Arquivo para January, 2024

Culture, intelligence and wisdom

31 Jan

The problem of contemporary culture has already been addressed in several posts, psychiatrist Anthony Daniels who signs his books as Theodore Darlrymple (What We Made of Our Culture, Anything Goes, The Knife In, etc.), intelligence continues to be questioned now with the scapegoat of the digital universe, but whose crisis has been going on since the beginning of the last century (neopositivism, neologicism and the simplistic view of reality), now takes on the contours of a lack of balance, common sense and even some sense of humanity.

Edgar Morin explains this lack of wisdom through the disciplinary and segmented view of reality, a complete absence of a complex and broad vision that gives rise to what he calls polycrisis, however it is important to question what wisdom is.

In the Greek sense, it is not private knowledge in the sense of morality, but public and social, which aims to minimize exacerbations of the self’s egocentric impulsiveness, when placed in the perspective of the work of art, it reaches a level of universal, good and beautiful principle.

The Greek word as “friend of knowledge” or knowledge is reductionist, one of the Jewish words for wisdom is chokmah or tushiya which mean wisdom that leads to practical success, it seems more appropriate to the current reality, because it is wise if it has practical meaning for life of each person and of humanity as a whole.

This is in good agreement with the Greek word proposed in terms of a virtue, phronesis, which is usually translated as prudence, a term that the contemporary philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer adopts but translates as serenity, judging it to be closer than prudence.

Those who claim merely objective knowledge, with an idealistic flavor, are in reality impractical, indicating a lack of wisdom, they become impulsive and active (in the sense of the Vita activa that Hanna Arendt and Byung Chul Han claim), typical of Western society. tiredness.

We want quick, consumerist or media-based knowledge and it has nothing or little to do with wisdom, which requires thought, contemplation and non-immediate thinking about facts.

Current society has deviated from practical knowledge because it demands intelligence and culture without realizing the deep connection it must have with wisdom that comes from a deeper reflection on the Being, things and the essence of life.

We defend peace, but we do not avoid catastrophe, war, hatred and dialogue and respect for those who are different, there is no practical wisdom in this type of contemporary thinking. 


Resistance or catastrophe

30 Jan

So says the article by the century-old thinker and educator Edgar Morin, in the article for the Italian newspaper La Reppublica, we are “heading towards probable catastrophes”.

And he asks: Is this catastrophism? This word exorcises evil and gives an illusory serenity. The polycrisis that we are experiencing across the planet is an anthropological crisis: it is the crisis of humanity that cannot become Humanity, the word polycrisis has already been used by the author in other contexts: that of thought, the ecological and social crisis, now he adds one anthropological, other authors say the age crisis of the anthropocene.

He, like other authors, pointed to this crisis, but believed that a change of direction was possible, now it seems too late, “we don’t know if the world situation is desperate or really desperate”, it doesn’t mean with or without hope, like or without despair , we have to move on to a Resistance, and now different from that of the 2nd. war in which France was occupied by the Nazis (photo), now the world is occupied by polarization and hatred.

The facts and situations drag us into an unprecedented war, “we are condemned to suffer the struggle between two imperialist giants with the possible warlike intervention of a third”, as the author says, “the first resistance is that of the spirit, which must be capable of resisting the intimidation of all the lies spread as truth and the contagion of all collective drunkenness”, calls for a spirit of sobriety and of those who believe, of faith and hope.

Today we must know how to resist hatred and contempt, “it requires the effort to understand the complexity of problems without ever giving in to a partial or unilateral vision. It requires research, verification of information and acceptance of uncertainties” wrote Morin.

This “resistance also implies the coordination of associations that are dedicated to solidarity and the rejection of hate. Resistance would thus prepare young generations to think and act through the forces of union, fraternity, life and love.”

It’s not about finding justice in some kind of hate, but hating the hate itself, it’s not about cheering for this or that side of the war, but making war on war itself.

The resistance that Morin calls for must involve all people of good will and solidarity among those who truly know the consequences of such a war, beyond speech. 



The resistance of the spirit of humanity

29 Jan

Victor Serge wrote “Midnight of the Century” in 1939, in the middle of the 2nd. world war, now in an article published in La Reppublica, on 24-01-2024, the French sociologist Edgar Morin published an article: “The resistance of the spirit” about the crisis of current wars.

The war in Ukraine mobilized economic aid from much of the world, while on the Russian side, economically weakened by the sanctions imposed by Western nations, it strengthened both technical-scientific development and the bloc formed with China.

Serge, an anarchist by origin, who supported the Russian Revolution, saw it bureaucratize and persecute all real and imaginary enemies in the Stalinist period, described in “The Great Terror” (1934-38), years before describing the horror to midnight, and whatever you say about today.

A new focus emerged after a massacre of civilians by Hamas on October 7, 2023, followed by deadly Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip.

In Morin’s analysis, which has been developed for some time, the progress of knowledge occurred by creating barriers in disciplines that are increasingly closed in their object, which leads to a new type of almost blind thinking, linked to the dominance of calculation in a technocratic world, the progress of knowledge does not consider the complexity of reality and becomes blind.

The result of a lack of clarity and understanding of human life exposed by the ease of access to all life on the planet, without its understanding, has led to dogmatism and fanaticism, and a crisis of morals while hatred and idolatries spread.

Recalling the years of Nazi occupation in France (photo Carentan France, June 1944 From the LIFE Magazine Archives), in which Morin himself was a member of the French Resistance, he now evokes a resistance of spirit that avoids almost desperate or truly desperate action, and maintains hope through Resistance.

This resistance implies safeguarding or creating an oasis of communities endowed with a say in relative autonomy (agroecological) and social and solidarity economy networks.

This action also implies associations that are dedicated to solidarity and rejection of hate.



Ontology and Power

26 Jan

Not the external aspects that show what kind of power we nurture and defend on a daily basis, but those that we concretely place inside our Being and practice as a consequence of what we have inside.

Just like vices, virtues can also have a virtuous circle, they can become habits, and in the face of each phenomenon or thing, we take an attitude that has a good or bad intention.

Power is strength, capacity and, at the same time, authority, but there is the authority of testimony and public recognition, which is a power that is imposed through respect, the only relationship that can give it symmetry (equality before the Other) , and there is the power of force, the one that leads to oppression and ultimately, wars.

We find this in the philosophy of Idealism, which led to a conception of the Absolute and the State, whose peak was Hegelian idealism, and we can find it in everyday life in theories of self-esteem, self-valuation to the detriment of the Other and literature that emphasize the “I”.

Ontology, which is the deepest study of Being and Entity, on the contrary, goes in search of the deepest roots of Being and individual fulfillment without forgetting the relationship with the Other and with things, yes there is an emphasis on “things” today (see Non-Things by Byung Chul Han) however, concrete relationships with nature, food and money say something about who we are.

In this philosophy, the essence is treated as a characteristic element of being in someone, like rationality, which makes man, for Saint Thomas Aquinas, the essence is “quiddity” (the thing in itself) or “nature” encompasses everything that It is expressed in the definition of the thing, both in its form and its matter.

There are no concepts in Ontology, but rather conceptualization, which is a relationship with Being on languages.

This philosophy, although metaphysical, is considered realism, as opposed to nominalism where naming things and conceptualizing them is stronger than the essence of what is, we observe this in all fields of philosophy and human life, we are a “label” and not what we are interiorly and essentially.

The authority of those who expel what is bad for the essence of human life and the civilizing process must be analyzed in light of these categories and not just from the perspective of power.

The essence of Christ’s authority, which underlies his “culture” was a type of Authority in essence, says the reading: “Everyone was amazed at his teaching, because he taught with those who have authority, not with the teachers of the Law” ( Mc 1:22) and even cast out “demons”.




Change of route and power

25 Jan

Today is the day of the city of São Paulo, and the day of the apostle Paul is also celebrated by most Christians, not a coincidence as the name of the city was given after the apostle, during the time of Portuguese colonization in Brazil.

His name was Saul of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia where he was born in 5 AD and was a highly educated Jew who fought Christianity as a Christian sect, being one of those responsible for the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

It happened that on the way to Damascus, through a horse falling, a figure used to this day to indicate people who change their mentality and route, he had a mystical revelation and became blind, and in this vision he was instructed to go to meet Ananias, and his view has been restored.

From then on, he is called Paul and from then on he will be responsible for taking the apostolate to the Gentiles, as those who were not Jews were called, since these were the people chosen by God, so Christianity leaves its Jewish limits and arrives even Greeks, Romans and other people who lived in the Roman Empire.

His elaboration of thought will then go beyond the limits of Jewish customs, although with some controversies such as the need for circumcision, he will be the first and important theologian of Christianity, having influenced thinkers such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, important for Christianity, but also for philosophy.

Paul will understand that this is not a fight for human power nor a fight against the domains of temporal power, but rather the fight against the earthly mentality that does not reach values ​​beyond power, wealth and human passions.

Without Paul, Christianity probably would not have left the Jewish domains, nor would it have reached Greece, Rome and the entire Roman Empire and then the entire world, despite the persecution of local powers it expanded in the world of people and took root within cultures.

The civilizing and human route cannot aim only at taking power and submitting to the values ​​of this power, without a solid human base, with timeless values, power is confined to the dimension of weapons and oppression.

Peace, harmony between peoples, respect for cultural diversity cannot be subjected to the power of weapons and oppression, the lack of freedom and the absence of dialogue and respect.


The political question and thinking

24 Jan

The state model, as seen in previous posts, coming from classical antiquity, was profoundly transformed by contractualism (Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau) and Hegel’s state thought, creating categories such as Philosophy of Spirit and a complex thought based on the triad that develops a cyclical path, going through contradiction of opposites (thesis and antithesis) and synthesis that generates new opposites.

It assumes that the State has superior ethics and laws that are only objective if they are complied with, as it is only formal (that is, it remains idealistic) and the Constitution supposedly results from the spirit of the people and must be thought of as in constant formation.

The State, in its theoretical assumption, exists for itself by virtue of a natural need, which for it is “divine”, since this need, to be founded, does not need the consent of individuals, nor any contract, in short, it is an absolute power.

His theory aims to represent a finished thought, which aims to be the limit of philosophy itself. Here we can understand the paradoxical phrase of Marx (a Hegelian) who states that philosophers must now change reality, creating the state “pure” dreamed of by Hegel, would be an end to philosophy, a system that undoubtedly began with Plato and had politics as its objective (the training of citizens for the polis).

This ultimate thought, states Hegel, “this science is the unity of art and religion. Therefore, philosophy determines itself in such a way as to be a knowledge of the necessity of the content of absolute representation” (HEGEL, 1995, p. 351).

In his youthful writings, Hegel wrote his central theme on theological issues, because the future Berlin professor formulated countless reflections on Christianity, always having Greek culture as the basis for the ideal of political organization, even comparing Jesus to Socrates, So these theories are older than we think.

In the third volume of the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences, he rehearses what he later deepens in his publication of Philosophy of Law, in 1821, a study of the State (ethics) that differs from the time because it resumes a teleological conception of the relationship between universal-particular, its philosophy and elaboration as it uses the Law is still ideal.

As one of his followers, Hegel was strongly influenced by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854), who tried to establish a relationship between the real-ideal of political conception, Marx will criticize these “more idealistic” philosophers, calling himself neo-Hegelian, a philosophy from earth “to heaven”, that is, an inverted idealism, but it still is.

The idea that this political theory could approach ontology comes from a simplism where Being is confused with thinking (let us remember that this is Cartesian: I think therefore I am) and thus its ontology would be that Being, understood by the dimension of thought, absolute identity, seeks to overcome the object-subject, being-thinking and in this last relationship it is necessary to see not a dualism, but a separation, since in classical ontology being is studied as they are and not with their particular properties and facts, it is return to your metaphysical essence.

HEGEL, G. W. F. (1995) Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences V. III. Brazil, São Paulo: ed. Loyola.



Modern sophistry

23 Jan

In addition to the crisis of thought, the social crisis that we have not been able to resolve in more than a century of a spectacular development of forces and technologies that interfere with nature and should help man and not destroy nature, perhaps the most common civilizational crisis is in politics, I use it perhaps because the thought that underpins it has been lost.

The model of modern society began in ancient Greece and Plato refers to this model mainly in his work “The Republic”, however the initial clash is against what was used as a form of power in his time: sophistic thought.

It is necessary to define the sophist so that he is not confused with the philosopher or the politician, Plato starts from the assumption that no man is given the power to know all things, which would make him a god, and in the false propaganda of the Sophist, he could only teach an appearance of universal science, and here he finds the difficulty of establishing what is the falsehood and the truth of a deceptive speech, as is present in any speech.

This difficulty between truth and falsehood is one that encourages an ontological discussion, thus establishing an art of illusion, it is necessary to investigate what are the parameters that delimit it and what provides this power of illusion, in addition to determining which its object and its relationship with what is imitated, so the sophist is not a layman, he does have an art that must be justified as illusory and harmful when one intends to formulate a critique and establish the ideal principle or norm to educate oneself.

This is the modern sophistry, what it is to educate, now it is not just about Piaget, Skinner, Constructivist, Vygotsky or any of the “modern” learning theories, but rather the problem of fragmentation and vulgarization of knowledge, where even Basic questions in mathematics, geography or literature, for example, are completely ignored in teaching.

Two modern sophisms, just to give an example, of apparently logical arguments that lead to mistaken conclusions: “Those who don’t work have a lot of free time”, the idea of ​​using the power of the knowledge of the crowd led many people to invest “idle time” in social media activities, virtual games that are slot machines, etc., another spiritual one is one that imagines a God or an energy that creates fortunes and automatically resolves complex things in life, the logic is “If God is love and I love God, my life is resolved”, effort, dedication and personal work must come together with this attitude and this means having attitudes compatible with a dignified religious life: honesty, fraternity with those who depend on us and resilience in times of difficulty , which are normal in life.

When Plato created the Republic, he did not forget the virtues of the public man and all philosophy worked in this direction, but the mistakes in thought (philosophy) and in society (or politics) are due to the development of ancient thought in an always true direction, despite logic, because instrumentalized logic can be sophistry.


War in Balochistan

22 Jan

I believe that most people ignore the existence of this region, which makes up 44% of Pakistan’s territory, it was bombed by Iran last week (16/01), in response Pakistan bombed Iran, starting a conflict that could escalate between the countries, in the same week that it bombed targets in Syria and Iraq.

According to Pakistan, the missiles on Thursday (18/1) targeted “terrorist hideouts” and killed 9 people, all of this means that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps army has taken action, as tensions between the Houthis and the US grow. in the red sea.

Something little publicized, but which is strategic in the world economy, is the economic route that starts in Gwadar in Balochistan to Kashgar (China), China has invested in land routes.

The region of Baluchistan (map) has more than 12 million inhabitants, is rich in gold ore and is considered a kind of “lawless land”, but more than economic interest, what the war awakens there is the alert and the readiness of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that signals against Israel in tension in the Gaza Strip.

The war in Ukraine also worsens tensions, the harsh rhetoric of Macron’s French government, which stated that “Russia cannot win the war” hardens NATO tensions with harsh attacks on several Ukrainian cities causing chaos in the country.

The narratives seek to justify to the right or to the left what is obvious: the civilian population suffers, on a larger scale the world population if a recession comes, relations from economic to social worsen and peace becomes increasingly distant.

There are no justifications for a “just war”, if in the past rigid territorial divisions and the “wealth of nations” (a classic by Adam Smith, which Marx read to write Capital) were a reality, today only the justification of power and of greed justify neocolonialism.

One breaks with the truth, with common sense and even with reason, in order to justify a logic of power, as Plato said in antiquity: “If a city of good men were to arise, it is likely that people would fight to escape. of power, as we now struggle to obtain it, and it would become evident that, in truth, the authentic ruler must not aim at his own interest, but at that of the governed” (Plato, The Republic).


The time of the clearing

19 Jan

If we are in times unsuitable for thought and intelligence, unsuitable for human and moral values, it means that it is also a time of clearing, it is a time that many consciences and men will be able to awaken and see and find the clearing.

For this, a metanoia is necessary in philosophical, political, everyday and even religious thinking, remember that the prophets were killed and ignored precisely by “religious” people.

The threshold of an unlimited civilizing and humanitarian crisis is close, but if we look at everyday culture, we talked about this so much from the very Brazilian Ariano Suassuna to the Englishman Anthony Daniels in previous posts, politics and thought also seem polarized between two extremes that in many values ​​are confused, and one of them is war and the desire for power.

Even those who invoke peace hide interests of power, of greed for greater wealth and oppression of those they believe to protect, it is a sad scenario of little light and where men of good will who desire a less dark look at the future should have.

Looking at the etymology of the word clearing in Heidegger’s philosophy, it comes from the German word Lichtung, whose meaning, in addition to clearing in the forest (he himself lived for some years in the black forest of Germany), its root Licht is the word for light, which will mean hidden things, or entities whose truth must come to light, as some translators use as unveiling.

What a propitious time this is, and why we are approaching it, because whenever the prophetic words of thinkers and mystics who ask for a change of course in humanity have not been heard, this time of darkness approaches followed by a great clearing.

In the biblical passage of Mark 1:1-19, Jesus clarifies that the death of John the Baptist is this sign of the clearing, that Herod asked for the head on a platter for his wife after his daughter Herodias danced for the king, the death of the last and greatest prophet begins a new era.

The reading says (Mc 1,15): “Time has already come to an end and the Kingdom of God is near. Convert yourselves and believe in the Gospel”, and for those who believe in the biblical clearing, it is the time of change.

Time to recover and live true humanitarian values, even if they are not Christian, the desire for peace, to look at Others with the dignity that each one has and to live justice


Idealism and real experience

18 Jan

The great discovery of real life (or rediscovery if we take classical and medieval ontology as a basis) is a radical critique of idealism, which separates the subject of life from the real world, what is promised in life projected onto things and not things (our posts from last week) is the real-life catastrophe that does not translate into real and concrete values.

Phenomenology returns to real life through the Lebenswelt (world of life) that was taken up by the philosopher Husserl and that is touched upon and cited by Habermas, without really developing it.

The objective of this philosophy is to show that the human being must be the center of the knowledge process, human consciousness is a giver of meaning to the world of things, or the phenomena of this world, from which the name phenomenology comes, non-things can also reacquire meaning if we penetrate this human reason (which idealism calls subjectivity).

With this, human consciousness reacquires meaning and meaning to phenomena and things in the world, directing them to what each thing is in essence, in a path that is always intentional and thus gives meaning.

Husserl in his work “Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology”, is where this concept appears in a clear and in-depth way, because it establishes a relationship between epistemology (the systematization of knowledge) and philosophy and rediscovers asceticism.

Thus, a true asceticism does not separate the world of things and non-things, just showing that there would be an unreality in one of these worlds, as it is not separated from life, it is there that we verify that we move from the concrete world of life to a path whose evolution destroys the basis of the human and the real, wars and personal declines are this.

In Habermas the world of life is treated as something that is immediately available to social actors in the form of meaning and/or representations available to everyone, whereas for Husserl the phenomenological foundation refers to an ethics for the science and technique of the world, given that science has not managed to reach this level as a discourse on action in which the life of reflection is absent, and within science, which is what Kant’s criticism does.

Sloterdijk developed something close to this concept as a despiritualized asceticism, that is, despite working on the concept of “phenomenology of the spirit” they remain in the abstract field and their real updating in the world of life does not happen, because it is not clear what type of exercise this is.

So we carry out a series of “exercises”, we are the society of physical and mental exercises, but their translation into the world of life does not lead to concrete social and moral acts.

Husserl, Edmund. (1986). La crise des sciences européennes et la phénomènologie transcendentale. Trad. De Gerard Granel. Paris: Edittrice CLUEB.