Thanos-Bolsonaro II – the totalitarian root



The fundamentalist-religious and militia-police faces of Bolsonarism, articulated through digital networks, is supported by a bureaucratic administrative layer that absorbs the military establishment

By R.Fausto


Production modalities that bring death and work into proximity, demand authoritarian political formations and are constellated in the intervals of an ideological spectrum linked to totalitarianism. Forms of capital reproduction incorporate a qualitative differential when approaching death: they become a kind of metaphysics of the present in the incorporation of value in merchandise. Time goes awry – as Gilles Deleuze said about the thought of a certain filmic image – and the dialectic ends up bent.

The foundation of quality of death makes the difference with all its weight, because the value does not manage to evolve quantitatively up to this point, as in other forms of increment of surplus value. Death, with its hard matter, brings something of a dimension that is measured in ontological substance, which opens in a chiasm that incarnates the being, a kind of 'ritornello', a mundane encounter, which breathes in the abyss of return. The incorporation of work towards death, or of death as work, no longer moves along the axis of the abstract universal, but is located, in a differential way, in an absolute negation in which the work force is not only annulled by the suppression in realization, but it starts in its exercise when it performs.

Death in its absolute aspect can be thought of as a denial of individuality, but not always by terror. In it, the loss of the lived experience as subjectivity remains split at the very beginning. There is no redeeming experience. Epicurus, quoted on Roman tombstones, said about this absolute I didn't go, went, non-sum, non-curo (“I wasn't, I was, I'm not – I don't care”), as a recipe for dealing with death by preaching, in the crack, not to worry about it, due to the impossibility of living it: 'when we are there, it is absent and when it is we are no more'. This is the foundation that advises not to fear the gods and manage to 'live in hiding', in low profile, the key he chooses for the pursuit of pleasure in his philosophy, in a mixture that is serenity to achieve 'ataraxia' (a kind of affection, much appreciated by the ancients, resulting from being able to be undisturbed).

Epicurus is beautiful (the old Marx already noticed in his youth, when he decidedly took his side), but the ethical issue in our time manifests itself on a different scale, in which solitude, socially, is no longer 'being alone'. The denial of individuality is achieved through isolation placed in an enclosure, configuring a type of denial of the subject that is his dilution in the shared worldliness. In the fragmentation of the patches results in the annulment of the will, not its affirmation through modulation, as in Epicurus. It is coupled with a sequestered demand that destroys individuality in the mass and channels this destruction towards the realization of value, which takes the form of the social force of work incarnated in the thing, alienated as a destroyed spirit. Within the Marxist perspective, it is the strength of the subject as a work action that is alienated in its fetish, shining as part of the social thing, the commodity.

What is the loss in the case of work towards death? It is double, because the incorporated value does not correspond to the alienated value, since this has repercussions on a subject who is now nothing, exterminated by the demand itself (work) with which he initiates the action he produces. They are the modalities of what, in another circumstance, was dubbed the 'fetish of the fetish of the commodity' (Faust). It is a doubly overlapping representation (value and death) of work, which seems to belong to the transformed thing, which figures itself into a commodity. By shining like this for the one who produced it, it, merchandise, generates the negation not only of value as a result of the abstracted force that quantifies use, but stamps the quality of life as its own. The modality of exchange that the fetish frames in the thing then also carries the value of death.

As a first fetish, it acts in the abstraction of the social character of work on the thing, which, in turn, is still doubly superimposed by the quality of the negative absorption of what can be called the 'absolute of life'. It is where the denial of work to transform the world sinks in, definitively. As a commodity, the thing pretends to shine in itself, but, in reality, it swallows up the work and now also the life of the one who, a moment ago, still acted (worked) to make it shine as a value. In other words, value shines doubly powerful in its screen emptiness for those who, simultaneously, through the alienation of life and work, will never own the thing as their own.

If work and its reification into merchandise imply death, what is the ethical status of this work? How to plan the necessary work if the rationality for the disposal of its force in the transformation of matter rests on an absolute value that escapes it, life? The essence of this work force is thus denied: that of individuality, as life, through which it is expressed in the thing. It is through terror that, socially, such a disposition can succeed. In its systematic formation to generate value, it leads to a totalitarian formation closed in the destructive senselessness in which the standard capitalist exchange system is not directly at stake, at least if we detach it from the structure of work in the concentration camps.

The dialectic of value in merchandise would then become 'savage', bent by the reified incorporation of death-value, a new fetish that brings the brightness of merchandise. The closer death is to its value face, and the more immediate its awareness, the more 'savage' the commodity (and the capitalist type) as it interacts in the suppression of will in the mode of totalitarian domination, in its attack on spontaneous human action, to what the subject has most intimate in his being in the world, which is his own individuality as life. Hence the sensation of the work as an abstraction that touches an absolute of quality, when it is carried out under the action that is radical evil, living flesh made dead in order to incorporate value in it, or through it. By including the social dimension of extermination and death in the demand for the realization of labor value, the transformation of merchandise through death is linked to the network of terror and tyranny that characterizes totalitarian rule. The difference in quality that is established when life is included in the process of negating the thing through work, marks a type of terror that surrounds the evil in the extermination action – an evil that Hannah Arendt was able to call 'radical', when it is absolute in its being, or 'banal', when it prevails in its abominable reproducibility.

The bias that validates genocide (the Thanus-Bolsonaro 'snap of the fingers') is linked to totalitarian regimes, in their various shades. Thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Claude Lefort or, in Brazil, Ruy Fausto, thematized the issue of genocide as the reverse side of terror in the exclusionary logic that accepts violence, currency in totalitarianism. This concern brings at its core the ethical challenge that places the use of violence (and also the possibility of its negation) as a historical necessity. It, violence, even if it aims at the affirmation of the human through suppression, in a forward dialectic movement, and postponed, converges in the negation of this humanity. The opposition to violence, as a means or an end, must be made in the foresight, or prediction, that there is already a path traced before in history and that led to constellations of extermination with horizontal amplitude. Bringing the value of individuality to human practice, as an absolute point of freedom, implies abandoning ambitions of total explanation of the meaning of history. In its place, there are autonomous forms of an objective humanism turned to the ambiguities of experience that incorporate the indeterminacy of the will as spontaneity.

In opposition to violence as a strategy, the question of democracy is placed in the space of the political body itself. It is a value of its own that can be displayed in the institutional forms of real tolerance of the contradictory. It, democracy, is enmeshed in the question of human values, as it suffers from the dilemmas of abstraction in its foundations. In the controversy of necessity, it is sometimes denied as an end (purpose) and then starts to respond unilaterally to historical particularities, often reduced to models that have the social-egalitarian demand at their axis. By responding to a 'stage-based', or evolutionary, conception, it acquires, due to the prior social objective that is set, the vision of itself as a conclusion in postponed provision, in a certain messianic way that dangerously leans towards enforcing a 'total' explanation of the history – which easily results in totalitarian rule. In a Hegelian way, it brings a kind of man's self-awareness that tends to necessity when glimpsing the end of prehistory that, at the front door of the realization of the absolute spirit, faces the possibility of materializing socially, in a shortcut. It is a negating view, which bets the preservation of rights on the suppression of 'humanity', as expressed in violence against others, to assert its necessary moment. This need, however, has already shown its ability to leave totalitarian ballast and consume itself in the purpose of the very terror it establishes. Historical violence, the violence of revolutions and social upheavals, tends to transform transitory objective realization into an end in itself, serving the demands that can generate both egalitarian totalitarianism, as well as other more harmful abstractions, such as nation or race. Horizontally, it had in the past and maintains it in the present, a running sheet of barbarism. This is the rubble that falls on the angel in Benjamin's metaphor: at the moment when he believes he is already touching the brightness ahead, he discovers that he is looking back and ends up being hit by the wind that comes from behind and tramples him in the way called history .


The question of the relevance of the totalitarian regimes of the XNUMXth century, in their diversity, arises in contemporary Brazil. We witness the hubris of a tyrant-type personality asserting, without remorse, a genocidal demand as a daily banality, coupled with a speech with clear totalitarian overtones. These are temptations that are configured in a political model of right-wing authoritarian bias, seeking institutional landing. It is a social constellation that has common roots with those analyzed by the mentioned authors, but that has contemporary specificities. These can be defined in a duo of interacting determinations: on the one hand, a nepotist/corporatist structure that turns the politics of favor. On the other hand, the fundamentalist-religious and militia-police counterpart, which allows the effective exercise of power. Both are articulated through strong media support in digital networks, perhaps representing the main innovation of their constellation. At their core, they provide for the progressive domination of the Brazilian State by Bolsonarism, supported by a bureaucratic administrative layer that absorbs the military establishment at different administrative levels.

The duo's first structure, the 'nepotist/corporatist' leg, is expressed in the tradition of clientelism, with 'cordial' roots, as well defined by Sergio Buarque de Holanda. It concerns the superimposition of the private dimension on public instances by the extended family level of the clan. A clan, in the broadest sense of the word, with a known pattern of using public resources for private benefit. It is composed of the Bolsonaro family nucleus and his cronies and acts by distributing favors and projecting itself, in fits and starts, on impersonal and ultramodern formats of capital reproduction. In a clearly uneven way, typical of late capitalism, they established themselves in what came to constitute one of the ten largest centers of wealth generation on the planet. It presents a contradiction, but not entirely strange. Uneven relations also occur between the corporate ties in the core of Nazi power and the capital structures that, seeking stability in Germany in the 1930s, were coupled and knew how to realize themselves through totalitarian domination.

It can be pointed out that other layers of support, traditional to classic authoritarian regimes, are absent: either in the form of mass political parties, or in the model of popular support through the mediation of a union structure, or corporations, as in more classic fascism. It draws attention, and in this perhaps there is a coincidence with the totalitarian mode, Bolsonarist denial of the party structure and the attempt at a direct link (now through digital media) with marginal social fringes of the masses, the preferred audience of their 'movement'. The Bolsonarist core reaches more resentful and abandoned sectors of the urban petty bourgeoisie, although it also attracts a certain upper middle class, with traditional values. The step towards the dispersed mass of the dispossessed and miserable seems to be increasingly central. Through the introduction of the assistance link, these begin to be affected in the ideological field.

Religious discourse of a fundamentalist nature serves as an axis on which modernity's orphans resist, uneasy, the progressive affirmation of the framework that has been breathing, at least since the 1960s, around new categories of human rights, such as women's rights ( containing the issue of abortion and family planning); rights for ethnic (including denial of racism and indigenous rights) and gender sexual (LGBT) minorities; customs issues such as legalization of soft drugs; values ​​supported by scientific methodology (vaccines, global warming); environmental issues and sustainable development; new pedagogies; resistance to more libertarian artistic expression.

The definition of the ideological personality most characteristic of Bolsonarism is revealed in the fundamentalist/militia pole and is effective in opposition to the modern horizon. It is established by opposition, through abstract designations, which gather content for opposition, fixing synthetic designations emptied of their original meaning, such as the 'communist' name, the 'gay kit', the 'erotic bottle', accusations of pedophilia, etc. It thus consumes heterogeneous discourses, in a negation unified by substrate that brings the total explanation of the world. It is a horizontal 'super-meaning' that universalizes propositions that are already closed in on themselves, with their own gravity, and that very quickly mix fantasy and understanding. In this breath, they incorporate the defense of violence and its most immediate representations, such as the response with firearms, paramilitary extermination groups, torture, lynchings (virtual or real), and other representations of death such as the symbol of the knife in the skull, recycled insignia of Nazi SS militias directly in charge of extermination actions.

In a comparison with the ideological horizon of the Nazi totalitarian regime, the discourse based on racial scales and the centralization of the conspiratorial dimension in anti-Semitism are absent as an element for mobilization. The issue of racial prejudice is now opposed by ethnic affirmation, which emerges as an advanced contemporary agenda in the struggle for affirmative action policies. This agenda raises the concern with the occupation, with an ethnic background, of the 'place of discourse', replacing, at least partially, the enlightened white good conscience (albeit well-intentioned and enunciating a progressive position), which traditionally fills the horizon without leaving space for diversity.

Nor are the traditional, more aggressive, nationalist, or pan-nationalist, expansionist discourse central to the new totalitarian constellation. Anti-Semitism, when it appears, in imitation of the original, is quickly repressed. What survives in the field of totalitarian formations is the discourse of direct connection with the masses and their mobilization as a means of legitimation, disregarding party formations and parliament. The totalitarian coincidence is also clear in the emphasis on arms defense, the basis for a regime of terror, whether in the exaltation of extermination and torture, or in the explicit or covert action of militia groups that operationalize it.

The militia face of Bolsonarism assumes the elegy of modes of action that support the use of violence and weapons. The militarist leg of Bolsonarism has the characteristic of being militia, with armed groups with an autonomous structure and local chiefs interacting with each other. Insertion in the army corps serves institutionality, but, at first, it seems not to be organic and even almost dispensable. The vision of direct articulation with the masses supported by the action of police or paramilitary militias (typical in totalitarian regimes) constitutes a frightening trait. Its greater expansion, in line with the ideology of death and torture, by the skull symbol for example (used even by authorities of the Ministry of Health), occurs freely through infiltration in the state military police and independent militia groups that are linked to them , often later incorporated into the bureaucratic framework of the state.

The corporate side, the face of the nepotist coin, has a dubious dimension, as it is enmeshed in the liberal action that vibrates without much conviction within the system, specifically aimed at economic deregulation. But this is not the connection that gives breath to the totalitarian adventure from the ground up. Bolsonaro oscillates on the liberal agenda for fear of reaching his support base in corporations, particularly the police and military. It transfers the onus of deregulation to abstract entities that come to be endowed with competence, or lack of value, alternating. This is the case of 'Posto Ipiranga' in economic actions, or the 'old policy' in Congress. It becomes necessary to maintain the corporative bases and transfer the cruder demands, the 'savages' so to speak, necessary to turn the capital in acceleration, to the party political forces with representation in the Congress that disqualifies horizontally. When moving in this way, he does not feel the need for articulation for political support and uses verbal aggression freely. It can then shine light and loose, like an irresponsible kid exercising the presidency, which seems to attract, at some point, the most masochistic demand of the national conscience. This displacement, in appearance, of the set of social forces and their party or class formations, is typical of totalitarian leaders who inherit their position in a frayed social fabric and articulate their position above the clash of the entities that oppose it, or support it.


Bolsonarism inherits from the totalitarian tradition the fascination with the masses and the exercise of ideological persuasion through new communication technologies. Historically, in the XNUMXth century, spectacular forms with advanced audiovisual technology were also linked to totalitarian political constellations. Digital media continue this aspect, in harmony between denial of individuality and cutting-edge technology. The audiovisual spectacle is daily in Bolsonarism, in a society of spectacle (as well exposed by Guy Débord, in another stage) empowered. The news cycle is dominated at an unprecedented speed, certainly unknown in the totalitarian societies of the last century. At the current stage, the speed of the cycle, with recurrent comings and goings with no connection to objectivity, coexists with the slower pace of traditional media outlets. These begin to breathlessly reproduce the factoids, at a pace that is not typical of their media. The weekly cycle has been left behind for a long time, causing the bankruptcy of the magazine media that was linked to it. The daily cycle has also been bypassed, resulting in mixed forms. These allow for morning headlines, a sort of summary of the previous day, with progressive accompaniments, in an accelerated rhythm that follows immediacy and that carries with it, in the demand for the immediate, the essential format for the new media, which is that of repetition.

It is through the various mechanisms of repetition that the dilution of objectivity takes shape in fanciful or exotic discourses. The accelerated repetition is interrupted at a random point that then takes on objectivity and crystallizes – at the same time that it opens the format for a new cycle, in which the false unity is once again constituted. Thus, autonomous density is given to empty statements that overlap and alternate, always looking for a place in the sun in social media to found a new and brief cycle that, in turn, is soon extinguished. The brief cycles created from the outside to the inside of the system, but emerging as natives of objectivity, increasingly shorter in search of hegemony, are called fake News.

The new right-wing authoritarianism of totalitarian derivation breathes in an integrated way in this movement. It makes its domain in the proliferation of schemes that involve the acceleration and crystallization of the cycle, through the use of robots to trigger messages or expansions of centralized content in a pyramid format. The totalitarian formations of the last century have always had strong links with new technological media devices, and the new order is no exception to this rule. It was the case of cinema and radio when they became a tool for totalitarian regimes in the 1930s. Now, totalitarian compositions are once again articulated at the forefront with digital technology, integrated as media in social networks. The articulation was quite quick and surprising, catching traditional political formations, progressive or not, by surprise. These, linked to republican institutions, or to trade union circles, quickly had to adapt in order to survive and manage to oppose the fanciful conspiratorial discourse in its way of fake news, at the speed of its reproduction.

The exogenous, or exotic, fantasy range, detached from objectivity by belief, creates a layer of its own that attracts and collapses understanding. The absolute field of the will as faith crosses and incorporates the totality, assuming itself as an explanation of the world. It also figures as a displaced objectivity, emancipated from experience and reality. The new forms of discourse produced in the media instances appropriated by the right are astonishing for their ability to generate this layer of belief dispersed in all directions, defying common sense. They even affect scientific paradigms absorbed centuries ago, such as denial of flat earthism, denial of vaccines, biological evolutionism, geological eras, etc. From the first fanciful negation, objectivity is undermined in a series, basically rhetorical, that follows one another based on the 'irresistible force of logic', closed in on itself and feeding back the idea that ends up succumbing to this movement, corroded from within. Digital social media is the perfect technological medium for the accelerated succession necessary for this undermining, in which the rapid rotation of arguments lends strength for speed.

Constantly alternating, arguments begin to exhibit absolute strength in their brief glow, fleeing argumentation. More broadly, they reproduce the system of media cycles described, without the need for a basic level of common objective reference. The empty abyss of distrust then opens up, occupied by all kinds of denialist conspiracy theories, whether in the more volatile field of political narrative or, novelty, attacking methodologies specific to the 'hard' sciences. The recurrence to a supranatural metaphysical instance appears inherent in everything. It enters consciousness like a hum, brought in by a false derived propositional disposition, which seems to serve as an inference, but is tied to a supreme external argument (the 'super-sense'). Some interlocutors find it difficult to accept this new reality and end up trampled by an argument that seems empty in content, but dangerously shows rhetorical force by spinning loose on the surface and lodging in the will kidnapped by faith.

Here the fundamentalist bias that we point out as the counterface of Bolsonarist militarism is fully revealed. The reference to the religious universe is articulated around what is called 'faith', serving as a center of gravity for the volatile discursive dispositions of the accelerated media centrifuge. In this way, an artificial regime is obtained in ideological articulations that is different, in its consistency, from what was in force before the expansion of digital sociability. Faith, the volatility of belief that embodies reason overlaid by the will, serves to replace that first common level of objectivity that, since the Enlightenment regime, had been established as a reference, even as a negation. The vigor of the new regime of 'exogenous objectivity detached from experience' crystallizes from the mid-2010s, with the universalization of mobile and individualized technological devices that have great communication capacity in oral, written and also audiovisual formats.

We can say that its horizontal expansion, replacing fixed and heavier digital devices, occurs in historical simultaneity with the progressive rise of new social formations with totalitarian aspirations. Our point, therefore, is that, making up Bolsonarism, the fundamentalist layer integrated into the digital media is added to the corporatist/military bureaucratic groups and the nepotist articulation. This is how loyal followers rejoice who, in addition to the ideological field, are also armed for effective support in the form of militias. At the same time, capital turnover is maintained at its cruising speed (even looser from social ties linked to historical labor rights), completing the support framework. A framework that is managed through an extremely conservative agenda of customs, integrated into the hallucinatory discourse of non-objectivity hijacked from experience.


The content of this discourse has its most sustained articulation in the new 'crazed thinkers' of cool objectivism. They seek an exotic conceptual bridge, based on a mythical universe with tinges of the history of philosophy, wanting to acquire respectability through the delirium of names. Thus, they manage to argue with the rhetorical strategies of the repeated way, which the new media bring in their constitution. Starting from this point, they move to ineffable heights that are fixed in the clouds of ideas. Empty reiteration is what gives impetus to the bad intentions of displaced propositions, hyperbolic speeches, persecutory accusations, and false paradoxical inferences.

Olavo de Carvalho is the best known of the sophists, not only for his ability to enlist allies in key positions in the contemporary Brazilian state, but also for his aspirations to be a great thinker. Bolsonarist administration bureaucrats reverberate and update fanciful formulations of bold thinking in denialism. His ideas breathe in a disorganized rotary machine gun, easy to hit targets that he himself creates as simulacra. Surreptitiously, Carvalho gives the appearance of a logical progression to the reasoning, but locks the consequence into arguments that are linked in a progression parallel to the theme to then be transferred in a block and superimposed on the original, inheriting an exogenous parallelism as if it were intrinsic. The concepts are dilated by repetition and trapped in a system of small displaced sophisms that end up undermining the original network, in a way that frees itself from reason. They are the forms of empty logical deduction which, closely tying the idea to the development of the premise, do not support a critical argument outside of accusation or insult.

Thus, he is allowed to support, with deaf ears, fallacies such as flat earthism (and 'the earth does not move'), or to present 'definitive proofs' in a surreptitious questioning of heliocentrism. These are the same rhetorical structures that serve as the basis for the defense of violence and that arrive at the propositional argument of torture in the denial of rights. The repeated use of profanity is an example of this open space in the discourse of the new rhetoric. Coupling with the aggressive irrational drive, it escapes the cadenced space of the syntax in which arguments cross the dialectical game. It thus explores the position that gives this absolute of intense expression, wanting to inherit authority through low slang, ignoring the natural mishaps of the propositional debate.

Carvalho's thought and practice are significant in the new authoritarian Brazilian right, emerging as if they came from nowhere at the beginning of the new millennium, without a very clear previous trace. But it is composed of the old bitterness of an aspiring great thinker who, even in the 1990s, attended the seminars promoted at MASP and later the cycles of Adauto Novaes, feeling resentful of having his lofty vision of the history of philosophy ignored, which is why, at the time called 'Mademoiselle Rigueur' of 'Maria Antonia's philosophy'. His main work of the emerging moment, The Garden of Afflictions, 1995, is permeated by diatribes against the 'Os Pensadores' collection by Editora Abril and the MASP/Novaes lectures, focusing on the person he credits as mentor, José Américo Motta Pessanha. The surprising public success of a collection of original classical texts on philosophy stirs up and anguishes the desire for denied recognition, which appears in the aggressive rhetoric of The garden. Overlapping Pessanha and Epicureanism, based on the latter's original lecture in the cycle, he finds room to dedicate the first half of his book to the theme, seeking to establish a broad denial of Epicurus' materialism by unveiling an evolutionary line in philosophical thought that, apparently, only he was given the prophetic gift of seeing.

He grounds his speech with the use of the aforementioned rhetorical devices, which he explicitly boasts of knowing, but which reveal, above all, a rather scrambled conceptual domain. In it, as a north, is a pathetic recovery of the first Catholic mysticism, accentuating the 'new' individual created in the early centuries of Christianity. The direct contact with the divinity, which the Christian sensibility would inaugurate with its God man, is the prescribed prescription for the evils of the hedonistic liberal-capitalist civilization and, also, for communism. On a fundamentalist basis, it wants to recover the lost historical protagonism of a right-wing Catholic thought, recycled in a new aggressive rhetoric of persuasion, as it has not been seen for some time.

In the mist of daydreams, he envisions a Christian community of origins as an ideal. It would be far from the state and history, worshiping the individual connection with the divinity mediated by the unprecedented proximity provided by the human figure of the son of God. Around it, burn contemporary empires that, unfortunately, did not know how to articulate their structures of temporal power with the same success as the Roman church. The struggle is to oppose an extemporaneous, clandestine and universal Masonic conspiracy. This conspiracy, existing outside the church, would be responsible for the great political dislocations of modernity that have occurred since the French Revolution. The vision of Freemasonry opposing the Roman Catholic Church as the great occult engine of modern history deserves a separate chapter in the field of our author's persecutory delusions. It reveals the dark recesses of this mind that exerts a strong influence on contemporary Brazil.

On the other hand, the delicate Epicurus, with his tenuous but vigorous web, drawn to capture happiness (eudaimonia) for pleasure, surprisingly becomes a priority target for Carvalho's reductive rhetorical apparatus, being compared to the 'new age' manuals that were successful in the 1980s. that he envisions, already in the 1960s, in clear opposition to the fundamentalist claim. It is the 'yoga' side of the 'yoga/commissar' duo (commissioner in reference to the left), built in opposition to Catholic messianism. From there, in a leap, we reach the atomistics of the classical physics of Democritus/Epicurus, its deviation in clinamen, arriving, in the same breath, at the dividing line with Marx and the misfortunes of communism, the shamelessness of the libertine philosophers, the breath of Nietzsche etc, all traversed with the shallow hermeneutics that is characteristic of it.

What bothers him most about Epicurus (besides the springboard to vent his resentment against Pessanha) is not materialism as an abominable occult tendency of philosophy, but his refusal of the mystical dimension as a recipe for the satiety of the spirit. Epicurus, by denying the fear and condescension arising from the praise of the deities, makes room for an affirmation of the will for oneself that escapes the domain of restricting affections that, in the future, would be configured around guilt and contrition in Christian mercy . In the accusation of proximity between Epicureanism and the New Age, in the reduction of this approximation, it is the criticism of the manual mysticism of his thought (and of his abandoned career as an astrologer) that is on target.

We find again exposed in his philosopher on duty the fundamentalist leg of Bolsonarism and the ideological form of the contemporary mystique that sustains its totalitarian breath. It is the need for will sequestered in the exaltation of 'faith' that pulls the string of persuasive logic that matters in his thought and sustains the resentful rhetoric. Carvalho terrified an Epicurean 'garden of delights' corrupting and emptying the demands of a Christian fundamentalism fueled by the kidnapping of the spontaneous will and the autonomy of individuality. The Epicurean assertion, which Carvalho fights against, is in line with a thought turned to practice founded on an autonomous freedom from determinism, including the atoms of matter, which is reflected in the image of pleasure freed from the chains of belief, escaping from being kidnapped, from outside, by the demand of mystical fear. In this path, the author seems to have achieved the objective outlined in his youthful work: to transform Epicurus' 'garden of delights' into a 'garden of afflictions' and horrors. Following the prophetic title of his book, he managed to impose this kind of 'absolute evil' on Brazilian society as a whole, materialized in images of graves and multiple dead bodies.


Thus, in the current Brazilian context, there is a division into two ideological poles, both originating from the middle class, determining divergent fields without a hegemonic perspective and in conflict with each other. From there, they expand into the most miserable, or excluded, strata of society, mirroring a first division on another: that resulting from a sharply stepped income distribution, composed on a broad degraded social level. At the first pole, we find a portion of society clearly in tune with the absorption, in its daily practice, of values ​​derived from the 'counterculture', as they emerged in the 1960s. to libertarian hedonism. The second, opposing pole is the traditionalist pole, which is constituted by retrograde cultural references in terms of customs. Under the cover of Bolsonarism, the latter converged to a mix of religious fundamentalism and militia militarism.

On the militia side, this axis prevails through the exercise of violence, on the fundamentalist side by detaching thought from experience, co-opting will and false consciousness. In its action, the fundamentalist/militia policy is instituted, dispensing, on the surface, with an organic party structure. It forms a para-institutional 'movement' that acquires gravitational weight to circulate freely, responding to particular conjunctures. The fundamentalist horizon also provides the basis for making the crudest logic of the barracks universal. Parameters of the military intendance believe they can operate in heterogeneous fields, with their own categorical determination, in which the methods of the intendance have no value, or are insignificant. The clash with the military formation, its arrogance (derived from the hierarchical authority that is intended to be universal), implies the attempt to reduce complex fields of knowledge to the limited logic of material planning, affirming, in the reduction to this logic, the same denial of the reality and emancipation from experience. This leads to management mismatches, still ongoing, that caused the known disasters, of genocidal dimensions. To sustain the military overthrow in the administration, the fundamentalist interaction, coupled in the functions of 'belief', serves as a cover for an empty logical-deductive process.

The irrational type of belief in 'chloroquine' is the same type of belief that underlies the motivation for action in fundamentalist discourse. It is interesting to point out that this axis, which is now nuclear, was still absent in the previous militarist ideological model – that of the times of 'Big Brazil'. The evidence of failure escapes the old direct censorship, but acquires its exogenous fantasy through the dynamic turnover that we analyzed above in the digital gyre. It is what allows the logical-deductive structuring to literally take off – transformed into thought independent of experience and common sense. In the Brazilian case, its intensity is fully revealed since the beginning of the millennium in the fanciful characteristics of popular discourse, even before digital centrifugation (just watch strong Saint/1999, by Eduardo Coutinho, to glimpse the intense presence and scope of the 'belief' speech). The novelty, now, is in having reached, as a dominating force, the central nucleus of power in the republic, giving it support in a new format.

On the opposite side, in conflict with the fundamentalist-militarist horizon, is what we have already analyzed as a progressive pole: the social demands of the new individuality that, by asserting themselves, are opposed to the exotic fanciful argumentation and the dilution of the self in the leveling wheel. of belief. This field, often ignored in all its contemporary dimensions, emerged decades ago with the countercultural discourse (the perceived 'yoga'/epicurean side) and, progressively, over the last fifty years, has been taking root, in varied syntheses, in Brazilian society. Recently it asserts itself even more, reaching social strata where it did not reach. It also has a dominant impact on mainstream non-fundamentalist media and new media on social platforms. A significant division in relation to the mainstream media is made today from the border, sometimes diffuse, between 'fundamentalist values' versus openness to figure 'libertarian values'. This context has its origin located in the libertarian ruptures that occurred in the 1960s, with initial expression essentially in middle-income extracts of Brazilian society. What is surprising, at this point, is that the regressive movement, opened with the proliferation of new social media, has integrated into the fundamentalist constellation in such a way that it has dismantled a hegemony of the libertarian field, which previously seemed more linear in its progressivity.

To make the horizon more concrete, we are dealing, in the case of libertarian individualism, with a demand for the subjective valuation of autonomy and spontaneity, expressed in the affirmation of human rights as a space (a space between subjects), to be preserved in the particularity of identity of each individual. This is a claim for women's rights, relating not only to their autonomous voice at work, but to their own body and the preservation of their right to dispose of their entire being (right to abortion, criminalization of domestic violence, etc. ). Along the same lines, gender issues involving the preservation of civil rights for sexual minorities are included; ethnic issues related to the denial of practices of racism and equal opportunities, as they emerge in their specificity, often crossing traditional class oppositions; rationality in dealing with drugs, as a way to fight against mass incarceration that denies the individual; the indigenous question itself, in the vindication of their particular cultural forms and in defense of territorial occupation; the right to cultural expression of different minority social groups and also free and libertarian artistic creation, preventing censorship.

Valuing the environmental and socio-environmental issue comes to the fore along with demands that affect the survival of the human race and prevent the denial of man, even making more linear visions of the development of the productive forces more flexible. Ecological denialism fulfills, in the new emerging framework of discourse with totalitarian roots, a function similar to that of previous formations by ideological frameworks that exalt chosen races or classes, destined to lead history. If at the center of the black hole in which the new totalitarian root revolves, in its serpent's egg so to speak, is the fundamentalist mystical type of faith, its privileged object is the resulting power of affirmation. The power to affirm common sense, denying it through the endogenous logic of belief. It is he who sustains the 'law of constant movement', as Faust and Arendt call it, which determines the great uninterrupted breath possessed by the renewal of action in totalitarian formations. Power that is based on denialist delirium, now facing the destruction of nature and the species head on, affirming it through ecstasy in congratulating the leader's word.

The fantasies of globalist conspiracies to steal the Amazon and its forests are the new privileged target, the new Protocols of the Elders of Zion of the Brazilian right with totalitarian ambitions. They serve the type of argument that sustains this ideology, always demanding a renewed action on the horizon, an uproar that makes it revolve in the exaltation of the movement, based on the negation of thought. By turning in the void of irrationality, it makes room for the foolishness of arrogance in practice, in the end self-destructive, as is typical of the totalitarian experience. It asserts itself in a space where 'the place of positive laws is taken by total terror' (Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism), or in the vigor of the idea that starts to live autonomously in its own logic. Here it becomes clear that it is not the utilitarian dimension that really interests the totalitarian regime, but its ability to trample experience and assert the folly (the destruction of nature, or the genocidal policy), which then closes in on itself and acquires height in exaltation for the collective negation of the 'I', integrated to the power that one sees emerging from the masses and from which its renewed movement is composed. The totalitarian body as a denial of individuality asserts itself in this reconciliation in the abyss, a figure as present as it is frightening, in the first reflection on the theme in the XNUMXth century.

The structures of reproduction of goods with genocidal demand – nuclear production, pesticides, tobacco, animal anabolic steroids and large protein producers, harmful pharmaceutical products, chemical pollution – are now under threat, mainly because they are linked to large-scale production methods, to industrial plants with advanced technology that potentially involve widespread global destruction. Totalitarian formations tend to link themselves to them in their speech because they suit the irrationality of foolishness, in which the empty idea recurs only to show its authority in avenging through exaltation. Genocide fits into this mechanism of ideological realization and does not retreat by generating, in the end, as a crowning achievement in its linear evolution, the very suppression of the species in which it paradoxically places those who carry it out by acting. But there is no contradiction in the paradox, as it is congruent with the type of law of motion that the totalitarian political form demands for its realization, in which pride in the irrefutability of belief shines along with the 'totalitarian contempt for reality' (Arendt, Sources).

It is not the extinction of the forest for the use of agribusiness, even in its dubious usefulness, that is at stake in the forefront of the demand for destruction. It can then be contradicted to its affirmation by policies of international positioning, for example, that clash with the initial realization. The core of the action is not there, in the utilitarian achievement, even if it is profit. His demand is channeled into the action of burning, or destroying, with an exaltation of ideological bias, allowing him to affirm the feeling of freedom that comes from letting go of the straitjacket of the argumentative process, in exchange for a total explanation of the world. It is the endogenous logic of the exotic fanciful thought that shines at its base. To this end, this thought denies the independent 'being alone', proper to individuality, to realize itself as a being in 'sharing' but of impersonality, a kind of worldliness that affirms itself in the midst of another 'solitude', realized in the denial of the 'I' 'which vanishes in the spirit of the mass.

It is this incorporation that allows the destruction of the experience of the self that, as freedom, affirms the authentic existence in everyday life. What counts is the sense of power, or deadening, that the reiteration of the foolish assertion provides beyond the evidence. This occurs in less sophisticated statements, such as flat earthism, or in the stamping of terror strategies, such as the skull in the militias' discourse. It is the same format of the closed logic that sustains the delight in reasoning that is erased to stamp belonging to a larger community, which affirms sharing in the super-sense, expressed in belonging to the collectivity of the 'myth'. The foundation of the action is of a collective nature and in it the subject agrees to congregate anonymously, willing to put his individuality on the tray.

The ideological composition that dilutes the pragmatic dimension by exaltation, in the belief of race, or history, many times blindly walks towards its own self-destruction. It has already been analyzed in the debacle of totalitarian regimes and the great genocides that originated in the 1930s and runs the risk of repeating itself. We live in a new cycle that, if until now it has not fully blossomed in horror, has clear roots in this soil, changing the modalities that based it on the new formats of digital fundamentalism, allowing the irrational affirmation of the destruction of nature. It is she, this destruction, that now congregates the nonsensical magical thinking. It is what came to replace the old targets to be exterminated, the racial, national or class enemy, as Arendt well defined the turn of totalitarian formations in her time. breath our social body and which once nurtured the 'folly of totalitarian societies' in their greatest flowering.

The new breath of the totalitarian movement that we feel in the air today has not yet reached its condensation point. It is questioned, or denied, vigorously on several fronts, particularly by the discourse we mentioned, which originated in the counterculture. It brings together, today, at the forefront, actions to value ethnic and gender minorities, excluded in the capital system and the great state that bowed to totalitarian derivations. In the progressive field, affirmative policies are managing to transfer, in a concrete way, the place of the voice beyond those points that are traditionally occupied by the enlightened middle class. The most direct opposition to the totalitarian delusion lies in this political statement with a libertarian background, heir to the best humanist traditions that the initial context of the counterculture came to represent decades ago. Currently, in its axis, there is also a demand to curb the developmentalist vision of growth and linear economic productivism, leading to a change in the consumption pattern, mainly that without recycling in the central countries, in order to preserve the integrity of the planet threatened by the reality of global warming. It is significant that these values ​​come to form the front line in the clash with the most truculent side of the new authoritarianism and receive, without bending – because their trunk is also strong – the frontal opposing load. Charge that manifests itself in the recurrent ideological conflicts that affect central sectors of the Brazilian state today, mainly those linked to the environment, education, culture, international relations and the rights of minorities and women. The new figuration of the ideological struggle in the XNUMXst century has a privileged point in the clash between conservative totalitarian effluvia and new democratic forces that come to have, in the aforementioned context, their ideological front line. More broadly, the unionist concern should not be ignored, still with great repercussions in the progressive middle class, which brings with it its classic historical engine – mainly because it is reflected in a country with a sharp shift in income distribution and lack of standards for opportunities that make it possible to challenge situations of widespread poverty in our society.

The “drives of selfishness and aggressiveness” (Faust), or the 'radical evil' of the 'dead individuality' (Arendt), proper to the exercise of terror in the violent background of the human being in society, must somehow be controlled by the mediation of social structures that preserve rights that go beyond a demand for immediate social results. Included in this aspect would be the defense of the so-called formal structures of democracy, sometimes placed in the background because they cannot be operationalized by a greater 'historical' function. When managing the democratic renewal of power, which must be constant within the State, it is essential that defense instruments be provided to also block bureaucratic expansion deformations, of the military or corporatist type. Mechanisms that safeguard individuality and prevent its destruction. Diversity, as opposed to totalitarian violence, cannot be a means for a greater finalist process, a humanity project to be carried out in the way of postponement and the future. On the contrary, it is the end in itself of the transformation, which has in the present exercise its incorporation into oppositions in a way that can be called 'democratic'.

The 'selfish drives' of human aggressiveness that are released by valued subjectivity also manage the reproduction of the commodity, and therefore cannot be left unfettered in the realm of freedom. It is important, however, that its brakes do not end up reaching other modalities of realization of the subject in the public sphere. These brakes cannot be articulated only in denial, in the form of a system with watertight portions, tolerated to enforce distributive priorities in the social fabric as a whole. The controls to stifle, or suppress, the 'primate man' of 'savage' capitalism, an extreme adjectival modality of a mode of production, must leave ample space for individuality to breathe in the will of its power. Social structures in confrontation with the formations of totalitarianism must bring, therefore, as an inherent horizon, the denial of inhuman violence in any of its demands. These are ethical standards that can be affirmed without the need to reduce or deny the diversity and political tension of the contradictory, preserving the space for spontaneity as freedom. Its affirmation goes, today, through the unraveling that reveals new totalitarian configurations, which, initially, may seem innocuous, but which carry, in the fabric of its identity, the yoke of history with its failed buildings full of death and tragedy.

*Fernão Pessoa Ramos, sociologist, is a professor at the Institute of Arts at UNICAMP. Author, among other books, of The Image-Camera (Papyrus).

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