Arquivo para July, 2020

There is no healthy citizenship without areté

31 Jul

The construction of wisdom and virtue (the Greek arete) in the fight against doxa (mere opinion of the relative truth) and the sophists, who despite being wise were corrupted by the taste of power, passions and instincts, made Socrates, who we know him from Plato’s dialogues, and Plato himself to build a new model of citizenship that needed to educate, to leave the Cave for the light and to organize knowledge for the true Good.

 It is a fact that the sense of excellence was adopted by state authorities, but its etymological origin remains valid and to defend it is to defend the good, otherwise we fall into sophist relativism, any truth and any argument is valid, the Socratic maieutics is still valid and to ask is to dialogue.

Martha Nussbaum, one of the most renowned philosophers today in classical antiquity, pointed out in her book The Fragility of Goodness: “… indolence, error and ethical blindness cause countless tragedies”, are relevant aspects that Democrats must remember for the defense of democracy and the risk that modern sophists will seize power and manipulate opinions, these are not just fake news, mistaken and authoritarian positions, it is necessary to defend the values ​​of true citizenship, areté (in picture sculpture in Ephesus).

We have already explained the biblical meaning of the net, the fishing and the casting of the nets, in another passage after returning from the Sea of ​​Galilee Jesus and the disciples meet the crowd, and since the place is deserted, the apostles think of dismissing the crowd for lack of food, but Jesus says to see what was food and makes the well-known miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish, from 5 loaves and 2 fish.

 It is clear that Christian virtue is beyond the proposal of the Greeks, it extends personal morality and the understanding of mercy, but it does not exclude the citizen arete and dominion of instincts and passions, nowadays so flourishing and reaching even the religious , poor reading of the multiplication of bread and fish that is more related to Christian arete than polis, as they were “in a deserted place” (Mt 14,15), that is, a kind of “retreat” of the polis.

The virtue of compassion is necessary for the distribution of goods, the process of concentration of wealth has accelerated with the pandemic, without collecting the few loaves and fish left of an economy in crisis to help thousands who are hungry, jobless and many without hope, this should be the real new normal if we want better days, only if there are better days for everyone without forgetting the millions who lost jobs, hope and family in this pandemic.




Areté. virtue and ethics of the State

30 Jul

The ethics of classical antiquity thus had two bases to aretê, virtue (understood as citizen formation but with moral values) while the ethics of the sophists who made Greek democracy go into crisis defended a relative truth and man gave up his passions and instincts .

At the beginning of the Roman period, these two currents reappear with the Neoplatonists, Epicureans and Stoics, on the one hand, defending an ascetic morality and, on the other, thinkers such as Cicero and Lucrécio, who included a set of laws and rights in the period of the Roman Empire, of which the modern law has a strong influence, it is what we call the State ethics, to differentiate the concept of ethics from the city-state of Plato and Aristotle who also defended the virtues, the Greek arete.

Although it is not possible to make a clear allusion to the sophists in the period of the Roman empire, their thinkers are legislators, the Neoplatonists are current out of power and take refuge in Christian and Muslim thinkers, such as Saint Augustine, Alfarabi and some Stoic thinkers who would bring influences in the Roman power, like Seneca who was Nero’s tutor, although they defended virtue did not defend an ascetic morality.

Epistemic influences emerge in this period, such as the quarrel with the universals of Boécio and later Abelardo, Duns Scotto and Tomás de Aquino, will resume questions about being and essence, the existence of Universals (what we call the concept) or just private individuals.

In the treatise on virtues Tomás de Aquino made the difference between moral and intellectual virtues, considering that the holy philosopher made a review of Aristotelian ethics, incorporating Christian values, while the moral virtues perfect the speculative and practical aspects, the moral virtues will improve the appetite potentials, name given to the passions and instincts whose discussion comes from the period of the sophists.

Idealistic morality will follow the Kantian maxim: “act in such a way that it can become a universal law”, while creating the transcendental subject outside any religious characteristic, he has a subjective cognitive capacity having: reason, understanding (of the categories ) and sensitivity (pure forms of intuition, space and time), based on this morality that Hegel will elaborate the morality of the State.

In line with Kantian morality, Hegel will elaborate ethics, elaborated on the question of “self-determination of the will”, no longer in subjectivity or in the transcendental, but in the objective unfolding of free wills, that is how the State is the regulator of free wills , and ethics is a quality of ethics, which remains in the private field, and which the State through its laws can make it objective, so the inner moral qualities and virtues are valid only for these aspects and according to the state’s determinations that can interfere in subjective life.















Modern sophistry and practical wisdom

29 Jul

Sophists accredit education and are not born, but because it is a relative age and a code of ethics that prevents or satisfies human instincts and passions, even though Socrates worked out happiness as a combination of virtues (in Greek it means time of moral and political excellence, today in opposite fields), and its method is irony and pharmaceutical.

We explicitly explain in the post that irony is not about proximity or skepticism, that there are exceptions to Greek origin, but that the Greek word has a definite meaning, but with successive verbs in a discussion that Socrates left against each other . part of his method is mayo-art, which is the art of parity, which is not the end or the social method, because irony takes or the opponent realizes that his preconcepters have the capacity to reflect and only conceive ideas that lead the truth.

We retaliate so much that the sophists assume that, as far as they are concerned, they do not formulate formulas, but that they satisfy their instincts in a way that satisfies the idea of ​​virtuous politics and ethics or at a moderate pace by Socrates when the illusion is natural. because of its instinctive benefits.

Plato, as a disciple of Socrates, does not believe that Socrates himself is in Plato and refuses the Protagoras’ sophistry, or the dialogue that takes place in the virtuous vise, whether incisive or not, and this is the fundamental point for Plato’s birth. , second historians, approximately 384-383 BC, located in the gardens in the suburbs of Athens (pictured in the mosaic of Pompeii, now in the Archaeological Museum of Naples).

It is mandatory to educate or homosexuals for the sake of seriousness and assimilation to the decadence of Greek democracy brought about by the sophist school, so that you can have a relative opinion and verdict, but it is based on whether you are sensible or intelligent, dialectical or basic here, where it will be essential and overcoming doxa, an opinion and a construct of epistemia, knowledge organized in universal universes.

The evolution of dialogues, especially in Plato’s Republic, shows the dialectical evolution (it is not and could not be Hegelian for historical reasons) of the terms of the episteme until it constitutes an ethical structure that leads to the formulation of laws, but ethics as we know it today it comes from the school of one of Plato’s students, Aristotle, who elaborated “Ethics to Nicomachus”, a teleological and eudaimonist conception (Eudaimonia was happiness for the ancient Greeks), around a practical rationality, what the Greeks called phronesis, one of the elements of ethics, that it is logos plus ethos.

Aristotle created then wisdom as a virtue of practical thought, or just practical wisdom, the objective is to describe the phenomena of human action through the dialectical examination of opinions, the residue of the Socratic method, but to discover in them immutable principles, thus it is possible to overcome the doxa and reach episteme knowledge, one can describe this dialectic as knowing-understanding-knowing.

Later Aristotle. one of the students of his Platonic school, is going to do his Lyceum, which was essentially made by walking, therefore also called peripatetics, but the school has a gynasium for physical exercises, and also for socializing the acquired knowledge.

Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics will rework the Phrase by systematizing Heidegger’s hermeneutic circle, creating a hermeneutic philosophy.





Sophisms and fake news

28 Jul

Sophism is a wisdom used for convenience in some situation, it may be, for example, politically correct, or it may be to favor interest groups that has the greatest correspondence with the historical origin of the word.

They were contemporaries of Socrates, who was opposed to this utilitarian knowledge, the sophists were thinkers who traveled from city to city giving speeches to attract students and charged fees to offer them education, any similarity with modern media is not a coincidence.

Fake News is false news, conspiracy theories and myths that, due to the ease of communication, spread much more quickly, but the half truths of sophisms that spread by sellers of wisdom and maxims without scientific proof and history also exist today, it is just check the price of some speakers who talk about everything, even what they have never studied.

What they sell, happiness with magic formulas, easy success, management models that do not consider the pandemic crisis, although it is true that many make money from it, the honest majority will have difficulties to put their services and products on the market, even with use of the virtual, because the reality is that the economy is in recession worldwide and many aid and solidarity will be needed.

What needs to be said is that easy news, easy success and shallow explanations are often not true, those who seek ease and simplism fall into this trap, but this has happened in all history, Karl Kraus complained in the 1920s that the press it was building a war and it happened, we may be building another, and the leaven of crisis and human difficulties will help this war happen.

Even if we want peace, spreading false news is creating radicalizations, sparking small wars that polarized into big wars, there are well-intentioned people who do this, baseless denunciations and half-truths are there, so at the origin of a fake news is a sophistry, often built by intelligent people who should not favor ignorance.

Dictators know that ignorance favors them, but also those who know the horror of dictatorships and wars can favor them with half truths, to facilitate the exposure of a social, cultural (including religious) and political position is more easy to throw a half-truth, everyone in this or that position is corrupt, fascist or communist, but this is the beginning of a small war.

The truth costs a personal price that is often expensive, but it favors that the war ahead is not waged for an unjust reason, for a stone or a shot fired at an innocent, our daily “wars” against diversity of opinion , they are not dialogues and do not favor peace, in the post-pandemic they need a lot of solidarity and the good will of everyone to overcome difficulties, there is neither happiness nor easy peace.


How to live a crisis and the stable plateau

27 Jul

Edgar Morin and Patrick Viveret wrote in 2010 “How to live in times of crisis” (Portuguese edition of 2013), and they certainly were not considered a pandemic, but they are already being seen as a potential horizon for humanity, and that horizon has certainly been aggravated .

Thus, philosophers and other types of visionaries who try to have a peaceful future have no foundation, or may even have, but based on philosophies and thoughts already overcome, a pandemic that demands even more from the great strategists and humanitarian thinkers.

On page 37 of the book it shows the symptoms of the crisis: “Wall Street knows only two feelings, euphoria and panic”, even without knowing it is what they think or promise “happiness”, but it is false and it follows depression, once analyzed more sensible can prepare for the next challenge.

The stable plateau has arrived, in terms of deaths, because the infection data are inaccurate, shows these peaks, now it is moving towards a stable plateau not only in Brazil, but in the world as a whole, it is because the infection cycle has reached the whole world, and in Brazil an entire country.

The cycle can be perceived as not as isolated poles of infection, even countries without new cycles that can be affected, but note that New Zealand and Taiwan are islands, so isolated by sea, they are more controllable, but trade can also reduce these countries.

Edgar Morin and his collaborator published in the book “Three mutations” important in the crisis and which are valid for a social situation of the pandemic, as they represent the ancient world, the world “nation states, industrial society, a segmented organization (see conflicts in the USA x China)… or the ecological challenge poses a question about what we are going to do with our planet ”(p. 57).

An industrial revolution put life in a frenetic way of life, “a classic industrial society that organizes itself in the classic sesame that you make of your life?”, And that remains a question that questions everyone, or recently launched in Portuguese “You have to change your life” by Peter Sloterdijk puts this around anthropotechnics, bringing to the debate a technical question.

MORIN, E.; VIVERET, P. Como viver em tempo de crise? (How to live in times of crisis?) Tradução: Clóvis Marques. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand do Brasil, 2013.





The eschatology of goodness

24 Jul

Just as any worldview has some allegory for the beginning and end, in the case of the Christian Genesis and Heaven and Hell, and others propose that we are born of plants or animals, or that we come back to life through reincarnation, the good has its eschatology, while evil is a symbolic “structure”.

It is not just the definition of religious views, also in the classical philosophy Plato in the Republic and Aristotle in Ethics, Nicomachus addressed the issue and we have already made some posts here, but it was Democritus who defined our current situation more closely, saying that good depends of man’s inner desire, the good man not only practices good, but always desires it.

So it is in human history too, without historical determinism or romanticism, we walk for good if we exercise from within each man, but socially practicing what the Greeks called “virtue”, but we also have the vicious cycle of evil.

The vicious cycle of evil leads to a “crisis” of good, symbolic evil can be structured in such a way that a given social structure can lead to an end, it can be the end of an era that is very tragic, but it can also lead to a serious civilizing crisis if there is no way out.

Humanity has always found ways out, this gives hope, but tragedies are part of the change, and the severity of the tragedy depends on the resilience of good, although it is fragile that can indicate the new path, a way out for earthly citizenship, for the future human civilizing.

Biblical reading indicates three metaphors for the eschatology of goodness, and compares the “kingdom of heaven” (Mt 13, 24-43) with the planting of the growing tares and wheat that should only be harvested and separated from the eschatological end. mal (the chaff), the second parable the mustard seed, the smallest of the seeds, which gives a beautiful and leafy tree where “the birds come to make their nests”, and the third is a bread recipe, a woman mixes three portions of flour.

The third “parable” the woman mixes three portions of flour, one part should only be fermented, those would be those that have the virtue of good and it should be practiced in order to produce good fermentation in the rest of the dough, the other two portions, then yeast is good.



The goodness and the power

23 Jul

The goodness is that which is a common good, it is practically irreconcilable with the temporal power, the one that submits the other by force, in whatever way this submission, collective practices of imposing values, subtle ways of making exclusion and especially the exercise of force gross.

A definition by Max Weber is worth: “how each chance to impose, within a social relationship, one’s own will even against reluctance, no matter what that chance is based on” (Weber, 1922) is in the first chapter of the book “Economics and Society ”whose German edition is from 1922, another interesting definition is that of Hanna Arendt:“ Conceptually speaking, this means: Power is, in fact, essential to all states, including all types of organized groups, whereas violence is not ”in his 1960 book which is about “Active Life”, but which in the translation into Portuguese and English became“ The human condition ”.

If it is possible for the common good to be established, accepting the condition of Hanna Arendt, it will not be through violence, but through nonviolent power, and a brief look at history can see the consequences of violence as a form of power, almost always new forms of exclusion and submission of some parts of the population, as unanimity is impossible, it is necessary to live with difference, this is the formula that precedes any good worthy of the name and sustainable.

The resurgence of nationalism, ideological polarization, and especially the return to forms of violence that seemed to be gradually banished from society, show the crisis of humanism, which did not start today, but at the beginning of the last century and witnessed two wars.

To imagine that some common good can be established by force is therefore contradictory with what legitimizes some form of reasonable power and capable of influencing the conscious portion of society, every other form is destructive and can hardly be sustained, but the limits of force are today scary: the nuclear possibilities and the use of “smart” machines.

Betting on confrontation and conflict proved to be in the past of two wars and several colonial wars disastrous and unsustainable, and in the near future the one that brought the most violent and truculent leaders to power.

In times of pandemic, and with a visible future for a vaccine, one could think of total disarmament and who knows with the billions spent on wars we would have funds to reactivate economies and the dangers of a dark future could be removed.

The lessons on nonviolence and solidarity have not yet been learned, even in the common struggle against the pandemic, although there is always hope for such clear and definite warnings




Evil and humanism in crisis

22 Jul

Idealism continues to defend its ideology of State, of Ethics (morals and virtues are other things, for example, ending corruption), now defending nations, a stronger State (left and right in the bottom want this) and for this reason one can speak of the zoon politikon, Aristotle’s political animal, then it is necessary to understand what the political animal is.

There are two conditions that may not become political: being degressed (we would say excluded today) or being superhuman (or divine, thus of a higher order than human laws and rules).

This is the first premise to understand “Rules for the Human Park – a response to Heidegger’s Letter on Humanism”, it is not, therefore, about seeing man as a “bug” in the zoo, but as a “natural” animal but that his humanism is in check.

The controversy that followed his speech at the castle of Elmau in Bavaria meant that the attempt (from the schools of Plato and Aristotle) ​​to program history and humanism through social engineering failed, another important issue is the “domestication” issue.

Domestication is also not new, the philosopher received a direct influence from Nietzsche, and Foucault also addressed the topic, his proposal at the Conference that later became a book, was to reverse Heidegger’s priority of the ontological dimension over ontics (Sloterdijk, 1999,).

The controversial cause is because the philosopher wondered if we would not pass from the fatality “from birth to chosen birth and prenatal selection” (Sloterdijk, 2000) which was the main point of the controversy trying to show this the Nazi and fascist ideas of the war period .

The issues of genetic manipulation, which in Germany suffered strict restrictions until 2002 and the leadership of the Frankfurt School by Haberrmas were the background of this controversy, but what is fundamental is the humanism of Heidegger and Levinas, the theme of the Elmau conference is a main aspect, forgotten by many commentators, because humanism is really in crisis.

As for Sloterdijk’s response, he himself returns to the theme of in Spheres I differently when speaking of an aortic manifestation, the inorganic over the organic, after all, man came from Earth even by the biblical metaphor, so from the inorganic clay God “blew” the nostrils and introduced the spirit, like it or not, the theme is metaphysical and not religious, and if something aortic happens.

Time will not be the first time in history, man came after the heavens, the earth and the waters, again also in the various cosmogonies (even non-Christian) and the earth itself has already had other manifestations, such as the one that eliminated the dinosaurs, because a new one cannot occur, and it helps us to face the period (or civilization) crisis that we face.

The weather is different from ours; the comet returns after 6,800 years to visit us, we didn’t even have a record of it, and when it returns after another 6,800 years what it finds, only God knows,  now is neowise (see the picture).



Civilizing evil, beyond the symbolic

21 Jul

We have already commented in a post on “Symbolic Evil”, a work by Paul Ricoeur that should be read together with “Evil: a challenge to philosophy and theology and“, symbolic evil exists and can become structural, but in a good reading of philosophy means becoming a personal or social addiction, as well as virtue.

Philosopher Aristotle says that virtue is acquired through habit, practiced again and again, until it becomes a natural or social attitude if many people practice it, when social and human values ​​are confused, evil spreads, and thus a society or civilization falls into disrepair.

To return to the virtues is to return to our roots as human beings, that is why it is not a question of Manichaeism, a perennial struggle between good and evil, but if symbolic evil is installed, we must return to our deepest root as human beings, that almost all contemporary philosophy recognizes a civilization malaise, in psychology Freud (Freud, 1969) and Jung (JUNG, 1988), even contemporaries like Sloterdijk and Byung Chull Han, almost everyone also in this pandemic warns of attitudes in a civilization crisis.

In a quick reading of Freud, with the possibility of being somewhat superficial, the malaise of civilization is equal to that of culture, says the author that there is a dichotomy between the instinctual impulses and civilization, that is, individuals and society, thus the good of civilization the individual manifests in drives and experiences a malaise.

Jung, on the other hand, points to the massification of Western man, crushed by the State, and to the defense that each one seeks through their own personality or religious attitude.

Morin’s work since the 70’s is all linked to the idea of ​​a new humanism, and this specific text on the subject, he deepens what he considers an ethics necessary for this return to humanism, his work essentially points to the lost foundations, the institution of the complex method and a vision of planetary citizenship, in this text about the personal responsibility of each one.

FREUD, S. O mal-Estar na civilização (Edição Standard Brasileira das Obras Psicológicas Completas de Sigmund Freud, Vol. 21). Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1996.

JUNG, C.G. Presente e futuro. Petrópolis, Vozes, 1988 (tradução Márcia Cavalcanti).

MORIN, E. “A ética do sujeito responsável”. In: Ética, solidariedade e complexidade. São Paulo, Palas Athena, 1998.


Has the pandemic changed humanitarian consciousness?

20 Jul

In his book Science with conscience, Edgar Morin asked the question: “Does scientific adventure lead us to catastrophe or to a better world?”, We replaced spiritual and popular knowledge and, in the meantime, we were unable to avoid war, we fought a pandemic, but and will our humanitarian relationship improve? I wanted to believe so, but it seems not.

We arrived in Brazil for the extension of the Plateau, which we announced since the beginning of May (post), but only now the major media and world organizations recognize it, and it should not fall until the plateau extends throughout the national territory, which already is happening, it runs until the end of July.

Many reflections arose about improving family relationships, and many improved, slowing down the fast pace of modern life, even decreased, but few people seem willing to a new lifestyle, a “new normal”, most want to go back to life previous: parties, consumption and addictions.

Of course, the pandemic only accelerated what was already going on, families with difficulties, with forced daily coexistence worsened, but those who did not find time, now have time, help with daily tasks, change the logic of polarized relationships and find the Other .

We made several posts in the past week about the good, indicating that its fragility (the philosopher Martha Nussbaum wrote a book about it in thought in classical philosophy), but the fragility of the good is different from the frivolity, it is neither futile nor superficial.

It is still possible to change the tendency of the pandemic for greater awareness and care for the pandemic, as well as (before it’s too late) awareness of social problems that are fundamentally humanitarian, respect for rights, diversity of opinions, races and creeds, etc.

We imagine that the pandemic cycle could be shorter, and also that the virus would be mitigated or other false views about a pandemic, even before some believe that it does not exist, however the fundamental humanitarian problem is the most serious and for him conscience must pay attention.

The maxim of phenomenology is worthless, there is no awareness in an abstract sense, although “symbolic evil” can create bubbles in which some groups survive, this is the danger of a non-phenomenal abstract awareness, awareness of the pandemic can help us improve our perception and sensitivity of the humanitarian problem, which is already epochal (transition of times) and could become civilizing, as risks of an even more serious dehumanization.

A change is possible that starts from each attitude, from each personal action on the big problems and each one requires phenomenological awareness, that is, directing the interaction to that problem with its contours, limitations, and weaknesses.

We can reverse the humanitarian curve, but time is pressing and the pandemic has accelerated it.