state of rot

Image: Adrien Olichon


The constant feeling of imminent risk makes us stay alert, looking all the time for any sign of a threat against us.

By stating that “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to give in”, Oscar Wilde pointed to what is perhaps the most primary unconscious motivation for man's quest for knowledge. Knowing, in a broad sense, is a kind of fetish. By the way, according to the beaten and refuted reading of the Judeo-Christian mythical narrative, the germ of the so-called “original sin” was precisely Adam having felt and surrendered to the temptation of knowing the knowledge that, in theory, God kept only for himself. Nines-out, free of any religious dogmatism, is an interesting allegory.

Quite contrary to this idea, the popular maxim according to which “ignorance is bliss” is also interesting. It is difficult not to see wisdom in this, especially when, as in the current days, the recognition of the principles, means, ends and effects of fascism constrains us to try assertive dialogue with convinced denialists, exploited by faith, amoral puritans, prejudiced discriminated, and – cherry of the cake – poor right-wingers. Is it really worth being able to see all this?

Powerless between the equally powerful temptations to see and unsee their surroundings, the Brazilian averse to selective blindness has experienced the condition of “a mobile loose in the hurricane” (Hail, Paulinho Moska!). Seeing yourself and the country, peacefully and concomitantly, is an almost impossible mission. On the other hand, it is also almost impossible to close your eyes to the scenario around you, in an attempt to preserve your own mental health. We are caught in the metaphysical trap of a loop paradoxical Made in brazil: Around here, today, awareness of the need to stay informed has become a trigger for ostrich syndrome. The most visible effect of this loop, it seems, is the constant state of readiness to which we are subject, surrounded by uberized zombies and minions super busy serving the evil rataria emerging from the patriotic sewers.

It's not new: the state of readiness is an instinctive reaction of (potential) prey when they intuit or perceive predatory threats. Several documentaries on wildlife have already recorded this defense mechanism. It turns out that, in general, such a condition of wakefulness is not lasting, even among the animals that make up the base of the food chains in their respective ecosystems.

There are species that are more skittish than others, it is true, but unless I am mistaken, notes on species that are frightened twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year are not recurrent – ​​and it is pure sophistry to invoke at this point the presumed ignorance of non-human animals regarding the counting of time. If there are others besides us who experience such torture, there is probably none who carry this terror with them into their own home (den, den, nest, hole or what amounts to them). Thanks to Internet, the human animal's capacity for self-destruction (“death drive”?) can desecrate any space. Any. Including our mind.

No doubt this ability is one of the reasons we are so sick – and there is nothing new about that either. Reliable official data (from WHO[I], from OPS[ii] and the USP[iii]) realize that Brazil is one of the countries with the highest number of people suffering from anxiety and depression on the planet. And, if one considers the fact that, around here, there are several obstacles to the diagnosis of these disorders and to the systematic recording of their occurrence, it can be assumed that the underreporting of cases compromises the accuracy of the data measured by the aforementioned organizations.

Beyond the cold statistics, in the heat of the world of flesh and blood people, things seem to happen more or less like this: the constant feeling of imminent risk makes us stay alert, looking all the time for any sign of a threat against us; the search for these clues sharpens our senses and takes us to the news and books; they heighten our sense of fear, thus triggering our alertness; when/if we realize the vicious cycle, we try to disconnect, forget the world at least for a few moments; there we experience the certainty of being blind and, for that very reason, of being easier prey; this certainty reactivates our senses, induces us to be alert again, to search for information in the news and for explanations in books. So the loop settles down; thus the mind becomes sick.

But how could it be otherwise if Pestilence, Famine, War and Death parade among us, laughing, all the time? How could it be different if our children have been abandoned to their fate, have fallen from buildings, have been killed by stray bullets (always at the same addresses) directed (always at the same bodies)? How, if there are fathers and mothers proudly neglecting the physical and mental integrity of their sons and daughters, and even attacking their lives with a much greater method and frequency than the absurd would ever suspect? How could indigenous peoples, blacks, women and LGBTQs not feel cornered in a founded land, mired for more than five hundred years in murder, slavery and segregation? Will it be possible for the Brazilian averse to human stupidity to escape loop macabre made in Brazil, immersed in a time-space that elevates stupid caricatures to the status of “myths” and enthrones them under the crown of self-conceited stupidity?

None of this sounds possible, and the reason for this seeming impossibility is: our inescapable readiness, however ostensible, is only one big sequel. The cause of our collective illness is much more serious. We, Brazil and Brazilians, are actually living in a state of rottenness – some because of wear and tear, others because of enjoyment, most because of sloppiness. The sheer surreality of our days has a sickly paralyzing effect on some of us, to the same extent that it provokes the euphoric enjoyment of so many others. Squeezed between paralyzed and euphoric, the great mass tries only to survive; for her, the horizon of better lives is a kind of intoxicating fantasy, which sometimes looks like a commoner, sometimes like a nobleman... and sometimes smells like sulfur.

We live in a time when the smell of sulfur seems to have permeated everything. The rataria emerging from the sewage of our rotten colonial past showed that, after all, it was not really past, but rather still present. We have never ceased to be a kind of upside-down “holy land”, a paradise for venal and genocidal barbarians, with increasingly polluted rivers where mud and gall are dragged. In this sense, it is consistent that they – the rats and the minions enchanted by the chief's cursed flute – have appropriated the national flag. Let them stay with her and make the most of it.

We, who reject selective blindness and choose to try to progress in the search for knowledge that promotes some effective collective well-being, should give in to the temptation to refound ourselves (at least metaphorically), and we could start by establishing a new flag (even if imaginary ) that symbolized this oneiric “joint liberation of all men” (Evoé, Paulo Freire!). On the then “multicolored banner of our new land” (Thanks for the loan, Castro Alves!) instead of the infamous “Order and progress”, perhaps Brás Cubas's wise dedication could have been written: “To the worm that first gnawed the cold flesh of my corpse, I dedicate these posthumous memoirs as a nostalgic memory”…

I wish that some other national beauty could resurface from these magic words, under the inventive blessings of the black Witch of Cosme Velho.

* Luciano Nascimento He holds a PhD in Literature from UFSC and is a professor at Colégio Pedro II.



[I] Available in

[ii] Available in,Mundial%20da%20Sa%C3%BAde%20(OMS).

[iii] Available in

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
  • 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
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich