Arquivo para a ‘Politics’ Categoria

Power and domination

21 Feb

We’ve written in our previous essays about the difference between power and domination, and while it can be wielded with wisdom and discernment, most of the time it devolves into the purest form of domination: control of opinions and narratives and the exercise of force for this, so it’s very easy to become pure domination.

Byung Chul Han in his book “The swarm” that talks about “psychopolitical” domination discusses the use of media and its control for this, current trends in the use of AI make this more dangerous.

We wrote in a previous post here, long before this war tension looms over our civilization:

“Symmetry, reciprocity, the understanding of human diversity and respect for it are almost always ignored in the models of the beginning of the 20th century, returning to them is nothing but a harbinger of a greater tragedy: the civilizational crisis with deeper roots than the previous ones”, we wrote this well before the beginning of the war in Eastern Europe.

Understanding that this is part of models of political domination of opinions and power narratives, Byung Chul Han’s analysis in his book: “What is power” shows the efficiency of using new media as an efficient and directing form of control even of our “freedoms”.

Among his analyses, we find among several discussions around modern and contemporary philosophy and the routine practices of postmodernity one that is particularly important and that escapes many analyses: gamification.

The game that, in general, motivates participants with its reward system that produces immediate sensations of success is also an exploration tool in psychopolitics. Social communication manifests itself in the grammatical lack of Twitter, in the affective appeal of the like and in the alienation promoted by influencers.

Thus, wanting, which is manageable according to our possibilities and the Other’s reactions, is trained in electronic games as a compulsive wanting, the desire is to “kill” the enemy, and the increasingly compulsive rhythm is being dictated by battles and speed in battles. answers.

Even if you can find advantages in gamification or think of it in educational terms: building a house, a farm or making knowledge games, there is a strong predominance of “battles” and domains of territories.

Han, Byung-Chul. (2018) What is power?. NY; Wiley. 



In the week of a year of war

20 Feb

There are intense bombings on the combat fronts in Ukraine and missiles over the country, there is no prospect of ceasing shooting, internally Ukraine had a 30% drop in its production, while Russia manages to circumvent international sanctions, but not internal dissatisfaction.

The fear of a more intense war is so great that a part of Russian pregnant women, who can travel, went to Argentina, for the sympathy of the government there and it cost, since Argentina has a serious economic crisis that devalued the currency. .

The military maneuvers in the South Atlantic generated protests in the West, Russia, South Africa and China carried out joint military exercises, from the countries that make up the economic bloc of the Brics, Brazil maintains neutrality and should talk this week with Zelensky, while India makes efforts her peace.

The Brazilian government refused to deliver ammunition to the tanks that Germany is sending to Ukraine, but the conversation between Zelensky and Lula could change the scenario, since there is an express request from the American government, and Lula met with Biden recently.

This all shows that there is not just an ideological context, the geopolitical context is thought of, there is even an undeclared agreement between Russia and Israel, which throws the Arab world to the Soviet side, among these forces the fearsome Iran that has been sending drones to Russia.

All this is a cold analysis of the war, but some sources point to 60,000 dead in clashes on the Russian side, and more than 100,000 on the Ukrainian side, thousands of mutilated people, an absurd number of exiled Ukrainian people, in addition to material damage.

In the State of São Paulo, the governor decreed the end of mandatory vaccines in public environments and the federal government will no longer release daily reports on the pandemic



Wrath and Peace

17 Feb

It is true that the history of humanity is punctuated by wars, but what would happen if it were the other way around and men sought in all circumstances to find a more solidary and less dark path for their conflicts.

However, an international conflict at this moment would be a tragedy that could put the civilizing process itself in check and whose consequences would be unimaginable numbers of human lives lost, nature contaminated and material damage.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Eastern Europe is taking on an increasingly international outline, a Russian frigate loaded with unstoppable hypersonic missiles and with a range of a thousand kilometers is heading across the South Atlantic towards the American east coast.

The Stoic philosopher Seneca (4 BC–65 AD) who wrote a treatise on Anger, which unlike many others says that there is no wisdom in it, wrote in his work: “No man is made more courageous through anger, except one who, without anger, , would not have been courageous: anger, therefore, does not come to help courage, but to take its place” (I.13).

So war is not only a bad adviser, it takes the place of courage and true heroism, that which leads humanity to harmony, tolerance and true civility.

It may seem altruistic, but the true Christian teaching is present in many religions, remember Ghandi’s Hinduism, which intransigently defended peace, so says the attentive reading of the Bible: “You have heard what was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth! I, however, say to you: do not face those who are evil! On the contrary, if someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer him the left as well!” (Mt 5,38-39).

We can avoid a civilizing catastrophe, but not without forgiveness and concessions. There´s still time. 




Anger and social issues

16 Feb

One of the strongest arguments for anger is the social issue, before economic, now cultural and ethnic.

The book by the American John Steinbeck, caused a great malaise in society, was cited with a certain reverence when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 although the book is from 1929, the book was well received in Soviet Eastern Europe at the time and in the Scandinavian countries.

At the time, the book was burned in public squares and banned from schools, it was the beginning of the cold war and McCarthyism (persecution of communists in the USA), although the author never had an affiliation.

The book begins with Tom Joad, the central character of the book, asking for a ride after 7 years in prison which was his sentence for having murdered someone as a result of a bar fight, even though it was in his self-defense he ended up being declared guilty.

He finds nothing in his old house and ends up discovering that they had sold all the belongings and going to Uncle John’s house and getting there he realizes that everyone is ready to leave and discovers that the big companies and farms are closed and the farmers are leaving to California to look for work.

It is the period of the great American depression, and social issues are emerging, the book shows the conditions of work and exploration in the fields of fruit plantations in California, Steinbeck is from the Salinas region, where the novel takes place, which although fiction has a connection with the region.

The question is how far can the limits of this type of revolt go, is it just violence and ideological struggles when these conditions are present, what are the alternatives to the problems, is it likely that we will enter a new recession, in addition to the risk of war, the book by Steinbeck gives us a similar scenario (recession and war) and may point us not to a return to the past, but to a new possibility for the dark future that awaits us.

Steibeck, John. (1939). The grapes of wrath. First edition: New York Viking,  1939.




On Wrath and War

14 Feb

There are those who defend that Wrath and its maximum expression, war, are necessary and in many situations unavoidable, the Roman philosopher Seneca, in addition to theorizing the issue and writing a treatise “On Wrath”, in three books, in the first theorizing, in the second it deals with advice and examples to avoid it, since for him anger is always harmful.

The work concludes with tips on how to calm yourself and other people and summarizes the work, according to the philosopher a great man should never be angry.

A must-read for today is Wrath and Time: psycho-political essays, by Peter Sloterdijk, in which he not only deals with an overview of the issue in Western thought, we add Seneca on purpose as a counterpoint, the author shows that it it is valued for being the driving force of heroes and warriors, and it is said that this force was lost with the repression of anger, but is that really so, or was it transferred to the State that monopolized it.]

Love in the Time of Cholera is a book by Gabriel Garcia Marques from 1985, where the backdrop is Latin America, the genre is fantastic realism and talks about a love triangle that lasted for more than 50 years, contrary to what it seems and suggests, there is true love behind the triangle.

During all his life Florentino Ariza loved and waited for more than fifty years Fermina Daza, the novel can remember and is a good parallel with Candido or Optimism, by Voltaire (which is from 1759) and which ironizes the provincial spirit of Candido in the eternal waiting for his beloved Cunegonde, who finally conquers her at the end of her life, in this case there is no triangle, but an impediment due to the nobility of the maiden and the vulgarity of the commoner.

The novel takes place at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, and there was both the plague of cholera and war, and this brings a very current reality, it is not an idealized love in a contradictory context (cholera and war), Fermina was married to renowned physician Dr. Juvenal Urbino, the narrative is intelligent because at the beginning of the book the doctor dies, and then the author will put the story of both and a repressed love, and what love is like in a mature phase.

This maturity and despite the fantastic realism, according to the author himself would have a lot to do with the love story of the parents themselves, and although it speaks only of human love, it brings a positive reflection on what love is, how much it can be true and mature when his whole life is tried.

In 2007 it was filmed and directed by Mike Newell, I confess that I haven’t seen it, but I believe that the little interest from the critics is a thermometer of how good it is.


MARQUEZ, Gabriel García. (2016). Amor no tempo do cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera). Trans. Antonio Callado. Ed. Special hard cover, Br: Editora Record.

SENECA. (2014) A Ira: sobre a tranquilidade da alma (On Wrath: On the Tranquility of the Soul), trans. José Eduardo S. Lohner, Br: Ed. Penguin-Cia.

Sloterdijk, P. (2012) Ira e Tempo: um ensaio Político-psicológico, Br: Estação Liberdade.


Geopolitics of war and “viruses”

13 Feb

Not even the serious earthquake in Turkey and Syria, with more than 25,000 fatalities, managed to appease the spirit of anger and revenge that shakes the planet.

The war suffers a scale in a world geopolitics, the Russian ship Almirante Gorshkov (supported by the supply freighter Kama) passes by the coast of Europe and goes towards the USA (recalls the crisis of Pearl Harbor (1941) and missiles in Cuba (1962)), after “spy” balloons now there is a wave of shot down Unidentified Flying Objects, which are not aliens, but just unknown devices.

In the aspect of the pandemic, some changes in the behavior of the syncytial virus (complicated name for a multinucleated mass of cytoplasm formed by the fusion of originally separate cells) that occur in seasonal viruses, now seem to have an atypical and out-of-season behavior, in the southern hemisphere, for example, we are still at the end of summer.

Returning to the war, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov was sailing towards Africa, it was accompanied by a supply ship that followed this route, but the frigate changed course and is now heading towards the United States which causes an increase in tension in the war that it was not only from Ukraine and Russia, some Russian missiles also crossed the southern border of Ukraine and headed towards Moldova, the feeling of total war is growing.

It is good to remember that the frigate heading to the USA has the fearsome and unbeatable Zircon hypersonic missiles, even being in international waters, it can reach a distance for the American east coast to be reached safely, which will certainly aggravate the international and imminent crisis conflict.

After the balloon event, the one accused of being a spy in American airspace, two other “unidentified objects” (which do not have aliens) were shot down, and this Sunday (02/12) one of these objects was shot down in China, everything indicates espionage and ongoing counterintelligence.

In terms of the Pandemic, these extra-seasonal viruses cause concern due to their severity and volume, Marcelo Gomes, coordinator of InfoGripe (from Fiocrus), says that these viruses called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) can be attributed to two factors: the mitigation of care with the pandemic that also curbed other viruses and the lack of control in collective environments, which prevented greater contact and circulation of viruses socially.

Both in war, concern grows both with peace and with the possibility of new pandemics, the international climate remains tense, recently there were barbs between French Prime Minister Makron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was excluded from the meeting with Zelensky.



Essence, fairness and ethics

10 Feb

When discussing the “good life”, a classic concept that Paul Riocour takes up in his reflection on fairness, he links it to classical philosophy where “it is “the desire for a ‘good life’ with and for others in just institutions”, and there are problems in democratic institutions, because the concept of being has been abandoned.

The reflection we made on the question of Being in Heidegger, we left a link to what is essence thought of as acting, where the concrete universal differs from the conceptual or representational universal, acting is a question and cannot be reduced to the concept , then it involves an interiority, and not just a subjectivity or objectivity, as Hegel wanted.

Thus justice depends on the Just, who questions and corrects his actions, in this consists the Platonic dialectic, seen as the art of thinking, questioning and organizing ideas (Greek eidos), and this implies correcting the action by thinking, not just punish, but modify thinking about action.

We cannot just question the legal aspects of justice without each man, including those who have committed crimes, being able to rethink and act anew in the conduct of his own life and life with others, of course there are repeat offenders, but both the norms for this are clear, for correction no.

What is fundamental in Hegel’s ethics, and this urge permeates Rawls’s thought, is that we must always choose between two evils, when it is possible to correct both the lesser evil (from which greater evils originate) and the greater evil in order to rethink society. and justice, including the distribution of social goods.

In the long speech of Jesus to his disciples in Mt 5,17-37, he explains that their justice should be superior to that of men, he begins by explaining that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to give it greater amplitude, then he explains about not killing, and says that even those who are angry against their brothers are already sinning, in short, they give each “legal” teaching greater depth, and thus it is not mere legalism, but the full fulfillment of what is just.

Those who condemn the norm, and remember only the fact that the Pharisees did not allow Jesus to heal and do good on the Sabbath, undoubtedly a hypocrisy, cannot forget that for Him there were “divine laws”, which corrected human action and that the modern society wants to abolish.

Full freedom also means full justice, and there is no just society without just men, it is necessary to educate them, this has been thought since Plato.



Ethics and fairness

09 Feb

Understanding what ethics is, as we have seen in previous posts, is fundamental to understanding what is fair, but great ethics has developed for contemporary idealism, and while neocontractualism is just a truth, the concept of ethics is essential for understand idealistic values.

The Hegelian system can be seen in three parts (only didactic): the idea, nature and the spirit, the idea is the general plan of modern philosophy (on the left the New Hegelians and on the right the Old Hegelians), nature is part essential to discuss contractualism and its aspects, the spirit is divided into: objective, subjective and absolute.

While the absolute refers to the idea of ​​“pure”, objective and subjective dualism are part of contemporary dualism, as for justice, the objective can be divided into: abstract right, morality and ethics.

It is a theme that is too long and profound, as is typical of Hegelian thought, but since consciously or unconsciously it dominates a good part of thought (at least the one that is elaborated on, it is common now not to elaborate and just say, like “simple as that”) , ethics is essential to read it.

In Principles of the Philosophy of Law, in paragraph 142 he writes: “that my will be placed as adequate to the concept and with this and with this overcome and with this its subjectivity preserved”, as is typical of idealism thought, objectivity overlaps subjectivity ( which is characteristic of the subject) and roughly speaking it can be said that here lies the fundamental difference with Paul Ricoeur, as he focuses on what is fair (subjective) and not justice.

The supposed passage from an abstract subjectivity to a substantial one and from a universal to a concrete one is accomplished in this way, ethics is the very definition of what is the good and what is of the subjective will, in the hermeneutic method, there is an intentionality and not a subjectivity .

Thus morality is reduced to social morality, or objective morality, as an individual it can only be realized in community and denies interiority or subjectivity.

However, there is no justice without fair men, and in many moments of history men had to break with tyrants, with false values ​​that were hidden around apparently altruistic social proposals, but whose project was one of domination, we have already differentiated power of domination .

In the hermeneutic perspective, both the unconscious and the imaginary are relevant to understanding a context, and they are almost always based on preconceptions, and the individual wonders how to insert himself in a story, he also wonders what objective action he should perform.

Regarding universality, phenomenology rejects the idea of ​​the “pure” abstract, Ricoeur sees a conflict between solidary particularism and that only a deepening of intercultural aspects can conclude which alleged universals will be recognized universals in different cultures.

When dealing with the issue of justice from the social perspective of goods, Ricoeur deals with the problem by analyzing the purely procedural conception made in Rawls, for him the problem of this conception lies in the fact that it does not realize the heterogeneity of the goods that are involved in terms of their distribution and for which institutions they were defined, political usage, proselytizing and duty-bearing define many institutions.

Ricoeur also analyzes the conflict of duties in the context of solicitude, and uses the case of Medicine in the context of Amnesty International, if he were writing now in the pandemic he would have a beautiful example to question this issue of the distribution of goods, as were the cases of vaccines .



The fair and the legal

08 Feb

Legality is evidently based on laws, even if strange or questionable, it is a kind of “social contract” for living in society, which is why the topic of the previous post is relevant, even more so if one considers that the highest point of what is legal today is neocontractualism.

Paul Ricoeur wrote in two volumes on the subject, done in the form of essays, in the third essay he deals with John Rawls’s Theory of Justice, not only attests to its relevance but also he claims what almost all of us said at a time in our childhood : “this is unjust” and then this precedes the sense of the Just as they also concern not only the law, but all people.

Ricoeur in the preface of Justo 1 already pays attention to the detail that the theme is connected to the idea of ​​what is ethical, in classical philosophy, is “the desire for a ‘good life’ with and for others in just institutions”, and here he situates A good part of the civilizing crisis has emerged: the mistrust that exists in democratic institutions.

The expression “good life” taken up from Aristotle is a qualifier of good in a strict ethical sense, so the good is inseparable from the good of the other, under the penalty of being nothing more than a reprehensible selfishness, which degrades the subject in the sense of moral plane.

Put more clearly, the relationship with the other is constitutive of self-awareness, and it is, to a certain extent, ethical beyond the legal and merely moral.

Where only obedience is decisive, even with an inner conformity to the moral Law, which can be unavoidable in every ethical life, this has something beyond the Law, in it man desires the Good, aspires to the Good for himself and for others, in a sense that also becomes consciousness for the other.

It is obvious that this finds a barrier in our faults, the bad feelings, the bad actions, the violence that mark society since the most primitive times, in this sense it is necessary to awaken the conscience of guilt, which contains in it the very conception of judgment, this means to limit yourself.

For this reason, the theme of freedom is relevant, what kind of freedom is desired and under the pretext of what conception of justice, thus “fair institutions” are needed.

So this is Ricoeur’s formula: “: « the desire for a good life with and for others in just institutions », without them the legal becomes revolting.

However, it must be said that “institutions” are not limited to the legal aspect, in the same way that what is fair cannot be reduced to what is legal, it is necessary to analyze it in depth.

To explain this, Ricoeur says what is awareness of the Law: “Applying a norm to a particular case is an extremely complex operation, which implies a style of interpretation irreducible to the mechanics of practical syllogism”, that is, simple logical rules, there is not one subjectivity, but a transcendence.

When giving a lecture to the L’Arche Association (founded by Jean Vanier) that cares for exceptional people, he addressed the theme and spoke of respect when dealing with the difference between the normal and the pathological, relying on the works of Georges Canguilhem, who discusses the epistemology of biology.




What is fair, how did this concept develop

07 Feb

All contemporary tension involves something beyond politics and economics, the tension over the conception of social contract and power.

The concept of justice is linked to modernity by Contractualism, through construction from the thought of Thomas Hobbes through John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, they take man out of his natural state and exercise him to live in society, they will differ in this way on the concept of who man is: evil by nature and must live under guardianship, he is influenced by society and develops in it, or he is a “noble savage” that society corrupts.

The set of natural rights and the theory of the state of nature is what is called jusnaturalism, whose problem is that the state of equal rights generates conflicts and the state must arbitrate, but in modern society it is together with the liberal utilitarian thought .

Thus, they are all linked to a social contract established by the state, and the first major criticism is made by Hegel, which he will understand by general will is a pure, idealistic concept, maintained in a rational instance, above any agreement or contract.

Max Weber will make a deeper reform by differentiating domination from power, since domination is the acceptance of power that can be given in three ways: legal, traditional and charismatic. However, in none of them the use of force is dispensed with and the social question is not always remembered.

John Rawls develops and re-elaborates a Theory of Justice based on classical contractualism, determining the rights and duties that must be carried out in order to carry out the so-called “cooperation of peoples” and offers contributions to the social issue that is a source of conflicts.

However, current theorists such as Emmanuel Levinas and Martha Nussbaum, question each one in their own way, if the social contract does not have a serious limitation, Nussbaum points out, for example, the problem of people with mental or physical disabilities, the problem on the issue of animals and forests.

Levinas starts from the ethical requirement that exists in Rawls’s work to elaborate the idea that we must refuse the temptation to impose our will and strive to establish peaceful compromises, and thus rejects the idea of ​​the state as having a monopoly on violence and power, in a certain way. sense, it also re-elaborates the issue of domination and power, central to Max Weber.

Lévinas, E., Humanisme de l’Autre Homme, (1973) (Montpellier : Fata Morgana, 1972).