For a real new year

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

Yes, it is possible to trust. Critically, it is possible to trust. If society knows that it is not a supporting actor, but a protagonist

Hope is not a good word – and maybe not a good feeling. Educator Paulo Freire used to say that he preferred the verb “hope” to the noun “hope”, which has its logic there. Verb is act, not mere sensation. “Hoping” is not waiting by the wayside, with resignation, but acting to change the path: an activity, not a passivity.

In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza had already warned. In your Ethics, hope appears as the counterpart of fear: a bad affection that, like fear, weakens the spirit. In a hurried summary, Spinoza said that, just as fear lowers the willingness to act, as it intimidates and confines the subject, hope makes action unnecessary, as the subject is intoxicated by the somewhat superstitious crowd that everything will work out.

Definitely, it is not with hope that we should toast 2023. Confidence is perhaps the right word. The country has a real chance of straightening itself out, not because it is incorrigibly hopeful, but because citizens, who have worked politically to reverse the rise of authoritarianism, will not let it go. “Trust” has become, for us, a political verb, an action that blossoms from democratic militancy and leads to public commitment.

Trust does not translate into unconditional submission, into giving a “blank check” to anyone. Trust is not saying “amen” to a supposed “myth” – or to a mythomaniac. Rather, it is a rational stance: it is knowing that the secured word only defines collective actions when grounded in facts. It means rejecting lies as grammar and rejecting negation elevated to reason of State. Trust is the opposite of fanaticism: it is trusting democracy, not saviors of the Fatherland. The trust that counts lives in the relationship, in the dialogue between equals, in the open debate, and is only valid when shared – if it is unilateral, it will be lost. If you don't mobilize society, it will melt into thin air.

It is clear that the year 2023 will be rough. We have bottlenecks in education, health, public communication. The economic outlook does not encourage optimistic forecasts. There is the center, beyond everything. And there is still the group that begs on their knees for a military coup, not to mention the people who project and finance terrorism, like that bomb attack plan in Brasilia to provoke chaos and foment a coup d'état. How crazy! There are those who think they are inflamed patriots, but they are nothing but inflammable idiots.

For such huge challenges, the new government will have to live up to trust and, at least so far, nobody knows whether discernment, prudence, grandeur and wisdom will prevail. It won't be easy at all. Even so, we have objective elements to be confident that 2023 will be better, in all aspects, than 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019 combined. And you, no matter who you voted for, know that 2023 can really be better. You know it's true.

The word “truth” does not come to us by chance. It will be our test of nine. It is not an epic, visionary or epiphanic truth, but simply that which Hannah Arendt defined: the truth of facts. Just her, which any citizen recognizes as hers. No more rulers who tamper with data on vaccination, deforestation, electronic polls and cracks. Enough of the fanaticism talkers. Let public agents enter the scene who do not vandalize science, knowledge, history, justice and facts. Let those who detonate symbolic bombs, every day, in the foundations of the edifice of reason leave the field.

The truth we need, like the trust we learn to cultivate, has nothing to do with religious dogma. Biblical “truths” in public offices and on electoral platforms have already produced too much damage. The impudence with which liars invoke faith (which they themselves do not have) only served to make it even more clear that, in modern times, the use of religion in politics is of interest only to deceivers. May the merger between churches, political parties and radio and television stations ebb – or begin to ebb.

Moreover, it is not possible to understand how a representative who declares himself to be religious can, on purpose, pay for the dissemination of such devastating lies as those that discredited the vaccine. The false messiahs defy, daily, at least two of the commandments of Moses: the third (“do not invoke the name of God in vain”) and the ninth (“do not bear false witness”). How is this explained? Do they consider Ten commandments a form of censorship? Do they not know that truth is a pillar of all ethics, at any time?

Enough now. Let the New Year's Eve. May the days of the Republic's use of power to spread “false testimony” on all subjects be numbered. Yes, it is possible to trust. Critically, it is possible to trust. If society knows that it is not a supporting actor, but a protagonist, if it trusts itself, this verb will avenge and avenge us. Trust will help us. True happy new year.

*Eugenio 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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