From brainwashing to mental airing

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By FLAVIO R. KOTHE & JÚLIO CÉSAR BRAZIL*

For a century, the Brazilian population has been suffering from PSYOPS, brainwashing by the media according to the interests of the American government

The Brazilian formation has been marked by centuries of unconscious brainwashing. It started with the Catholic Church, which advised the domination of the Court and received rich prebends for it. Cities were built around a mother church, so that everyone revolved around it. This was extended into schools, where children who lacked the critical skills to think for themselves were indoctrinated. Abuse of the disabled was never a name given to it.

However, the “enlightened intelligence” was amazed by the delirious evangelical coup plotters, the camps in front of the barracks, the call of ETs with cell phones in the air. The ridicule is concentrated in one point so that there is no astonishment at the permanent delirium of history.

For a century, the Brazilian population has been suffering from PSYOPS, brainwashing by the media according to the interests of the US government, but this concept is not passed on in university courses or in the mainstream media. There is no politicization in the sense of awareness of the geopolitical vectors that act on us. If it started with simple Western films, in which you learned to root for the good guy against Indians and Mexicans, it expanded to “canned goods”, it dominates the narratives in the media and the news that are presented. People reproduce what they have been taught and think they are thinking for themselves. They are puppets.

What is the Brazilian critical awareness of what has been said in philosophy of art in recent years? Danto is promoted as a great novelty, it is suggested that the more the artifact is recycled waste, the more contemporary and artistic the work will be (inverting Hippias' hypothesis that gold is beautiful, refuted by Socrates saying that Phidias had preferred marble, silver and ivory to represent the gods) or that putting something like a urinal in a gallery it is an aesthetic shock, we have to conclude that we have nothing new, but once again old mistakes are made. There is a lack of information. The main thing is, however, that we are not seeing what is most relevant, something that has been determined by a hybrid war between a unipolar world and another that aims to be multipolar.

With this we are not trying to suggest that Brazil is thinking better. On the contrary, the averageness of thinking is frightening. The big problems are neither posed nor deepened. What prevails at the university is a certain technical short-sightedness, which is believed to be correct when only picking up details of its area, without seeing the need for correlation with other areas and without noticing that re-examining the theoretical dimension of practical problems changes the way of facing them and solve.

The technique wants to solve a problem, but it doesn't want to think ahead. It avoids seeking the paths that interdisciplinary research has been proposing for some time. It is difficult to be competent in more than one area, but you cannot be competent in any of them if you are not competent in more than one. It's easier to do the same thing as always.

Oscar Niemeyer said that those who only know architecture do not know architecture. Minimalism, for example, can save costs and increase profits. The generation of architects that exercised a broader humanistic reflection seems to have lost its greatest representatives and was not replaced by a generation more able to continue the work. On the contrary, there is an increasing ban on philosophical, sociological, economic and, mainly, political reflection.

Something that has been called “green architecture” and “sustainability” has been developed, but this has more to do with a reduction in water and electricity costs than with the discussion of premises. It's more about doing the same old thing. Instead of making an effort to break with established paradigms, this approach seems to be content with superficially modifying the status quo. Thus, despite the intention to promote advances, contemporary architecture often finds itself trapped in a contradiction: it seeks innovation, but often produces only variations of the usual.

The aspiration for an extreme minimalist approach emerges as another glaring example of this contradiction. Under the justification of seeking the essence of the simple, this tendency often hides an underlying motivation more focused on the economy and maximizing profits. What would appear to be a search for architectural purity often masks the need to reduce costs and improve financial return.

On the other hand, there is a paradoxical tyranny of uniformity and massification in the global construction scenario. Smooth, mirrored and concreted buildings, devoid of individuality, seem to appear in profusion, spreading from one pole to the other of the globe. In this tangle of structures, the diversity of architectural styles and expressions gives way to a repetitive and homogeneous landscape. The search for efficiency and standardization results in the loss of the identity of each place and culture.

Thus, contemporary architecture finds itself at an intriguing crossroads. While the intentions of innovation, simplicity and sustainability are proclaimed, the underlying forces of economy, profit and uniformity limit the reach of these aspirations. The potential richness of architecture as a cultural and artistic expression faces challenges in today's world, inviting reflection on the underlying values ​​that shape the built environment.

Architecture is intended to promote comfort. Everyone wants a nice house in a nice neighborhood. A primary question would be, however, to know if the human being really deserves this, if he é "human". What is the relationship between building and destroying? To what extent is human comfort at the expense of nature's discomfort? The simple premise becomes simplistic. The answer is not just to point to mansions built by drug dealers in favelas or horizontal condominiums.

Delimiting the validity of the premise requires examining the intricate relationship between comfort and human merit in a broader context. It is not just about observing extremes, but about exploring nuances and complexities that involve what characterizes the “human”. Man does not know what he is, but he is sure he is better than he actually is. The apparent simplicity of the architectural premise demands broader contemplation. There is no full answer, but the question transcends extreme examples and enters a field that encompasses ethical, social and philosophical variables.

Vitruvius had no doubts about dedicating his work to the divine Caesar and focusing on promoting, according to Greek models, the construction of temples, government buildings and palaces that showed the greatness of the Roman empire. His “idea” was to display greatness in buildings. This is in British MuseumAt museum insel, in Washington. Roman imperialism tried to be a continuation of the Hellenic one and was succeeded by the great empire of the Catholic Church, which expanded throughout Latin America and affects us directly.

It is no coincidence that Washington was built on the neoclassical model of antiquity. The Yankees wanted to create a great empire, according to the old models. The United States is not just a country, a republic that calls itself democratic: it is an empire, which dominates and controls us. They are at permanent war. The two parties that govern it are in favor of war. They are a country that was formed with the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples, the annexation of French territories, the seizure of a large part of Mexico and the only reason they didn't take what is now Canada is because England didn't let them. It has almost a thousand military bases outside the country: the countries taken over are no longer sovereign.

The Brazilian military has a tradition of coups, starting with the proclamation of the republic (which requires to be written in capital letters, the broker warned again, so that the divinity of the gesture is respected, anyone who does not comply with it being suspected of being a monarchist), but in the XNUMXth century they began to follow American commands, just as Dom Pedro I shortly after independence did the indecency of leaving the government in Brazil to obey what the British wanted him to do in Portugal. Maintaining the monarchy would have been giving strength to the most reactionary landowners, but the republic not taking care of the freedmen spoke well of the military commitment to the landlords. They are small examples of reflections that are not done in class.

The Brazilian school does not develop a critical conscience in young people. There was and is not politicization. The problem is not just not replacing the textbook with electronic media, to the point of suppressing the reading of dense and long texts. The problem is that people don't even know how to read and decipher the media because the corporate media themselves don't know how to read, or worse, don't want to be read.

If the war in Ukraine seems convenient to the Americans, because it attacks Russia without killing Yankee soldiers, without getting wasted with thousands of dead being handed over to their families in the United States, as happened in the many wars in which imperialism has been involved, it is, however, a symptom for possible changes in the world. What is at stake is the gradual disruption of the unipolar order, opening spaces for the emergence of new approaches in the spheres of thought, international relations, trade and coexistence between nations.

Even if the analysis of the situation in the corporate media does not go beyond the superficial view, the facts continue to carry contradictions. This reinforces the need to carefully examine not only the immediate results, but also the wider effects on the chessboard of international relations and our mental reactions.

We are in the middle of war, military and digital, pretending that the military has not yet reached us, although it is exploding in several places. BRICS-11 may be a turning point in history, but it is not certain that we are up to that change. Our vocation is denialist. We deny death as we deny that the digital war is with us. We are dead in spirit and we don't know it: we are immortal because we have already died, we cannot die anymore. Postponed corpses that breed fewer and fewer ideas. Aggressive identity politics, if it is part of the Psyops underway, serves to hide the problem of social inequality, the contrast between rich and poor inherent in capitalism. Not thinking and being glued to the television will not solve things: they are forms of escape, as are religions.

These imperial urges that mark history and are stages of its journey show the predominance of a so-called human being, but who is dominated by the will to power: he tries to impose himself on whoever he can, on everything he can. Technique is the practical application of this desire to dominate. She wants to solve practical things, without discussing their fundamentals. She doesn't think ahead. She thinks that what matters is what is on the horizon of what she looks at. Not only, however, horizons move with the walk, giving new perspectives to those who want to look: things become different, they are no longer the same.

When we establish an object of knowledge from a thing, we pretend that the thing is our object; from the perspective of the thing, our object has left it untouched and untouched. We cover our perceptions with various languages, having the desire that the more signs we use, the more we get to things, while in fact the more we distance ourselves from them. In a way, the thing is the unconscious of our object of knowledge, which then becomes an object of concealment.

When we talk about hermeneutics, it is supposed to be a way of explaining and making explicit what would be contained in a text: the “underlying content”. What is done there, however, is the translation of their lack of knowledge into our way of understanding. What was “contained” cannot be seen: prevented from being accessed, manipulated so that it could not be seen. We do not understand the “original”, as it becomes the projection of our reconstruction, the translation of us into the other as if it were the other. We translate as original the translation and version we made for ourselves.

The “analysis” should start from a non-text, from something that is not the text that is presented to us to be explained and explained in another language. Analysis needs to deny itself as a mere application of a priori schemes in order to arrive at itself. The proposed text can only be understood from the unposted text. Understanding the given text emerges only in relation to the text that was only “gifted” as an absence, concealed.

What is absent, what has not been said, can, however, more clearly outline the profile of what is proposed and imposed on us. The understanding of being suggests itself and arises from the conception of non-being. One can only think of being through non-being, but also non-being only through being.

Why does being exist and not nothing? Leibniz's question had an obvious theology: because God wanted it that way. What if there is no god and no will? Are things as man intends them to be? Is it this will to power that in fact drives the entire Western philosophical, scientific and technical tradition?

It is not enough for Martin Heidegger to say that American domination of the world is a continuation of the European urge to dominate and colonize the world. There is a difference there. In what he says, it is as if Europe continued to dominate the world in a dominated Europe. It remains to be seen that Europe – with its formerly powerful colonial metropolises – has become a colony of a former British colony. European thinkers don't know how to think that, they don't dare to think that their States are not sovereign. Those who tried were either eliminated or sidelined. They are afraid to think what hurts their pride in former metropolises, now invaded by poor people from former colonies and struggling to maintain forms of neocolonialism.

Gradually, concerns arise with the preservation of the environment and with the need to think about the social in terms of ecosociology. They fail, however, to see the “human” from the perspective of the victims. To endorse the domination of nature is to accept social domination. Art has given support and support to both. It is necessary to distrust its aura and its taboo.

The history of civilization tends to be a history of destruction, which is seen only as a positive construction. There is an endorsement from past landlords to accept the domination currently in force: submit. This retrospective view limits forward-looking thinking, making it difficult to formulate advanced solutions.

When projection into the future is neglected, there is an interruption in the reflection process. It constitutes an obstacle to thinking ahead. When you don't think ahead, you don't think: you keep repeating, stopped. Thinking is errancy: the search for success amid mistakes. Success is not just the practical result of getting what you want.

This echo tendency also finds an echo not only in the formation of modern architects, where the excessive focus on technicality does not anticipate that technological evolution will increasingly lead to work carried out by machines, computer programs and platforms still unknown. The student is prepared for tasks that will soon be redundant, while preparation for future demands is neglected. This lack of anticipation is a comfort mechanism, as thinking ahead brings with it discomfort and challenge. Instead of autonomy of thought, there is a preference for submission.

If technicality in academic training in general does not see that the work will be increasingly done by machines, by computer programs, by platforms that we do not even know about, if the student is being prepared to do what he will not need and is not being prepared for what needs to be done, what is established is denialism. You are overcome and you don't know you are. It is comfortable not to think ahead. Thinking hurts, is bad, generates discomfort. We want eyes lowered and knees genuflected, not autonomy of thought.

The Brazilian university is just training specialized labor, but it is not thinking. He just thinks he thinks. It is alienated, without politicization. You want the maximum amount of product in as little time and expense as possible.

Reflecting on an old colony is just trimming and reproducing the light of the metropolis. It's not research space for more advanced thinking. The joke is that Brazilian intellectuals take as reference metropolises countries that have already become colonies of a former colony, with the territory occupied by foreign troops are no longer sovereign states, but European intellectuals do not dare to think about what determines and defines them. .

Anyone who thinks can think wrong. You have to think wrong. Does not think who thinks in the established parameters. He just makes variations around what is already known and said. Those who think “right” assume that those who think differently think wrong.

“Understanding” what someone else says is translating it into the concepts of those who assume they are understanding. He assumes that he is, because he has reduced otherness to his egoity, in an ego that is incapable of knowing its limits because he assumes that he is only saying the delimitations and limits of the “object” of his identification. It covers the “thing” with its identity object. It is an alienated fiction.

The “research” proposed by public notices has problematic evaluation items, which have governed everything for over twenty years. For example, an article is worth ten points, a chapter is worth ten: and an entire book is worth ten! Well, who wrote this? Who can't write a book, and if he does, it won't make a difference. Another item says that only publications made in the last two years, a maximum of five, are valid: who is this for? It is discrimination against those who have a life of productions. It is placed as a criterion that the author be of a certain gender, of an ethnic group, of a sexual predilection. This has nothing to do with the quality of the text, which should be the only criterion. Under the guise of being “critical”, one is discriminatory and prejudiced.

The problem is even worse. Anyone who really thinks cannot be evaluated by “peers”, because he has no peers, he is unique, differentiated, unequal. The referees will say that any project that is not feasible for their limited “intelligences” is unfeasible. The more limited they are, the more power is attributed to them. 

Just to give another example: in Literature courses, the Brazilian canon and the normative grammar of the Portuguese language are indoctrinated as if they were absolute. Thus, the interiorization of Portuguese colonialism and the propaganda of the oligarchy of landowning and slaveholding origins took place. Without knowing what is being done or whether, knowing, as much as it has been done, arrogance is exercised as if it were wisdom.

The most serious current problem with reading may not be functional electronic illiteracy nor factual illiteracy and the lack of reading for the majority of the population. The most important text in Western society is still the Bible, but there is no Literature course that really discusses this issue, while priests, pastors and indoctrinators are occupying channels and more television channels, temples and pulpits, microphones and singing audiences to dictate the path of salvation. There is no confrontation, there is no freedom of expression. A broadcast antenna is like a pulpit: dictated from top to bottom, no questions asked.

Thinking requires seeing things from outside what they are supposed to be. When a thing is converted into an object of knowledge, one starts to believe that the thing is this mental object, but it serves to cover up what the thing is, and leaves it untouched even though it has the pretense of having solved everything. That the human being is dominated by the desire for domination that characterizes him has as a consequence the devastation that he leaves as a trace of his presence.

The history of civilization is the history of the advance of barbarism. Only when we start to see things the opposite of what we have been taught can we, perhaps, begin to think. What has been done, for now, is to avoid the emptiness of what we say is the being of things, pretending that what we say is enough, is all there is to say. Only by falling into this void will we be able to capture something of the non-being of what has been said to be, only then will we perhaps learn to fly and think. Our fear of falling over the precipice is, however, so great that we become paralyzed, as if frozen in the air we are preserving ourselves.

When Martin Heidegger, the greatest philosopher of the XNUMXth century, proposed that a thing becomes a thing through the world in which man inserts it, he was once again making everything revolve around the subject of knowledge. Now, most of the things that exist in outer space are not known by human beings, they are not part of your little world. We are a precarious and provisional species of animal, which will disappear as millions of others have already disappeared. We can even pray for the ETs to visit us and we can feel less alone and anguished, but it will only be our prayers. There's a lot unexplained. Our explanations cover them up rather than reveal them.

Jan Mukařovsky attempted an explanation of art as a communication process. The author would be the sender, author of an artifact that, when seized by the receiver, would become an aesthetic object. The author, however, is the first receiver of his artifact and, by constituting an aesthetic object, he would shape the work, just as the receiver, by reconstructing the artifact through the decipherments proposed in his aesthetic object, would also shape the work. The author's work would never be identical to that of the recipient. Understanding is misunderstanding.

Hence, it was proposed that the author's would be superior to that of the receiver, but this is problematic, as the author often does not know what his work really is. Cervantes thought that his Galatea was more important than Don Quixote, a work that began as a short story and only became a novel at the instigation of close people, the second part of which was only written to oppose the imitations and sequels that were already appearing. He let his character die at the end.

What the author leaves to others is the ruin of the work, while posters tend to leave the work in ruins. Recipients need to recreate the work, so that it remains alive. Jan Mukařovsky did not develop the difference between what remains of the work, as the materialization of an author's conception, and what the work becomes with the resurrection made by the receivers. Art is not a process of communication, even if something like that happens in it. Making common what belonged to one is not what a great work of art does. She, as it were, shelters herself, she hides from the eyes of others the most hidden things that move her. She disconnects.

It is therefore necessary to be suspicious of what semioticians and philosophers say about art. When psychoanalysts talk about novels, they talk more about their professional theories than they open up to what is different about the work. Philosophers' big mistake is to think that the beautiful is the conductor of the idea, as if works of art were full udders in which they can suckle ideas. The sociologist who examines art can establish curious correlations, but in general he cannot see in the author more than someone who expresses the opinion of a social group.

Art cannot be resolved through the sciences of understanding, as the beautiful and the sublime are beyond what can be grasped by concepts. It is necessary to experience the work, to capture its internal drives and tensions, to feel its scope. We only begin to understand a work when we capture something of what we cannot understand about it. If it cannot express this, it cannot be realized as art. Hermeneutics should lead us to questions rather than answers.

* Flavio R. Kothe is a retired full professor of aesthetics and a senior researcher at UnB. Author, among other books, of Benjamin and Adorno: clashes (Attica).

* Julius Caesar Brazil He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Brasilia (UnB).


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