Our Apocalyptic Genesis

Image: Eugene Liashchevskyi


We can leave for Portugal next week, but we will have to leave this planet one day, because it will have left us

Well-known people comment everywhere. In restaurants, for example. Nobody hides. “I'm leaving for Lisbon”. Manuel Bandeira's Pasárgada is right there, in the village itself. “And how I will do gymnastics / I will ride a bicycle”. Enough of politics. Enough of extremism. Long live the monoglot exile. Portugal is a closed condominium, although open to Brazilians everywhere. Portugal has a left-wing government, but that we overlook. Portugal is the new vanishing point in our new artificial perspective: all lines of imagination without perspective converge there and take refuge there. All roads lead to Cascais. The wealthy eyes of São Paulo look overseas – and the eyes they look at are the eyes of Portugal. Fernando Pessoa forgive us.

Emigrate. Go away. Leave. Now, however, no longer into the unknown, no longer into the future. Emigrating became synonymous with returning to the lost dream. To emigrate is to reestablish the joyful feeling of superiority, it is to recover the phlegm. To emigrate is to have back peace, peace, that peace, which had the heating fueled by the despair of others. To emigrate is to return, but in a paradoxical way, impossible, as to emigrate is to return to the place where you never came from.

Now, the destination is no longer the New World, but the Old – which still brings advantages in fantasies of comfort, luxury, exclusivity. The Old World, let's face it, is the First World. You know, it's European Union.

But let's not get lost in migratory waves against the grain. Let's think a little more about one-way trips, those that are one way. The act of cutting ties, of going in search of new life, is perhaps the fate of humans. We live in search of the new stop, we live in the forward and uninterrupted movement. It's curious: even when we embark to try to rediscover the lost idyll and when our crossing only wants to return to an unreal past, a fictitious past, we are convinced that we are moving forward. Non-stop, ever. We are beings that roam, peripatetic, wandering, wandering. We are foreigners at home and we never stop looking for home in places we've never been.

The people who go to Coimbra, those who go to New Zealand, those who move permanently from the metropolises to the forests, those who isolate themselves in an Ashram, those who walk on the side of the road, alone, without giving up, are all people equals. Civilization can be described as the species' great effort to figure out where it's going to live after this one. We are a planet looking for replacements. There is a note of poetry in this condition. Humanity is all the time packing.

Just now, on January 12th, the news circulated that NASA announced the discovery of a planet similar to ours (it is 95% the size of Earth), which is rocky, could have liquid water and harbor life. In the photo, it looks nice. The name is TOI 700 e. It is very far away, 100 light years away. With the technologies we have available for spacecraft engines, an excursion there is not feasible. Still, it's worth it. Who knows, maybe one day Homo sapiens do not start the route towards TOI 700 e.

At this point, it's funny to think that it all started in the Garden of Eden. Yes, there would be other cosmogonies and other mythologies to give us the compass of our tragic tourism, but let's stick with the Garden of Eden, from Genesis, which is already of good size. At some point, Yahweh God became enraged with Adam and Eve and, well – you know the story, or he wouldn't be from this world – he decided to banish them permanently from the pleasant orchard where they inhabited in a state of innocence. It's really funny. If we analyze the circumstances of the repossession that took place in the Garden of Eden, with the defenestration of the tenants, we will realize that this is a plot that has not yet ended.

Yahweh God sent Adam and Eve to run from there, and even scolded the first one: “For you are dust and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3-19). But it's worth asking: did humanity leave Eden for real? In terms. Relatively. More or less. We have become urban, but we still have a house in the countryside, or a farm in the country. We won scholarships to live in Paris, but one foot is always on the beach, in the mountains or in a pet garden. Are hackers, we are Gamers, we are half androids, half cyborgs, but we still have a pet. A fissure opened up between the human and nature, that is a fact, but some bonds between us and nature resist with courage and stubbornness. Some part of Adam's body still lives in Paradise – and Paradise still lives in some part of Eve's body.

What is written in Genesis would then be a destiny that has not yet been fulfilled, but will only be fulfilled once in the Apocalypse – but that is another book. Explaining better: Genesis, seen this way, would not be a book about what was, but about what will be. Cruel prophecy? Biblical eschatology?

We can leave for Portugal next week, but we will have to leave this planet one day, because it will have left us, as a result of our actions.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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