The (in)credulous speech

Victor Pasmore, The Hanging Gardens of Hammersmith, No. 1, 1944-7


Before embarking on useless discussions and exhausting conflicts, it is good to know better the premises used by the person in front of us and beside us.

“I believe in the miracle that does not come.\ I believe in good men” (Shirt of Venus, the adventist).
“Capital of hope\ Wings and axes of Brazil\ Far from the sea, from pollution,\ Another end that no one foresaw\ Brasília” (Plebe Rude, The concrete has cracked).

If I am not mistaken, we could base human relationships on a more or less stable system of beliefs. One believes or disbelieves in God. Believe, or not, in politicians. Greater or lesser goodness is attributed to people. Beliefs in love are fed. Trust is placed in family members. Maximum credit is given or withdrawn from the bank manager…

Remembering these examples of (in)credulity, it sounds even more inconceivable that both are fighting over small things, aware of a bunch of revolutions; two world wars; and dozens of regular invasions, taken over by power-nations with an imperialist vocation.

To a greater or lesser extent, believers or disbelievers rarely change their minds in the face of things they (dis)believe in, because belief is supported by convictions, that is, previous judgments. For this very reason, before embarking on useless discussions and exhausting conflicts, it would be a good idea to better understand the premises used by the person in front of us and beside us. After all, certain conceptions of the world result from the conjugation of the strict family hierarchy; the ideology of success propagated at school; of the vision adopted by people who attend the club, the theater group, the music school, the language school, etc.

The belief system works in a similar way to religions: it is structured on dogmas. The result of this is the incompatibility between argument and belief, since one is based on balance; another, in desire. The clash takes place between the examination of probable things and the affirmation of credible things. As belief trumps evidence, credulity can be considered the sister of common sense.

It manifests itself through formulas filled with ready-made phrases, uttered as if they were the result of long, constant and profound reflection. The speech of the credulous consists in repeating what one is supposed to know. In this sense, it conveys opinions as if they were incontestable, since the speaker assumes that knowledge is more credible than scientific discourse, medical diagnosis and other people's testimony.

There are those who firmly believe in God and in the economy, even though they are surrounded by the misery produced by neoliberalism. But, there are also those who pretend to believe, because they are not blind; they are cynical. As for the unbelievers, like us, they are condemned to resist, remembering that solidarity should be stronger than profit; coherence, greater than hypocrisy.

There are some who make the “little feat” in lottery house bets; there are those who believe (or pretend to believe) that a genocidal, corrupt and self-serving country is the best option for the excluding, unequal and violent pseudo-country where they live.

*Jean Pierre Chauvin He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of A thousand, one dystopia (Publisher Glove).


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