The vaccines we need

Pieter Bruegel, The Parable of the Blind, 1568.


Not even 200 deaths are enough for some to have the slightest appreciation for life and celebrate a vaccine as an achievement of knowledge

The method is too well known. Using a position of power, of ascendancy over another person to question this other's perception of reality. This has a precise name, it's called abuse. In 1944 George Cukor directed the film Gaslight Based on the play by Patrick Hamilton. In this film, a husband creates manipulative situations with his wife (Ingrid Bergman) making her believe she is going crazy: he hides objects from her and accuses her of memory loss, frightens her with night sounds, permanently casts doubt on her reading of the reality. In 1994, Victor Santoro published a study on this topic with the book Gaslighting: how to drive your enemies crazy.

We are experiencing this in a hallucinatory way on a daily basis. Deliberately false information suspending our condition of memory and perception and reaching the absurd point of someone authorizing themselves to say something like “you are not seeing what you are seeing”, “you are not hearing what you are hearing” . It's maddening, as the film shows very well. As if this abuser's word could be more reliable than the subject's own perception. Thus, not even 200 deaths are enough to dissuade some that we are in a very serious pandemic, nor are 200 deaths enough to convince some that care must be taken not to contaminate themselves and not to contaminate others, most often their family members. and closest friends, not even 200 deaths are enough for some to have the slightest appreciation for life and celebrate a vaccine as an achievement of knowledge, science and that vaccinating is more than an obligation, it is a choice for life. But no, they choose sacrifice, dull as they are in this blindness.

In Pieter Bruegel's painting, The Parable of the Blind, from 1568, we see this frightening situation that we are experiencing in our country: a blind man leading some others into the abyss in front of him. Scary in that even if we didn't choose to be in this queue, this one who was chosen to lead a country, violently imposes its perception, and what is scarier, mocking those who will still fall. Thousands have already plummeted into the gorge. More than 50 countries in the world have already started vaccination with an emergency plan and as a priority. And here, in one of the countries with one of the best experiences in the world in vaccination campaigns, no vaccine has yet been applied. How many more lives will be thrown into this abyss?

The vaccine arrives as a hope, but if there is no clear policy on the importance of everyone being vaccinated, it will take much longer to get out of this pandemic.

We are all very tired of having to constantly restate the obvious. An immense energy spent to react against this violence. We have been falling for a long time on this precipice. It is urgent to recover our memory and trust it. A torturer could never be celebrated in full national congress. In Chile, at the end of 2019, presenter Tonka Tomicic, in a live TV program, asked a lawyer to withdraw from the studio for relativizing torture in the country. She said “You cannot share television space with a person who is denying part of Chile's history”.

What to say about the shirt of one of the Trump supporters who invaded the National Congress wearing a shirt making an apology for Nazism with a mention of Auschwitz? If this is tolerated in a collective it indicates that the message is shared by many more people. Claude Lanzmann, in his documentary Shoah, about the Nazi death camps, showed this complicity of many of these “ordinary citizens” who, even with the concentration camps in their faces, turned a blind eye. Contrary to virtually all democracies in the world that immediately spoke out vehemently against the invasion of the Capitol, here the captain puts the electoral process in the US and also in Brazil in doubt, already threatening about what will happen in 2022.

It may be that this is one of the last bets we have: fighting for the most precious thing we have: life. If life is not a priority in this country, we will have to mourn the tragic end of this nation. This is the main principle that should guide everyone. regardless of their political, aesthetic, psychic positions. We're going to need many more vaccines to keep breathing and dreaming of a better country to live in.

* Edson Luiz André de Sousa, psychoanalyst, he is a retired professor at the Institute of Psychology at UFRGS. Author, among other books, of An invention of Utopia (Lumme).



Image: Pieter Bruegel, The Parable of the Blind, 1568.

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