A point between two nothings

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz

By Tarso Genro*

Of the reason for the truths and myths that carry death

It matters little whether the intuitions we project in certain circumstances bring us closer to some truth, “eternal” or not. What matters is the addition that the movement of our consciousness -destined to know a certain impasse of earthly life- can function as a “step” of knowledge. A step towards knowing something more completely, even if the result is also provisional.

I make this introduction to say that in the not many -but attentive readings I have made of Sartre- I have always felt the construction of his atheistic existentialism as a way for his construction of God. Let me explain: the sequence of his dialogue with that non-existent (divine) “something” -impalpable by logic- always seemed to me to be an acknowledgment of the existence of God, so that the absurdity of human life, which he considered “a point between two nothings”.

See if this excerpt, which I took from reading a work by Frederic Jameson, doesn't prove me right: “War -says Sartre- (is where) everyone is free; however, death is certain. It is there everywhere, in the totality of my thoughts, of all of Hitler's words, of all of Gomez's actions; but no one is there to compute it. It only exists for God. But God does not exist. And yet war exists.” War exists for God, but He does not exist…or is God impotent before it, Sartre seems to ask?

What seems to me about Sartre's text is that he challenges God to act on war, so that it ceases to exist and, since he does not, God does not deserve to be recognized as such. So that the text is not considered only as a simulated game of formal contradictions, it should, at least, raise this Sartrean doubt in readers: why is the challenge addressed to a non-existent being? I could be wrong, but since this is intuition, let's move on.

Let us take a poem by Borges to go through -following without philosophical rigor- with as much intuition as possible, the labyrinths of his philosophical poetry. In the poem “O Tango”, Borges declaims -I say “declaims” because intuition has to be combined with Borges's voice as blind and “strange”- in his way of surviving in a barbaric world, which brings him revulsion and fascination. These are moments lived in a parallel universe that can only be manipulated by literature: “A mythology of daggers \ Slowly vanishes into forgetfulness; \ A song of deed was lost \ in sordid police news.\ See where my intuition already takes me: the decomposition of the myth, which emerged from the romanticization of the past, is already a chronicle of Police and everything that was heroic and real about it became social waste.

Are there parallel universes? And if they exist, how do they meet again to give a certain stability to common life, however bitter and abject it may be? If parallel worlds are deposited in physics, occupying the same places in space and composed of different materials, this article is not of interest. But I'm convinced that there are, however, parallel universes due to the way in which the facts are registered in the consciousness of each one, structuring worlds between which rational communication is impossible.

In the two manifestations of these two modern intellectuals, two worlds that are impossible to unify seem to be outlined, in a kind of historical schizophrenia, but which is blocked by doubt, which seeks reason: Sartre proposes a rational enigma that can only be solved by choosing between intuition and science; and Borges links myth to time and its decomposition in humanized history. Sartre says that God can only exist for those who have faith and Borges says that the myth that inspired Tango ends up in the suburbs, as a case of the Police. For both, everything human is not foreign to them.

Some examples: how to debate with someone who “believes” that the earth is flat? Or who considers the other's body to be a place where the agent of the State can freely practice his perversions? Or that a Government has the right to lie exhaustively, repeatedly, permanently, naturalizing barbarism and intolerance, turning history into a farce devised by hatred?

That part of consciousness that lives in the universe created by myth is not interested in communicating rationally, because its security is rooted in the group that lives in the caves of cowardly peace, founded on hate. In some cases it became a concentration camp, in others Civil War or in still others, new Governments that feed on the death of their own children.

*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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