Friday, 17 June 2016

39. Violence won't have the final word

Solving problems through political means can be frustrating. Discussions, technicalities, irreconcilable ideological differences that no logic can bridge, and time: it takes a long time. And even then, sometimes one idea must win (or is forced to win) over the other. Decision making, in many cases, can't follow logic and reason. There can be petrified beliefs, we simply don't know enough or in both scenarios there are pros and cons. Then the decision comes by weighing in priorities: we have to think which principle is the most important to us as we fully immerse ourselves into the emotional realm. But here is where we are utterly unprepared. The emotional world can be explosive if we are educated with the repression hammer as the only tool.

Somehow, both the Brexit debate, with the assassination of Jo Cox, and the Orlando massacre have something in common. Violence tried to get the final word between two seemingly irreconcilable positions: accepting or not accepting homosexuality (own or others'), in or out of the European union; these two positions could also be described as a world where a an idealised (toxic) masculinity rules (even through violence) or a world where there is free expression of sexuality, empowerment of women, where the "weak" aren't so weak or invisible or discarded nor they are the sacrificial lambs who will wash away our own weaknesses; a world stuck and under control or a world that is more fluid, dynamic, multi-polar and uncertain.

This week we were left shocked with these two cases in front of the brutality, the destructive power and the lives wasted... in front of the sheer uselessness of an explosion of a violent emotion to resolve "the" underlying conflict.

Nowadays we are going through a multilevel crisis: economical, social, environmental, communicational, political, judicial, educational, cultural, religious... a crisis in truth seeking at a global level.

Even though we live in a complex world, full of greys, we are being told all the time it is all black and white.

In the era of information, we can't say anymore we did not know. Therefore the fracture between narrative and truth is clearer than ever, particularly since the Iraq invasion. Facts are dismissed, distorted, invented. We only need to read two different newspapers to see it. Speeches are rustic and shallow. They avoid entering into any sophisticated area, simply because depth will no longer sustain this polarised view, this basic structure that tried to organise all of our lives. We read the news and do not know what to believe anymore. And then, when narrative does not work, violence comes to impose itself over social discontent.

In this sense, I am interested in the use of the word corruption, not only as a crime where someone is paid to be disloyal to their duties and favour a particular interest, a term that has been mainly used to describe the actions of the state or what's done by women. I mean corruption in a broader sense, as disloyalty to the original purpose, which requires a sort of "absence". Corrupted journalism as the one that -even if we all accept it can never be fully objective- it does not address its own underlying commercial problem and starts to follow easy sales or transform itself into a new sort of entertainment. Corrupted politics, that in order to ensure power (or personal economical gain) deviates from addressing social needs. Corrupted science, that in order to get published dismisses unwanted results, neglects entire areas of investigation and turns a blind eye to its own ideological bias. Corrupted religion, that in order to sustain the superiority of a group charges the rest with all the sins. Corrupted education, that stops trying to be an emancipating path and trap students into debt slavery, class labels and indoctrination. Corrupted agriculture that tries to control the sexuality of the land. Corrupted nutrition, that makes us dependent and fat. Corrupted law and justice, that makes corruption legal and protest and whistle-blowers illegal. Corrupted technology, that instead of being an enabler of inter-connectedness, is used to control us.  Ultimately our corrupted self: the disloyalty to ourselves, to our internal truths that even if they can be emancipating, we rather not find, so we might prefer to be absent, and not "occupy" certain spaces.

Slowly and silently we are being dragged into new cold black-and-white wars opposing US and China (in Africa and in the South China sea), Iran and Saudi Arabia, Nato and Russia, TTIP/TTP "aligned countries" and Brics, oligarchies and workers, Genetically Modified foods (lead by Monsanto) and organic (with its seeds in the EU and recently Russia), democracy and technocratic neoliberalism, secular and non secular governments, petrol dependent economies and climate change, speculative use of land and housing shortage, finance and real economy, rent and wages, etc, etc. We could expect violence trying to have a final word here too, with these "quick wars", drones, "carpet bomb" solutions and "the new right" that are being sold in a world that seems impassive in front of a permanent state of war and fear, and seems more at ease with fascism than with a moderate left challenging some of the workings of the modern world. 
However, at this point we must know already that no amount of bombs or arms or police state will solve the underlying conflicts.

We need to start putting words to emotion as a way of taking ownership and funnelling the emotional power towards a constructive purpose instead of an explosive non-purpose. Putting words to our mouth to participate in a dialogue that triggers action. Words to name and put light to spaces we decide to occupy and transform. Attention versus distraction. A world full of greys that does not simply balance itself out. We need to reclaim politics, internally and externally.


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