the uncontrolled fantasy

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By FLÁVIO R. KOTHE*

Fascist discourse reiterates denialism with irrational rancor,
projecting what's inside of you onto the other
.

In the two historic speeches shortly after he was elected president, Lula da Silva showed himself to be a statesman by giving general guidelines and saying that he will govern for all Brazilians. This does not mean that those who committed crimes should not be held accountable. It is not a general amnesty. On the contrary, either if they succeed in discerning and modifying the structures that led to the support of half the population for fascism, or else it will take over again.

The fascist coup d'état in the government promoted conflicts and instabilities, as if its leader believed that history is a class struggle, as if he were a Marxist… It is propagated now that peace is needed. This facilitates governance. Conflicts are, however, inherent in life. The country needs to see if it can maintain the definition of a social democracy.

Neo-fascism in power enabled millions of Brazilians to take off their masks and show their adherence to dictatorship, arrogance and discrimination. There are not few: about half of the Brazilian people. Is it convenient to forget, to pretend that nothing happened? Many have already found a difficult answer: they have distanced themselves from their closest anti-democrats. Breaks will remain.

Long before them, those who adhered to the politics of hate had already distanced themselves: they had never been close, wore a mask for years, pretended to tolerate and felt shackled by democratization. What should someone persecuted by the military dictatorship do with a close relative who declared himself in favor of torture? Should one continue with a psychiatrist who claims that Lula is a sociopath and Bolsonaro has no flaws? How to trust a lawyer who is a scammer? What is the gratitude of those who did their doctorate with a government scholarship, got a good public job and then voted for Jair Bolsonaro, so that no one else could get what they received?

At the time of the military dictatorship, it was said in universities that those who were not good at research and teaching would go to administration, having loyalty to the regime as their greatest predicate. Those who were best at intellectual production and thought for themselves were persecuted. Academic virtue was punished; weakness rewarded.

Who cares if they have Alzheimer's, this one doesn't. Those who pray in front of tires, who are on duty in front of barracks asking for a coup, those who send cell phone signals to ETs in the streets do not realize how ridiculous they are. They are part of a lack of sanity that has always been there, but until recently it was hidden inside temples and was respected as if it were an effort to become better. It lost its shame and became public. Few will, however, be willing to examine the hypothesis that there was already madness inside temples or in processions.

If the new country that claims to be democratic does not make an Enlightenment break at the root, then it will soon see the repetition of totalitarianism. What to do with so much delirium? The problem is worse than it looks. It is not a recent appearance, mobilized by the government and social media. It is the return of a tradition of beliefs in fake news as if they were miracles, hagiographies read on one's knees and without any laughter, angelologies that pretended to be real stories.

It's no use arguing with fanatics. It's like arguing with an impotent macho man. There is no fact to argue about. They manufacture holographs as unconscious projections and believe them to be real. They only see what they want. Religious categories, such as angels and demons, have taken over minds and dominate what they are supposed to feel and think.

Being taken by archetypes, when condemning supposed demons, they feel elevated to a higher level, however low they may be. They are possessed, possessed by metaphysical orders indoctrinated for centuries. Alienated from themselves and reality, they are taken by stereotypes: they don't know it, they don't even want to know it. The more they would need, the less they want. They are puppeteers' puppets. In them speaks what they do not control. They are not reliable people: they have given up being rational by allowing themselves to be manipulated like puppets.

Religious teaching trained minors to become faithful futures: puppets. The abuse of the incapable was not perceived in this: it was thought that it was to save souls. If future education does not know how to break with manipulation, democracy will have little future in the country.

If the fanatics' speech is not autonomous, but they also don't want help to see who moves them, it remains to ask: what is so much alienation for? It is not free. Has strong motivation. Whoever lowers the other, this one thinks that he elevates himself, elevating himself to a judge's posture, whose judgment intends to be unquestionable. This avoids questioning yourself.

Each case is different. Traumas, desires, desire for power that feed such postures are difficult to resolve, the fanatical fixation is a wall that prevents access to the interior. It is not by chance: it stems from secular structures, which are still there. It is necessary to identify them, to deconstruct them.

Fascist discourse reiterates denialism with irrational resentment and reaffirms lowliness. He projects what he has inside himself onto the other, without acknowledging it. The fanatic demonizes the other, making him an enemy to be exorcised. What is the counterpart? Make yourself an archangel of virtues, with legions of angels and a drawn sword.

Even more, it makes you a god with the right to judge, condemn, and punish. Thus, he does not need to recognize defects in himself, he does not need to question himself. He cannot evolve, because he confers a divine degree on himself: being perfect, he does not see his defects. The more flaws you have, the less you notice them. The less efficient it is, the more power it wants to have. The more arrogant and unfair he is, the more he feels confirmed in holy perfection.

Whoever gives himself the right to condemn the other for demonization finds legions of angels in other supporters with swords and spears to put an end to the dragon of evil. Each one thinks it's Saint George. He lives in the world of the moon, but he believes he is in a higher sphere. By demonizing the other, he becomes an angel for himself, the higher in the hierarchy the more he becomes a demon for his “enemies”.

He considers himself the better the more evil he does. He pretends to be above any punishment, because he thinks he has done nothing wrong. He didn't commit a sin, he doesn't need to confess, he doesn't review his actions. Thus, it cannot progress, evolve. Get good explanations for everything you do bad.

The less your dogmatic assertions hold up, the more you get stuck in them; the more covered up, the smarter you consider yourself; the less fair, the more justice it intends to be. Being a Manichaean, he is a prototype of dialectics. The less grounded his judgments are, the more he insists on executing as justice what is arrogance and imbalance. The more he would need to rethink himself, the less he is willing to do it. He doesn't want to question his assumptions. The less competent, the more power you want to have. He's not balanced, but he thinks he is. Nothing is enough if the goal is the absolute.

In this stuck structure, there is no point in spending efforts to convert to sanity. Fanaticism translates reality through lenses that distort everything. The stuck authoritarian structure is a symptom, which the subject is the less willing to question the more he needs it, for the good of himself and others. She is a stone that repulses, but does not pulsate. It is more comfortable to adopt regression than to question fundamentals.

The fanatic does not see reality: he projects unconscious holograms, which he merges and confuses with facts, because he is convinced that they are what he says they are. His interpretation is for him the fact, the more the less it is. He wears armor that makes him intangible, unattainable, or at least he intends to make it that way. It's no use waiting for him to become what he is not and doesn't want to be. He doesn't realize how similar he is to what he assumes the enemy to be. Lost case.

What metaphysical and social structures foster such authoritarian profiles and give them prestige? Will critical reason have the courage to connect the ravings on the streets with what happens in the temples? There is an ancient mediation between the interior and exterior of buildings: in Catholic processions, in the acts of faith, in executions by the Inquisition.

While the uncontrolled fantasy was restricted to temples, schools, catechetical rooms and homes, it seemed normal, as those who disagreed did not dare to manifest themselves. It is necessary to learn to face with a certain horror what seems normal to the members of these collective delusions. They believe they are in a process of soul elevation, seeking holiness, collective salvation. Estrangement is a condition for beginning to see what is going on there.

Emitting light signals from the cell phone for the ETs to come and save the country and the military to deliver another blow is equivalent to praying to the heavens; praying to the heavens is like sending out such cellphone signals. Technology reproduces and maintains the regression. Will the majority be willing to rethink this painful equivalence? Or will you simply keep the spheres separate? Growing portions of the population will tend to no longer practice a religion. With the support given to fascism, evangelicals began to dig the tomb of religiosity. The separation between Christian ethics and attendance at temples will be growing.

The believer, praying in the temple, tries to become a better person, but the best is defined in terms of religion. It is a gamble on the afterlife, a nothingness that is everything to him. Instead of singular salvation, the far-right demonstrator wants collective salvation, while the politicians who manipulate them try to achieve their private salvation. While many are likely to see the ravings in the scammers' demonstrations, few will be willing to see the ravings in religious beliefs and practices. Everyone would like his supposed soul to be saved too. Everyone wants to be eternal.

The popular expression “that's not quite Catholic” indicates how religion has become an ethical parameter. All Latin American cities have a Catholic temple at the center, proclaiming in stone that city dwellers' lives must revolve around religion. The Church participated in the colonial domination, it was the official religion, this was maintained in the Empire. Why did the Catholic Church have so much power?

The Spanish Theater Golden age suggests an answer in several works by the main authors: Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca. They were plays staged at the Spanish court. The main concern was to know how to keep those who were sent to the colonies faithful to the interests of the court and the orders of the king. It was feared that they would ally with local forces, forming independent kingdoms.

As the envoys were men, the concern was the seduction power of indigenous women. The Greek myth of the Amazons was reactivated, to suggest that the Indian women would be capable of killing men who had relations with them. There had to be institutional control over the king's envoys. The priests were used for that, they passed on information, they knew everyone's secrets. The king had a confessor. The expression “go complain to the bishop” may have become a mockery, but it has since been taken seriously.

The Iberian courts were interested in extracting the maximum wealth from the colonies. These were not straight investment regions. Sending troops, administrators, tax collectors represented costs. The power that was the confessional should not be underestimated. Even if they were sworn not to reveal secrets, the information received by the priests about the filth of the great people was an immense social power. In schools, critical thinking about this is not developed.

The Jesuits tried to create their own kingdom in the Alto Uruguai region, which led the Spanish and Portuguese to join forces in the Treaty of Madrid, in 1750, leading to the genocide of many thousands of Indians. In the Rio Grande do Sul region of Candelária, there was a settlement called Jesus, Maria, José (a name that well indicates the catechetical eagerness) with about 30.000 indigenous people: when the German immigrants arrived there a century later, there were no more remnants of this population (when plowing land, the settlers often found funerary urns). The canon celebrates genocide as historical hygiene in the uruguay. This is indoctrinated in schools and colleges.

Where does the totalitarianism so present in Brazilian society come from? It comes from the Iberian Peninsula of the XNUMXth century, when, instead of pursuing a policy of religious, racial and political tolerance, Catholic monarchs persecuted, killed and expelled Muslims, Jews and others, imposing the principle of one king, one law, a faith. This was supported by the totalitarianism inherent in the monotheism preached by the Church, by the warmongering of the crusades. This tendency was reinforced in the XNUMXth century by the Jesuit reactionaries, an order created according to military principles to combat the Lutheran reform. This totalitarian and reactionary posture was imposed on the colonies in America.

A phrase attributed to Machado de Assis has been quoted, that Brazil is an absolute oligarchy (in the sense that it made no difference to proclaim the republic). The phrase is not Machado's, but just a quote he put in a chronicle: “Es dürfte leicht zu erweisen sein, dass Brasilien weniger eine konstitutionelle Monarchie als eine absolute Oligarchie ist”. In other words: “It should be easy to demonstrate that Brazil is less a constitutional monarchy than an absolute oligarchy.” He points to the source: “river post of June 21 of last year”, a newspaper published in German in Rio. Posted in German, readers of the chronicle would not understand. It was a way of not saying saying.

The phrase has been read as if it were an acceptance of the Republic, because basically nothing would change. She doesn't even talk about the Proclamation. It must be earlier, but in the midst of a debate on regimes. The phrase sounds like a defense of the monarchy because it is constitutional, without it being blamed for all the problems, since the oligarchy was in charge. The country could therefore maintain the monarchy by restricting its power. Every monarchy tends, however, to remain based on the support of the aristocracy, formed by landlords and rich people.

To say that Brazil is an absolute oligarchy suggests that it would be immutable, not able to be overcome: democratization would be impossible. It would have to conform. Whatever the apparent form of government – ​​absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, republic of colonels, Getulist dictatorship, military dictatorship, formal democracy, proto-fascism –, the core would always be the same. The difference between the slave-owning, land-owning, financial, entrepreneurial, social-democratic oligarchy is not thought of there.

The Brazilian monarchy promoted the colonization of the South with the arrival of European immigrants. The lands were divided equally, Catholics and Lutherans had to help each other fraternally as neighbors, slave labor was prohibited since 1848. The principles of equality, freedom and fraternity determined the way of social organization in the South. This is what Nietzsche called “great politics”. The São Paulo oligarchy prevented this agrarian reform from being implemented in the State of São Paulo. In the South, religious teaching prevented young people from becoming aware of the ethics of colonization and their appreciation of work and the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity. The immigrants' language and culture were banned, they lost their identity and had to adopt other, artificial ones (such as considering themselves Bavarians at Oktoberfest or gauchos at GTG dances). The success of this is shown in the social support for the 1964 coup and in the recent support for Bolsonarism in the South.

It's not so easy to demonstrate or prove that the country would always have been an oligarchy, because that's exactly what she doesn't want to see unraveled. In the colonial era it was already; in the imperial, too; in the republic, ditto. It is necessary to differentiate, however: the territory is greater than the scope of the central government. An oligarchy is never absolute, but always relative to the mode of ownership of the means of production and social organization.

At the time of Machado de Assis, the literary movement that was making the critical connection between mode of production and politics was naturalism. Zola went deep into the coal mines to see the working conditions of the miners: in the Germinal, which narrates a union strike for the improvement of these conditions, he goes so far as to quote Marx. Against the French naturalist left, Machado claimed in French that he wore “culottes”, that is, pants, which means wanting to debase naturalism to the caricature of being turned towards pathology, the pleasure of wallowing in the mud and the lowliness. He reacted against the more progressive literary trend. Reactionism tends to compromise with the oligarchy.

Either Brazil undertakes a radical Enlightenment reform of education and the media or right-wing radicalism will once again take hold. This is not going to be done by religious teaching. Need free public school. Since the 1970s, the State has tried to develop postgraduate education, in order to have a qualified workforce in conditions to compete globally. The dictatorship persecuted the best university professors. The number of masters and doctors has increased, but even today, what is and who is most critical is avoided. A debate is staged, which does not go far. You don't want to think deeply ahead. The boards approve all those who submit to the tests. There is still a long way to go in the qualitative dimension. Doctrinal alienation continues to prevail.

* Flavio R. Kothe is a retired full professor of aesthetics at the University of Brasília (UnB). Author, among other books, of Benjamin and Adorno: clashes (Attica).

 


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