Election victory – celebrate, rejoice and be proud

Image: Pille Kirsi
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By LEONARDO BOFF*

Because we have lost our joviality, a large part of our culture does not know how to party.

This year's 2022 presidential elections were turbulent. Alongside the luminous, cheerful and jovial side of the Brazilian soul, its hateful, dark and inhuman side also erupted, something that Sérgio Buarque de Holanda had already noticed, in a footnote, when speaking of the Brazilian as a “cordial man” in Brazil roots (1936), since from the (cordial) heart comes both love and hate. This hatred, in an astonishing way, conquered the political scene and poisoned even the most intimate social relationships. For me it was even a metaphysical problem: in the crucial moments in which the destiny of a people is decided, the evil and the inhuman, fine final do not prevail. And it did not prevail, no matter how many tricks were practiced.

Those who voted for democracy, for the cause of the hungry millions and for the observance of the constitutional order, could breathe a sigh of relief with someone who escaped a serious accident. In this context, the verses of The Lusiads de Camões, at the beginning of the Fourth Canto: “After a tempestuous storm/nocturnal shadow and whistling wind/brings a serene morning light/hope for harbor and rescue”. Yes, we experienced a rescue from a national tragedy of irreparable consequences, if the opponent, whose project appeared to be retrograde and ultraconservative, had triumphed.

The effect of victory was indescribable joy. Many wept, others gave the primal cry of liberation as of someone who feels trapped in a dark cave. There were parties across the country.

The theme of the party is a phenomenon that has challenged big names in thought such as R. Caillois, J. Pieper, H. Cox, J. Motmann and F. Nietzsche himself. It's just that the party reveals what's most precious in us in the midst of gray everyday life. The party makes you forget the hardship of the fight and suspends the time of the clocks for a moment. It is as if, for an instant, we had broken space-time, because at the party, these dimensions do not count or are completely forgotten. That's why the parties go on as long as they can.

Interestingly, at the party that is a party, everyone gathers together, acquaintances and strangers embrace, as if they were old friends, and it seems that all things are reconciled.

Plato rightly said: “the gods made parties so that human beings could breathe a little”. Effectively, if the fight in the campaign was costly and full of fears, almost robbing us of hope, the celebration is more than a breath of fresh air. It is to rescue the joy of a country without hatred and lies, as a method of government. The feeling is that all the effort was worth it.

The party, after a victory in the last minutes of the game, seemed like a gift that no longer depended on us, but on uncontrollable energies, I would say, miraculous. Joy simply explodes and takes us whole.

The screams, the jumping, the music and the dancing belong to the party. Where does the joy of the feast come from? Perhaps Nietzsche found his best formulation: “to be happy about something, one must say to all things: welcome”. Therefore, in order to truly celebrate, we needed to say: “this victory is welcome”. Hard-won victory alone is not enough. We need to go further and confirm the project and the political dream: “If we can say yes to a single moment” asserts Nietzsche “then we will have said yes not only to ourselves, but to the totality of existence”, we would say to the totality of our winning legend ” (Der Wille zur Macht, book IV: Zucht und Züchtigung n. 102).

This yes underlies our political commitment, our engagement, our principles, our street work, our effort to convince our proposal. The feast is the strong time in which the secret meaning of our struggle reveals all its value and all its strength. We left the party stronger to fulfill the promises made for the benefit of the country and the humiliated and offended classes.

Let us make a reference to religion, as it, like all religions, gives great centrality to feasts, rites and celebrations. To a great extent, the greatness, for example, of the Christian or other religions, resides in its ability to celebrate and celebrate its saints, its spiritual masters, carry out its processions, build sacred times, some of them of extraordinary beauty. At the feast, the questions of reason and the fears of the heart cease. The practitioner celebrates the joy of his faith in the company of brothers and sisters with whom he shares the same convictions, hears the same sacred Words and feels close to God.

If this is true and, in fact, it is, we realize how mistaken the discourse that sensationally announces the death of God is. It is a tragic symptom of a society that has lost the ability to celebrate because it is saturated with material pleasures. We witness, slowly, not the death of God, but the death of the human being who has lost sensitivity for the sufferer at his side, incapable of crying over the tragic fate of refugees coming from Africa to Europe, or of Latin American immigrants seeking enter the USA.

Once again, we return to Nietzsche, who intuited that the living and true God is buried under so many aging elements of our religious culture and under the rigidity of the churches' orthodoxy. Hence the death of God, which for him implied the loss of joviality, that is, of the divine presence that is present in everyday things (joviality comes from Jupiter, Jovis). The disastrous consequence is to feel alone and lost in this world (cf. Frohliche Wissenschaft III, aphorism 343 and 125).

Because we've lost our youthfulness, much of our culture doesn't know how to party. He knows, yes, the parties set up as commerce, the frivolity, the excesses of eating and drinking, the rude expressions. In them there can be anything but joy of heart and joviality of spirit.

The joy was indescribable when the president-elect appeared, on November 16, at COP 27 in Egypt, which dealt with the issue of the Earth's new climate regime. He showed the seriousness of the new situation on the planet and its consequences for the most vulnerable in terms of damage and hunger. He challenged the powerful to fulfill what they promised: to help with a billion dollars a year to the most fragile countries and affected by the changed situation on Earth. What head of state in the world would have the courage to say the truths that the president-elect uttered in that space of a worldwide audience? We feel proud because he assumed commitments with responsibility and put the country back on the world stage. The future of life on this planet, to a large extent, depends on how we treat the Amazonian biome that covers nine countries. Together, we will be able to help humanity find a way out of its systemic crisis and guarantee a good destiny for life and for all the inhabitants of this small planet.

*Leonardo Boff, ecologist, philosopher and writer, is a member of the International Commission of the Earth Charter. Author, among other books, of The search for the right measure: the ambitious fisherman and the enchanted fish (Vozes).

 

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