Violence and power

28 Dec

All contemporary Western literature leads to the reading of two things that are apparently not opposed, but are frontally opposed: love and power.

Violence has been a common theme since man has been a man, the confrontation was initially aimed, like animals, at the domination of a territory, the demarcation of countries, it does not always mean nation and its culture, it is imposed by the dominating power, thus the first Babylonian empires were born , Persian, Roman in its decadent stage, the medieval monarchies, the Mongol empire and later the Turkish-Ottoman one.

Since the discussions of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau, the so-called contractualists, who disagreed about the violent origin of man: man is bad, man is good and it is society that corrupts him and man natural is good, the so-called good savage, what is certain is that the modern state, unlike the Greek polis, is the one that has the right to violence.

In Plato’s Republic it was not like that, the idea of ​​this philosophical school was to educate man to be a politician, he should have wisdom and virtues (aretê), wisdom being the greatest of virtues, but it is necessary to remember the polarity between Athens, city of the wise and Sparta, city of warriors, so the idea of ​​violence remained in everyday life, and Aristotle not only walked in this direction but also became tutor of Alexander the Great, Emperor of Macedonia.

Thus, Plato’s idea remained influential in Greece, and the attempted alliance between Greeks and Macedonians to defeat the Persian empire did not happen, even so the empire extends throughout Asia Minor, reaching India, but not the conquest, without heirs and with disputes between his generals the empire splits and weakens, soon in the following period the Roman Empire begins to form.

Modern violence before the wars was concentrated in the division of kingdoms, with the Protestant reform and also the Anglican one in the United Kingdom, until the Peace of Westphalia was established.

The great theory about the modern State and power will be elaborated by Hegel, it is dominant today regardless of ideological positions, after all Karl Marx was also Hegelian (news, as he called himself), but it is the modern state that holds the power to cause Peace, Pax Eterna as Kant intended, but which resulted in two wars and we are on the verge of a third, which we hope will not happen.

However, looking at the current literature, a good part of it deals with barbarism, the two books that I indicated and will read next year go in this direction, although with opposite political tendencies, Zizek and Dalrymple focused on the theme, but there are many others: “Anger and time” by Peter Sloterdijk, “Violence” by Slavov Zizek and “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosemberg among others.

I remember Byung Chul Han’s quote from his book No Enxame, which analyzes the violence of new media, where he states that only respect is symmetrical, that is, both sides are non-violent.

The novel/fiction by Gabriel Garcia Márquez “Love in the Time of Cholera” risked a happy ending, unlike other books he wanted to make happiness possible, creating a kind of modern fable or a desperate hope, where “a utopia of life , where love is indeed true and happiness possible” (Márquez, 2005).

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia (2005). Love in the Time of Cholera. Rio de Janeiro, ed. Record, Brazil. (in portuguese)


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