The dark shadow of Bolsonarism

Image: Francesco Paggiaro
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By LEONARDO BOFF*

If we do not electorally defeat the nameless current president, the country will move from crisis to crisis, creating a chain of shadows

The national situation, in an electoral scenario, was obscured and gained disturbing contours, whether of constitutional rupture, or of serious and violent social upheaval. When the current and sinister president publicly states that he will only recognize an electoral result, that is to say, his re-election, otherwise he would question the electronic voting machines or call his armed followers, probably the militiamen, and then there would be serious disturbance.

He is so unpolitical and wild that he doesn't even hide his game. Reveal it clearly. Such behavior by a head of state that is characterized by constant threats to institutions and permanent disregard for the dramatic situation in the country, in particular, the more than 660 victims of Covid-19, the millions of hungry people, those suffering from food shortages, the unemployed causes us serious concerns and serious apprehensions.

 

The reasons for the irruption of the Bolosonarist shadow

We need to try to understand why this wave of hatred broke out, of lies as a method of government, of fake news, slander and government corruption, prevented from being investigated. Two categories came to mind: one from Jungian psychoanalysis, the “shadow” and another from the great eastern tradition of Buddhism and the like and among us, from spiritism, “karma”.

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

 

Five shadows in the history of Brazil

Effectively, five great shadows mark the political and social history of our country: the indigenous genocide, persistent until today; the colonization that prevented us from having our own project, of a free people; slavery, one of our national shames, as it implied treating the slave as a thing, a “piece”, put on the market to be bought and sold and constantly subjected to the whip and contempt; the permanence of conciliation among themselves, of the representatives of the ruling classes, whether heirs to the Casa Grande or to industrialism, especially from São Paulo. These never thought of a national project that included the people, a project that was only theirs for them, capable of controlling the State, occupying its apparatuses and earning fortunes in state projects. For this reason, a fifth shadow emerges, the “low-intensity democracy” that lasts until today and currently shows great weakness. Measured by respect for the constitution, personal and social human rights and the level of popular participation, it appears as a farce 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 resource of the military coup (1964), or legal-political-media (1968) to guarantee their privileges. They defame, persecute and even, without legal basis, put popular leaders in prison. Contempt and hatred, formerly directed at slaves, was cowardly transferred to the poor and miserable, condemned to always live in exclusion. It is the method denounced by the sociologist Jessé Souza in his classic The Late Elite (2017). This shadow hangs over the social atmosphere of our country. It is always ideologically hidden, denied and repressed.

 

The visibility of the Bolsonarist shadow

With the current nameless as president and with 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.

The five shadows mentioned above became visible in Bolsonarism and in its “cappo”: the magnification of violence, even torture, cultural racism, homophobia, against those of another sexual option, contempt for people of African descent, indigenous people, women and the poor. It's strange that many, even sensible people, can follow such a silly, uneducated figure and without any empathy for the sufferers of our country and the world.

This is certainly not an exhaustive explanation, given the shadow that underlies the various crises that cross society as a whole.

The other category is that of karma. To give it some degree of analysis and not just metaphysics (human destiny), 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 force and movement, concentrated in the word "action" which 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, one, in Buddhist belief, carries this bead; that is why he reincarnates so that, through several rebirths, he can clear the negative account.

For Arnold Toynbee, 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 switch (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 and the Bolsonarist shadow.

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.

 

European arrogance and Bolsonarista

Let's take the example of Western European culture. He created modernity and projected the ideal of the human being as dominus, lord of everything, peoples, continents, Earth, life and even the last elements of matter. It imposed itself globally with fire and iron and generated the main wars, especially the two world wars and currently, through NATO, supporting the war in Ukraine.

In the words of the great and discussed analyst Samuel P. Huntington in his well-known book clash of civilizations (1997): “Western intervention in the affairs of other civilizations probably constitutes the most dangerous source of instability and possible global conflict in a multi-civilizational world” (p. 397). It is the famous western arrogance of having the best religion (Christianity), the best science and technology, the best society, the best democracy, the best culture, everything is better, etc. Respecting differences, similar judgment also applies to Bolsonarist arrogance, of the president and many of his ministers.

Both Toynbee and Ikeda agree on this: “Modern society (us included) can only be cured of its karmic burden, we would add, its shadow, through a spiritual revolution in heart and mind along the lines of compensatory justice and healing policies. with just institutions.

 

How to undo the shadows and negative karma

However, they alone are not enough and will not dispel the shadows and karma negative. Love, solidarity, compassion and deep humanity towards the victims are essential. Love will be the most effective engine because, deep down, Toynbee and Ikeda affirm “it is the ultimate reality”.

A society, permeated by hatred and lies as in Bolsonarism and incapable of effectively loving and being less evil, will never deconstruct a history so marked by shadows and karma negative like ours. This applies specifically to the rude, offensive and lying ways of the current president of Brazil.

Do not the masters of humanity, such as Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Luther King Jr and Pope Francis, preach something else? Only the dimension of light and the karma of good deliver and redeem society from the force of dark shadows and evil karmics.

If we do not electorally defeat the unnameable current president, the country will move from crisis to crisis, creating a chain of shadows and karma destructive, jeopardizing their own future. But the light and energy of the positive have historically shown themselves to be more powerful than the shadows and the karma negative. We are certain that they will be the ones to write the definitive page in the history of a people.

*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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