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By TARSO GENRO*

Fascists, their supporters, allies and their inventors show that they do not know happiness.

Tracing the concept of happiness a little, outside the judgment of self-help commercials on the market, may not support many. If it harms, however, it harms a few, contrary to most books on the subject, which circulate in the market of collective unhappiness. In an increasingly strange world and in a country on the verge of disaster, Bauman's question – “Is ethics possible in a world of consumers?” - It makes perfect sense. Ethics and happiness are connected like skin and body, for those who have not lost the basic bonds of solidarity that bind us – as a species – to our traveling brothers on the small ship Earth floating in infinity.

The historical fact that the planet is harassed by the permanent violence and the radical uncertainties of the pandemic makes the infinite orchestra alternate solos. And they speak in surprise and pain. It is a tormented repetition: will I live? how long shall I live? did what I could, for the people I love? and to the furtive eyes that follow me around the corners of the empty city, did I offer something of energy and compassion? what else can i do before its too late?

These are the questions that no longer separate us by age, but by ethical convictions, from which it is impossible to evade. Questions unite us, through broader doubts about the meaning of life and about our destiny, which has brought us here, close to the edge of the abyss or a new redemption.

I understand that when Baumann says that the concept of “solidarity” is capable of founding a “Social State” – socialist or regulated capitalist – he warns us, to a greater or lesser extent, against the “twin horrors of misery and indignity: this that is, from the terror of being excluded; of falling or being thrown out of the accelerating vehicle of progress; of being condemned to social redundancy; of being denied the respect due to human beings and being classified as 'human refuse'”.

Human solidarity transformed into State policy against the “order of selfishness” – must be articulated, therefore, as a culture and institution, “inspiring trust and equality”. In any hypothesis, it would be the gestation of a “new way of life”, not subjugated by market relations, consciously guided by their own needs and by the needs of the “other”, conceived as an individual and collective being.

Happiness, composed as the story of a life, can only be enjoyed in full at the end of the journey, when the feeling of parting is already the translation of many everyday experiences, so that we can contrast the entire script of the past, with the memory that remains for us. The meanings of each moment, now past, can then become full: no one will certainly say goodbye with joy, but everyone can say goodbye without rancor and with the balance of someone who has not lived in vain.

The fascist is taciturn and spiteful. Its supporters and allies, its inventors – whether within their political regime or in the spasms of “exception” – show, through the dark looks of their bandit technocrats, that they do not know happiness. The impulses of sudden joy that move them, when they are delighted with the violence and pain of others, are only “sufficient for themselves”. Contrary to the type of happiness proposed by Montaigne – in which “calm and courage prevent pleasure from becoming spasmodic” – fascists are moved by cowardice that is expressed in intolerance and violence.

They, the fascists, experience the need of cowards who – as in a rape – tend to bleed out in sick enjoyment, through the torture and humiliation of an eliminable other. Our questions, however, lead us beyond his world: on our “side”, we see happiness for an ethics of fertilized responsibility, for the moral of resistance. The word set in motion opens up spaces in the memory of the future: there men recompose themselves for another step over the abyss.

In this step, non-selfish happiness is the passport to every everyday act of justice: against the routine of submission, the paralysis of fear and renegade conformism. In the courage of solidarity – not in the market of exclusion – we seek the victory of the human species against prejudices, wars and the necrophilic shadows of fascism.

This construction is an ecology of affect. It happens by destroying and recreating moments in which the barriers of intolerance are dissolved and the conditions of humanity are recreated, in place of hatred, as well as brotherhood in the struggle for reason and dreams. It is when the “unattainable” utopias become small episodes that – sewn together throughout life – help weave the happiness of the entire human species, at every hour of every day.

John Cassavetes in his film “Thus Speaks Love” portrays a particular love relationship – between Minnie and Moskowitz – with a succession of aggressive events, in which the couple lives a chaotic process, where “no crisis is masked, but which ends up taking advantage of its fundamental instability to build a true emotion”. True emotions in the social field – for those who seek a happy life that is synonymous with “peace with their conscience”, can only come from an ethics of responsibility. It translates into moral resistance and the struggle of the species in pursuit of a common destiny.

The morality of resistance, against fascism's bandit policies, is a worldview that leads us to consider that, if there are no perspectives for anyone in the immediate present, there is a future to be built. The word, as a starting point, impels us to show others that it is necessary to have perspectives to offer everyone, to overcome the miseries of the present. This is how a happiness is composed that is always provisional, but which builds – by word and deed – its definitive permanence.

The great Fernando Pessoa solves this dilemma, with the greatness of the word transformed into poetry, in his verses from “O Guardador de Rebanhos”:

On an exceedingly clear day,
Day when I felt like I had worked a lot
To not work anything on it,
I glimpsed, like a road before the trees,
What is perhaps a Big Secret,
That Great Mystery of which false poets speak.
(...)
From the top of my window
With a white handkerchief I say goodbye
To my verses that leave for humanity
And I'm not happy or sad.
This is the fate of verses.

The great Milton Santos taught us that “the big city is an enormous banal space, the most significant of places (…)” In today's times – continues the Master – “the big city is the space where the weak can survive”. It is theirs, the conscious and rebellious weaklings, “on an exceedingly clear day”, that the moving word and the call to collective happiness will depart. The bridge over the abyss.

*Tarsus-in-law he was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil.

 

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