Endurance

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By Remy Jose Fontana*

The drastic change we are experiencing, for an undefined period, worries us, challenges us, makes us strange; strangeness in relation to ourselves, to others, the reality that seems different, empty, indeterminate, unknown, threatening

The English term “Endurance” can be translated as “resistance”. It was also the name of the ship of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which in 1914, under the command of the navigator Shackleton, set out to undertake an unprecedented adventure: not only reaching the South Pole, but also crossing, on foot, the 1800 miles of the vast continent. white. Having his ship wrecked in the region, destroyed by the massive impact of glaciers, he was, with his reduced crew and scientists who accompanied him, trapped in the immense ice sheets.

The chronicle of this tragedy is the telling of one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Twenty-seven men facing winds of up to 300 km/h in temperatures of up to 50ºC below zero, confronted the unleashed forces of nature at the limits of human resistance. The almost demented suffering they endured, the white silence that surrounded them and the relentless boredom of their daily lives for long months is a more than eloquent attestation of what, as human beings, we can mobilize to ensure the continuity of existence, whatever the conditions. that threaten us, the dangers, obstacles and risks that the misfortunes of fate bring us. Fortitudine Vincimus, we will win thanks to resistance, seems to be an inextricable slogan of our condition, as long as we do not abdicate being what we are, or what it is up to us to be.

Knowledge of this episode from the heroic age of maritime adventures and expeditions, how it was faced and experienced by its protagonists, could be of great use to us or give us extra courage, at this moment when we also find ourselves besieged by a threatening virulence resulting from a planetary sanitary disharmony.

“Endurance”/resistance as an expression appears associated with tenacity, persistence, resolution, suffering, pain, patience, stoicism, acceptance. Indicative and appropriate terms to inform affections and nurture emotions and feelings with which we can face the coronavirus pandemic, not only conforming to the hardships, interdictions and limitations that it implies, but also providing ourselves with stronger dispositions of mind to position ourselves in the moment of its occurrence and repositioning after its overcoming.

We are facing this imponderable virus, unknown in its nature, mutations and sequels even by scientists and infectologists, who with all their art and scientific ingenuity are intensely and perhaps desperately looking to decipher it, tame it, fight it, eliminate it. it.

We are bombarded by information, consistent or false, pertinent or extravagant, issued by accredited health authorities, by respectable or irresponsible rulers or by smart guys full of good intentions, or pregnant with bad-natured opportunism, and so many wise men on occasion, ignorant on duty , fanatics and sectarians of various orders.

In addition to the plethora of information, there are containment measures, recommendations and impositions that place us under the tongs of the law, confining us in private spaces, inhibiting social relations, regulating minimum and essential procedures so that we can successfully face or mitigate the virulence of this threatening viral pandemic. There is also no lack of hardened ignorant people, disbelievers of scientific reasons and communities, or others who, due to political calculation or economic greed, do not comply with prudential procedures and necessary precautions to contain, control or mitigate more than likely calamitous incidences in terms of the number of victims.

 Faced with this situation, an inescapable mood acquires great relevance and pertinence, which is to be alert.

Alert in the face of this fact, in the face of the reality created by it, alert in the face of ourselves, in the sense of acting with conscience, with propriety, with prudence. Alerts in the face of luck, which is not entirely random but the result of how we insert ourselves in this context, how we move in risky spaces, how we fill a slow time, pregnant with idleness, inertia, traps, arranged by the challenging passage endless hours in their routine and/or exasperating succession. Alert, in the sense of suspicious, in the face of a tangible future whose possible contours will result from what we do or fail to do in this present, in the face of a desirable tomorrow where we can recover living conditions, reinstall sociability standards, reconfigure structures and institutions, redefine practices and values.

The drastic change we are experiencing, for an undefined period, worries us, challenges us, makes us strange; strangeness in relation to ourselves, to others, the reality that seems different, empty, indeterminate, unknown, threatening.

A condition like this brings to the fore the values ​​of solidarity, collaboration, empathy, resilience. The metaphor of holding your neighbor's hand here acquires all its existential force, all its therapeutic relevance, all its inescapable opportunity.

The opposite of this is letting yourself down, being driven by the misfortunes of the processes or the impropriety of irresponsible decisions or wrong measures; is to go on deforming as a personality, deteriorating the citizenship condition, opening flanks where we can be hit not only by lethal virulence, but also by the madness of some, fanatical beliefs of others, short-term selfish interests, everything that will lead us to a tragic idiocy, to a grotesque and sinister parody of ourselves, walking across a toxic social floor, shuffling with staggering steps towards the abyss.

*Remy Jose Fontana is a retired professor at the Department of Sociology and Political Science at UFSC.

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