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Civilization, crisis and anger

15 Sep

The civilizing process, which involved wars and wars, was also marked by other major crises, coincidence or not, simple natural fact or divine intervention, the black plague from 1347 to 1353 which killed 50 million people, a high number for the population at the time. , anticipates a moment of crisis at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.

Today there is no correction that can be called “cynical” given the current connotation of the word, but Sloterdijk’s Critique of Cynical Reason applies well to skeptics: they do not believe in any morality, they do not believe in civility, and they bring anger and social anger leads to contempt.

The political event is the fall of Constantinople, on May 29, 1453, which gave rise to the Ottoman Empire, which later expanded throughout Europe, putting an end to the Byzantine Empire, of course together with a cultural movement that revived classical Greek teaching.

Also at the beginning of the First World War we had the Spanish flu, of course a correlation between epidemics, crises and wars is not so simple and easy to understand, however the fact that periods of civilizational crises led to wars and the birth of new empires is a fact , after all, after the fall of Constantinople, the Turkish-Ottoman Empire was born, which was until the first world war.

The existence of hate, of intolerance is practically inherent to wars, there is no shortage of justifications for a certain type of “justice”, there are several arguments for hate, for peace there is only one: love of life and appreciation for the civilizing process, perhaps it is time to reverse the logic of war: conquest.

We will only enter into a civilizing process worthy of humanity, if we abandon the primitive methods of correcting errors and injustices, almost always subject to narratives, a true process of human development worthy of the name cannot be carried out with the practice of wars and genocides with attempts to euphemisms that soften the cruelty.

The book of Ecclesiasticus says (Eccl 17:33): “Resentment and anger are detestable things, even the sinner seeks to dominate them”, and error must always give way to forgiveness and reconciliation, how many times? The biblical reading says: “seventy times seven” (Mt 18,21).

The developing process points to the outbreak of a war whose consequences are very worrying due to the power of weapons, technologies and global involvement.

There is always a possible opposite attitude, a virtuous circle is always possible, will it come?



Testimonies and humanism

09 Aug

True humanism is what allows the evolution of the civilizing process, preserving what is essential that every man has, which is his Being, this goes beyond the conditions of economic, social and political survival, he must include the Other and give this testimony.

Testimonies range from cases in which someone needs information and turns to someone or some epistemic means (organized knowledge) to new scientific reports that reveal the most intricate mysteries of life and the universe.

Epistemologists agree on the importance of testimony as a source of justification, along with perception (cognitive and beyond), memory (all means of information and dissemination) and reasoning (beyond the logical, physical and metaphysical), The divergence lies in how falsely justified testimonial beliefs can arise from justified beliefs.

This is due to the fact that not only beliefs considered in the religious aspect, but also them, but the fact that it is possible that testimonial beliefs involving perception, memory and cognition (my addition) are reliable from previously justified beliefs, this is the current called reductionist, because regardless of the testimony, it is already justified.

Anti-reductionists argue that the justification of testimonial beliefs is straightforward: we are justified in believing something simply because someone testifies to something even though there are no reasons not to do so, there are different tentative responses to this debate.

Outside of this epistemic debate, we must think that we live in a time when it is difficult to think and organize information in order to reach the testimony as a source of truth, one can defend peace even by making war, one can defend democracy by limiting the civil rights and divergent ideas, justice can be defined by changing the rules of law to give rise to injustice, one can proclaim a belief even while limiting oneself to a partial practice.

Thus, what is at stake is not the testimony of beliefs, but often their own denial, and it can be a matter not just of bad faith or ill will, but of difficulty in cognition, which is why I made this addition to perception and memory, where the problem is the source of information.

A true humanism must presuppose testimony, otherwise we do not have a reliable reference for our arguments, dialogues and overcoming disagreements.

We can only test our way of life if we live up to what we witness.


Leonard, Nick, “Epistemological Problems of Testimony”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2023 Edition), Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.), URL = , 2021.


The moral decay of the state and trust

08 Aug

The most serious social crisis in our state is that even being democratically elected, elected officials such as deputies, senators, mayors and the highest representatives of countries are not worthy of credulity and respect and this sometimes explodes beyond what is moral.

Trust as an epistemological concept, which can give credibility to the term, is essential if we think about social, family life or friendship circles, but there is no consensus on a reliable definition, not wanting to make a redundancy.

If we read scholars we see that they felt the need to verify the origins of the concept, in the search to better understand its use in areas of knowledge where there is an epistemological arrangement that helps this clarification.

A pioneering work on the subject was developed by David Hume, who from the historical reasons regarding the role of testimony in the justification of beliefs, which ended up being known as Testimony Epistemology.

Who imagines that this is an outdated subject and has little or nothing to say to current thought, I quote the thought of Giogio Agamben in an interview in Il Manifesto, in which he said? “Against this testimonial experience of myth stands the myth conception of modernity, which (in the form of the demythologizing and science of myth on the one hand and the search for a ‘new mythology’ on the other) is actually only the shadow produced by Enlightenment reason” (reproduced in Flanagens, on 06-14-2021), said the octogenarian Italian philosopher.

Both in oral and written culture, testimony is important, but a question arises for today: why do we trust, if not in all, at least in many testimonies?

In the history of epistemology, testimony as a source of true beliefs has been relegated to the background or disallowed in philosophical conduct, because the current tradition of epistemology is strongly individualistic.

The social aspect of knowledge acquisition, therefore, was not part of the knowledge problem. But it is not difficult to demonstrate our epistemic dependence on others for the acquisition of true beliefs.

It is not possible to restore trust without a true Testimony Epistemology.




Theophany existed, does it?

03 Aug

When we have a clarification or an insight we can say that there is a re-velation, something new emerges, but we still don’t have a final or total idea about a given mystery.

It cannot be confused with sentimentality or even a very strong emotion, it can be revealing (in the sense of revealing again) but the consequences and the ultimate end of that emotion will depend on other new revelations, they are temporal affects and emotions.

Unveiling is something much deeper, it means taking the veil off, science itself has evolved throughout history, the so-called “structures of the scientific revolution” by physicist and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, in another line, Karl Popper developed the idea of ​​method falsifiability, which is always to be aware of the limitations of scientific theories.

Unveiling means not restricting oneself to the material, empirical and quantitative aspects of reality, it aims to rationally understand the real entity as a whole from its ultimate causes, so temporal causes and affects are not at stake, that is, it is not revelation.

It is possible to unveil mysteries through scientific paths, the quantum ideas since Werner Heisenberg (The part and the whole), passing through Einstein (Theory of Relativity) and Neils Bohr who wrote about the correspondence theory (atoms and radiation): “it seems to be possible throw light on the immense difficulties, by trying to draw an analogy between the quantum theory and the ordinary theory of radiation, as closely as possible”, later the model advanced.

In the unfolding of the biblical narrative, a theophany takes place, a divine manifestation where no human explanation is reasonable and there is some “eternal” truth that confirms it.

In the biblical-historical path that we travel from the exodus, there is a passage from the Theophany (Ex 40:34-35): “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the sanctuary. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud remained over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the entire sanctuary”.

This also happens today, are there manifestations and theophanies? Yes and even religious institutions doubt it, and they have nothing to do with false prophecies with vested interests.

I read a book in my youth by an Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda, in which he described a person he met in Germany who ate only a consecrated “host” and did not look weak or sickly, also a hero of the unification of Switzerland, Nicholas de Flüe (1417-1487) lived out the end of his life like this, with the permission of his family and wife.

The Jewish photographer Judah Ruah from “Fatima Miracle”, from a traditional Jewish-Portuguese family, published a photo for the newspaper Illustracao Portugueza, on 09-29-1917 a photo of the so-called miracle of the Sun promised to the 3 shepherd children of Fatima (Portugal), which occurred on October 13, 1917, which was previously announced by them as proof that the mystical signs they received were true, almost 100,000 people went there (photo), all of whom saw the Sun dancing in the sky.

Of course, later there were several scientific explanations for the phenomenon, but it is interesting that the 3 shepherd children anticipated the exact day on which the phenomenon occurred and therefore the crowd present, in a village that is still small and far from large centers.

In the case of the Portuguese Theophany, it is important to note that it precedes the 1st. World War and asks for prayers for the future of humanity, with the danger of war could happen today too?

Bohr, Neils (1928). O Postulado Quântico e o Recente Desenvolvimento da Teoria Atômica. Trad. Osvaldo Pessoa Jr. In: Fundamentos de Física I – Simpósio David Bohm. Org. O. Pessoa Jr. São Paulo: Livraria da Física, 2000. p. 135-159 (portuguese).

Heisenberg, Werner (2008). A Parte e o Todo: Encontros e Conversas sobre Física, Filosofia, Religião e Política. 4a. reimpr. Trad. Vera Ribeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Contraponto, 2008. (portuguese), in english:

Heisenberg, Werner (1971). Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations. World Perspectives vol. 42. Translated by Pomerans, Arnold J. New York: Harper & Row.



The noosphere and oral culture

06 Jul

The period of oral culture predominated before 3000 BC, although there were scribes in Egypt, cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia and ancient Babylon, there was also writing in Ancient China and also in the civilizations originaries in the Americas: Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.

The form of dissemination of culture and, therefore, of the evolution of the noosphere was through prophets and oracles, whose main function was the transmission of oral culture and preceded literate and philosophical teaching, until we have a more notable turn in Greco-Jewish culture -Roman.

In biblical terms, according to Genesis reports, using genealogies presented in the bible, we can say that it is at least 6 thousand years old, but if we understand the narrative, Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer, so this narrative begins at the moment when man becomes more sedentary and the civilizing process becomes clearer, the fact that Abel is a shepherd is symbolic for biblical language.

If this is a fact without historical proof and also Noah and the flood are still an eternal search for documentation, however their sons Shem and Ham can already be found in history, since the Semitic and Hamite peoples are registered in history, and Jafé who was to dwell in the tents of Shem.

The Semites were the dawn of the Mesopotamian cultures that peaked in Babylon (1792–1000 BC) and were later dominated by the Persians.

Prophets and oracles will be fundamental in ancient cultures, they should have a certain “divine” illumination so that history does not get corrupted and customs are changed.

According to Genesis 11, from the Flood to Abraham passed about 292 years, and from the birth of Abraham to the settlement of Jacob in Egypt passed about 290 years, ‘from Abram to the coming of Christ is about 2000 years, and then begins an era of written culture, and thus the gospels appear while in ancient Greece the Socratic and Platonic schools, since we know of Socrates through Plato and then the Aristotelian school, period that the schools and writings are fixed.

It is not about overcoming oral culture, but it appears together with writing, handwritten books, which later became famous for copyist monks, this period is called scriptorium.

Oral culture remains with native peoples, also among African peoples, printed writing will be a conquest of modernity, so to speak of schooling is to speak of modernity, and now we are in a new transition due to new media.




Truth between logic and onto-logic

30 Jun

The truth in the ontological construction of the Greeks, there is something inexorable to Being and this led them to believe that somehow this was configured in a cosmological whole, the “highest good” of Plato or the “immovable motor” of Aristotle, was not just physical, but also meta-physical realities.

The physis for them was for the pre-Socratic philosophers something permanent, primary and fundamental and later it was elaborated as nature, which included the “cosmos”,

Plotinus, a neo-Platonist, will extend this reality to the Soul, which would be an intelligible form that thinks inside the intellect, in the current debate about consciousness in Artificial Intelligence, we would say that it is sensibility, of course it is necessary to resume in the context of Plotinus, he states in Ennead VI, 4:

“And we, what are we? Are we the one or are we the one that was associated and exists in time? Indeed, before birth took place, we were there [in the intelligible], being other men, and some also gods: pure souls and intellects united to the totality of essence, parts of the intelligible, without separation, without division, but being of the whole. (and even now we are not apart)”.

Thus the whole remains, if there is not in Plotinus the God as known by monotheistic religions, there is the idea of ​​the whole that “put on us and added to himself that man”, in the continuity of the text above.

Saint Augustine starts from this idea to affirm that the soul is “the presence of God in man, and his connection with the Creator, responsible for the similarity of man with God”, as well as associating the soul with the One, a category also used by Plotinus , and in him the One is God.

It is true that modernity abandons the idea of ​​God and, by dividing thought into objective and subjective, makes secondary what takes place in the mind, thought and soul, in short in the noosphere, and this also happens with the religious world, as we posted yesterday it is not enough to say “sir, sir” it takes an action that corresponds to a certain belief.

Even in his historical time, for those who believe this epiphany continues, Jesus already asked his disciples “who do men say that the son of man [I am]? ” (Mt 16,13), because he knew that much of what it is like to be divine and timeless would be confused with earthly and contextual aspects only, in times of cruelty and hostility it is necessary to rethink what we think of eternal, timeless and that we will no longer legacy for all mankind.




The truth between thought and action

29 Jun

The whole logic of the sophists was a logic of power, the logic of flattery, of hidden and sometimes even confessed interests, in a society and in a thought without the necessary appreciation, the truth is the values ​​and logic of power, oppression and lack of freedom that work.

It is not a lack of someone who tells the truth, but rather a lack of thought, of sincere listening and dialogue, after all, what the hermeneutic circle proposes in relation to the text (fusion of horizons) means recognizing that we all have, at an earlier stage, the our prejudices, our beliefs, our political or social vision.

So a “method” is needed and it cannot exclude counter-arguments, attentive listening and sincere examination of what we have as “our truth”, when we make room for the Other something new almost always happens, and if it doesn’t it’s because of the other On the other hand, there is not the same openness, but it is still worth listening and pondering.

In the political field, the politics of polarization is an eye-for-an-eye, an attempt to mock and ridicule the opposite thought, there is no possibility of merging horizons and not even a healthy dialogue, what a common citizen sees is the unpreparedness and the anti -policy.

The same goes for cultural and religious discourse, exacerbated and out-of-control positions are far from winning over followers, creating more radicalization and hatred within what they intend to fight, taking the civilizing process to the limit, and leaving young people and children with no prospect of a full and peaceful future.

In the religious field, it is important to remember that it is not the one who says “sir, sir” who will conquer eternal happiness, but the one who puts into practice what almost every religion or cult proposes, extending a hand to the neighbor and not doing to the Other what he doesn’t want you to do it to yourself, it’s a minimum logic and ethics without which no law or cult makes sense.

We want world peace, respect for peoples and their cultures, but we must do our homework first.



Noosphere and True

28 Jun

The concept of Noosphere comes from Volodymyr Vernadsky (1863-1945) later adopted and developed by Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), it is the idea of ​​a third layer beyond the Geosphere and the Biosphere (biological life) that develops human thought, not only from the point of view of knowledge, but of everything that motivates the Being, the passions, cultures and decisions that are taken and develop the way we relate and live in society.

But since we organize ourselves in society, cultural development where the layers of structures and forms of transfer of cultures happen and develop already form a layer of “thought” of society.

Teilhard de Chardin, who in addition to being a paleontologist was a Jesuit priest, elaborated that the entire universe is enveloped in this layer of “thought” and that it is in constant evolution, which for a long time was worth some objections on the part of religious people.

With a look at Google and also attentive to the “intelligence” of mechanisms such as ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing and others, it necessarily leads to a discussion of what Artificial Intelligence is.

We have already indicated the book by Jean-Gabriel Ganascia “The myth of singularity” about the falsity of some technoprophecies about the machine overtake the Human Intelligence, we have also indicated the recent interview with Miguel Nicolelis, a renowned Brazilian scientist, known for his research in neuroscience.

So this sphere of thought lives in constant evolution and the tools and technologies are underlying parts of this evolution, however it is necessary to understand what in fact they are and how they can contribute to life on the planet, it is the collaboration of the noosphere with the biosphere.

The truth is that which is established as reality in the face of human challenges, many things are outside human thought, such as cataclysms and events in celestial bodies, but the healthy development of this sphere of human thought is important.

For Teilhard de Chardin, the spiritual part also collaborates and participates in this development, for him the whole universe is divine and Christocentric, that is, a revelation of love for man and life.

About false prophecies it is good to remember the passage of Mt 7,15: “Beware of false prophets: They come to you dressed in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are fierce wolves”, but it is easy to recognize them alert reading: bad trees bear bad fruit.







Culture and the Merely Instinctive

13 Jun

In analysis of the book malaise da civilization, Freud correctly analyzes what is instinctive to want to dominate the other, in his psychological analysis it is with the id that prevails in childhood and it is possible to demonstrate that every civilizing process somehow deprived the satisfaction of human beings and peoples in some way.

He clarifies at the beginning of his work: “it is difficult to escape the impression that in general people use false measures, that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire those who have them, underestimating the authentic values ​​of life” (Freud , 210, p. 10), clarifying that generalization should be avoided.

Although he initially denies a judgment about religion, in a supposed dialogue of letters with an interlocutor, he describes what “he would like to call the sensation of ‘eternity’, “a feeling of something unlimited, without barriers, as if ‘oceanic’ ‘. It would be a purely subjective fact, not an article of faith; it does not bring any guarantee of personal survival, but it would be the source of religious energy that the different churches and systems of religion take hold of, conduct through certain channels and also dissipate, without a doubt” (idem).

The author makes an anthropological, sociological and, to a certain extent, clinical finding that demonstrates both the constructive and destructive nature of man as a function of life and death drives, written in the period between wars (1918-1939), reveals the effort to prevent impetus hostile to the human species overcame the barrier of civilization’s superego.

Freud thus expressed the fear of war in his time: “[…] human beings have reached such control over the forces of nature that it would not be difficult for them [to] resort to them to exterminate themselves to the last man” (FREUD, 1930, 2010, p. 79), so the systematizer of psychoanalysis seemed to see beyond his time, seeing the limits of horror in our days.

In fact, the civilizational humanizing desire is not specific to this or that religion, but when Christianity calls men and women to be “Salt of the earth and light of the world” it is so that, in addition to the power, the destructive capacity that peoples and nations have, these forces are used for the progress of all humanity and not for a particular group or social vision.

The technologies and vital forces taken from nature cannot serve any purpose other than to provide well-being to the greatest possible number of people, this is the meaning of life and it is based on the salt that gives taste to food and life. light that illuminates the people (the Himalayan salt in the photo).


Freud, Sigmund. (2010) O mal estar na civilização (Civilization and its Discontents) (1930). In: FREUD, Sigmund. Civilization and its Discontents, New Introductory Lectures and Other Texts (1930-1936). Complete works volume 18. Translated by Paulo César de Souza. Brazil, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.


Civilization and dissent

06 Jun

There is “An Evil in Civilization” wrote Sigmund Freud in 1929, after his appeal reached where he predicted the 2nd. World War, at this moment extrapolates the cultural and is almost exclusively psychic, reason and high thinking are not in fashion, values ​​are inverted, what remains is the couch.

At a time like this, everything around us gets worse, it’s not just the economy and politics, spending on medicines and doctors increases, educational and justice capabilities are distorted in defenses and accusations with the help of lawyers or public defenders without changing the course of dissent, the time and content for educating dialogue, criteria and reason is reduced.

Also in the educational and social areas; the excess of actions and attempts at models, which are motivated by misunderstandings on both sides, theoretical models and teaching methods, live with the difficulty of facing dissent and often result in the total loss of hierarchy or sense of value, the difficulty of accept (or exercise) what would be authority.

At the same time that authority is confused with authoritarianism, disorganizes the school mission and often prevents public discourses of discussion and responsible dialogue from being exercised, values, even spiritual ones, collapse, everything seems to collapse in a cascade.

Sometimes all that remains is to listen and remain silent, sometimes it is necessary to correct with courage, but dialogue is always possible, and patient listening ponders even when it differs.

It takes models that correspond to life, to ethical and moral social interaction, to save empathy and mutual respect, when only some want respect that they do not offer to others, there is no way to start a fruitful dialogue process.

There are niches of civilizing coexistence, there are peoples and places where dissent has not settled, where hatred has not won and hope still lives.

Finding and giving value to these little lights that illuminate the civilizing night is fundamental, otherwise doctors, psychiatrists and educational methods will not be functional, they will have no life.