Myth is Myth is Myth

Image: Anselmo Pessoa
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By LUIZ ROBERTO ALVES*

The myth supposed as a result of marketing and propaganda in the process of personification cannot be exercised outside of deep mediocrity.

A myth, either personified in a mythical person or constituted in a strong social mediator, as with the captain-president, could not lead a Republic, since the myth needs to impose itself on the people through what it steals and hides from society; in other words, it cannot exist without deforming the space it dominates. The myth never has anything to do with the public thing (the res publica) and little by little destroys the Republic, as well as causing enormous damage to the democratic ways of building society. On the contrary, when there are people and institutions that direct republican actions, they will have to reveal themselves and multiply, show themselves in favor of different dialogues, face differences with serenity and give them all the value they deserve, account for everything that involved public affairs (even with the sacrifice of the family) and seeking some consensus in the set of projects and actions, albeit minimal, but indispensable.

In the beginning, the myth steals the speech of society and emits it alone, as a collective voice that guarantees to do and happen for the good of people. The myth, or the mythical, is always right, because its speech and its discourses are repeated as exclusive truth, regardless of the atheist, agnostic or religious condition. In the latter case, sacred texts are usually invoked and repeated until such time as other texts are not read or quoted. The repeated discourse of the text becomes the owner of collective speech, even if those who repeat it cannot explain where it came from, what its meanings are and its previous historical contexts. In this totalitarian movement, the exclusive exercise of speech (stolen earlier and now somewhat forgotten) begins to cause a certain loss of memory of phenomena that are usually called historical, which in practice also leads to the death of the history of mythologized human groupings.

To page 73 of your book Attempts at Mythologies, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda states that “(…) the myth is the most fruitful means of submitting people to a rigorous diet, which directs their intentions and their wills to certain magnificent ends (…)¨. Mestre Holanda was not mistaken with the expression magnificent ends, because total, repeated speech, which listens to no other and is self-sufficient (since, being “true” it is exclusive) does not propose anything other than an extraordinary, indeed grand, purpose. The problem, in this case, is the diet (the regimen people go through) on the way to supposed greatness, which can also cause suffering and illness – because it can take the whole time of life!! – and lead to deaths while asserting the truth and will of the myth. Well, if that happens, the myth will have to shout: what to do? People always die, don't they? The mythical being bears no responsibility for illness or death. Everything is natural.

The historian did not write that the magnificent ends are achieved. There are a lot of people who die along the way, others become disillusioned and disoriented throughout life, but there are also those who wait and wait in the middle of a strict diet. The diet demanded by the myth has no deadline, nor time, although the promises are repeatedly enunciated... Generally, magnificent ends shorten life.

Another thinker, Roland Barthes, both in The actuality of the myth (1977) and in mythologies (1980, 4th ed.) was responsible for showing what was highlighted at the beginning of this text, the theft of the word by myth, its exclusivity, its constitution of truth. But this truth is no longer the one that was in the books and speeches of people. From repeating it so much and from so much that it was accepted by many people, it became something solid and rigid like a million-year-old stone: it is a set of lines and speeches with natural value. Naturally people die from viruses or bacteria; naturally the Indians are just like us and want prospecting and casinos; naturally the poor and miserable need to earn a monthly income; naturally children and friends need to be privileged in government; naturally the courts cannot disturb the ruler and his ministers; naturally, every foreigner's speech about the Amazon is a lie, cunning, filthy with envy; Naturally, all the nature of the parks and reserves needs to fill up with tourists and pay taxes, commerce, various explorations, of course! It is also more than natural for the myth that schoolchildren and their teachers expect to receive a lot of money from Fundeb and, naturally, we must share this money to feed the poor, at least until 2022. Why not?

Everything is naturalized, not in the sense of the fact itself, but in the discourse that establishes the “truth” of the fact. Look at other situations: the complete ignorance of the ministers about the desires and needs of the Brazilian people, the absence of administrative and ethical crimes by the president (myth) in the mouth of Rodrigo Maia (who prepares the platforms for 2022), the millions of “families maladjusted" and the "homosexuality" of the kids (who didn't know a woman in suitTo man in suit (??) in the head of Senhor Ribeiro, the MEC (un)educator. These things are like that because they have to be and there is no problem. Especially as it was said and done in this mythical government, safe, guaranteed like life that shines, burns and submits, of course, in the Pantanal.

It is very natural to know that the only “players” of fire in the Pantanal and the Amazon are the poor in the rural world and in the forests. Natural because it's always like that, right?

The last two paragraphs are no joke. The myth supposed as a result of marketing and propaganda in the process of personification cannot be exercised outside of profound mediocrity, low slang, lies natural,bnecessary mixture of the sacred and the profane. It is when it is no longer recognized that horrors may be unnatural. But this horror, which started in January 2019, still with the support of millions of Brazilians, would not exist in a vacuum. There are people who support it.

The myth demands that a symbolic agreement be made, that is, a strong agreement that brings together those committed to power projects to innovate, reform, modernize, modify Brazil, as long as it always remains the same in terms of command and power and over resources for assistance. These are brief democratizing moments. In this sense, everything can be changed, as long as nothing is changed profoundly. Hence the rhetoric of Guedes and Bolsonaro: sell, reform, alienate, offer, but in fact nothing changes in terms of the main thing, that is, having an army of poor and needy people available, made flexible by work regimes or without work at all . When necessary, access channels are created for some resource, which then returns to the governments and profit corporations, without savings. In the same way, it is historically worth boasting that education is a priority, while 5 million impoverished teenagers are thrown, without a threshing floor, into the sights of gunmen, military or not.

So there are big consequences. these predicates natural, naturalized, do not admit republic or democracy, res publica or governance of distinct and diverse people, except if they are naturally weakened, fragmented and, why not, have the same essence of the idiolect (the stiffened and empowered speech) mythical, that is, stealing information, diminishing the representations of social movements, removing all opposition, finding salvationists, submitting parties and representatives, naturally, to the united order and pay.

Under the myth there is nothing more to talk about autonomy, self-determination, division of powers. Nor indirect representation of the people. What if education, culture, health, work, direct representations, the ecological environment and the rights of child-subjects, young-subjects, adult-subjects, under any circumstances, lose even more references (in addition to the much that already lost) and slide to the naturalization, all political or legal discourse may become futility. There is no court that reverses a situation at this depth. It has been said that mediocrity is indispensable for mythologizing. Well then, the “mythical truth” is fully manifested in linguistic expressions such as: so what? What can I do? I don't see any problem! I'll give you the red card! The fire was a hot stone. In my family there is no corruption, I beat you up and hundreds of others. Such utterances respond to a preceding utterance in which there was no doubt, everything was right, everything was true, of course. There, the anti-creativity, the anti-enterprise was made, because the towel has already been handed over and there are no more fighters. The only enterprise that remained was the result of dressage and training, notoriously uncreative acts. Hence the easy, crude, rude expressions that creep into the everyday individual conscience incapable of seeing new things under the sun. It is no longer enough, therefore, as Barthes suggested, any change in this kneading of consciousness, except for a profound rupture with that same language that instituted the mythical condition. It begins, therefore, with the rebellion against the easy and disgusting lexicon. In the subsequent movement, wills are mobilized, albeit weakened through the alert about the reality of the myth. The denunciation of our indigenous peoples in the Norwegian parliament is an anti-mythical act of mobilization. There are more values ​​bouncing on some social networks. What Agnes Heller proposed may be born from this, a generic conscience, which incorporates in a solidary and generous way the Outros and other at the start of a dialog. There is a chance of liberation and a journey towards individual and collective autonomy.

It still remains to be demonstrated that mythical personifications can bring bad luck, bad omens and misfortunes of different orders, not least because naturalization can encounter varying degrees of mythification. In the words of the critical spirit, evil lies and rolls in the history and geography of the mythologized unfortunates. Certainly, when the horrors arrive, someone will be able to raise a question, even a naive one. The answer will be simple and easy:  And? It has to happen! But the people can be in different stages of the power group and, like families and communities, suffer a lot from the ills. International relations may also suggest some references to confronting the naturalizing, therefore mythical, discourse, as is now the case with the almost complete disqualification of Brazil in the world. Finally, confronting the myth and the mythical requires learning, that way of mutually educating one another in a kind of congregation of men and women not yet kneaded and kneaded by truth myth, which is in fact the theft of the truth, since this always admits diversity, arguments, dialogues, considerations about difference.

Anyone who does not admit to being dented by the mythical has a very special mission, that is, to fight urgently for an airy, light, free, open and spacious country. What is set, by the work of the myth and the mythical, is certainly the opposite. It lacks faith that our people will have eyes to see.

*Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.

 

 

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