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Author Topic: Every cause is a comedy  (Read 328 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fabio Leite
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« on: July 02, 2013, 03:31:34 PM »

The original article is the link below, in Portuguese. I liked it a lot and thought it is worth sharing.

Causes and Duty: a Draft
Olavo de Carvalho - July 2nd, 2013
http://www.midiasemmascara.org/artigos/cultura/14279-causa-e-dever-um-rascunho.html

I don't have nor I defend any "cause". A "cause", by definition, is a collective target to which the individual serves without no control over where it goes, but trusts it will go in the direction of his dreams. Therefore, he assumes a responsibility that later he will deny with all his strength, if the cause doesn't go where he wished it would.

Every cause is a comedy up to the very moment it transfigurates into tragedy. Then, comedians run amock, seeking excuses and subterfuges, trying to mitigate the tragedy with a second comedy.

Today's cause is tomorrow's existential lie. All the adepts of causes, after some time, say they were betrayed. Not one accuses himself of having joined a choir without any assurance on how the music was going to end. Not even the composer or the conductor confess their guilt about the results, putting the blame on the musicians and singers. Among these, though, every single one finds himself innocent, claiming his participation was too little, as if any whole was not the sum of several little parts.

On my part, I reject, abjure and despise all causes, mainly those that are expressed in a harrowing language, making hearts beat stronger.

Instead of dilluting my personal responsibility in the waters of a river that I do not know where is going, I'd rather to claim it fully and, instead of serving an anonymous and collective "cause", fulfill a duty that is mine and nobody else's.

The duty that I have called to me can thus be divided into subduties, from the most generic to the most particular:

1. To search the truth of existence and, gradually (for I'm just human), integrate it into my life every day;

2. Share with clarity and honesty the results of my search, as humble as they may be, highlighting their limits and leaving spaces for the possible corrections;

3. To give to a closer group of people - readers and students - the tools they may need to perform a similar search;

4. Educate the largest possible number of Brazilian so that maybe, tomorrow or after, they can restore national culture and take the country out of the moral and intellectual abjection it has sank into. If they can't do it, at least each one will have personally have left the mudpit;

5. Periodically analyse the political and cultural situation of the country, so that the best efforts are not dissolved in the windstorm of hallucinations that "public debate" has become.

If, in the results of my works, some server of a "cause" finds something he thinks is usefull, make good use of it, but do not subscribe me into that "cause" as beautiful and promising as it may sound. I do my part with no expectation of being assimilated into a larger whole and that it produces results that are beyond my competence and even my imagination.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 03:36:44 PM by Fabio Leite » Logged

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augustin717
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 04:30:23 PM »

Paraphrasing Lenin: whose cause?
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Fabio Leite
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 04:38:47 PM »

I guess the author's reply would be something on the line "Anyone's, but Lenin's demands not only non-acceptance but outright opposition". Smiley

Paraphrasing Lenin: whose cause?
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augustin717
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 04:43:02 PM »

The real question is whose cause is Carvalho defending? My gut instinct is today that he's a mouthpiece of the upper few. That's how this political quietism these beautiful souls defend works.
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Fabio Leite
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 05:08:05 PM »

There is a character in Brazilian literature called Policarpo Quaresma.

He is a candid nationalist with utopic projects that never succeed. In one of his misadventures, he goes to a rural smalltown where he buys a ranch in order to live out of agriculture, because of his idealized view that the national soil is ever fertile. Obviously he fails due to barreness of the soil, ants and other problems. The greatest problem he has in the smalltown, though, is with politics.

Previously, he had great bitter experiences in the capital and he had chosen the smalltown to be away from "all that". When he arrives, he's only interested in proving his point that the national soil is generous and fertile. Yet, when local politicians come to request his support and he denies, they immediately assume that he must have his own agenda or be secretly working for the other side.

Obviously the author is criticizing parochial thinking that noone would have any better interest than getting involved in local petty politics. But he is also criticizing the attitude that thinks that *everything* is political, that we must interpret every action as pro or against a cause.

I have talked to Carvalho personally a couple of times and he has in fact become persona non-grata among the 1% of Brazil, being banned from several big-media newspapers *precisely* because he did not want to join the choir. He has self-exiled in Virginia and that's where from he has been continued his self-assigned duties as he describes his own sense of personal mission in life.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 05:10:38 PM by Fabio Leite » Logged

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Fabio Leite
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 05:33:27 PM »

Plus, from an Orthodox point of view, I think that leaving causes behind is one of the things that "being in the world but not belonging to it" imply.

In our times, where our very identity is not unfrequently socially defined by which "causes" we support or not, I think it is even more pressing and important for the Christian person to leave all causes behind as part of the ascetic struggle.

There are three elements of "causes" in particular I know Carvalho would classify as the most dangerous in our times:

1) The "Future" - Normal healthy thinking knows the past is unchangeable and the future is a blur of possibilities. Many causes, though, require us to think of the future as fixed - for the cause *must* be achieved, and the past as a fluid of meanings and interpretations. Whichever interpretation of the present and/or of the past that serves the fixed future and determined by the cause will be used, even if in contradictory terms.

2) Self-Righteousness - Because causes set the future in stone and this future is depicted as more desirable, it becomes a new reference for morality. *Anything* done to bring about that superior morality is moral (including lying, killing, stealing etc), anything done that is seen to prevent or postpone it is immoral. The person following "the cause" is not "amoral" or "imoral".. he/she sees it in terms of following a superior morality that the unenlightened does not understand. They have to be either "educated" or silenced - socially or physically.

3) Inversion of guilt - Because the follower of the cause operates on the superior morality of the future state to which the cause leads, and every act toward that is noble by definition, any undeniable immorality they commit is said to be forced upon them by the victims. "I *had* to order their death, *they* made me do it."
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 05:34:46 PM by Fabio Leite » Logged

Many Energies, Three Persons, Two Natures, One God.
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