Arquivo para August, 2022

Libraries and Wars

31 Aug

In the 1950s, shortly after the Second World War, the Brazilian documentation magazine translated and published an article by Carl Hastings Milan on the Wars and the loss of documents and libraries.

He had been director of the Birmingham Public Library, where he opened the first branch of services for African American authors and readers, the article is available online and shows a face of the war for libraries in reference to the previous post we made on this blog.

The transcriptions into Portuguese were made by Sylvio do Valle Amaral and the original article follows the war in September 1944, published in The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science in Philadelphia.

The article begins by indicating the interruption and discontinuity of journals and publications during wartime, in addition to the material loss and lack of exchange of many documents.

The author emphasizes this loss where: “London publishers and booksellers lost millions of volumes in 1940-41. Several famous British scholarly libraries, and dozens of public ones, were damaged or destroyed. Several European countries, Russia, China, in addition to the Philippines, have suffered or are now experiencing a similar fate, but the saddest is yet to come” (MILAN, 1950, p. 50).

In advance many works were taken or hidden from German libraries, but the destruction and looting represent a cultural attack according to the “infamous” author who was credited to Hitler, it is important to look at this for history so that it does not repeat itself now.

Among the author’s denunciations is that also in the defeat: “Newspapers recently reported the burning of books in Naples, before the withdrawal of the Nazi army” (idem, p. 50), and thus a part of history is erased, regardless of of what those documents represent, they are an important cultural testimony of a time, which, because it is outdated, is subject to criticism, but there is no right to erase it, they are cultural documents.

It reestablishes the role of libraries, now also in crisis due to a distorted view of digital technology that we also post here, but the author says for that time: “Basic to the reestablishment of intellectual activity throughout the universe, is the reorganization of libraries” and ignoring this is a crime against the cultural preservation and memory of the people.

After emphasizing cooperation and support for libraries in Latin America and elsewhere, countries discuss the training of librarians:

“Despite the common recognition, in the United States and abroad, of the imperfections of our methods in preparing young men and women for library work, a surprisingly large number of students from abroad come to this country at normal times to obtain what schools of this specialty can offer” (MILAN, 1950, p. 53)

Milan, C. H. As bibliotecas, os intelectuais e a Guerra, trad. Sylvio do Valle Amaral. Rio de Janeiro:  REVISTA  DO  SERVIÇO  PUBLICO, AGOSTO  DE 1950 (original in 1944).



War and peace

30 Aug

I read a recent commentary on Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) that another Russian writer Ivan Turgenev claimed that knowing and reading Tolstoy is better than reading hundreds of works of ethnography and history” to know the character and temperament of the Russian people, conservatives such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) who came to be considered his successor, and Vladimir Lenin leader of the Soviet revolution who considered him one of the greatest Russian writers.

Many of his books were for the cinema, recently (2012) Anna Karenina was rewritten for the cinema, under the direction of Joe Wright, and was nominated for an Oscar and won the best costume design, but a masterpiece by Tolstoy is the book War and Peace.

From War and Peace I remember impressions and some loose phrases, and the context of the book that talks about the tsarist wars of their context and time, but which is revealing of Russian thinking about war, and that its scourges are not ignored.

The book deals with the lives of 5 aristocratic families, in the period from 1805 to 1820, in the midst of the march of Napoleonic troops and their brutal impact on the lives of hundreds of characters.

There are figures such as the brothers Natasha and Nikolai Rostóv, Prince Andrei Bolkónsky and Pierre Bezúkhov, the illegitimate son of a count whose spiritual quest serves as a kind of thread in the novel and transforms him into a complex and intriguing character of the 20th century. XIX, and whose pursuit will be a complement to peace in the midst of war.

A kind of refuge similar to the book-stealing Girl, which in this case is in the context of Nazi Germany and she will find in the books a refuge for the dark environment of the rise of Nazism in Germany.

I see a common feature in these two books, which is this “refuge”, something between the spiritual and the reader, but both manage to create, in a suffocatingly hateful environment, gaps and spaces of peace and spiritual elevation.

If war comes, what will be our refuge, at what level of spiritual life and knowledge do we want to put our lives that will be at risk, I believe these are contemporary readings.

TOLSTOI, L. (1889) WAR AND PEACE, transl. Nathan Hskell Dole, NY: Ed. Thomas V. Crowell & Co.


Covid-19 and future care

29 Aug

Covid 19 leaves some lessons, one of them is not to underestimate viruses, they can have a greater mutation capacity than expected and can complicate immunity results, in the field of social policy, governments and administrative bodies need to respect life and sometimes you have to sacrifice efficiency and performance for the greater good.

Aspects of social life, there is still a lot to learn and even the results in a near end of covid, are still to be evaluated: anxieties, depressions and irritations are aspects that should not be underestimated and also need to be seen as public health.

In the field of viruses, there is now a debate about an immunity deficit” caused by the period of social isolation, in all age groups, but especially in children, this has favored diseases such as hepatitis and other viruses more intensely.

Last week we said studies that indicate a possibility of pandemic “evolution” for bacteria and fungi, I looked for some reports and studies about it and found that there is indeed a possibility.

According to a French study, in which one of the co-authors is a French doctor François Angouvalnt, the fact that some people did not catch so many viruses in the months of the pandemic was a relief on average from the tragedies of Covid-19 peaks, but it left the immune systems without training to face common pathologies and created population groups more vulnerable to some viruses and bacteria that are normally treated and resolved as simple cases.

The study followed some evolutions of these diseases since 2020 and observed the evolution in the population of Paris and caused apprehension a greater vulnerability.

Particularly in Brazil, the number of deaths from covid is around 70 daily deaths and falling, while the number of infections below 10 thousand, everything indicates an end of the pandemic by the end of the year, but with a new wave of cold in the country. south and southeast care must be maintained.



The negative asymmetry: humility

26 Aug

If all relationships are somehow asymmetrical, that is, they involve some power and some form of domination or at least an attempt, the only way to oppose it is humility, which is not self-flagellation, devaluation or resignation, it is a way of not opposing the imposed power, like taking the body out of a violent and asymmetrical action.

It is asymmetrical in the negative sense, because power and communication is in the positive sense, as power means preventing the Other’s spirit of domination, revenge and depreciation from passing through you, as communication means listening carefully and waiting to disagree with what it is non-symmetric, which is more general than the asymmetric, it demonstrates the positive asymmetry, therefore it denies it.

So a response to violence with violence is a positive asymmetry, the response with the flag of peace is demoralizing and effective against a violent enemy, Gandhi used it to free India from British rule.

Also when violence is arrogant and inhumane, for example the death of civilians, children and the elderly in wars, it makes the mask of power fall and demonstrates all its asymmetry and arrogance.

In order to invert the logic of war and establish the logic of peace, it is necessary to overcome injustices and the disrespect for social diversities, but war is exactly the opposite: the opposition to respect for diversity, the imposition of a unilateral vision and the aggravation of injustices.

So what we should seek is the feast of the humble, the glory of the last and the peace of those who have no weapons and prefer the food of the table to the metallic food of the powerful.

True Christianity does not unite itself with power, but they are at the base of the pyramid, says the Evangelist Luke (Lk 4,12-14): “when you have lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends, nor your brothers, nor your relatives, nor your rich neighbors. For they could also invite you and this would already be your reward. On the contrary, when you have a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Then you will be happy! Because they cannot repay you.”

It seems like a mistaken logic, because it is not the logic imposed by power, but the logic of the righteous.


The position of power and symmetry

25 Aug

As we elaborated in the previous post, power is always a hierarchical position and so the final decision and the instruments of oppression are the positions only of those who occupy the highest positions in the hierarchy and what remains at the base of the pyramid is rebellion or resignation.

If power is necessary, it is up to those in the post to exercise it with discernment and generosity, the ideal would be that they were in fact at the service, but with rare exceptions, most use the post, and in general all those who who sophism with power.

The Platonic and Aristotelian model assumed that the polis could be governed by those who were well prepared and for this they created instruments for the formation of the citizen of the polis, the politician par excellence.

The evolution of this model reached the Enlightenment, and practically all current models (there are some exceptions in Africa and in Asian countries) this is the model of power of most nations, by force, by vote or by what Byung Chul Han called psychopolitics, deceiving peoples.

But it is important to remember that there is power disseminated throughout the social structure, and also that there are networks (they may or may not use media) and through them each one can exercise their action for a better, more symmetrical world with greater reciprocity between co-citizens.

Sloterdijk created the model of co-immunity, but they presuppose that some “evil” always prevails, something like the “discontent of humanity”, what we call here the civilizational crisis, the absence of a real model to oppose the prevailing dictatorial models. or on an increasing scale, there is a return to the crises of the beginning of the century, precisely because there was no opposition to the root of the model: the Enlightenment and the idealist.

The economic reasons are consequences and not the root of these models, as Edgar Morin intended when emphasizing that there is no way to change without changing the roots of thought, Heidegger also says that abandoning the revolution in thought is not allowing real change in society, and that it is basically the reason why we reverted to the theses before the first war, that is, we repeated history.

Symmetry, reciprocity, understanding of human diversity and respect for it are almost always ignored by the models of the beginning of the last century, returning to them is nothing but a foreshadowing of a greater tragedy: the civilizational crisis with deeper roots than the previous ones. .

Who will suffer the most will be the base of the pyramid of power, but the volume of military power can lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, only solidarity, fraternity and reciprocity can avoid and redirect this crisis.





Power and violence

24 Aug

Historically, peaceful peoples or peoples with little defense structure were dominated by imperialist peoples, often justified by social values ​​or noble causes, but the practice in the end is domination, developed by Max Weber.

In recent history, the ideas of the “sovereign” by Hobbes and the “prince” by Machiavelli started the idea of ​​the State even in the period when there were kings (in England and other countries there are still), and later they were reworked by Kant and Hegel, where the concepts of city-state and citizenship from classical antiquity have been recovered and updated, but this is the idea of ​​modern power.

The idea of ​​democracy in the American sense of the word was developed by Alexis de Tocqueville, which is at the same time a compliment to the American model, but has gaps in interpretation that allow for a critical analysis.

The idea that all power emanates from the people, despite being an ideal model in the broadest sense of the word, is really the final project of idealism, but Sloterdijk notes that the model of “human domestication” has failed, there are two wars in the so-called “advanced” countries. ” and one lurking.

The most recent analyses, which deal with the “de facto” power present in forms of domination and ideological control of populations (ideology here in a broad sense) depart from Michel Foucault’s analysis that there are disparate, heterogeneous and constantly changing forms of how this power is exercised, so it is everywhere and not in an institution or in someone, where it develops the concepts of biopower and micropower.

Byung Chul Han, disciple and in line with Peter Sloterdijk, develops the most advanced form that we have today, which is psychopower, not only through the control of news and fake news, but especially through the relationships that develop socially where there is no reciprocity, what what Chul Han calls “symmetry”.

He says there is no symmetry in any form of power or in communication (so all communication is a form of domination and power), there is only symmetry where there is “respect”. and so the most “violent” form of politics today is to disrespect the adversary in various ways.

This is everyday violence, that it advances to its cruelest form which is war is nothing but a consequence, so violence begins in the actions of psychic violence in everyday life.

As Chul-Han establishes: “power is an asymmetrical relationship. It grounds a hierarchical relationship” (HAN, 2019, p. 18) and it is the basis of all social and political violence, a power that is truly democratic must re-elaborate the symmetry or reciprocity between citizens and the state.

Han, Byung Chul. (2019) No enxame (In the swarm). Brazil, Petrópolis: Ed. Vozes.



The war grows  

23 Aug

While the war in Ukraine continues, now with tension points in the Crimea annexed by the Russians, China continues with “exercises” close to the island of Taiwan. This Sunday (21/08) 12 aircraft and five ships were sighted, with 5 planes crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The war escalates into violence with the death of the daughter Darya of Russian ideologue Alexandr Dugin, who makes a philosophical mix of Lenin, Stalin with Nietzsche, Weber Heidegger and others, an authentic philosophical Russian salad. Darya’s car exploded and caught fire killing her in the blaze.

In the last few hours Ukraine has attacked the Russian administrative headquarters in Donesk and Russian ships in Crimea, the war is now total there and the capital Kiev can be attacked again.

In a statement yesterday (22/08), China reacted to the speech of the American ambassador Nicholas Burns, who accuses it of being “manufacturing crises”, saying that the US practiced “an empty rhetoric, and a hegemonic logic” and the temperature between the two richest and most militarily strong nations is rising.

The rapprochement between Russia and China is increasing, and the American government sees this as a strong threat, since it creates two major conflict fronts and in different parts of the planet, the danger of a war of unimaginable proportions grows.

One hope would be the meeting of the G20, a group of the 20 richest nations, in which the USA, Japan, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia, where it will be the 37th. G20 meeting in Bali.

The date of November 15th and 16th, however, is very distant and tensions are emergency, the UN has not made progress in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, in a highly polarized world, there is a lack of reliable interlocutors in conflict environments.

It is no exaggeration to say that we are on orange alert, approaching red due to the threats and rhetoric of the great nations of the planet.

There is always hope, in many cases in history there is an inflection point where the curve reverses its trend, in this each a tendency towards peace.


Falling pandemic, there could be another

22 Aug

The pandemic continues to fall, slowly due to both the vaccination rate and the relaxation of protocol measures, in Brazil 144 deaths and 15 thousand infections were recorded, it is the lowest rate since May.

The question is whether new pandemics can arise and what precautions to take for prevention, which is much better than letting it happen and then sounding the alarm.

In China some serious viruses are monitored, in general they come from animals to humans, that of the shrew, a small rodent is one of them, a study released on August 4th detected the Langya henipavirus (LayV) that caused infections in 35 people, among 2018 and 2021 in Shandong and Henan provinces causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, anorexia, myalgia and nausea.

However, the forecast in the medium and long term is that there will be an “evolutionary” process for fungi and bacteria, this is because pesticides and medicines for bacteria cause an evolution in organisms, and in the case of fungi there are not many studies and the use of defensive is increasingly intensive.

In the United States, a rare bacterium called Burlkolderia pseudomallei has been found, which can make some people extremely sick, especially patients with diabetes and kidney problems, doctors are on alert, but there are still no reported cases.

The fungus alert was made by a report by National Geographic, which says that we know little about these organisms and they are very resistant to treatments and with this, in the event of a pandemic, it could get out of control.

Studies for prevention must also have funding, they are the basis for avoiding pandemics along with the immediate disclosure of cases that can be chronic.



Dark times and virtues

19 Aug

Dark time of politics, threats of war and pandemic do not completely hide the paths of the clearing, although its true meaning is debatable, neither the Renaissance nor the Enlightenment were in fact “clearings” and Sloterdijk has revised Heidegger’s clearing, it is possible in times of anger to see virtues that lead to the clearing.

Sloterdijk, in his book/essay “Time and Ira”, points out the exhaustion of traditional models of political processes, I argue from a historical review of the great global political impacts, inverting the biopolitics advocated by Foucault to a social psycho-politics.

He points to affections that he calls “thymotic”, especially anger, as well as its degenerate derivatives, resentment and the desire for revenge, for example (but there may be others such as incitement to hatred), become the fundamental driving force of history and politics, so it’s about mobilizing these forces, and the populists do it well, to mobilize the population.

Virtue, good proposals and the call for dialogue seem to lose strength, however, the author himself points out that psychic ecosystems (among them moral) can produce these “affections”.

Written in 2006, the author already showed that anger, whose capital is precisely the dispersed and globalized world anger, produces a cultural omnipresence that he calls the “metaphysics of revenge”, but does not develop that the types of moral “affections” can be an opposing force.

It was not without this force that the Greeks developed the concepts of the citizen of the polis, it was not without the encounter with the human (excessively anthropocentric, it is true) that the renaissance made a re-encounter with humanism, after its modern development, now check me out.

The virtues seem heroic, impossible and almost despicable, the theft of the public thing, dialogue and the de facto respect for democracy (polarization favors dictators), seem to have no other way out, but the virtues exist and they are subject to our humanity (Picture: Giotto: The Allegories of Virtues, 1303-5).

It is not just about the female figure, racial forces and the countless forgotten people in politics, the important thing is to highlight that a social turn must be composed of moral and social virtues.

The figure of the mother was even developed by the writer Máximo Gorki in his historic book “The mother”, which does not mean anything other than the generation of good virtues, also those that generate social justice and peace between men, the Greek Maieutics , Sloterdijk perhaps alludes to the “matrix in grêmio” (in the mother’s lap) in her spheres.

In biblical terms, the figure of Mary, forgotten by some and even despised by Christians, is nothing other than the memory that from her “birth” comes a redemption, a salvation and it is not by chance that she is seen as all virtuous.

The biblical passage in which Mary tells her cousin Elizabeth that she was pregnant with Jesus is clear in her cousin’s greeting (Mt 1:42-43): “With a loud cry, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit from your belly! How can I deserve to have the mother of my Lord come to visit me? , being human (and divine through participation in childbirth) is within our reach.

SLOTERDIJK, P. Time and Wrath (Tempo e Ira), Brazilian edition: Estação Liberdade, 2006.

SLOTERDIJK, P. Spheres I: bubles (Esferas I: bolhas). São Paulo, Brazil: Estação Liberdade, 2016




Political, educational and moral virtue

18 Aug

The three distinct phases of the Greek polis can be simplified in the political arete practiced by the sophists and which justified only the rhetorical capacity (something close to today’s narratives), the educational areté, the Platonic ideal that means a good relationship between nature and education. , but here we are interested in moral areté, the overcoming between the antagonisms of passion and reason.

We give in to the passions, so politics is a kind of twist, the passions are all free and so there is no opposition to the contradictory impulses of the soul, and these forms already existed in the classical period, but they were believed to be “domesticated” using a term from Sloterdijk.

The domestication project failed, Sloterdijk’s finding that it predates the pandemic and the war was already present and scandalized philosophers who soon refuted it under serious accusations.

There is no more room for moral virtue, even theft and verbal and “symbolic” violence already seem to be liberated, any attempt to build a solid morality is fought on the contrary.

So it’s not about the war that is the apex of this moral barbarism, killing has justifications as insane as it seems, it has twisted and even fatalists who say it was inevitable, at the limit, we hope they don’t say the erosion of civilization is also inevitable , after all, defending life is the last moral appeal we have left and even he seemed in crisis with the pandemic.

Public morality, use of public goods as a service to the community, social morality, use of empathy and tolerance as forms of dialogue and public relationship, direct opposition and contradictory, are all moral principles that seem to be in recess.

What are the sociability, representativeness and policy proposals put on the table, just the denial of moral values, disregard for public affairs and a vague defense of what public goods and the interests of the most fragile population are in fact? at the limit of security.

Cabinet speeches are dissociated from reality, demagoguery and populism are the great instruments of political propaganda, the seriousness of what is proposed does not give in to the slightest examination of the reality of the facts, and talking about fake news should be addressed to practically everyone. .

The campaign has just begun and from the non-dialogue present in the speeches, we can only think that morality has succumbed to lying moralism and fallacious populism.