Healthy living and talents

13 Nov

A society of tiredness, fear and authoritarian pressure can stifle talents, hide natural gifts that all people have, and that developing them depends on special care such as giving time, space and having sensitivity for them to develop.

Another serious problem is the social demand for efficiency and the pressure for results, they will come naturally if there is room for learning, growth and respect for cultural and social differences, from cultivation in the family, through education and social structure, only gifts will be developed when these structures are prepared to support individual talent. From a personal point of view, it is often necessary to overcome feelings of inferiority, talk and seek support from specialists and social sectors who can develop the aptitude they have, who often need to deepen their vocations and cultivate the gifts they have until they express themselves as a talent.

All the sociological work of Marcel Mauss, in his Theory of the Gift, is to demonstrate that it is not always useful, the simple exchange for financial advantages that in many societies transform cultural and social gifts into healthy social structures where those talents that naturally develop each person has, the issue of exchange and reciprocity are studied in some ancient cultures.

By studying non-European cultures, the gift in the virtuous cycle of giving-receiving-returning, Mauss helped to deconstruct European universalism, and can be considered one of the sources of studies of decolonization.

In his essay, the anthropologist and sociologist Maus, very early realized this challenge of bringing together a discussion about the relationship between decolonial criticism and anti-utilitarian criticism as his vision of the “gift”. In studying non-Western cultures, Mauss seeks to demonstrate the healthy and “universal” value of the gift system, in the form of the give-take-return cycle, that existed before the emergence of the market and the State and continues to exist, despite the dominant utilitarian ideology that seeks to emphasize the selfishness and commercialism of the talents.

The biblical parable of the talents, where a man when traveling abroad delivers his goods to his employees, giving “talents”, although this means a financial value the analogy with the individual talents is clear in the text, says the reading Lk 25,14- 15: “A man was going to travel abroad. He called his employees and gave them their goods”.

One gave five talents, the other gave two talents and the third gave one; each according to their ability.

Then he traveled ”, and the parable states that the one who received five doubled his talent, while the one who received one buried it to return when the boss returned.

So it is not a question of egalitarianism, but of a free distribution of gifts and how each one works his talents, in a healthy context in the case of the parable the man “goes abroad”, that is, each one can work his talent as he received, and when he comes back he gives a greater reward to the one who worked the talents he received the most, but everyone receives some “value” in talents and has the opportunity to develop, it is also clear that in this context it is the ability of each one to receive and return talents, as Mauss completes the act of “giving”, creating a virtuous cycle.




Gifts and talents

12 Nov

Gifts are things we do and we seem to be born with it, that’s why it was translated into Portuguese as a “dádiva” (godsend), while talent we can have an aptitude but it needs to be developed and improved to become really a gift, so we receive it from someone, from a structure or culture and we need to spend it.

Some cultures bring natural gifts, so it is said that that culture has good cooks, those are born workers, but a harmful or unnatural culture may not develop talents and even depending on authoritarian structures, suffocate it, but also in a white way a culture can spoil them.

Artistic, aesthetic and even moral gifts depend on a culture that promotes their development and make them talents that can be “donated” to the population in general, any culture that suffocates natural gifts is retrogression and may even lose its original roots , so many people who were colonized, marginalized or inferiorize suffer this type of mutilation, but there is always a way to resist, Picasso’s work “Guernica” is an icon of the Spanish resistance to authoritarianism, it only returned to Spain with democracy.

Also social, educational and religious structures can stifle natural gifts, and with that the talents that must be developed do not arise, they perceive the crisis process that lives, but they do not perceive the root and focal point of the crisis, they kill the talents and stifle the natural gifts that will generally endure.

It is the main characteristic of an authoritarian system, stifling talents and trying to control gifts, so few artists have survived in both Soviet Stalinism and Nazism and totalitarian regimes that served as support, such as Spanish Francoism and Italian fascism, but also modern perish from this evil.

Art is always a moment of resistance, Byung Chul Han developed the concept of Secret Garden, where it is possible to smell, feel and things, without mediation, a way to recover what he calls “original beauty”, the term it is good, but it should be combined with the concept of original gifts.

Da Vinci also stated that the “supreme law of art is the representation of the beautiful”, already for Kandinsky: “It is beautiful what proceeds from an inner need of the soul”.

According to Aristotle “beauty is the splendor of order”, but because of the association of this word with positivism, I would make a paraphrase saying that beauty can contribute to an original harmony that leads us to the good and beautiful as intended by Plato, a dialogue that leads the soul beyond the physical world, then there is the gift, the part of the original culture of each person and each people.

Combining gift and talent, we have a natural gift that, developing within a favorable culture, becomes a talent and elevates us as Being.


The “gift” theory

11 Nov

We leave a question at the end of the previous post (Power and gift), how gifts could serve society, and there are sociological studies on this.

Marcel Mauss, along with his uncle Emile Durkheim were animators of the French magazine Année Sociologique, and he was the main systematizer of the “don” (French) theory that was translated into Portuguese dádiva (“godsend”), as a gift, in English it is even worse because it became the theory of the godsend (gift in English), important thoughts for the founders of solidarity and fraternal alliances in contemporary societies.

Alain Caillé, founder and editor of Revue du M.A.U.S.S. (Anti Utilitarian Movement in Social Sciences) and one of the propagators of Marcel Mauss’ thought at the present time stated that this theory “provides the guidelines not only of a sociological paradigm among others, but of the only properly sociological paradigm that can be conceived and defended” (Caillé, 1998, p. 11).

The book by Marcel Mauss Essay on gift: form and reason of exchange in archaic societies (2003), brought among many contributions the sociological idea that the value of things cannot be greater than the value of the relationship and that symbolism is fundamental to the social life.

The emergence of a collective moral obligation involving the members of a society, supposes aspects as diverse since the exchange of goods as the simple exchange of a mere smile, it is necessary to emphasize the complexity of the motivations and the modalities of the interactions not to reduce them to the simplism of purely economic ideas, what he called homo economicus.

The notions of honor and prestige permeate the gift economy, being essential to guarantee the circularity and reversibility of the exchanges.

The Essay on donation inaugurates a fruitful tradition of studies on reciprocity and the circulation of things, expanding the theme of the alliance, central to French Anthropology from the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009), and which knows specific readings in the works of Maurice Godelier (1934-) and Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), he elaborates not only the theory of gift or giving, but the threefold obligation of giving, receiving and giving back, based on the analysis of different peoples that studied.

In their studies, goods circulate between clans and tribes following the rule that, the greater the donations, the greater prestige granted to their donors, but the benefits must be returned, if not immediately, at a later time, assuming a character disguisedly disinterested or informal.

According to his study, this occurs with the Taonga in Polynesia (photo above), with the Vaygu’a in Melanesia and with the copper emblazoned in the American Northwest.

This idea of ​​a gift (or gift as it was translated) is that what we have either as value or as talent can be given, reciprocated or received.


CAILLÉ, Alain. (1998) “Nem holismo, nem individualismo metodológicos: Marcel Mauss e o paradigma da dádiva”, Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais.

MAUSS, Marcel. (2003) Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques, Paris, PUF, 2007 (Trad. Bras. Paulo Neves. São Paulo, Cosac Naify).






Power and gifts

10 Nov

It is possible that someone who has very special gifts also has power, but only as a service to a certain group and in a certain context, the two things are not very confused, and confusing them is almost always a demagogic trick.

Wise people will be given positions or be in power structures only on merit, or because there is a need for their gifts for that structure or center of power, but if they are people who desire power at all costs, they will rarely have the gifts necessary for that to which are designated.

Power has already been studied in philosophy in different ways, in the Greek polis it was an invitation to citizenship, but almost all philosophers (of course after Socrates and sophists) should be trained in values ​​and have virtues that would contribute to a position within of the Greek polis.

Among contemporary philosophers Max Weber defined power as the imposition of the will of a person or institution on individuals, while for Marx the power resides in the one who has the material means of capital production, which in his time was factories and land, but today they would be the big corporations, the owners of vertical media (TVs, Radios, etc.) whereas for Michel Foucault the power in contemporary times is not centralized, but dissolved in society, it also created the concept of biopower, while the practices by which modern states seek to regulate subjects and “obtain subjugation of bodies and control of populations”.

Peter Sloterdijk wrote about the “timotic” situation of our time, the term “thymós” is based on Plato’s theory to designate the “organs” from which the impulses, the excitations, the most inflamed affections are born, in fact seem something common in our times, we do not react with reflexion to situations of power and command, almost always emotionally, on impulse.

Byung Chul Han, who was influenced by Sloterdijk, wrote about psychopower, influenced by vertical media and of course also present in social media, where the state of high tymotic tension is established by the successive and repetitive news that guarantee this state.

The personal, collective or social gifts of each person are submerged by these structures of power and propaganda, similar to the fascination exercised by the speeches of dictators and populists during the war and afterwards, and we cannot imagine that this is far from the current reality.

What are the gifts of those who could serve the population if they are not subjugated to this or that pressure group, is less and less plausible, so the stage for demagogues and populists is open, and dictators are on the prowl.



Pandemic and its second waves

09 Nov

In history there have been eight pandemics of this type since 1700, we will notice that at least seven had a second wave in some part of the world, according to the records of infectologists, but we have the Russian Flu (from 1889 to 1890), with the Spanish Flu. (from 1918 to 1919), Asian Flu (from 1957 to 1958), Hong Kong (1968 and 1969) and more recently Swine Flu (from 2009).

The second wave of covid-19 in Europe is spreading faster than the first, said infectologist Arnaud Fontanet, scientific adviser to the French government to fight the pandemic, while the virus mutation has spread from Spain. it is already 80% of new cases registered.

The second wave can occur for several reasons, including human behavior, which means how we deal with the virus and its seasonality, also the number of susceptible people, duration of immunity and mutations (like the second wave in Europe) are other possible explanations for this wave.

The behavior is easy to explain, hardly in more liberal countries people will be less inclined to accept the deprivations of isolation, since seasonality can be understood as peaks in different seasons of the year, in Europe the peaks are autumn and winter that happens now, while in Brazil it varies according to the region: the North and Northeast have more rainy periods, in the Southeast and South that will start in March 2021.

The promise of a “faster” vaccine is fearful, experts who respect the testing period understand that a vaccine will be very difficult before July of next year, and we must respect and be cautious with the testing period, mistakes in a vaccine may be more serious than the pandemic itself.

If the second wave occurs, the intensity and severity will depend on our ability to apply intervention measures and coordinate measures in a world that polarized even basic issues such as health, food and social security, it will depend on whether the second wave is more serious than the previous one.

The main function of clarifying the second wave, the regulatory process for testing vaccines and preventive measures is to keep the population calm and trust that there is a fight against the damage caused by the pandemic, it is difficult but without this we will have social chaos ever bigger.



A citizen planetary and prudence

06 Nov

The pandemic crisis showed that our most serious problems are global, affecting the entire planet, the second wave that is already in Europe will soon arrive in the different continents, if it has not arrived in small doses already, they lead us to think globally what it seems difficult with political polarization.

What is needed is to abandon old proposals, and make possible the coexistence of private freedom with the strong social urgencies, the proposal of the banker of the poor Mohanmmad Yunus goes in this direction, eliminating poverty, carbon emissions and guaranteeing jobs for all, has become the most urgent pandemic.

It is not the only proposal, of course, another such as solidarity, creative economy, groups of cooperatives of small farmers, can compose a productive ecosystem capable of adapting to local interests and vocations of production and human life, it is above all necessary to leave the excess consumption and social stress.

The cultural aspects in which the religions and beliefs (in the broadest sense of the word) of peoples and nations are included are not minor or negligible. I distinguish because many nations already have people of different cultural origins within them, what is called here original culture, which also includes indigenous peoples.

There is no clear agreement on how this can happen, a wide pan-national dialogue (which we have just said about “peoples”) is essential to organize a new social ecosystem where the foundation of social security combined with personal freedom are as premises for chart this future.

For the time being, as a family that has disorganized the accounts of the house, and reaps many troubles from this disorganization, there are still dictatorships of different ideologies on the planet, wars such as attempts at cultural submission, new types of colonialism, although a strong current of decolonization has emerged ( the term is this), what happens on the planet can be a rupture in serious situations and the “common home” itself can react, what we already call an aortic mutation.

A biblical passage talks about wisdom and those who seek it, it is a stage above simple intelligence, it is necessary to be open to the new and also leave what it “enters”, says the book of Wisdom (Sb 6,13-15 ): “It even anticipates itself, making itself known to those who desire it. Those who wake up early will not get tired, as they will find her sitting at their door. Meditating on it is the perfection of prudence; and whoever stays awake because of it, will soon live carefree”.

So wisdom is combined with the gift of “prudence”, and meditating on it is “the perfection of prudence”, ignorance creates only fanaticism and cruelty.


Civilization crisis and death

05 Nov

Returning to Pablo Picasso’s thought that the worst loss of life is not dying, but dying while we live is the one that best explains the civilizing state, even those who owe fraternity, dialogue, the planet as a common home seems hopeless and therefore tired , not that tiredness of the Society of Tiredness that is also a crisis, but that of those who have failed to find what unites, the positive and the true.

To speak of the post-truth, the sophistry is pre-Socratic, and the public lie has also been conveyed by newspapers and television channels, according to the political side they take, in the end everyone agrees that if you are not on the politically correct side, it is not true, so we remain in relativism and dualism, even those who preach against it, Edgar Morin is right is a crisis of thought, and Peter Sloterdijk is also “not a favorable time for thinking”, it is easier to take a side, although there are mistakes and successes on several sides, because there are only two.

I saw on Instagram that two very popular videos are of a young artist who makes puppets with skeletons, birds and funeral figures and another of a girl whose hair was decorated like a cemetery (figure above), it is a sad reality the post-Goths seem to dominate youthful fantasy.

In a BBC report on October 31, poor banker Muhammad Yunus stated: “We need to redesign the system by guaranteeing a new economy of three zeros: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions. And we know how to do it. The problem is that we are very lazy and we are very comfortable in the system we have, we don’t want to leave our comfort zone ”, is a new thinking may not work, but without a doubt people, the poor and the planet need answers, the old ones create more polarization and misunderstandings, in addition to post-truths, in this case with a new meaning, from an ideological point of view they were once true, today they are post-true.

There are situations and I think that the planet itself can react, an aortic reaction, the inorganic one over the organic one, after all we came from the dust, from some chemical reaction and certainly if we don’t change the route we will go back to the dust, not that life’s fatality physical personal death, but dying in life.

The question that remains is whether this reaction from the inorganic planet could change something in the human organic, your mind, your being, for something better.



How to account for our faults

04 Nov

We all commit faults, if it is true that we cannot deceive life with death, said the poet Goethe, we cannot fail to recognize the fatality of life that is its final decline. There is no contest to be made, nobody stayed for seed, says a popular Brazilian saying, and we don’t know what is wrong with the other, except for those who believe.

During years of life we ​​walk inattentive with small and large faults, most of them we push under the carpet, other times we justify not always in a fair and coexistent way the faults we had, attributing the blame to the Other, but what to do before a moment that we must recognize what we did not do well and that we may have harmed many people.

Leon Tolstoy describes in “The death of Ivan Ilitch” a man in the face of death, who sees relatives more concerned with inheritance than with his own life, describes in the book: “He cried like a child. He wept because of his enormous weakness, and the terrible abandonment in which the family left him and for the cruelty and absence of God.”

Of course, not everyone will remember the absence of God, it is a kind of sacrament of ignorance, but there are also those who, even having “practiced” a religion, will find it difficult to perceive their faults and thus will have difficulties to account for them.

Even the joys of life seem distant at a time and that we will all be very fragile, Tolstoy describes in his tale: “The further away from childhood and closer to the present, the more insignificant, the more doubtful were the joys.”

It would be good if, due to a supernatural event, we could have clarity about our weaknesses and time to redeem them, but not everyone will, maybe something can happen.

It would be a great proof of existence and God and the idea that it is possible for humanity to have salvation, the pandemic crisis is greater because there is a civilizing crisis.


Death and life

03 Nov

Pablo Picasso is right in saying that “death is not the greatest loss of life. The biggest loss of life is what dies inside us while we live ”, but in the face of a pandemic that threatens everyone, in the face of a second wave that promises to be even worse, Makron and other governments in Europe have already said, we must face the theme.

Where was All Souls’ Day, remembering more parents and some people who are no longer here always made me a lull in the face of life and death, what we came here to do in this short passage, should be the question of these days.

The pandemic could have taught us more, at least it managed to stop the frantic life of the Society of Tiredness, but the vast majority of people behave as if there were not many people dying and that they too may be suddenly at a crossroads, which I think so , it will not only be personal, but the whole planet.

I read in one of Edgar Morin’s last books: “instead of being nobody’s land, we could be everyone’s land”, it is not what still happens, today is election day in the USA, without polarizing it can be said whether he won his life or death, I do not speak of government policies either, but the threats of war that always hang over humanity in times of war.

All of us will one day abandon our dreams, promises and the good things we have done, it will be time to give an account if not to God, to those who believe, future generations about the legacy we have left.

Living life and being happy should always have the happiness of others as a complement, if I am not a cause of happiness around me, my own may be compromised, and at the end of the journey only what we have done will be left and that those who stay will be happy to remember.

The relationship with the Other and with Nature, which is also another, must be modified so that we have hope for a promising future for those who are born.


Second wave or is it another Cov-2

02 Nov

In a recent article “Emergence and spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020” published on October 28 on the medRxiv website, they reported the spread, presumably from Spain, of a variant of the Covid virus -19, which would already be 80% of recent infections, the article will still have peer review, but the scientific community has already raised the alarm, the article will still have peer review.

Since the beginning of September, Europe had already seen an increase in cases of infection and resumed the distance measures, it was the end of the summer, now in October the measures have become irreversible, and the President of France even declared: “the virus circulates at a speed not foreseen even by the most pessimistic forecasts… we are all in the same position: invaded by a second wave that will undoubtedly be more difficult and more deadly than the first ”, England has already decreed lock-down and we are still in the fall, the reverse this year promises to be strict.

Germany, Prime Minister Angela Merkel made an agreement with the local governors to make a “lockdown light”, but by the end of November bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms will have to close, it will be a domestic Christmas and with many restrictions in Europe.

In Italy, the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has determined that at the beginning of November bars and restaurants across the country will only be open until 6 pm, gyms, swimming pools, theaters and cinemas cannot be opened.

The measures impacted the stock exchanges that had a sharp drop, from 2% to 4% in Europe, and more than 4% in Brazil, today holidays here, the stock exchanges abroad recover, but the apprehension now turns to the scheduled American elections for tomorrow, however many votes have already been anticipated and there will be a record of votes.

The companies that develop the vaccines promise to speed up, but experts point out that this is not possible and for this variant it should also be tested.