People have spent the last few months, since multiple lockdowns taking place all over the world, on self wellbeing. Social media is flooded with videos on yoga, meditation, routines, diets, fitness, wellbeing. For this is very helpful, however isn’t the time to redirect this energy on kindness and empathy towards others?
One can’t be happy alone. It has been said centuries ago, happiness is not solely an individualistic purpose as much as it is also a collective one. Greek philosophers for example thought of politics as eudemonistic (eudemonia, in Greek, means happiness). According to them, politics should aim for high moral values, the highest being the city’s happiness or well being.
Politics these days is far from it’s original definition. Perhaps it is time, people take themselves and others in charge by being empathetic and kind to one another, for empathy is a natural human tendency. After at least a century of praising completion and ambition, it is hard for everyone to be empathetic and less selfish again.
Below, the philosopher and economist Adam Smith wrote about empathy as the main pillar of social cohesion:
People often feel the urge to express their opinion on a subject, on people. They often do this with a level of apparent conviction which is at odds with the “data set” from which they have drawn their opinion. Others rely on this dodgy thing called opinion. For example, there are loads of people discussing […]
The world is on a survival mode; on a quiet survival mode, fighting an invisible enemy by being, paradoxically, locked down. Surviving this strange war requires different strategies including new habits.
Routines from all types have become the new survival kit. Practices and immunity strengthening foods and methods are the need of soldiers who we are now. This is also a paradox since strategy and routine don’t always fit in battles. Routines should be the preparation for battles. The pandemic was predicted but little did anyone listen or care. On the contrary, we built up to failure: human concentration and massive commuting, consuming and polluting, running in circles and stressing, producing more than selling. All this frenetic hyperactivity gave birth to a hyperobject, the pandemic. And it feels we are in a hyperreality as Baudrillard points out, different from what we have been through, from what caused our current struggling.
Remember back then, routine was synonymous to boredom. Remember back then, creativity was synonymous to a great life. Remember, in Nietzsche’s words, after playing the lion for a long time, we have gone backward and become the camel instead of being the joyful child. The world danced the dance of arrogance and not the dance of joy.
Needless to say that freedom of speech is in danger. Needless to say that freedom of speech is misunderstood. Shaming, bullying, harassing, insulting, humiliating are no freedom of speech but a boiling violence. For anyone who is familiar with this issue, it is known that violence is the opposite of freedom. Violence is enslaving and therefore a sign of weakness. Obviously, the main issue is to understand what causes violence everywhere. However, for this post, the topic is about the new phenomenon of “cancel culture”, a direct consequence of violence. So what is cancel culture?
According to the dictionary, “Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. It is generally discussed as being performed on social media”. But as we witness on daily news, cancel culture can become “cancel physically” by kidnapping or killing a disturbing opponent. Here, there are two different levels of analyzing the problem.
The first one is theoretical. When cancel culture is applied with common sense, it can become a way to shut down violent people, harassers, offensive statements and all the ugly things that we can watch and see or perhaps be victim of. The theory itself is good.
However, the second way is less positive. For example, who decides what is offensive and what’s not? People in charge, usually people of power, do this, but on their own terms. So there is a high risk that decision makers are subjective in their decisions. Hence, journalists being threatened, opponents kept silent, Julian Assange under surveillance for revealing the truth, George Floyd murdered and so on.
Cancel culture is a bitter reminiscence of Nazi, Soviet and Fascist regimes.
I am afraid that these regimes have been globalized.
Today’s post is a follow up to my last post on political polarisation. If you haven’t read that one yet, click here. Today I’ll be talking more closely about how polarisation and differing political opinions affect our relationships and friendships. We have all become very politically saturated in society. Politics takes up a large part […]
Talking again about the lockdown is not a pleasant subject; what else can be said? What more advices can be given to overcome it? None of us saw the lockdown coming again.
The lockdown is in between fighting the pandemic and the full control of the State over people. Whilst the quarantine is necessary for saving people, it is at the same time a political act. So, it is health versus freedom. According to a study done by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics of the Georgetown University in 2014:
“Implementation of medical quarantines in America brings into conflict various legitimate arguments regarding who, if anyone, should have the authority to restrict movements of citizens. Quarantines are not new, but they exist now in a world with new dangers and new opportunities for abuse”.
How to fight the pandemic without individual freedom restriction?
Worldwide, everyone is wearing a mask; even the Venetian carnival couldn’t imagine it. The eyes without a face syndrome had become synonymous to citizenship. By uncovering the failure of the world medical system, facing a pandemic is a confusion between a patronizing totalitarianism and medical emergency.
Until now, the origin of the pandemic is still unknown. However, what is clear now, it the fault of capitalism in its current form, at least for the last 10 years. When absolutely everything is salable, including people’s health and freedom, then Covid19 did us a great favour in spite of its ugliness. The virus demystified what we thought was the ultimate success. The “phantom of the opera” in its 2020 version.
2020 is the Halloween year: the US presidential elections anyone? The uprise of racism and fanaticism? Decapitation of a history teacher down the street? Corruption? Climate change and pollution?
Wearing masks helped unmasking the perverted political systems.
As much as provocation is less needed nowadays due to sensitive issues, the politically correct attitude is nevertheless as harmful. When a cat for example can’t be called a cat but “a furry four-legged domestic feline” then there is a problem.
The problem is that the purpose of discourse or art is deviated from its original objectives: expression, communication, truth. We are then left with sugar coated words and art that is lifeless.
Music can tell readdress the dilemma here. Let’s go back musically to not farfetched decades: the 80s and the 90s. Artists back then promoted all types of passions: love was a lot of love, anger was brutal, and sadness was depressive; joy was more than joyful and darkness was terrifying. Along this musical, poetic and visual process, all those passions (especially dark ones) went through sublimation. In Freudian terms, sublimation is a defense mechanism that reduces anxiety through the transformation of aggressive impulses into artistic, intellectual and spiritual activities.
Look at music now. Apart from happy few artists, music has become politically correct. Is it the result of our anxious world or did it help in provoking anxiety and violence?
It’s no secret the digital world is an atmosphere rich with messages. We are told all sorts of different things every day but none of these messages come with plenty of information or explanations.Such an overload of generalized information only further increases our predisposition toward laziness and exacerbates our failure to properly consider what we’re […]
Street Photographer and Visual Artist Federico Righi is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Covid 19 — The Social Distancing’. To see Federico ’s body of work, click on any image. My daughter had to learn to use a six-computer when she hardly reads and writes. […]