Chronicle of a country in a trance

Clara Figueiredo, series_ Brasília_ fungi and simulacra, super court, 2018


The challenge of facing reality in a post-truth era

It is no longer so easy, or maybe it never has been, to produce knowledge about the lived reality, or to understand the facts that surround us and affect us directly or indirectly, in a connected world where people think they know everything, through information superficial and abstract.

For this reason, and for being able to see so many opinions rapidly multiplying through virtual channels, blogs, websites, apps, in a summarized and blatantly anti-dialectical way, that I retreated into my insignificance. Being an observer in a world of “geniuses”, shallow connoisseurs of politics and geopolitics, anguishes us, that is undeniable. But, at least we avoid being confronted so much by the Manichaeism that resolutely prevails in the present times, more than in other times, or not; as well as we are not targets of “cancellations”, or stupid attacks, by those who only want to read and listen to what they want, in that time a few years ago already called the “post-truth era”.

But I decided to return, and produce an article along the lines of others that I have already written, with a title similar to the one I use in this one: “Chronicles of a world in a trance”.[1] Perhaps this publication of mine can awaken some of these feelings, and I will suffer the attacks of virtual militias, perfidious vigilantes of the stupidity that rages and reignites neo-Nazi and neo-fascist rages. But I can also be affected by the fierce reaction of a left that currently balances between identity discourses and the Manichean worldview.

In a strange escape from reality and from the dialectical understanding of analyzing and perceiving societies in the midst of all their contradictions, and from the understanding that the Marxist legacy taught us a lot, that we must start from the observation of the totality of things, and that, through from the analyzes of the parts that compose it, and the necessary connection between them, only then can we understand the whole within a concrete, materialist and dialectical vision of how this world was being built and its real existence in current times.

Elevating any of these parts to the condition of a priority element in facing this social reality prevents us from understanding and having an exact notion of the existence of social classes, of a system dominated by one of these classes and of a structure that goes far beyond specific clashes , and should always lead us directly to understanding the roots of how this entire structure was built.

And, if we want to destroy it, and we do, because it is abject in its unequal logic, we need to shake its foundations, and transmit to the new generations the observations on how the columns that support this entire framework of a perverse society in consolidation and defense of an unfair and deformed system, are built on shallow, fragile, manipulative ideological foundations, but which are sustained by people's fear, faith and religiosity, greed, usury and individualism that exploits the work of others and raises its riches and transmit them for generations and generations, by the meritocratic perversion of the right of inheritance.

“The world is much more complex than they would have us believe”.[2]

The worst thing we can do, in the quest to understand reality, is to simplify our view, or understanding, of how the world is. Unfortunately, we are going through a moment in history that has inevitably shaped new generations, where information overflows like a gasified liquid after being shaken, but where knowledge dissipates like a mist.

That is, we have a lot of information, which is presented to us in the absolute majority in a quick and superficial way, and we lack in-depth knowledge about reality. This disastrously leads us to the growth of stupidity, idiotization and political alienation. And, obviously, it becomes difficult to conduct any debate, when the exhibitor looks at an audience, eager to understand every word said through quick access to Google – and now to ChatGPT – and to intervene with the idolatrous abstract wisdom , or in the apostasy of what guided him until recently. It is obvious that this is also dialectic, or the negation of negation, but we must see it through the oblique paths of a society that is guided by references such as an airport windsock, which lets itself be carried away by the wind.

But at least that instrument, from long ago, which survives until today, has the function of indicating the direction of the wind. Already the ignorant sapient is carried away by easy information, randomly, in many cases, false, and identifies with them in conjunction with the circumstances of their lives, boring, resentful, conflicting, inexpressive, full of rancor, unbalanced, or that originate from preaching from the pulpits, but whose reasons to explain each of these situations are not dialectically understood, and therefore, in the search for the shallow reason, pardoning the almost redundancy, they are (un)balanced in adhering to that information that is most convenient for them the conditions in which they live at a given moment. In this way, they become easy prey for the movements of an extreme right that in recent times has dedicated itself to seeking its growth in these contradictions, and the adhesion of these people, trapped by ignorance, religious fundamentalism and political alienation.

What risk are we taking? It's just that this situation doesn't seem to be a quick passage. Possibly we will still live for a long time, trying to deal with a toxic reality, contaminated by speeches that inspire resentment, hatred, stupidity. Disinformation will be the main weapon in political struggles, mainly through the destruction of reputation. In the same way, the use and abuse of faith, starting from the hateful preaching of bloodsucking pastors and other religious people who plant their feet and their values ​​in the anachronistic rigidity of outdated customs, completely distanced from current reality.

Through this means, however, the recruitment of a population marked by low self-esteem and weakened by unbalanced social conditions, as well as by the fear generated by the advance of violence in a perverse world model, will continue to take place, but where these people move in the direction of their executioners. The understanding of a world that is explained by the class struggle does not even come close to understanding the reality as they see themselves. They are, thus, hostages of the conservative discourse, guided by the customs of past ages, by the hypocrisy of apostates who deviate from the basic principles of Christianity. They are at the mercy of fascism and neo-Nazism, or the radicalized extreme right.

The challenges for those who read, study and analyze what is happening in Brazil and in the world, with a strategic look, within a methodology that excels in the dialectical understanding of reality, are enormous. Because current generations no longer have the patience to delve into the themes necessary to understand the complexity of the world. They are pressed for a time marked by an excess of information and the need to read about many things in a short period. It's the Tik-Tok generation.

The challenge of facing reality in a post-truth era

How to change it? That's the dilemma. That is, it is necessary to explain things clearly, but objectively, without being prolix, but also without being superficial. Finding the exact measure to arrive at a consistent pedagogy that holds the attention of this generation is not an easy task. Because we cannot renounce deepening the objective questions, which lead us to understand the complexities of a confused world. This text of mine, for example, has already extrapolated, due to its size, the limit of patience of these new generations. I hope that, with these provocations, those who are reading feel provoked to reach the end.

Older people, on the other hand, succumb to fear, potentiated by the use that some preachers make of religion. Longing for a time when violence was not so explicit, or that were far from their realities, the older generations are induced by old discourses, as if the change in customs could not be held responsible for systemic crises and changes in human behavior, increasingly callous and devoid of empathy. But, contradictorily, by acting in this way, they end up moving in the direction of the same behavior in which they criticize, and are fed by hate speech and intolerance. But they don't have that perception, seduced by that perverse strategy, through which the extreme right managed to take advantage of these people's alienation, fear, belief and faith.

Meanwhile, the most politicized segments cling to identity discourses as the main flags of their struggles, distance themselves from the understanding that the construction of this world was based on the expropriation of feelings, and the lack of knowledge of reality. And that the prejudiced, sexist and misogynist discourses actually represent the conjunction of several factors, which explain how it is, how it emerged and how the capitalist system was revealed in all its perversion, bringing marks of a perverse past, mainly (as always) for women.

And if it is true that these issues are rooted in the construction of structures and institutions that permanently maintain a social imbalance and a society that is ethnically unequal in its opportunities and respect for differences, as I believe it is, what is fundamental is the understanding of how this was structured, how this society was built, how these values ​​were incorporated in people's minds, within a comprehensive notion of how all this was built. A notion of totality, and a dialectical understanding of the contradictions that even underlie these behaviors that identity struggles fight, rightly and justly.

But, as the popular saying goes, that it is necessary to cut the evil at the root, the fight in these particularities, detached from a vision of totality and understanding of the origins of these inequalities, is presented incorrectly, even though it is necessary. It so happens that discourse and slogans, spoken without the necessary educational process, demonstrating the roots of these perversities, only feed reactionary conceptions, which protect themselves in the hypocritical discourses of false leaders and unbalanced myths, diverting attention to an alleged defense of values conservative, reproduced from so-called sacred books written millennia ago.

Finally, the defense of conservative values, which inspire the extreme right, as well as the identity struggles, which have mobilized sectors more to the left, constituted the most visible clash of those times, called – to my annoyance – the “cultural war”. Paradoxically, but not like that if we go deeper into understanding the composition and minds of the people who make up our society, this path has taken us to a time when we are experiencing the growth of an angry extreme right and, as a result of its rise to Power until recently, the propagation and organization of neo-Nazi ideas, seducing a significant portion of youth.

By directing towards the field of “culture”, which is ideological, the extreme right made a strategic move that immured the left, and led to this practically unprecedented polarization within the Brazilian political reality in democratic times. Since, according to what has been reported, time is filled with futile, simplified, summarized and, most of the time, falsified information, the path was paved for our country to find itself on the brink of a radical transformation in politics, with two decades in a short period of time. century in which we move from the left to the extreme right, and back to a left anchored in segments of the center-right and center-left, in a necessary composition to remove our country from the limbo in which it found itself.

Hope in a Toxic Reality

I cannot say, in my understanding, that the prospects are good, but I do not want to sour myself into a pessimistic thought that things will not get better. For this, I follow the maxim that I always try to repeat, from the late Ariano Suassuna: “A pessimist is boring; the optimist is a fool. Even better is to be a hopeful realist.”

But, as a supporter of dialectics as the best philosophy for understanding the real world, I have the perception that we are living in a period of transition, with difficulty in understanding where and what kind of systems we can build, replacing the cachectic and perverse capitalism. It is even known for how many generations, this will be a slow transition and marked by many wars, because this has been the alternative for powers in crisis: the war economy, with the intensification of the trade in increasingly sophisticated weapons.

Male and female workers will suffer from the reduction of their wages, as an effect of the increase in labor available in the market, as a result of the advancement of new technologies, robotization and artificial intelligence. Therefore, it will be a world with strong tensions and clashes, which need to be directed towards a class confrontation. It is inadmissible that the poorest and the lower middle strata put themselves on opposite sides, when by systemic logic they are disposable pieces by the bourgeoisie and the new rich rentiers. It will be like this in the world... and it will also be like this in Brazil.

So, to the extent that we take control of the Brazilian State from the extreme right, it is imperative that this be maintained for at least another decade, at the same time that the priority must be to work on raising the awareness of a huge contingent of people who have been seduced by the lies, fear and hatred. Politicize these people by qualifying their critical abilities to understand reality and the need to unite in entities, associations and unions that fight for their rights. Demonstrating that representatives of the extreme right, through their obvious actions, represent that dominant social layer that exploits and enriches itself even in the midst of the worst crises.

The left should not dispute this process among themselves with the desire to recruit people only within their dogmatic visions of the world. It takes breadth, organicity and unification of sectors that carry the same objective, the construction of a society in which one can live for the common good, in the consolidation of a state of social well-being, in the path of socialism, avoiding repeating the same errors that capitalism and the bourgeoisie promised to correct, when they hypocritically raised the banner of “equality, fraternity and freedom”. What we saw was the construction of a world in which walls multiplied, where 1% controlled more than half of the world's wealth.

Let us be “hopeful realists”, but never defenders of fractured societies and authoritarian governments. Let us fight for true democracy, not only focused on the right to vote, but where the wealth built by work can be distributed according to the needs of each family, of those workers who effectively build what is conventionally called the Gross Domestic Product.

Let's defend GDP's democracy, and in this way we will be paving our way towards a reasonable and more solidary future, which will put an end to poverty and misery. Some will say that this is utopia, but I remember the words of Eduardo Galeano, who always remembered a phrase he said he saw on a wall, that utopia is a distant point, and the more we move towards it, the more he walks away.

Concluding, therefore, that utopia serves us so that we do not stop walking. Towards that distant point that we envision as a more humane, sensitive, empathetic society based on common unity.

*Romualdo Pessoa Campos Filho and pprofessor at the Institute of Socio-environmental Studies at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG).



[2] Yves Lacoste – Geography, that serves first of all to wage war.

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