The current inhumanity

Image: Luis Dalvan


How is so much inhumanity possible? What are we finally? Why does God remain silent in the face of so much evil? There are many who despair of humanity. Do we still deserve to live on this planet?

Nietzsche repeated many times that the inhuman (allzumenschlich) also belongs to humans. This derives from the fact that our human condition is simultaneously rational and irrational, chaotic and harmonious. Not as a defect of creation, but as a fact of our historical reality. The cosmogenic process also shows the same characteristic, as chaos and cosmos go together. We have to do, therefore, with a cosmological, social and individual constant. That this is true we see in the perfidious Israel-Hamas war. The latter committed horrific acts of terrorism, indiscriminately killing Israeli residents and kidnapping two hundred people. The latter retaliated with double violence, also indiscriminately killing people, especially children and mothers, destroying hospitals and sacred places. It proved to be a terrorist state. On both sides true war crimes bordering on embryonic genocide.

We were all appalled: how is so much inhumanity possible? What are we finally? Why does God remain silent in the face of so much evil? There are many who despair of humanity. Do we still deserve to live on this planet? A shadow of sadness and dejection marks the faces of heads of state, journalists and practically everyone who appears on television screens and among us. In a moving way that makes us cry, the bloodied figures of Palestinians appear, carrying murdered little sons and daughters in their arms.

We are dejected and indignant because within us the other side of our reality is heard: we are mainly beings of love, empathy, solidarity, compassion and renunciation of all revenge. Against all evil, (shadow) we reaffirm this dimension of goodness (light). In a striking way, the Palestinian novelist and poet Heba Abu Nada wrote shortly before being killed under the rubble in Gaza: “we are fair people and on the side of Truth”. Yes, it confirms to us that we are primarily righteous and on the side of truth, love and compassion.

It is worth recognizing, however, that the irrational and perverse side (although the rational moment belonging to human nature is never totally lost) is predominant in those who lead the war, especially Israel, the USA and its European allies, the international community (who are ?) who remains silent and inert in the face of the deaths of thousands of civilians, innocent children in Israeli bombings. It seems that slow death has been decreed with the closure of all borders, food, water, medicine and energy.

This is the scenario of the dominant powers, the owners of war, more interested in the geopolitical dispute and the billion-dollar arms business than in saving human lives. After all, they say, “they are Palestinians, sub-humans” and considered by extreme groups in Israel, even by the defense minister, as “animals” and should be treated as such, eventually exterminated.

This scenario is contrasted by the crowds that throughout the world, in the Arab world, in the USA, in France, in Germany, in other countries and a little in Brazil, who demonstrate in the thousands in the streets and stand alongside those who are collectively punished, the most weak, from the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, showing that they want humanity and not attacks of inhumanity. Even in a situation of war there are laws (ius in bello) which, if violated, constitute war crimes such as killing innocent children, attacking hospitals, schools and sacred places. This is what has been systematically happening in bombings.

What does the best contemporary science tell us, the science of life, the Earth and the cosmos? She convinces us that our human and luminous side belongs to the DNA (instruction manual for human creation) of our nature. James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 described the helix structure of the DNA molecule. James Watson in his book DNA, the secret of life (Companhia das Letras) confirming what São Paulo wrote about love in the first epistle to the Corinthians, asserts: “Love is so fundamental to human nature that I am certain that the capacity to love is inscribed in our DNA – a secular Saint Paul would say that love is the greatest gift of our genes to humanity… this impulse, I believe, will safeguard our future” (p. 434).

Neuroscientists and biologists maintain nothing else (check out the opinions gathered by Michael Tomasello in the book Why we cooperate (Warum wir kooperieren): “In altruism, one sacrifices oneself for the other. In cooperation, many come together for the common good” (p. 14). The well-known neurobiologist Joachim Bauer from the famous Max Plank Institute, in the book Humanity principle: why we, by nature, cooperate and on the other The cooperative gene (Das cooperative Gen) proves: “The gens are not automatons and in no way 'selfish' (as Richard Dawkins falsely wants), but they aggregate with each other in the cells of the entire organism... all living systems are characterized by permanent cooperation and molecular communication to in and out” (p.183-184).

Such statements, which we could multiply with other great scientists, show that all violence and war are against our most essential nature, made of cooperation, love, solidarity and compassion, although, as we stated previously, there is also the impulse of death and aggression. But this through civilization, religions, ethics and political participation of all (ecological-social democracy), through sport and art, can be kept under control, as, in fact, stated Sigmund Freud responding to Albert Einstein.

What we are witnessing is the total lack of control over this dark and inhuman (also all too human) dimension that is producing death and destruction. Those who could strive to contain inhumanity and maintain our minimum humanity are shamefully inert in the face of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the State of Israel. Meanwhile thousands are being killed under rubble produced by the Israeli army's relentless airstrikes. Interestingly, the US is spending 100 billion dollars to produce weapons of death and sustain the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, unconditionally supporting the state of Israel by giving the green light for a disproportionate counterattack. Meanwhile, China is committing $100 billion to peacefully implement the Belt and Road. There are two opposite types of policy, one providing improvement in countries, especially the poorest ones, along the path of peace and the other of war, always used by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and in many other places to ensure its exceptionality and its unipolar power.

Enough. What the majority of humanity desperately desire is a world where everyone can fit in peace, with enough and decent for everyone, in the same Common Home, now at war and under fire.

Leonardo Boff He is a theologian, philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of Fundamentalism, terrorism, religion and peace (Vozes).

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