Arquivo para October 3rd, 2023

Exercises for political reflection

03 Oct

When we enter Manichaeism we only perceive opposing forces without clearly discerning where evil and ethics lie, every philosophical exercise about evil is seen from a moral perspective.

However, what is moral has become confused, precisely because power has become confused with violence, and Hannah Arendt’s reflection on this is quite enlightening: “Power and violence are opposites; where one absolutely dominates, the other is absent (ARENDT, Between the past and the future: Eight exercises for political reflection, 1961).

The philosopher’s argument is simple, difficult to understand in a polarized world, but I would say it is the first of her reflections on politics when power is exercised legitimately, violence is absent. This means that in a healthy political system, power must be based on consent and voluntary cooperation, rather than resorting to violence to impose the will of one group over others, as there is no consent by others.

Much of political reasoning today is to exercise violence against opposites, this is its own denial, Arendt argued that freedom and political action are synonymous, since politics has no meaning enclosed in itself, the famous bubbles, being free is a necessary condition for political exercise, the exercise of citizenship, any limitation becomes violence.

Freedom exists as a plural condition of man, in religious terms it is free will, in social terms it is the possibility of acting freely as a citizen and having protection for this, if this condition is removed there is no other definition to the system other than the authoritarianism.

Just as in the arts: music, dance and theater, political action is valued as a “virtue”, all serious theories since Plato aimed at this participation in the “polis”, even Machiavelli’s amoral concept of virtú, performance requires a “audience” and a space for the spectacle to take place, in Arendt’s view, the Greek polis was “a kind of amphitheater where freedom could appear (Arendt, 2001, p. 201).

Listening to the contradictory, allowing it to express itself is a necessary condition for politics, the model of excluding opponents is nothing more than a euphemism for dictators.

Arendt does not fail to analyze the violence advocated by Marx, and returns to Aristotle’s zoon politikon, poorly read by hasty readers: “… which may be difficult to perceive, but what Marx, who knew Aristotle very well, must have been conscious” (ARENDT, 2001).

And he continues: “Aristotle’s double definition of man as a zoon lógon ékhon, a being who reaches his maximum possibility in the faculty of speech and in life in a polis, was intended to distinguish the Greeks from the barbarians, and the free man from the slave. The distinction was that the Greeks” (Arendt, 2001, p.50), living in a polis […] conducted their actions through discourse, through persuasion, and not through violence and through mute coercion.

For philosophy it would have been a contradiction in terms to “realize Philosophy” or transform the world in accordance with Philosophy without it being preceded by an interpretation, thus Heidegger warned that Marx’s statement “philosophers have interpreted the world, now it is up to transform it” is contradictory, because you must think about what transformation you want.

ARENDT, Hannah. Between the Past and the Future Trans. Mauro W. Barbosa de Almeida. 5th ed. Brazilian edition, São Paulo: Ed. Perspectiva, 2001.  Em english (pdf)