About mind assembly

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By FLAVIO R. KOTHE*

Rationalization takes the forms of reason to maintain the irrational dominance of speech or action.

Former European metropolises became, after World War II, colonies of a former English colony. With the territory occupied by American troops, they do not enjoy full sovereignty, but their pride has prevented them from recognizing the fact, camouflaged under the opinion that they are democratic and free countries; in Brazil, the intellect continues to take European thought as if it were from the metropolis. Its presidents and prime ministers obey the orders of the European Community, which obeys the dictates of NATO, controlled by Washington's summit.

There is an intense brainwashing carried out by the media and television series, which is not deciphered by autonomous thinking. Great European thinkers failed to face the theological structure of European philosophy present in saints like Augustine and Aquinas. These structures were imposed by the Catholic Church in Latin America and are not revealed.

It's easy to get caught up in the deconstruction of minor things, applying fashionable concepts to local cases as if this colonized mind were synonymous with science. It is difficult to face the great constructions that dominate us. In the last year, we are facing the brainwashing that the NATOist media is imposing regarding the war in Ukraine, which is rather a war against Yankee expansionism and the world growth of the extreme right.

It is difficult for architects, for example, to break with the ideology of human comfort as the destiny of the profession. The assumption is that man is a divine creature, with the right to take and use whatever he wants, as God wanted it that way. With over 7 billion humans on the planet, is he not the most destructive being alive on Earth? Instead of being nature's creative look back on itself, as the German romantics wanted, it is nature's destructive look back on itself. Christianity denies and disturbs man's natural relationship with his origin. There are theological presuppositions where it is not suspected.

Even Jacques Derrida adopted the notion that the meaning would come from a game of differences on the level of the signifier. This came from the notion of sign in Ferdinand de Saussure, who proposed the sign as something closed, separate from the thing signified. This conception of sign had, however, hidden the definition of man as constituted by body and soul: material signifier and spiritual signified. What gives meaning is the thing, it is not just signified: it determines meaning by what it is.

In irony, however, the meaning of the sign tends to be contrary to the meaning. Then a third dimension is introduced, which would be like the spirit. How was the relationship between body, soul and spirit?

Would it be possible to think, however, the sign identity only as a result of the game of differences or would it be necessary to have the identity as the foundation of the difference itself? Not only in the sense that it would result from a differentiation, but that it itself would have an identity, which would be the identity of difference? If irony is a duplicity of discourse – which is not mere ambiguity –, would it not be a way of saying the other, different from what is said? This led to the notion of allegory, as the other said: one cannot understand an allegory if one does not know what it means in its figures.

Plato was a master of irony. Its protagonist Socrates never says what he thinks. Alcibiades says this clearly at the end of the Symposium, as a comment on Diotima's proposal in the sense that great love would no longer be related to a person, but to the principle of beauty. Well, that's denying love, which is always a relationship, not just a utopian projection. In the end of Republic, Socrates denies the existence of the world of ideas: it could be recreated by looking into a large mirror while walking through the countryside with it.

The colonized mentality is shown too often at the university when a European thinker is taken as a reference – if possible French, perhaps German – who will provide the theoretical framework, within which the research data will be framed. It is a Procrustean bed: the data are stretched or cut until they fit into the invoked theoretical scheme. This is part of the metaphysical tradition that dominates Latin America, whose cities were built around a Catholic temple, showing in the urban design how the head of the inhabitants should be.

In the theater of Golden age, all the main playwrights – Lope de Veja, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca – wrote plays that basically dealt with one theme: the fear of the Spanish court that its envoys to America could associate with the indigenous people, especially the indigenous women, to form independent countries, from which the benefits of the colonial structure could no longer be extracted.[I] are pieces like Arauco Tamado, The Amazons, Our Lady of Copacabana, which are not usually read in Brazilian schools or universities, although they are symptomatic of history. Teaching does not serve to emancipate, but to tame minds.

The Catholic Church entered the colonial scheme to help maintain control over the king's emissaries. When these failed, it was possible to “complain to the bishop”. This generated a lot of profit for the Church. It is not by chance that the Iberian and Italian peninsulas abound with churches and more churches, convents and more convents. So the control over the way of thinking was kept there.

In France it was not much different, although it did not officially have an Inquisition, in practice the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne controlled the nihil obstat publications, Saint Bartholomew's Night was a genocide of "Protestants", two XNUMXth-century ministers were cardinals, the humanist flame that blossomed in Port Royal was violently quelled, Descartes had to flee the country and ended up poisoned, Voltaire had to choose by exile. To this day, French thinkers are not used to tackling the theological foundations of philosophy. Neither do the Germans.

The deconstruction that does not unravel and does not reveal the deep structure built by the metaphysical tradition will not face what continues to dictate life and everyone's way of seeing. It is necessary to see where it emerges and from there be aware that it would be possible to see things differently. The problem becomes worse where we don't want to see that we are puppets of structures that control us and whose intricacies we don't understand.

If, for example, we try to deconstruct the colonized mind because Jacques Derrida said to do so, then we will continue to obey the dictum coming from Paris. It's no use saying he's Algerian. He is as un-African as Saint Augustine. The two adhered to European structures, and that is what guarantees them repercussions. Both are part of schemes bigger than them and us.

If the question ofdifference” is thought from the game between signifiers as proposed by Saussure in Cours de Linguistique Generale, it is necessary to see if the structure of the sign proposed as closed and constituted by signifier and signified does not reproduce, and not by chance, the metaphysical and theological structure of the human being as constituted by body and soul. If the sign is seen as closed in on itself, the meaning being generated by the game of differences in the components of the signifier, then one falls back into idealism, in which mental structures generate things. Irony as a figure of speech tends to invert the meaning of the term, making it no longer coincide with the usual meaning. If the signifier is equivalent to the body and the meaning to the soul, how is the meaning situated? He would be the spirit, a third instance.

The same schema "from the most material to the most spiritual" structures Hegel's system of the arts. For him, architecture is the crudest and simplest of artistic languages, but it is fundamental, as it encompasses all the other arts. There it becomes more artistic as it approaches sculpture. Both are part of the visual arts, the plastic arts. Is architecture something that can only be seen? How are the other senses, such as hearing, touch, smell? They are discarded.

Well, this is anchored in Plato, for whom there were two spiritual senses – vision and hearing – and three bodily senses. This is ignorance, which stands as a metaphysical structure. Sight and hearing are as much corporeal as the three others are spiritual. In art courses, only crafts related to vision and hearing are studied, discarding the others. Tact is despised by St. Augustine, as it leads to the pleasures of the flesh. The greater the temptation, the greater the exorcism needs to be. Cooking and perfumery are neither taught nor researched at the university. This stems from an unconscious metaphysical imposition.

The notion of deconstruction or Galician deconstruction stems from the notion of construction. The denial of construction would normally be deconstruction, as in necessary/unnecessary or authorize/disauthorize, but the term deconstruction has been used, which sounds closer to French and seems to be in line with the Brazilian landowner tradition, whose children went to study in France, which came to serve as a model of culture, civilization, literary history. Opting for deconstruction is no longer national, it is more Brazilian, as it is the exchange of the French master for the Lusitanian master. France is no longer a colonial power. Like its neighbors Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and others, its territory has been taken over by troops and outposts of the American army.

After the Russians defeated Nazism, NATO was created to ensure American dominance in Europe, keep the Russians at bay and Germany at the bottom. The European Union obeys what is dictated by the NATO generals. Research at Brazilian universities follows the dictates of the old European metropolises. That's the only way to think: pretending to think like a European. In the United States, the best universities are private and tuition fees are above what the lower and middle classes could pay in Latin America. Thus, the best education is exclusive to the richest: what this system will produce tends to be within the plutocratic framework that prevails in the bloody history of the country.

The relationship between mind and architectural construction already appears in Plato: the house as a sample of the owner's mind, architecture as objectified subjectivity. Vitrúvio builds his ten books as if they were ten buildings: he receives the reader in the atrium, tells him a pleasant story to welcome him, and then takes him inside, where the types of columns, colors, rooms of concert etc. Alberti wanted the temple to express the greatness of the Church and divine perfection. Architecture was indoctrination, petrified sermon. The “house of God” is an obvious contradiction: an infinite god does not fit in a house, an all-powerful god does not need a shelter. The faithful don't want to see that, though. The temple is a symptom of his unconscious, but also of his understanding of man: reduced to the essentials, he is the soul, bathrooms are not built in Catholic temples.

Saint Augustine, in book X, item 8, of Confessions, compares the mind to a palace: “I arrive at the fields and vast palaces of memory, where there are treasures of innumerable images brought by perceptions of all kinds. There also is hidden everything that we think, whether increasing or decreasing or even varying in any way the objects that the senses have reached”.[ii] The modest saint saw in himself an interior palace, not a simple house or hut. In this palace, forgotten images could also remain. The mind as a palace or mansion fit for someone who was the son of a rich slave owner, a patriarch who made his wife a servant: Augustine's conversion from Manichaeism to Catholicism was an option made by his mother, who was a Christian, and apparently against it. the father. In fact, however, it transposed the slave structure from the social and economic realm to the realm of belief: God became Lord; the believer began to see himself as a servant, as a slave to the will of the Lord. Even the humblest priest accepts only one God as his lord. The notion of the mind as a construction is, however, evident. It is about a topos literary and philosophical.

Descartes had already associated the soul with the mystery of the Holy Trinity: Christ would be the passion, the feeling, the state of mind; the Holy Spirit would be intelligence, intellection, the organization of understanding into concepts; God the Father would correspond to the reason that decides and commands. It would be possible to add judgment as a mediation between idea and concepts, that is, the figure that would transform ideals into concrete decisions, which corresponds to the myth of the Virgin Mary, who, by giving birth to Jesus, would have made the divine spirit flesh and made him dwelt among us.

Immanuel Kant more than once compared the mind to an architectural construction: Construction. In Critique of Pure Reason, there is a system in which the imagination carries the multiple images of the senses to the mind, the understanding organizes this into concepts and, above, reason prevails, which is mediated by the judging capacity. There is, therefore, the organization of the mind with the structure of a constructed space, in which the senses are the base, the conceptual understanding forms the walls of the rooms, the judgment is the ceiling and the reason is the roof.

If one wants to radicalize the image of the house, as the images of the senses are multiple and chaotic, while the ideas are only three, the figure of the pyramid appears as exposing the human mind. Nietzsche noted, however, that most of what the senses pick up is not brought into consciousness. There would therefore be an unconscious sorting of perceptions, to highlight those few to which attention needs to turn, giving them a name and evaluation. Then there would be unconscious perceptions, unconscious conceptions, unconscious judgments, that is, an inverse pyramid buried in the unconscious, supporting the conscious pyramid.

What is said about Kant is based on the version that is widespread and is not the same as the first edition, which gave rise, at the University of Jena, to idealism and romanticism. One of the basic points is that Kant had asked himself whether, in the process of knowledge, the human “soul” is transformed, when maturing, when judging data, when repenting or converting. The soul, being mutable, would be within time and therefore could not be eternal. Kant did not develop this, but the hypothesis raised the ire of pietists, more radical Lutherans. The soul would be mortal. Kant was a Lutheran and did not want to oppose the principles of religion. Schopenhauer criticized Kant for the changes made to the text, Nietzsche called him a theologian.

This notion of Construction, constructed space, of the mind as a construct, was proposed by Marx for the structuring of society: the founding part, the condition for the existence of life, is the production of goods, the “substructure”, which was translated as infrastructure, losing the notion that it was the foundations of a construction, the condition of survival, determining what could be built on top of it in social life; the part delimited by walls constitutes social life; the part of the roof, which covers and protects the collective housing, would then be the “uberbau”, which was translated as suprastructure and, even worse, by superstructure, understood as a cultural expression.

When Marx set out to study the capitalist mode of production and discovered the key to it, added Value, which was mistranslated as surplus value (which came from capital gain and what should be plus valeur) and means surplus-value or surplus-value, he made a long study on the different theories of surplus value, a volume that was incorporated into the edition of The capital, generally as a fourth volume, and which apparently has not yet been published in Portuguese. He deconstructs previous theories of surplus value and, from this critical distance in relation to what had been said about the issue until then, he builds the first volume of the The capital, which was the only volume he got ready for publication.

When the second edition was about to come out, he did a deconstruction of its first volume, in the sense of removing hundreds and hundreds of underlines put in the first edition and which commanded the reading. In this sense, the second edition allowed greater critical freedom. The capital It is a work that was incomplete due to the death of the author. It was planned for 20 volumes. I translated topics related to aesthetic issues in the book Foundations of literary theory (Editor Cajuína).

Kant, at the end of the second preface to Criticism of judgment, makes an observation that has become historic: he says that, when our perceptions are adequate to our will, we tend to consider them true. He did not say they were true: they just seemed to us to be so. In the first edition of Critique of Pure Reason had discussed various forms of paralogisms, arguments that seem to be true but are not. These critical arguments evaporated in other current editions, in which, when describing the machine of the mind as a project for the machinery of the State: for that, imagination had to be made less relevant. What led the thinker to change more than a hundred pages of his text was probably the death of his protector Frederick the Great and the rise of ideological repression in his successor.

Schopenhauer sharply criticized these modifications. His most extensive work, The world as will and representation, has been read as exaltation to the will, the world being a representation of it. Perhaps the time will come when this will be read in reverse: the denunciation that the world is an imposition of human will, conditioning the ways of representing it. In this sense, his work has a deconstruction in itself.

Nietzsche reinforced this reading when he said that it is not simply a simple and innocent will, but a will directed towards power: will to power. It is a desire to dominate, to exercise dominion over the other. It is not just a desire for power, as it has been translated and understood. Although it serves as a cliché to label Nietzsche, he, at the end of his lucid life, recorded that, examining the concept more closely, he realized that in this “will” very diverse tendencies and mobilizations converged, so that the concept should be abandoned because it was a simplification.

The subject itself is formed by contradictory forces, so that the will is only a provisional resultant of what appears to be dominant at a given moment. In this sense, he had criticized the Kantian notion of categorical imperative, which is decreed by a subject in the name of his inner freedom, different from the will of the State or institutions, but interfering in the freedom of others.

When Freud translates and reduces the concept of will (Wille) to (desire), it kind of dampens the drive of the will to dominate and the lust for power, but gives it a new fury by concentrating on desire as sexuality. Nietzsche was aware of the ideological and political repression of his time, but he did not place this dimension on the very impulse of the personal will to oppose a dominant will. In Freud, along with the drives of desire, there is also the opposing force of repression. Desire itself is displaced, deformed and deranged in its "purity" by forces that consider it impure. There would no longer be “pure reason”, mere form without content, without materiality, a human copy of the divine mind as understood by Aquinas and scholasticism.

Nietzsche said that there is no “individual”, as if the subject were not divided. He was the philosopher who most insisted on the notion of the unconscious, a notion that already existed in Fichte and Leibniz: conscious reason does not exhaust the mind. The mind is, for him, the stage of contradictory forces. He saw the mind as a stage for contradictory forces, populated by fantasies and traps, in which what is right according to certain standards considered right prevents one from seeing what lies beyond. Rationalization takes the forms of reason to maintain the irrational dominance of speech or action.

*Flavio R. Kothe is a retired full professor of aesthetics at the University of Brasília (UnB). Author, among other books, of Benjamin and Adorno: clashes (Attica).

Notes


[I] KOTHE, Flávio R. “History as ideology: the conquest of America in the theater of the Siglo de Oro”, essay, in Signotic, Goiania, Vol. 1, no. 1, 1987.

[ii] AUGUSTINE, St. Confessions in the Os Pensadores collection, São Paulo, Editora Abril Cultural, 1979, p. 176.

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