The midwife of the story

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By FLÁVIO R. KOTHE*

The former European colonial powers have, since 1945, become colonies of a former British colony and are currently being overtaken by the multipolar world

If violence is the midwife of history and blood flows when a new era is being given birth, this not only means that it is necessary to rethink pacifism as a form of conservatism. There are situations in which it is necessary not to retreat any further, to avoid being destroyed. For a popular government not to imagine that oligarchies cannot try to take power even through a coup d'état is not being cautious enough to, more than remain in power, preserve and implement the values ​​that made it come to government.

Being in government does not necessarily mean having power. Whoever loses power is condemned by history, whether as a villain, incompetent or unworthy of being remembered. He will not be remembered as someone who lost power on merit. Anyone who gets involved in politics has to assume that there are rules other than those of a palace ceremonial.

If a politician in high office allows himself to be overthrown because he is not wary of his enemies and fails to notice the daggers hidden in the smiles of supposed allies, he does not appear worthy of the cause he claims to represent. He may abdicate claiming that he intended to avoid bloodshed, but he ends up only postponing greater bloodletting, even more perverse destruction.

Yes, you should try to resolve what you can with negotiations and diplomacy, but you should know that the armed enemy will not hesitate to use all the weapons at its disposal. War is not just the continuation of politics by other means: politics is already an everyday war. That the majority denies this is in line with the general tendency towards denialism.

War is not just military, but something distant, in other peoples. There are local struggles, denied as wars, but which affect the residents. There is, however, a global digital war, led by large transnational corporations, that affects us daily. There are genocides of neurons every day. Not realizing this just means that you are affected by it more than you can bear. We have to relearn how to think to start thinking on new grounds.

There is a third war, which is mental, the one that makes the colonized salute the flag of the lordly people. This attitude – easily caricatured in crude politicians – is so present within Brazilian universities that it is not even noticed. Instead of thinking based on problems, for young “thinkers”, only authors from the metropolises define what to think: taken as a reference, they are suns to be “reflected” in the colony (which claims to be sovereign, without being so).

It is not proposed here to ignore what European or North American authors have published: the problem is in assuming that they are the dimension of what can be considered science, philosophy or art, when the fact that they want to control other countries while hiding this desire for domination makes them unable to deepen their own thinking. There are points that they don't go beyond. Their point of view is not ours.

The current war in Ukraine is revealing such an evolution of weapons of war that one can assume that a country's sovereignty resides more in universities, research laboratories and factories than in the military's barracks and pay. For a country to be sovereign, raising a flag, national anthems, and patriotic speeches are not enough. Pride is not enough to be sovereign: you need to assume facts and think for yourself. Being different makes a difference. Free thinking is just thinking: without inner freedom there is no thinking.

The critical consciousness of the 19th century accepted, not only with Marx and Engels, that war is the midwife of history, as it accepted with Darwin that man is a supposedly wise primate (Homo sapiens) and with Nietzsche that every living being ends up dying, no matter how much they try to hide it. There will be no conscience if it is not critical, there is no criticism that does not force the subject to deny what he thought and rebuild himself from within. It is not by admitting banal facts that a higher stage is reached: for the so-called average man, it is enough to preserve precarious conditions of existence as if they were paradise.

Our first home is the mother's womb, then we are all sheltered in the great abode that is nature, which provides us with shelter and food, but is generally mistreated as if it were a witch's sterile womb. It will also be our last home. To those who give him bread and wine, the so-called human being responds with the devastation of surfaces, as if he were skin cancer, and, by extracting oil from the bowels of the earth, he spreads devastation through the air, affecting the temperature of the planet, harms the lives of animals and plants.

What is man? He is not that wonder to be admired for the wonders he does, as the priest Sophocles preached; he is also not a divine creature, like the Genesis Jewish and its later variants proclaim, as it is rather “demonic”. He is not the “Homo sapiens” that has its difference in wisdom, because what the majority demonstrates is that it is not included in the species. Pretending that he is a “rational animal” still starts from animality, seeking a difference that is the negation of all non-humans (as if none had any form of “reason”) and placing a demand that most humans would not even consider. fulfills (and perhaps they don't even need to, since most decisions are made for emotional reasons).

Man is also not a mere “will to power”, because power is the desire to dominate others by being dominated by what one does not know. Will is a concept that oversimplifies the forces and repressions that interact there. Reducing it to desire is a mere understatement.

We don't know what man is. He lies to himself and lies to others, but he believes that the lies he repeats as if they were truths are true. The lie is contagious: if others, your “equals”, say and act as if certain fantasies were true, then it is easy, and convenient, to adhere to the words and actions of rites and myths. It would be insane to believe what they proclaim, but anyone who does not follow “the collective” is considered insane.

It will be necessary to build a more dignified citizen through citizenship. The rights of the citizen are more important than those of the State: the latter derive from the former. Man is not, however, just a “son politician”, a political animal, as any animal that lives in a herd needs to learn to respect the hierarchy that prevails in it in order to survive.

What differentiates man? He is a different species of primate, yes, as he does things that chimpanzees, gorillas and bonomos cannot, although they are also capable of acts that not even Tarzan would do. Man is capable of destroying nature, yes, but he is also the most capable of rebuilding it and protecting endangered species. Before building, he destroys.

You still need to learn to live with nature and build dignified homes, something more than “My house, my life”, without being palaces in which the owner, by showing himself as better than others, already shows himself inferior. Man will only respect himself if he knows how to respect nature. Sociology needs to be overcome by ecosociology.

The dominant horizon in the country assumes that the divine mind would be The Being, in which the essence of all beings would be present. Aquinas's scholasticism deviated from Aristotle, who said that there is no being that can be all beings. Each entity is what it is because it is not what another is. One cannot be the being of another. It is not logical that an entity can be all entities and have its identity because it contains the identity of all.

In the allegory, however, there is the hint that in what appears to us there is something more, different, than what its facade represents.[I] How can something be another? How does something different vibrate within an entity? How can we discern this other? In other words, how to perform an allegorical reading of the allegory? By superimposing exchange value on use value, whoever buys the merchandise believes they are receiving more than they pay for, advertising seeks to build fetishes, auratizing articles and people. We cannot ignore what Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Adorno, Jameson and others wrote on this topic, but we must move forward.

Those who don't think ahead don't think. That the colonial metropolises do not respect the thought that emerges in what they want to be in their backyards is their arrogance, but it is already being overcome by history. The former European colonial powers have, since 1945, become colonies of a former British colony and are currently being surpassed by the multipolar world.

We can no longer think here just in terms of repeating what authors from the metropolises dictated. History is trying to modify the current parameters.

* Flavio R. Kothe is a retired full professor of aesthetics at the University of Brasília (UnB). Author, among other books, of Allegory, aura and fetish (Cajuína Publisher). [https://amzn.to/4bw2sGc]

Note


[I] Kothe, Flávio R. Allegory, aura and fetish, essay book, ISBN 978-65-85121-36-1, Cotia, Editora Cajuína, Série Leituras, 2023, 184 pages. [https://amzn.to/4bw2sGc]


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