theorized Thomas Aquinas, but Nietzsche himself warns of this other sense: “the will to power is not even a being , not a becoming, it is a pathos”, so let us analyze the triad of classical antiquity: ethos, pathos and logos.

Pathos is in modern rationalism that also used by Descartes, in a different sense from Nietzsche from which the idea of pathology comes, which moves in imperfection, using Nietzsche’s own idea is not ontological, it denies being because it does not even ethos and nor the classic triad logos.

In Aristotelian rhetoric, ethos is one of the modes of persuasion or components of an argument, and this one gives meaning to being, being the link with the Logos that gives meaning to Being, giving credibility and establishing a truth that is not reality, because that is where the Logos draws the consistency of Being to oppose the Pathos-logical.

The Pathos lives in pure emotion, in irrationality, in deceitful imagination, he is responsible for the disorders of the Being, being in a way its denial.

The Pathology of two world wars has shown that humanity has not left its civilizing infancy, it is still a victim of itself incapable of conceiving Being as Ethos.

 

 

Symmetry and diversity

13 Oct

Every relationship of power is asymmetrical, discussing the power of the [media] of social networks, in his essay book “No Swarm” said the Korean-German Byung Chul Han: “power is an asymmetrical relationship. It fundamentals a hierarchical relationship. The power of communication is not dialogic. Unlike power, respect is not necessarily an asymmetrical relationship” (p. 18), so the question remains how power could be symmetrical and how dialogic communication.

Collective, communal and original societies always have some form of hierarchy and most of them have developed forms of dialogical communication, modernity is perhaps the historical moment of greatest hierarchy and where communication becomes more problematic, it is necessary to return to basic concepts about who is the other and what form of power is lawful”?

The worst of the scenarios come true, this is the point that Byung Chul Han is right: the swarm, but it is necessary to understand the process of development that comes from the Cartesian-Kantian rationalism-idealism, where the center is the objective truth, without space for subjectivity, it is not by chance that ethical and moral concepts have lost value, said the Kantian categorical imperative: age in such a way that its conduct is a universal model, but who is this “ideal”, “rational” being?

We know that in nature there is always some asymmetry, for example, the sides of the human body.

The answer is not so difficult if we understand diversity, there is no “individual” model that is a standard for everyone, nor is there an objective way to express power, but one that induces an entire collectivity to loving solidarity, protecting the weakest and negotiation in disputes.

It took us two thousand years, if we consider the Christian model of brotherhood, to understand that the only possible model of dialogue is respect for the Other (in Chul Han’s concept, respect is symmetrical, but it cannot cancel out diversity, a perfect symmetry is not Natural).

We are so trained and conditioned to a standard model that we call it “straight”, in analogy to an ideal line, since any object in nature that is straight will have some imperfection, and so Kant’s categorical imperative is only possible in the idealistic imagination.

Society, in its various forms of “bubbles”, did not institute and develop trust, but control, a form of power for everyone to conform to the ideal model of a certain ideal group.

 

 

 

Good news and caution

11 Oct

Five Brazilian states did not register death by Covid 19 in the last 24 hours, but it has already exceeded 600,000 deaths and accounts for 21,575,820 infections, the moving average is below 500 deaths and more than 60% of the adult population has already received both doses or single dose of the vaccine.

The main danger is that the stress of the period of sanitary measures causes a relaxation in the population, sanitary measures are still mandatory and this is the right time not to relax and be resilient.

The precaution is due to the worldwide problem of the pandemic, the WHO global data indicate 52,929 infections yesterday with a weekly drop of 17.64% and a total of 818 deaths (more than 42 in the week) with a weekly drop of 21.26% (see chart), both more pronounced than in previous weeks.

In many countries there is already a relaxation in sanitary measures, it is necessary to be aware that this affects the whole world, as flights and global mobility start to be relaxed, and without the precautionary measures taken by everyone, it can make the fall more slow, and it is also necessary to remember late autumn and early winter in the northern hemisphere.

Sanitary precautions such as washing your hands and continuing to wear masks and alcohol gel, avoiding crowds and distances when in collective activities (public transport remains a problem), and avoiding the usual end-of-the-year consumerism problem.

A more dignified and less sumptuous Christmas will be more worthy of the date and will avoid the desperation of traditional spending and consumption at the end of the year.

May the return to normality also be a return to serenity, empathy and solidarity.

 

 

 

Renouce privileges and provide conditions for the poor

08 Oct

Alongside the problem of poverty and extreme poverty, the world lacks solidarity and compassion for the poor, according to Amartya Sen, another Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, “poverty is the deprivation of capabilities”, so it is not about the disabled. or some system of privileges, but access to education, social and financial status, health, etc.

The contribution of Kremer, Barnerjee and Duflo (see previous post) is revealing because it addresses the multidimensional aspect, which goes beyond the lack of resources of poverty, and even further points to the ineffectiveness of government poverty, and among these measures they address that even microcredit has limitations.

The survey was conducted in 13 countries in The Economic Lives of the Poor study, the authors demonstrate that microfinance cannot increase investment, consumption, health and education conditions or empowerment. of women, so what is the solution pointed out.

They point to effects of strengthening and improving specific aspects related to poverty, such as education and infrastructure, and point to a study done in Kenya 2009 (Additional Resources versus Organizational Changes in Education: Experimental Evidence from Kenya), and another one done in India in 2007 (Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India), 2007.

Developed countries are also in line with these proposals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) plans, but there will be no lack of polarized arguments that will say that it is about welfare or it is a proposal of the radical left, it is about overcoming the selfish and make sure that globalization has not looked at the social problem of humanity.

As it is difficult to overcome this vision, and this comes from afar, overcoming the vision of agreement of the rich and the poor and looking at the poor is also a Christian teaching, says the passage of the evangelist Mark (Mk, 10:21-23) to a rich young man who followed all the commandments and wanted very much to follow Jesus, He looked at him with love and said: “You only need one thing: go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me”, the young man is dejected and leaves, because he was very rich.

 

Erasure, invisibility and politics

07 Oct

It is not ignored in history the fact that the state, being a “possible” solver of conflicts, has taken for itself the right to violence, which in the last instance is the right to kill.

Cameroon philosopher Achille Mbembe took this extreme of state power to develop his thesis on the state’s right to kill, calling this policy “Necropower”.

The essay was translated into Portuguese in 2018, and at the heart of this essay is a question about who can live or die in the contemporary world? Mbembe denounces that the role of States should have the defense of the lives of the most vulnerable as a principle, and not what is structurally done, which is the erasure of memory and the conditions of these lives.

We see that, beyond the erasure, there is a permanent invisibility of these people, by a layer that is linked to power, reaching the limit of not having civil registration and cultural rights.

Approached with regard to the forgetfulness (or social invisibility) and silencing made by the State regarding the historical past of these vulnerable groups, it is beyond the academic field, the social, cognitive and identity memory of what was experienced in the past and which is shameful not only through oblivion and invisibility, but made from a narrative opposite to its memory.

If we look from complex thinking, which etymologically means tissue together (complexus), the biological term “necrosis” refers to issues involving the biological death of bodily tissues or part of them, thus, one cannot think of the death of a part without let the whole body suffer, even though it does not look to see the tissue that is failing.

It is important to address the complexity of this concept of necropolitics and invisibility, because only it can address the problems involving racism, sexism and the erasure of different cultures (such as the indigenous, but there are many others in the contemporary world), the already known and unresolved economic dimension, which is access to social goods and services, joins the political dimension (the spaces of power), the construction of narratives and historicity of subjugating cultures (the psychological dimension) and the comprehensive cultural dimension.

Starting from the misery and invisibility of peoples, cultures and races, it cannot deny structural factors that are strong and prevent a more sustainable change of peaceful and harmonious coexistence.

 

 

Erasure, invisibility and politics

06 Oct

It is not ignored in history the fact that the state, being a “possible” solver of conflicts, has taken for itself the right to violence, which in the last instance is the right to kill.

Cameroon philosopher Achille Mbembe took this extreme of state power to develop his thesis on the state’s right to kill, calling this policy “Necropower”.

The essay was translated into Portuguese in 2018, and at the heart of this essay is a question about who can live or die in the contemporary world? Mbembe denounces that the role of States should have the defense of the lives of the most vulnerable as a principle, and not what is structurally done, which is the erasure of memory and the conditions of these lives.

We see that, beyond the erasure, there is a permanent invisibility of these people, by a layer that is linked to power, reaching the limit of not having civil registration and cultural rights.

Approached with regard to the forgetfulness (or social invisibility) and silencing made by the State regarding the historical past of these vulnerable groups, it is beyond the academic field, the social, cognitive and identity memory of what was experienced in the past and which is shameful not only through oblivion and invisibility, but made from a narrative opposite to its memory.

If we look from complex thinking, which etymologically means tissue together (complexus), the biological term “necrosis” refers to issues involving the biological death of bodily tissues or part of them, thus, one cannot think of the death of a part without let the whole body suffer, even though it does not look to see the tissue that is failing.

It is important to address the complexity of this concept of necropolitics and invisibility, because only it can address the problems involving racism, sexism and the erasure of different cultures (such as the indigenous, but there are many others in the contemporary world), the already known and unresolved economic dimension, which is access to social goods and services, joins the political dimension (the spaces of power), the construction of narratives and historicity of subjugating cultures (the psychological dimension) and the comprehensive cultural dimension.

Starting from the misery and invisibility of peoples, cultures and races, it cannot deny structural factors that are strong and prevent a more sustainable change of peaceful and harmonious coexistence.

Of course, the panorama is not just national or Latin America, the brake on economic activities and mainly disorganization, facing the crisis in the economic aspect, when there was one, was just adopting emergency measures and not senatorial or preventive measures.

It is expected that there will be living forces capable of recovering social levels, without forgetting the aspects of distribution and preservation of the environment, which ultimately are the means for production and food and economic development.