The fight for the 'tree of life'



“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John, 8:32), this is the favorite verse of hypocrites

A Bible reports that “God took the man (Adam, in Hebrew Adam, that came from the earth / clay) and placed it in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. With a precept. You may eat the fruit of every tree in the garden; but do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis, 2:15-17). The serpent encouraged the woman's contempt - created from the man's rib - stating that they would not die after tasting the forbidden fruit. “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis, 3:4-5), predicted “the most cunning animal.”

The woman (Eve in Hebrew Air Defence means life) evaluated the fruit. “Of pleasant appearance and suitable for opening the mind, she took it, ate it, and presented it also to her husband, who ate likewise. Then her eyes opened; And when they saw that they were naked, they took fig leaves, bound them together, and made themselves waists” (Genesis, 3:6-7). However, they didn't die. Was he just a deity's bluff? With what need? Narrator's poetic license? As punishment, they were expelled from Eden for not trying the means of becoming gods.

In this metaphor, there is the birth of: (i) autonomy; (ii) knowledge and; (iii) of morals. In the religious perspective, the emphasis is on the disobedience that resulted in primeval sin, “original guilt”. The three dimensions of the ideal of humanity would be the path that leads to perdition. Autonomy removed Adam and Eve from paradise, where they were happy and didn't know it. Knowledge removed them from divine protection. Morality was the price for daring to make independent choices, like Prometheus in Greek mythology when he brought fire to humans.

From the mortal perspective, disobedience implied emancipation. There was a deprogramming. With autonomy, because it corresponds to the condition that does not allow itself to be dominated by demagogues, hordes of hatred and totalitarianism. Knowledge, because it allows access to the arts, science and culture. Morality, because it frees people from primary and narcissistic instincts to build a family, society or nation. Anyway, to be what you want and do.

Jean-Paul Sartre captured the sense of Judeo-Christian guilt when he said that “man is condemned to freedom”, without a script prior. Different, therefore, from what the Holy Scriptures by pointing out the destiny interrupted by the act of rebellion, in relation to the explicit order of the Almighty. Postulating that “existence precedes essence”, the philosopher states that man is nothing until he reaches the world, from then on it will be what he does with himself. He compares the subject to an object. The clock would have an essence, before it existed it was planned to tell the time. Man would not have a plan, but an existence to be written with actions.


His eyes opened

Eve was seduced by the fruit “pleasant in appearance and suitable for opening the mind”. After biting into the apple, “her eyes were opened” as the serpent had predicted. In Brazil, jumping to the reality marked by the anti-intellectualism that we live between 2016 and 2022, it is necessary to oppose the courage of the woman to the cowardice of the Pharisees who fear to reinvent themselves.

In the founding myth of the West, people find strength to face the negationist sword of neo-Pentecostalism, neo-fascism and neoliberalism. These do not propose going to Canaan, but submitting to those who prevent us from seeing reality: the temple salesman pastors, the authoritarian tyrants thieving jewels and the rentiers who get pleasure from the excruciating interest rates set by the Central Bank. The necropolitical triad incites everyday alienation.

Freed from the golden cage that God called the Garden of Eden, man was forced to earn sustenance by sweat “with toilsome labor”; read “precarious”. The Creator did not consider that his creatures would elaborate unemployability and the attack on privacy by algorithms at the behest of informational capital (Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon). He didn't even imagine that an Argentine descendant of Cain, with long whiskers, would advocate the legalization of trade in human body organs. Homo sapiens to whoever pays 30 coins. Everything has become a commodity.

The “individual freedom” of the boçal neighbor fencing the right of the rich to buy kidneys and lungs, in the slums, to live longer. This is the “anarcho-capitalism” of the new sewer messiah, now in the Castilian version. The objective is to defeat the cherubs that protect the “tree of life”, in the biological and ecological sense, to forge the simulacra of immortality.

Capitalism in the neoliberal phase destroys, one by one, the foundations of dignity. The ability to fight for autonomy-freedom, respect for knowledge accumulated in the soil of history and the ethics of the Kantian categorical imperative: “Act as if the maxim of your action should become a universal law”. On the contrary, the dominant ideology praises actions for their own benefit, not for the collective. The only community that reveres at the altar is the Stock Exchange.


Where's the truth?

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John, 8:32), this is a favorite verse of hypocrites. rosary slogan fake news by Judas Iscariot from Vivendas da Barra (heavy). But for the revived Liberation Theology and the Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs), outraged by the Vatican's incomprehension in early battles, the words of the Apostle Paul remain current: "I fought the good fight, I finished my course, I kept the faith" (Timothy, 4:7). The truth is true “with the purity of conscience” of Fernando Pessoa’s poem:

“I saw Jesus Christ come down to earth
had fled from heaven
It was too much of ours to pretend
Second Person of the Trinity
In heaven everything was false, everything at odds
With flowers and trees and stones.”

The truth at stake in Vale de Lágrimas is that of children who die from a stray/found bullet from drug traffickers or militiamen or police officers, who shoot at the color of their skin and symptomatize structural racism. It is the death of Marielle Franco, murdered for fighting on the side of the oppressed and exploited, a black, lesbian, left-wing woman. It is Vinícius de Moraes' love for eternity that allows us to admire it forever, while it lasts.

Above all, it is the chance to live in a time whose resilience revives the principle of hope in utopia, with values ​​capable of humanizing everyone in another world, both possible and necessary. Libertarian citizenship will stop the blood spilled from the open veins of Latin America. Trust, after winter comes spring.

With the defects that are many of political representation. With the weaknesses that are many of social participation. With the uncertainties that transformation projects carry in their wake and the scars of dark times. With the youthful dreams that now appear in selfies with white hair. With the joy of the quilombolas who already cried over the Iguaçu Falls, last October 30, we defeated 500 years of injustices that echoed from sugar cane mills, coffee plantations, mines, charqueadas. We advance – taken by hand, brothers.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.

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