The The return to frivolity will not be simple

06 Sep

This is the phrase of the most respected living German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, and a lot of news indicates that they may have to live with the covid for longer than we imagine, the feted New Zealand for fighting the pandemic, announced last week a death for the covid.

Vaccination remains important because there are still cases of death, the numbers in Brazil until the weekend are 66,862,534 people who completed the vaccination schedule, this corresponds to 31.34% of the country’s population, while those with the first dose is over 134 million, corresponding to 62.90% of the population, which is insufficient to make the measures more flexible.

It would be enough if it weren’t for the Delta variants and now the Mu (5 cases in Brazil and many cases in Colombia), which has already arrived in Colombia and is even more lethal, the delta is already present in many regions and is the probable cause of high deaths in Rio de Janeiro, Roraima and Espírito Santos, the others we are remain falling but slow.

Peter Sloterdijk’s analysis for the newspaper El Pais about an improbable (his view) returns to the old normality, what he calls frivolity is explained by conceiving the current reality where a “gigantic sphere of consumption is based on the collective production of a frivolous atmosphere . Without frivolity, there is no public or population that shows an inclination to consumption”, and in a way the pandemic broke this link.

Everyone is waiting now, even so-called progressive conceptions, as the philosopher says: “that this link will be reconnected again, but it will be difficult”, many have learned to live the essentials.

Using a modern concept also used for disruptive technologies, his vision of an anthropotechnics is important for a more sensible analysis, explains the current phase: “after such a big disruption, the return to frivolity standards will not be easy”, he says in interview with daily El Pais.

Understanding that the process is now global and this is the “new of this current outbreak”, says the philosopher, before we had “relatively regular outbreaks, but, in the past, people tended to return to their common habits of existence”, ie, a frivolous thought, life and consumption.

While we have not been able to elaborate some form of mutualism, which Sloterdijk defends, he goes back to using his concept of community, prior to this crisis, and states: “this crisis reveals the need for a deeper practice of mutualism”.

It will come, but the polycrisis, as Edgar Morin called the current crisis before the pandemic, will widen, the environmental, social and justice.



Listening and the crisis of thought

03 Sep

When only fundamentalist and ideological discourse has space, it is because listening to the other side has become difficult, understanding that reality is multiple and complex, that there will not be a monochromatic future that is sustainable, is essential for a new world that is sustainable.

The understanding of reality, in addition to the facts and worldview of each social and cultural group, can only be expanded in a context of conviviality and respectful listening.

The demand for isolation due to the pandemic could have helped greater cohesion and social solidarity, it even existed in some groups and individuals, but the radical isolation of many groups around self-reference and the reinforcement of group positions has increased.

They perceive reality only through an angle of vision, closed worlds, more isolation and consequently more injustice, in addition to social injustice, that existential one that isolates groups and people, who repeat discourses and narratives only to justify subtle forms of power, is the so-called psychopolitical ( name given by Byung Chul Han), unable to open the vision.

It takes almost a miracle, perhaps the easing of the pandemic will help, but for now what we see are groups that are estranged in search of consolidating power, or taking it over.

The biblical passage that impressed even the Pharisees was the one that Jesus healed the blind and deaf, a clear metaphor so that groups clinging to his vision (political and religious) could understand through the metaphor the need to open their ears.

The passage in Mark says (Mark 7: 31-34): “Then they brought in a deaf man, who was speaking with difficulty, and they asked Jesus to lay his hand on him. Jesus walked away with the man, out of the crowd; then she placed her fingers in his ears, spat and with saliva touched his tongue. Looking up at the sky, he sighed and said: “Ephphatha!” which means: “Open up!”.

More than listening, it is necessary to listen, but to see it is necessary to widen the field of vision.


Complex thinking and humanism

02 Sep

Edgar Morin, Heidegger, Sloterdijk, and more prematurely Nietszche and Schopenhauer realized the crisis of what we call humanism and which distanced itself from man.

Some approached more from an ontological perspective such as Heidegger and Sloterdijk as a critic of Heidegger’s humanism, others as an approach and critique of Nihilism such as Nietszche, and Schopenhauer in a more human purpose, his phrases are famous: solitude is the luck of all exceptional spirits and the higher the spirit, the more it suffers.

All these thoughts deserve to be analyzed in the crisis of civilization that we have already entered, it is no longer lurking, it has already penetrated, in our view, it is in the thought of Edgar Morin that it is possible to find a more solid solution to this crisis, although we are moving in the opposite direction.

According to Morin, the core of humanism that we need to revitalize is the one described in Method II: “It is not a question of refusing humanism. It is necessary, as we shall see, to hominize humanism, and therefore to enrich it, basing it on the reality of the Homo complex” (Met. ll, p, 398).

Complex, because the human cannot be described in a linear logic, and cannot be isolated in areas delimited by knowledge (complexus: weaving together), the whole is man, and this is his complexity.

This arises from antiquity with the emergence of the problematic that will be called subjectivity, Karl Popper draws attention to the pre-Socratic Enlightenment, the naturalistic view of philosophy of this time would have submerged man in the web of laws of the material world, not precisely configuring the notion of Being, placed in subjectivist (of the subject) or objectivist (of the physis) aspects.

Morin promotes a review of concepts and methods, both in The Lost Paradigm, and especially in The Method, the recent evolutions of biological sciences, cybernetics and the so-called cultures of man, undergo revisions, highlighting the concepts of “autonomy” , of “love”, of “individual” and consequently of subjective, and of “uberty”.

Woven in the Jewish-Greek-Christian matrix of our culture, traversing the history of Western thought and daily life, humanism assumes orientations that do not exactly coincide with man, and which, in our view, gave an idealist vision to more universal human principles.

For Morin, two revisions are needed in humanism that intertwine and complete:

— The sketch of the homo complex;

—-The hominization of humanism.

To a phrase by an anonymous author (not Einstein’s) that circulates on the internet: “you cannot reach different results from the same thoughts”.



Listen, epoché and meet

01 Sep

In a world that is increasingly closed, polarized and with little exercise in thinking, listening is increasingly a great effort and to know and broaden horizons it is necessary to listen.

Rubem Alves said in his famous text on listening: “I always see public speaking courses advertised. I have never seen a listening course advertised. Everyone wants to learn to speak. Nobody wants to learn to listen. I thought about offering a listening course. But I don’t think anyone will enroll. Listening is complicated and subtle…” and the beautiful text continues.

The poet Alberto Caeiro (pseudonym of Fernando Pessoa) also said something similar: “It is not enough to have ears to hear what is said; there must also be silence within the soul”, hence the difficulty: we can’t stand to hear what the other says without saying something better, without mixing what he says with what we have to say…

Our inability to listen is the most present manifestation due to our little reading and a subtle dose of arrogance and vanity: deep down, we are the wiser, more beautiful and more convinced than others, it is also a denial of otherness, of the relationship with the other.

But wisdom, thought and especially the development of solutions to complex problems and situations of humanity, and we are in one of these moments, demanded of thinkers, statesmen and social activists make a great void to be able to elaborate new thoughts, the Greeks called it “epoché”, suspension of judgment.

For the rationalists, Descartes also elaborated the “cogito”, and for the phenomenologists, the epoché is putting our preconceptions in parentheses in order to hear other perspectives of new horizons and enter a hermeneutic circle that makes up what Hans Georg Gadamer called fusion of horizons.

Those who manage to do these exercises are able to contemplate beauty so much because it needs silence to be “captured”, and knowing how to listen to others means a great capacity for communion, therefore also means an ability to find the deepest part of the Other, and live with greater harmony and joy. 


The intermittents of death

31 Aug

José Saramago (1922-2010), in addition to his famous bookEssay on Blindness, written in 1995 and which later became a film directed by Brazilian Fernando Meirelles and scripted by Don McKellar, wrote many other novels: O memorial do convento (adapted from an opera), The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Essay on lucidity, and many others, I highlight here As Intermitências da Morte (2005).

In 1998, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, but two works seem prophetic for today: The essay on blindness, which we have already posted, and the Intermitências da Morte.

Skeptical and ironic, Saramago did not fail to notice the dramas of our time, but the unexpected way it ends. Lucidity, I would say using the Heideggerian metaphor that clearing is possible if we penetrate the existential drama of life.

In The Intermittencies of Death, he penetrates into the existential dramas of life, as a religious skeptic, he will also mock the outputs with an answer “from above”, that is, transfer to “another world” our permanently mundane dramas, among them, what it’s life itself.

He says in a passage on page 123: “It is possible that only a painstaking education, one of those that is already becoming rare, along, perhaps, with the more or less superstitious respect that in timid souls the written word usually instills, has led readers, although they were not lacking in reasons to manifest explicit signs of ill contained impatience, not to interrupt what we have been reporting so profusely and to want to be told what it is that, in the meantime, death has been doing since the fatal night when it announced the your return.” (in the photo a picture of Gustav Klimt’s painting).

After inquiring in every book about life, something unusual these days, because all you want is a return to frivolity, the normality of emptiness, the absence of life, consumption and false joys, the author will say in end of the book that death is normality, said like this:

“He stayed in his room all day, had lunch and dinner at the hotel. Watched television until late. Then he got into bed and turned off the light. Didn’t sleep. Death never sleeps.” (Saramago, 2005, p. 189).

And he concludes that his common irony in times when the pandemic was not even dreamed of (his pandemic was The Essay on Blindness), he says about death: “(…) I don’t understand anything, talking to you is the same as having fallen into a labyrinth without doors, Now that’s an excellent definition of life, You’re not life, I’m much less complicated than it, (…)” (Saramago, 2005, p. 198). Oh what a pity, a pity even that Saramago had never believed in a true life, this disbelief is also in all his work, especially “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” (1991), but at least he was not indifferent to the theme, something “bothered him”.

SARAMAGO, José. (2005) The intermittence of death. Brazil, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.


Caution and caution with new variants

30 Aug

In Brazil until Saturday, the Ministry of Health distributed more than 230 million of the vaccines against covid-19, these 187 million have already been applied, being 128.4 million in first doses and 59 million having completed the scheme, which gives 36 .9% of the population, and still not enough, as the new variants affect while the scheme is not completed.

The number of deaths and infections in Brazil has been falling slowly, but it is still in the range just below the 1,000 daily deaths of the moving average and close to 20,000 daily infections.

Extensive research carried out by FioCruz revealed that by completing the vaccination scheme, the AstraZeneca-Fiocruz and CoronaVac vaccines are effective against infection, hospitalization and death: AstraZeneca-Fiocruz with 90% protection and CoronaVac with 75%.

Thus, with 36.9% of the vaccination schedule, the current stage of immunization is still fragile, and the new protocols for flexibility have no scientific basis, except for research carried out with rigor and proven data, all information disclosed, even by official bodies, is not are reliable.

The infectologist and researcher at Fiocruz Julio Croda, said in an interview with CNN, that it is necessary to speed up vaccination to protect people more effectively against the Delta variant, and that the effectiveness drops for the elderly and people with comorbidities.

As for the possibility of using the mixed vaccine scheme, called interchangeability, a study conducted by the University of Oxford, UK, showed that the vaccines that show better immune responses are the combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, with an interval and four weeks, with the highest results being AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer.

Flexibility is the responsibility of government health agencies, but care is a personal measure that we can all take, while avoiding crowding, using masks correctly and using alcohol gel, must continue to follow the protocols.

A long period of pandemic also causes personal and psychological stress, it is necessary to find occasions for outdoor walks, relaxation in different ways and virtual contacts with friends and colleagues in the work environment.




Law and justice

27 Aug

Human systems are in crisis because if in rhetoric there are new forms of sophistry, populism is a complex of sophistry, and they have always appeared in the crises of the polis, our justice that comes from the Roman Empire, with strong idealistic and positivist colors, cannot remain on a line of coherence, there is always a double interpretation according to the defendant.

This is due to populism in the current context, more broadly, in the absence of an ethical approach as proposed by Paul Ricoeur, neither the deontological system that claims to be exempt from any metaphysical aspect, nor the

This aim proposed by Ricoeur, as already explained, is not restricted to the field of personal freedom, because by the very requirement of universality it must have a “coercive effect”, this is applied by a force of law, but it is not limited to ethics either ” institutional”, since there must be a set of “estimated good” actions, for example, each person has an intrinsic dignity, death and violence are not fair resources for coercion, and there may be borderline cases, etc.

But an estimated good action, difficult in times of polarization is one that comes from a golden rule, do not do to the other what you would not like to be done with you, there must always be the possibility of discussing the contradictory always, even in actions ” good estimates” and there must be a prevalence of the community over the individual, without embarrassment or excessive “coercive force”, different cultures interpret what is good differently

The limiting and unacceptable discriminatory point, in addition to the sophistry that since antiquity has recourse to rhetoric and the force of persuasion, but demagoguery and public lie, for example, that which omits cases of appropriation of public property as a clear case denial of the common good.

Governance over natural goods and resources that are national or even planetary heritage, not only nature, but also museums, libraries, historic buildings, whatever cultures they may be, cannot be seen as acceptable.

This deontological legalism (which would be justified by the ends), is also present in the Christian biblical narrative, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law asked Jesus about the customs of washing hands, of following the “tradition of the ancients”, as in the passage of the evangelist Mark (7,5-7):

“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the ancients, but eat bread without washing their hands?” and Jesus replied: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they render me is useless, as the doctrines they teach are human precepts’. you forsake God’s command to follow the tradition of men”.

For no one can love the God who does not see if he does not love the Other (neighbor) who sees (1 John 4:20).


The current debate on justice

26 Aug

Heir of John Rawls, Michael Sandel is successful, he says what he says to many others who are successful: “Those who are successful tend to think it’s thanks to themselves”, certainly if they weren’t a professor at Harvard, they wouldn’t give assisted lectures by thousands of people, and could not speak of polarization without a clearer definition of its own position.

His book A tyranny of merit (Editora Civilização Brasileira, released in September 2020), drew the attention of progressive sectors, but there is a veiled criticism of these sectors, accused of “embracing, in response to the challenges of globalization, a culture of merit that led to a legitimate resentment of the working classes, of disastrous consequences that were manifested, even in the management of this pandemic” (Daily El País, September 2020).

It has the merit (making a paradox) of saying what is obvious, that without a policy of quotas and breaking the barriers of inequalities (including the cultural one that he points out) there is no possibility of mobility for the underprivileged, but the line of thought de Sandel is rooted in the readings of John Rawls, and his work “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice” (Gulbenkian, 2005) is proof of this, and both were colleagues at Harvard.

In the early 1980s, Rawls himself cited Sandel’s communitarian critique as “the most scathing of all” and although he called into question “deontology with a human face” (see the roots of this thought in the previous post), it was an inherent thought. to the Rawlsian theory of a “deontological liberalism” combined with a “reasonable empiricism”, the terms can be found in Sandel’s work.

In order to obtain a “liberal policy without metaphysical constraints”, Sandel called on his colleague Rawls, ultimately, to abandon the deontological argumentation of an “unencumbered self”, “incapable of self-respect” and “self-knowledge, in any morally serious sense”, see that there is an objectivism within what Hegel calls ethics.

Rawls himself had already been led to reformulate his political liberalism, starting from the context of reasonable pluralism and moving away from a comprehensive moral theory of justice.

Sandel’s lectures are successful in the US and now also abroad, and also in his case it is nothing other than the fruit of meritocracy (Harvard in this case), but his works must be read carefully.

SANDEL, Michael. (1982) Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Portuguese (2005): Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Trans. C.P. Amaral. Lisbon: Gulbenkian.



Ethics in the morals of Paul Ricoeur

25 Aug

In his 1990 text, Paul Ricoeur has already elaborated what he called a little ethics, simplified into three theses:

  • the priority of ethics over morals, that is, the priority of the life of the good life (comes from the Greek concept of goodness), with and for others, in just institutions, over the moral norm;
  • The need, however, that the ethical approach (here opposes the Hegel/Kantian ethics) through the sieve of the moral norm: this passage from ethics to morality, with its imperatives and its prohibitions, is, as it were, demanded by the ethics, insofar as the desire for the good life meets violence in all its forms; and,
  • the legitimacy of a recourse from the moral norm to the ethical aim, when the norm leads to conflicts and for which there is no other way out than practical wisdom, the creation of new decisions in difficult cases, such as in law , in everyday life and in medicine.

Ricoeur clarifies that neither in the etymology of the words, nor in the history of the use of the terms, there is no clear distinction between morals and ethics, but there is a nuance in the term ethics “for the aim of a life carried out under the sign of good deeds” , and the moral term “towards the obligatory side, marked by norms, obligations, interdictions characterized at the same time by a demand for universality and an effect of coercion” (Ricoeur, 1991a, p. 256).

In this sense, its “ethical aim” must be understood, nor is it restricted to the field of personal freedom, since it admits “the requirement of universality and an effect of coercion” nor is it limited to institutional ethics since it must be “under the sign of good esteemed actions”.

It is thus possible to distinguish more clearly in his ethical approach, the distinction between two inheritances, the Aristotelian “ethics characterized by its teleological perspective (from telos, which means ends), and the Kantian deontological inheritance (“morality is defined by character from the norm’s obligation and, therefore, from a deontological point of view (deo of “duty”).

Thus, his analysis, rather than excluding one or another thesis of modern ethics, complements both the work of Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle, and the Grounds of Moral Metaphysics and Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason, but without the need for to be faithful to the orthodoxy of neither is not an evasive solution, but an inclusive one.

RICOEUR, Paul. (1991). Éthique et morale, Lectures 1: Autour du politique. Paris, Seuil, Pp. 256-269.


The just and hermeneutics

24 Aug

The traditional concept of Justice is one that comes from the Enlightenment and idealism, will have its consecration in the Introduction to Hegel’s philosophy of law, the margin of this right survives Christian, Islamic and other beliefs (Haiti, for example, had a Creole constitution) , but always the margin.

One can, for historical reasons, return to Kant and Fichte to discuss theoretical questions of justice, but the modern state and its laws, which are the foundations of contemporary justice, at least in the West, have their foundation in Hegel, and an essential concept there is that of ethics, which comes together with the idea of justice based on the equity itself and not on what is fair.

So Hegel theorizes ethics as “objective morality” or “ethical life”, remember Kant’s categorical imperative: “acts in such a way as to be a model for others”, thus an individual morality, but Hegel’s two abstract concepts they are law and morality.

The scope of ethics, to realize the ideal of freedom, is present in the family, in civil society and in the State, but with the State as sovereign over the other institutions for which it establishes a contract, and the moral and ethical rules are defined by someone who acts in this way, then this is a quality of ethics and ethics.

It goes beyond Kantian thought by stating that there is a subjective morality and an objective morality, a classic dualism of idealism to which Hegel is an apogee, for Kant was the first to say “acts in such a way” that it is universal, for Hegel it is the second and for this will define a new (abstract) concept of the “self-determination of the Will”, which is an objective morality.

It may seem that the “individual” (questionable) right is preserved, but in almost all legislation in “missing” situations, it is the state through the judge that determines the justice, see article 4 in the Brazilian case, of the Introduction to the Civil Code:

Art. 4th. When the law is silent, the judge will decide the case according to analogy, customs and general principles of law“, there is no objection of collective or individual conscience and there is also no self-determination of the will, it is decided by the State, and already in this it differs from morality.

The current discussion has advanced in phase to serious social problems, on the issue of equity, and even on the veil of contractualism (the law ruled by the state), the most eminent name is John Rawls, for whom his discussion advances on intuitionism and utilitarianism, which Paul Ricoeur will focus on to question his concept of Justice in his work: “The fair or the essence of Justice” (1997).

Essentially, the discussion is about collective, diffuse rights (of nature for example) and equity, Paul Ricoeur moves towards a hermeneutics of law, while Rawls towards liberal law and equity in the face of justice and not the social rights of human dignity, and different from equity and social justice.


RAWLS, John (1997). A Theory of Justice/John Rawls: Trans. Almiro Pisetta and Lenita MR Esteves – São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

RICOEUR, Paul. (1995). The just or the essence of justice. Trans. Vasco Casimiro. Lisbon: Instituto Piaget.