The dark figure that threatens democracy

Image: Efrem Efre
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By LEONARDO BOFF*

Bolsonaro's victory would advance his project of dismantling institutions in an openly authoritarian and threatening way of a coup d'état.

The current president has wild traits and has made constant threats to democratic normality, in case he loses the elections. In the first round on October 2, he received 43,44% of the votes while former President Lula took 48,5% of the votes. There is great expectation that Lula will win the election, as his superiority over Jair Bolsonaro is remarkable.

Lula has received the support of almost all parties, even the most distant ones. Yeah, they realized that democracy is at stake and also the historic destiny of our country. Jair Bolsonaro's victory would advance his project of dismantling institutions in an openly authoritarian and threatening way of a coup d'état.

We need to try to understand why this wave of hatred broke out, of lies as a method of government, fake news, slander and government corruption prevented from being investigated. An article that I published some time ago came to mind and that I reformulate here.

Two categories seem illuminating: one from Jungian psychoanalysis, the other from shadow and another from the great eastern tradition of Buddhism and the like and among us, of spiritism, the karma.

The category of shadow, present in each person or community, is made up of those negative elements that we find difficult to accept, that we try to forget or even repress, sending them to the unconscious, whether personal or collective.

Indeed, five big Shadows mark the political and social history of our country.

The first is the indigenous genocide, which persists to this day, as their reservations are being invaded and during the pandemic they were practically abandoned by the current authorities. The second is colonization, which prevented us from having our own project, of a free people, but, on the contrary, always dependent on foreign powers of yesteryear and today. He created the “mongrel” syndrome.

The third is slavery, one of our national shames, as it meant treating the enslaved person as a thing, a “piece”, put on the market to be bought and sold and constantly subjected to the whip, contempt and hatred.

The fourth is the permanence of conciliation among themselves, of the representatives of the dominant classes, whether heirs to the Casa Grande or to industrialism, especially from São Paulo, called by Jessé Souza “elites of backwardness”. They are profoundly selfish to the point that Noam Chomsky has stated: “Brazil is something of a special case, because I have rarely seen a country where elements of the elite have so much contempt and hatred for the poor and the working people”. These never thought of a national project that included the people, a project only of them and for them, capable of controlling the state, occupying its apparatuses and earning bribes and fortunes in state projects.

The fifth shadow represents low-intensity democracy interrupted by coups d'état but which is always rebuilt without, however, changing its nature. It lasts until today and currently shows great weakness due to the degree of right-wing or extreme right-wing representatives, with their gimmicks like the secret budget. Measured by respect for the constitution, personal and social human rights, social justice and the level of popular participation, it appears as a contradiction of itself rather than a truly consolidated democracy.

Whenever a political leader with reformist ideas, coming from the floor below, from the social slave quarters, presents a broader project that encompasses the people with inclusive social policies, these conciliation forces, with their ideological arm, the great means of communication, such as newspapers, radios and television channels, associated with parliamentarians and important sectors of the judiciary, used the coup resource, whether military (1964) or legal-political-media (2016) to guarantee their privileges.

Contempt and hatred, once directed at the enslaved, was cowardly transferred to the poor and miserable, condemned to always live in exclusion. These shadows hang over the social atmosphere of our country. It is always ideologically hidden, denied and repressed.

With the current president and the entourage of his followers, what was hidden and repressed came out of the closet. It was always there, withdrawn but active, preventing our society, dominated by the backward elite, from making the necessary transformations and continuing with a conservative characteristic and, in some fields, as in customs, even reactionary and therefore easy to manipulate politically. Inside the soul of a lot of Brazilians there is a small reactionary and hateful “Bolsonaro”. The historical Jair Bolsonaro embodied this hidden “Bolsonaro”. So did the “Hitler” hidden within a portion of the German people.

The five shades referred to have been aggravated today by the encouraged acquisition of weapons by the population, by the magnification of violence to the point of torture, by cultural racism, by misogyny, by hatred of those of another sexual orientation, by contempt for people of African descent, indigenous people, quilombolas and poor in general. It is strange that many, even sensible people, including academics and middle class people, can follow a figure so intemperate, uneducated and without any empathy for the sufferers who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

This is certainly not an exhaustive explanation, through the category of shadethe one that underlies the various socio-political crises.

The other category is that of karma. To give it some degree of analysis and not just hermeneutics (clarifying life), I make use of a long dialogue between the great English historian Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, an eminent Japanese philosopher, collected in the book choose life (Emece). O karma is a Sanskrit term originally meaning strength and movement, concentrated on the word “action” that provoked its corresponding “re-action”. It applies to individuals as well as to collectivities.

Each person is marked by the actions they performed in life. This action is not restricted to the person, but connotes the whole environment. It is a kind of ethical current account whose balance is constantly changing depending on the good or bad actions that are performed, that is, the “debits and credits”. Even after death, the person, in Buddhist and Spiritist belief, carries this bead; that is why he is reincarnated so that, through several rebirths, he can clear the negative account and enter nirvana or heaven.

For Arnold Toybee, there is no need to resort to the hypothesis of many rebirths because the network of bonds guarantees the continuity of the destiny of a people. Karmic realities permeate institutions, landscapes, shape people and mark the unique style of a people. This karmic force acts in history, marking beneficial or harmful facts, something already seen by CG Jung in his psycho-socio-historical analyses.

Arnold Toynbee in his great work in ten volumes A study of history [A Study of History] works the challenge-response key (challenge – response) and sees meaning in the category of karma. But he gives you another version that seems illuminating to me and helps us understand a little the national shadows, especially the Brazilian and even international extreme right, always linking to the moralist and fundamentalist version of religion that easily reaches the heart of the people, usually , religious.

History is made up of relational networks within which each person is inserted, connected with those who preceded them and with those present. There is a karmic functioning in the history of a people and its institutions depending on the levels of goodness and justice or evil and injustice that they produced over time. This would be a kind of morphic field that would remain pervading everything.

Both Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda agree on this: “modern society (us included) can only be cured of its karmic burden, we would add, its shadow, through a spiritual and social revolution starting in the heart and mind, on the line of justice. compensation, healing policies and fair institutions.

However, they alone are not enough and will not undo the shadows and negative karma. Love, solidarity, compassion and deep humanity towards the victims are essential. Love will be the most effective engine because, deep down, Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda affirm “it is the ultimate reality”. Something similar says James Watson, one of the decoders of the genetic code: love is in our DNA.

A society permeated by hatred and lies like Jair Bolsonaro and his followers, some fanatic, is incapable of deconstructing a history as marked by shadows and negative karma as ours. It's not a poison with even more poison. This applies specifically to the rude, offensive and lying ways of the current president and his ministers.

Only the dimension of light and the karma of good free and redeem society from the force of dark shadows and the karmic effects of evil, as the great sages of humanity like the Dalai Lama and the two Francis, the one from Assisi and the one from Rome testify. .

If we do not defeat the current president electorally in this second round to be held on October 30th, the country will move from crisis to crisis, creating a chain of shadows and destructive karma, compromising everyone's future. But the light and energy of the positive have historically proven to be more powerful than the shadows and negative karma.

We are sure that they will be the ones who will guarantee, we hope, the victory of Lula, who does not hold rancor or hatred in his heart, but is moved by love and the policy of caring for the people, especially the impoverished and their needs.

*Leonardo Boff He is a theologian and philosopher. Author, among other books, of Brazil: complete the refoundation or extend the dependency (Vozes).

 

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