Alfred, master!

Image: author unknown. Public domain photo.


I don't think I learned from other great masters and mistresses, that I actually had, how much I learned from Alfredo Bosi

I followed Bosi since the beginning of my training at FFLCH, USP. I didn't do it as follows a famous person on social networks and in current technological frameworks. I followed one by one of his texts, interviews, personal conversations, participation in his classes and criticism of my texts. He accompanied many people. I was with all these people who needed your wise speech.

I hoped, as undergraduate students, professors and graduate students did to have him in the area of ​​Brazilian Literature, coming from Italian. However, for our sake they remained as references in his speeches Machiavelli, Croce and Vico, forces for dialectical reasoning.

This was a long time ago. Everything happened in the Colmeias of the university city and surroundings, in an atmosphere of fear, finger-naming, exiles, but also a lot of dedication to research and preparation for a dignified, democratic time. I learned to think teleologically because we imagined that “the new always comes”.

Alfredo Bosi composed, for me, these readings of what comes. Several decades ago, in the yellow pages of Veja, one of his interviews introduced ecological and environmental apprehensions still foreign to almost the entire population. A subtle thought was recurrent in his texts, something delicate in the formulation and which progressed to being cutting in the utterance as a whole, especially when reviewed and reread. The texts he created in Philosophy of Brazilian Education, alongside Durmeval Mendes, require recurrent readings, as they are not “novelty”, but effectively project new relationships and connections within Brazilian history. These substrata of meaning are realized in the A Concise History of Brazilian Literature, a comprehensive panel, and even stronger in the foci of Tradition/Contradiction and especially in Dialectics of Colonization.

There, in a small chapter called Retrospect Alfredo makes a brilliant move (among many others!) in the guise of symbolic transfers the way Brazil was colonized and the ability of colonization to span time and space. The quotation immediately appears (p. 383):

“Finally, as our gaze moves towards contemporary mental life, a web of technically new signs marks its imperious presence: they are the mass media. From the mid-twentieth century onwards, the soul of all social classes began to be colonized on a planetary scale. Colonizing now means massification based on certain powerful matrices of images, opinions and stereotypes”.

The quote is left to contemporary critics, as there must be a multitude that simply does not believe in this thought, because if they were suspicious of its pertinence, they would jump out of conformism, submission, docility in the face of the evil that mass colonizes. Of course, it is unlikely that such a debate will arise within the media, which prefer an attitude medio tutissimus ibis, middle that is the lukewarm evangelical to be expelled by the mouth of God.

I accompanied Alfredo in the efforts of the Paideia group, from the IEA, in which issues were raised that later made up the education conferences in the Lula government and even in the National Education Plan. Following the 1988 constitutional text, education would have to escape the authoritarian hell of the dictatorship and this would require great appreciation of the teaching profession, in-depth re-discussion of inherited pedagogical projects, major changes in textbook policy and a keen search for quality/equity, values that we did not reach, as educational policies failed after 2015; in fact its symbols were murdered and the current murderous mismanagement gloats over their corpses and over the great dead work, the MEC.

Many themes discussed in Paideia were taken by Bosi to his later texts, and it could not be different, since they already moved his ideas from before. Education and learning have always been leit motif of its public debate and its classes, less through the commonplace path of formal and school teaching than through the meanings that impact the ways of knowing and enable movements to overcome the old and persistent colonization of consciousness. Quotations by Paulo Freire were always present in these reflections. For him, this overcoming was a right and a duty, which implied that the new generations were subjects of their learning and people capable of promoting encounters with the other, the other, parts of themselves.

I learned a lot from Alfredo. I was honored with his willingness to take my master's work for publication in Attica, which I did not ask for. This gratuity did me a lot of good. Again, in one of the tributes to Eclea, which took place in the now locked and shackled Cinemateca Brasileira, he was happy with my nomination for the National Council of Education.

I think that I didn't learn from other great masters and mistresses, that I actually had, as much as I learned from Alfredo Bosi. Upon receiving the news of his death from Covid 19, I could do nothing but write. To remember. Thinking about becoming in a radical and educated way, like him. Feeling his last times, more collected, but intense, the nature of his genius. Eternally grateful, Master Alfredo.

*Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank