Arquivo para April, 2022

Being, Pain and Easter

15 Apr

This is a time that did not abolish Pain, because as we developed in previous posts it is inherent to existence, but we condemn it to oppose it to Being and Happiness, the philosopher Byung Chul Han wrote: “Just in the palliative society hostile to pain , silent pains multiply, crammed into the margins, which persist in their absence of meaning, speech and image”. (HAN, 2021, p. 57).

Nothing is more paradoxical in post-modernity than Pain, so the Cross is imagined as a symbol of liberation and of life, one could even say: absurd, but Paul the Apostle warns: “For both Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek wisdom; but we proclaim Christ crucified, who is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (Corinthians, 1:23).

It is in this perspective that racial violence, various forms of exploitation and what Byung Chul Han calls “self-exploitation” are explained, we no longer need others to exploit us, we do it voluntarily, incitement to a daily life with the mark of counting and not of Being.

The Pandemic could be an occasion for solidarity pain, but it was another impulse for exclusion, for isolation, for the strengthening of barriers and individual anxieties, which exploded in an anxiety crisis, in various ways of ignoring the pain of others, the point of denying it altogether.

It took a while, but in the final battle against the Pandemic we gave in to fatality, to the delirium of public parties out of time, the desire to overflow and try to ignore the pain for the ecstasy of public parties.

What appears on the horizon of this delusion are even more hellish wars, desires for domination and more power, lives are ignored with almost always absurd justifications: it was inevitable, there is no way to stop them without weapons, etc. more wars, more deaths, more suffering and market crashes.

Apparently, ignoring the divine Passion, we are making great strides towards a civilizing, humanitarian “passion” (of suffering) and a greater abyss than that which would be to live and manage the pains of a sick civilization and postmodernity with a horizon dingy.

There remains the hope of those who believe in the solidarity overcoming of a dormant humanity, of a balanced civilization center that recovers not only the process of hominization but also its solidarity with nature and the universe we live in.

This is a possible reading for the Divine Passion of the one who for love endured human pain, only a “passage” through Pain can make us understand a new possible humanity.

HAN, Byung-Chul. (2021) A sociedade paliativa: a dor hoje (The palliative society: pain today). trans. Lucas Machado. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.


The pains, the soul and the Being

14 Apr

In one of the most striking passages, at least for those who imagine a world beyond the corporeal, Byung Chul Han introduces narrative as part of the cure: “Senseless pain is possible only in a bare life emptied of meaning that no longer narrates” (Han , 2021, p. 46).

He claims and even includes [Walter] Benjamin in “Images of Thought” that speaks of unusual hands that convey the impression that it would be like “telling a story” (idem).

He also cites mothers who, with the “healing force”, sit next to the child and tell him a story, and after explaining the narrative flow with a dam for pain, he concludes: “it is the pain that first puts in [their] path”. (HAN, 20221, p. 47).

We live today in a post-narrative time, says the author, it is not the narrative but the counting that determines life, “the narrative is the capacity of the spirit to overcome the contingency of the body” (Han, 2021, p. 48), a body without a spirit is a body that ignores its own soul.

In her, “the disciplined body that has to repel many pains that come from outside, is poor in sensitivity” (page 49), a totally different intentionality characterizes it, it is not concerned with itself, but with something that comes from outside, and it is this “algophobia” that dominates us.

“This narcissistic, hypochondriacal introspection is certainly co-responsible for our hypersensitivity (to pain), he calls it the “pea-princess-syndrome” recalling an Andersen tale where the presence of a pea on the mattress of the future princess it causes so much pain that she can’t sleep at night, and it’s this kind of illness that happens to many people.

This kind of paradox of postmodernity is to feel more and more pain, with less and less, to the point that pain is not understandable, has no place in life and seems not to be part of existence and this is a form of positivity of Being. , where there is no negativity, and makes Being incomprehensible, or less meaningless.

As the author says, “if the painful pea disappears, then people begin to suffer from soft mattresses” and concludes: “It is precisely the very and persistent absence of meaning in life that hurts” (HAN, 2021, p. 51). ).

What to think, then, of the atrocious pains of war, of innocent victims, of growing political and ideological hatred, everything seems to collapse in a meaningless universe, when pain understood would return to the balance of Being, and the fullness of our existence, distant today, but possible in the near future..


HAN, Byung-Chul. (2021) A sociedade paliativa: a dor hoje (The palliative society: pain today). trans. Lucas Machado. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.


The palliative society or the absence of pain

13 Apr

Palliative society explains Byung Chul Han has nothing to do with palliative medicine, as the Korean-German philosopher explains: “Thus, every critique of society has to carry out a hermeneutic of pain. If pain is left solely to medicine, we miss its character as a sign” (Han, 2021).

It reminds us of a saying by Ernest Jünger: “Tell your relationship with pain, and I will tell you who you are!”, so a critical society is not possible without a hermeneutics of pain, the relationship with each suffering not only that produced by history, but that which is in the particularity of each Other.

“Survival society completely misses the point of the good life. Enjoyment is also sacrificed to high health for an end in itself” (Han, 2021, p. 34).

He recalls and quotes Agamben in his vision of homo sacer and via naked: “Without resistance, we subject ourselves to the state of exception that reduces life to bare life” (Han, 2021, idem).

In the palliative society “The art of suffering pain is entirely lost to us… Pain is now a meaningless evil that must be fought with painkillers. As a mere bodily affliction, it falls entirely outside the symbolic order” (Han, 2021, p. 41), emphasis added by the author.

So today, pain is removed from any possibility of expression, it is condemned to remain silent, and “the palliative society does not allow to enliven, to verbalize pain into a passion” (p. 14), emphasis added by the author.

Vargas, Cecília (2018) Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience project in one gallery. Curated by Cecilia Vargas, Dickson Center at Waubonsee Community College, June 7-July 10th(foto).

HAN, Byung-Chul. (2021) The palliative society: pain today. trans. Lucas Machado. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.



Horrors of war succeed each other

12 Apr

A country already enormously devastated, which suffered bombings in hospital buildings, schools and even hospices, still lives with narratives saying that the objective was not to take power in Kiev, although the number of military casualties on both sides is enormous, it is to frighten this kind of vision of war, which in itself is unjustifiable and inhumane.

An even bigger battle is brewing in Mariupol, where civilians were trapped without being able to receive humanitarian aid, and even Red Cross convoys were prevented from moving forward, the few who live and resist in the region are without strength, without food and trapped (there is now suspicion of chemical warfare).

The aim is to say that something has been won, and being situated to the east, the port city of Mariupol can represent a trophy of consolation for those who the aim of war is conquest and power, thus the whole eastern region from the Donbass to the Crimea that already is Russian territory, would be taken.

But what military analysts fear is that this encouraged the Russian government to move forward, and countries like Sweden, Finland, Romania and Moldova are on standby, it would be an escalation that would make clear the expansionist objective with many similarities to World War II.

There is an economic side, without a doubt, and at this point the Russian currency, the ruble, did not fall as sanctions expected, while the dollar is falling, there is a desire on both sides for a new world order, and this requires a deeper analysis, economists and strategists.

The increasing escalation of arms creates and accelerates global polarization, with numerous local influences, France is again polarized between the extreme right of Marine Le Penn and the center left of Emmanuel Macron, and this will surely spread across the planet.

So there is no peace if you don’t cultivate peace, if you don’t work and ask for it, in the middle of Holy Week in which the Passion of Christ is lived, the passion of human civilization seems more evident than ever, a food crisis in sight , a growing radicalization and polarization, far from peace.

It is difficult to ask for common sense, to ask for fewer weapons and more dialogue, to look at the nuclear danger that now sends a shiver down our spines, unfortunately not for everyone.

Yes, a deeper analysis of the war is needed, but as Hannah Arendt stated, totalitarianism about choices made outside the historical context, that is, without any common sense.

For those who believe in something, it remains to ask that it be possible to “take this cup away” and that would be divine.



Covid moving average drops, but variant already appears

11 Apr

According to data from FioCruz in March, the genomes of covid cases evaluated in patients infected with the BA.2 mutation (second lineage of the omicron) grew from 1.1% in February to 3.4% in March, it is 63% more transmissible and in Europe and the East it is already dominant.

The moving average of both infections and deaths has been falling (see the table to the side) but there is nothing in Brazil other than monitoring, the testing policy does not exist and the protocols are already relaxed, to complicate the cold and the carnival outside of time that favors agglomerations.

The cold favors lung diseases and consequently the Covid that causes infections of this type is favored, in addition to other respiratory diseases typical of this season, the flu vaccination campaign is still in slow motion.

The federal government says it does monitoring, the state ones don’t even that, the discussion about whether to release it or not is now irrelevant, since the population, at its own risk, has already relaxed preventive measures and carnival parties, completely out of season, will take place, private or public.

What remains for us is special private care and the hope that the vaccination rate in the country, which is quite high, will definitely stop the advance of Covid 19, amid other supply and price crises that are already quite worrying on the horizon.

So it stays on everyone’s conscience, since it’s not just the individual problem, the pandemic taught us that it’s everyone’s problem, someone who doesn’t take care infects someone close.



Pain, Being and the Other

08 Apr

Pain is essential in existence, philosopher Byung Chul Han in the essay “The society palliates pain today” writes talking about the pandemic and the rediscovery of Being: “I feel pain, therefore I exist. We also owe the sensation of existence to pain. If it disappears entirely, substitutes are sought” (Han, Vozes, 2011, p. 65). But the pain of the Other is strange to us, writes Han: “The nakedness of the soul, the being exposed, the pain with the other, are entirely lost to us” (Han, p. 104), there is no compassion.

That’s why the cruelty of war, the totalitarian leaders who expose this kind of contempt for the Other, for their pain, in the case of the Pandemic the number of dead are so anesthetized, it doesn’t hurt us so it doesn’t exist, which is a falsification of being , for it is Being only with-the-Other.

Megalothymia, the overvaluation of oneself, or of the social group to which one belongs, is both for Chul Han and for Fukuyama (who wrote “The End of History”, poorly read and interpreted), inspired by Nietzsche that this is the “last human being”, which reveals this type of anesthesia: “a little poison now and then: it gives pleasant dreams” (Han, p. 105).

It is important to understand why we admit death, even if unfair (of the innocent and those infected by the virus) because we do not imagine it as non-life, it does not hurt us, and the pain of the other is not felt, it can even be denounced by group aspects , but not as being and as Other. But it was not Nietzsche who “killed God”, not even the divine in us, the passion of the cross is pain-with-the-Other, it makes no sense but a divine Being who gives himself up for the Other, and there he is pure Being, it is divine Being.

When judging Jesus and even finding no crime, he hands him over to crucifixion, and even condemned the divine Being who will be subjected to a cruelty of thorns, scourging and finally crucifixion, still looks at the humanity of his executioners and says: “Father, forgive -them! They don’t know what they’re doing!” (Luke 23:34).

Who killed Jesus were the power of the Roman Empire, a face of totalitarian power, and the Pharisees: bad religion and misinterpretation of what should be our re-connection (true re-ligion) to the divine. Pain is essential in existence, philosopher Byung Chul Han in the essay “The society palliates pain today” writes talking about the pandemic and the rediscovery of Being: “I feel pain, therefore I exist. We also owe the sensation of existence to pain. If it disappears entirely, substitutes are sought” (Han, Vozes, 2021, p. 65).

HAN, B.C. (2021) Sociedade Paliativa: a dor hoje. Trans. Lucas Machado. Brazil, Petropolis: Ed. Vozes.





Innocent lives matter too

07 Apr

The war of all horrors and inhumanities has its cruelest face in the death of innocents, for this reason the death of civilians is condemned, although war itself must be condemned, there is no just war, the only just opposition to war is peace.

As much as this is a fact, it is important to think about the death of the innocent, where there is always a certain dose of intentionality, to foresee possible developments and alert to more horrors, when it comes to totalitarianisms (see the previous post) there is always a horizon gloomy and worrisome.

For this reason, the death of innocent people must be investigated and punished, it is a totalitarian, absurd act.

If we think about the war in Vietnam, where the Napalm firebombs were used (photo), where something close to 1 million people died (there are estimates that speak of up to 3 million people), and also 300 thousand Combojans and more than 20 thousand Laotians, then in the West too, it counts the lives of innocents.

Also the war in Iraq, the crisis in the Middle East and the African wars must be seen.

The death and bombing of hospitals, maternity hospitals and even asylums in Ukraine, it is clear that these data must be proven, they indicate the cruelty of this current war, and this is important not only for a trial in war courts, but for thinking about the possible ramifications.

In a climate of the end of the pandemic, a probable food shortage, the imbalance of military forces with technologies and the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is very worrying.

However, this is also observed in the micro-cosmos, in social and individual actions, the absence of feeling and compassion for the helpless, the lack of true humanism and the neglect of life, because the pandemic is not over and various types of denialism are growing.

A sincere look at a humanity that suffers and sees itself threatened by an even harder future is the obligation of every sincere humanism, and a special look towards the innocent is more necessary.

Without a great humanity that looks to the Other who suffers, we will not have a promising future.



The narrative of totalitarianism

06 Apr

It is not just about the war that is the apex of totalitarian action, the attempt to submit peoples and governments to a unilateral truth, to a way of seeing the world that despises others and more than making a history of authoritarianism, it is necessary to understand its origins. and its narrative.

This is how Hannah Arendt faced the issue when she wrote in 1951 “The origins of totalitarianism”, she seemed convinced that after the end of the second world war the problem did not end there, there she talks about hell, the nightmare, the Metamorphosis of Kafda, the onion and even the ugliness of an omelet, among so many other things, when the stories of Auschwitz reached their hands.

When trying to describe the totalitarian experience, the dilemma Arendt faced was that this experience could not be explained, not by political philosophy or traditional concepts, it is not as the culmination of a process of developing something from a past.

I remember a striking sentence by Lygia Fagundes Telles, who died these days when she would have turned 99 on April 16, wrote: “There is no coherence to the mystery or logic to the absurd”, dictators and their narratives only have logic in systematic propaganda, and in a cheerleading than other fanatics who support him and identify with him.

This form of narrative that Arendt wrote found opposition in a contemporary such as Voegelin to which she replied: “I did not write a history of totalitarianism, but an analysis in historical terms of the elements that crystallized in totalitarianism” (ARENDT, 2007, p. 403) ).

He also wrote in the “Crisis of the Republic”, that the first fundamental difference between totalitarianism and the other categories present in history is the fact that totalitarian terror “turns not only against its enemies, but also against its friends and defenders”. “; a second difference would be its radicality, which makes it capable of eliminating not only the freedom of action of individuals as tyrannies did through political isolation., eliminating not only opponents but also unreliable allies, there is a clear parallel in the current war.

In her note number 81, Arendt wrote: “The total number of Russians killed during the four years of war is estimated at between 12 and 21 million. In just one year, Stalin exterminated around 8 million people in Ukraine alone. See Communism in action, U.S. Government, Washington, 1946, House Document No. 754, pp. 140-1”, again the similarity with the current War is not by chance, and after Butcha these days Mariupol (photo) will be able to live a similar drama.

The last topic of Arendt’s book is: “Ideology and terror: a new form of government”, anyone interested in avoiding totalitarianism just read it, it is likely that someone will become aware of this terror.

ARENDT, H. (2007) Origins of Totalitarianism. trans. Roberto Raposo. São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia das Letras (in portuguese).



Now the horrors of war

05 Apr

The retreat from Kiev, far from being peaceful and moving towards a ceasefire, seems to have put more fuel in a war that is gradually returning to the horrors and barbarism of the 2nd. World War.

The photos and facts of Butcha, one of the districts around Kiev reveals scenes of civilian deaths with cruelty and genocide, leaders from all over Europe have already spoken out, and the President of Ukraine Zelensky himself went to check the mass and civilian graves on the spot. dead with their hands tied, in addition to reported cases of rape.

While international agencies speak of 280 bodies, Ukraine claims to have found 410 civilian bodies, either in mass graves or abandoned on the streets, many with their hands tied, while Russia denies these atrocities, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were “video spoofing”, however did not present any evidence to prove it.

Accusations of biolaboratories in Ukraine follow, also without evidence, if true they are also reprehensible, but they do not serve to justify the brutal death of civilians that leaves the war on another level, where agreements are more difficult and distant.

There is a new world order, or at least an attempt to implement it, the economic and political poles have shifted and a serious economic and food crisis is approaching, how to face it ?

It will be necessary to review values, if barbarism does not awaken our hopes it becomes more difficult, the pandemic itself should have already alerted us to a new wave of solidarity and concern, it is not just a virus, but attitudes that would be expected from leaders and the population, how many small wars still exist without opening to dialogue.

If we find this war and the pandemic horrifying, more horrendous are the attitudes of indifference and neglect, even the twisted ones that organize themselves or that despise the misfortune that occurs next door.

May the horrors of war at least serve to awaken a sincere humanism, concern and responsibility for the Other, mutual respect and dialogue, or we are heading towards an even worse reality which we have done nothing to try to avoid, or we have done little.

Peace, peace and hope, is the cry of those who look with love for humanity and for the Other.



Covid 2.0: flexibility and new care

04 Apr

Except for China, which still makes strict lock downs, even countries that practiced confinement, such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, by easing protection measures, had in recent weeks a significant increase in cases by covid, even so they reopened.

I call it Covid 2.0, because Web 2.0 meant the arrival of the Web for everyone, yes most cases are few serious and there are many asymptomatic cases, but the virus circulates, and the number of deaths is around 200, which is the case from Brazil, means 1,400 per week, this is not a small amount.

In Europe, many countries, such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, France and Spain, had already relaxed public health policy measures, and there are already increases in Covid 2.0 cases there.

Worldwide, the number of cases has been falling, and the WHO itself is already waving a post-Covid scenario, what is worrying is that there is no policy for cases of outbreaks in certain regions and a clear policy of easing, and the number of cases small deaths, 1643 in the last few hours, contrasts with the number of infections: 777 thousand.

It is believed that the new variants will be less serious (China has already discovered a new variant), although not less infectious as BA.2 is already more infectious than the original Omicron, which explains the high number of infections.

It would be advisable to check and isolate regions with outbreaks and not fail to have some social protection, for example, distancing and masks, which is possible even with flexibility.

The hope that the new variants will be less aggressive and that the number will continue to fall is good, but not failing to take care is dangerous and now depends only on individual attitudes and giving support to needy regions that still have low vaccination rates.

On these days the HSE (Health Service Executive) – Irish public health service reported that the number of cases of hospitalizations for covid has grown again and is studying to apply the 4th. dose.