The time to dream: the smallest and infinity

Image: Tuur Tisseghem


Regain the qualified time that feeds the dream of a better life, freed from the authoritarian yearnings of some

Underestimating the action of time on the business plan of the spirit is an irreparable mistake. It is true that this character trait that neglects the unique temporality of life stands out within our current subjective configuration; and that the value of immediacy and the consequent contempt for everything whose duration exceeds the maximum duration of a video on TikTok defines us much more than the deepest foundations of Western Christian culture.

It is also true that the appeal to infinitesimal duration is the result of an economic process marked by the urgent need for renewed consumption of goods whose value is greater the more ephemeral their duration. The market tells us all the time: enjoy (and fast)! Everything in life reduced to the speed and intensity of discarding. We moderns don't have time to let live ecstasy of any duration.

Time is short, I know, but I would still like to think that the reflected action of time is fundamental and that it should also teach us to better choose our collective destiny, the future of the country. Whether we are going to learn with time is another story, space for another chronicle.

The government elected in 2018 has placed its bets on immediate, last-minute solutions, instant aid to the poorest, a kind of noodle feast with sachet seasoning on the eve of the election. A gamble that didn't work out. Not because in the face of an empty stomach, a noodle is almost nothing. It must not work because the offer of instant resources with the sole objective of silencing the real deprivation of the people underestimates their intelligence.

We must believe that this time the voter had time to fairly assess the infamous nature of the author of this offer. Four years of unbridled and intense destruction of the country will also not be forgotten in view of the reduction of a few tens of cents at the fuel pump. The image sold by the president that he will rise – even in the polls – is worthless.

The experience of time, or rather, all that art that summarizes the short/long duration of human life, must learn from the stomach that the satisfaction provided by instantaneous – and limited – relief from hunger does not shut anyone's mouth. He, the Stomach, always wants more. When he has the bone, he wants the meat, when he has the meat, fun and ballet.

Dona Vitória, Fabiano, the nameless boys and the dog Baleia, the famous drought refugees by the writer Graciliano Ramos, teach us that what makes us dream of the most beautiful buildings is a certain disposition of the spirit, a force capable of launching the present time in another temporality. The dog Baleia, in her last seconds of life, dreamed of a paradise full of cavies… And dreams, despite our profound existential limitation – modern domesticated by the current phase of capitalism –, do not age. Not only do they resist the power that subjugates them, but they are also capable of rebelling against their bonds.

If all goes well, this (mis)government will not win the elections by promoting immediate satisfaction based on market logic (pixes, vauchers, vouchers) that reduce everything to petty enjoyment. The short duration of the “electoral aid” reveals that everything is nothing more than a decoy.

Regaining the qualified time that feeds the dream of a better life, freed from the authoritarian yearnings of some, is an endless task that fights against the low condition of the present time. The time to dream must always remind us – with Caetano – that people are there to shine, not to die of hunger.

*Joao Paulo Ayub Fonseca is a psychoanalyst and doctor in social sciences from Unicamp.

Author of Introduction to Michel Foucault's analytics of power (intermediate).


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