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By Ing. Lucio Capalbo Director of Eco magazine
We are on the threshold of the third millennium. Few dozen months separate us from the 21st century. Numerical dates by themselves mean nothing. The association of major events with round number years, or millennialism, has no reason for being. However, if most human minds visualize that a drastic turning point in the history is coming, that itself, by itself, can favor the facts, in the style of self-fulfilling prophecy. But beyond a causal or casual relationship between events and dates, the truth is that everything seems to indicate that we are entering one of the most turbulent, convulsive and fulminating sections of our collective journey.
The end of materialism
The vision that drove the evolution of the human species during the last centuries, forged in the West, adopted by all the superstructural levels of the planet and that has invaded its most remote corners, is exhausted.
The idea of progress, understood as material development and economic growth, and the hope that hypertrophied technology will redeem us, today is not explicitly supported even in the discourse of governments, generally the entities most reluctant to change, after the company. private.
If the productionist-consumerist machinery starts its blind and dantesque mechanisms, it is much more because of the absurd ambition of a few, who pursue their dark party lucubrations, -at the cost of hunger and the blood of many-, added to the inability to those many to articulate an alternative system, than by a vital spirit intrinsic to the system itself.
The mammoth daily undertakings are nourished by the last energy reserves - physical, psychic, social - remaining in isolated and dispersed cells, but not in the organic whole. They remind us of the electrical movements of the decapitated fowl, or the hair that still grows on the heads of the dead.
The gap between rich and poor is abysmal, the technological gap intolerable. While through the crowded but desolate offices of the megalopolitan centers, microwaves and other pulses sap the neural tissues of those who have not yet been vomited from the system, force them to spit paper at fax machines, ring cell phones and populate memories. magnetic e-mail messages - a myriad of messages without sentiment and ultimately meaningless - UNESCO warns us that even today half of human beings die without having made a single conventional telephone call.
Pockets of marginalization, like black holes in social space, are greased to the limit of the implausible. Shantytowns are multiplying, neuropsychiatric hospitals are overcrowded, nursing homes swarm, and thus more and more human beings are reduced to the remains of this great beast, thrown to the threshold of begging, bad weather and desolation.
The periphery becomes overwhelmingly heavy for an increasingly miniscule center. However, this center manages to keep the system's self-awareness under control and with it the mirage of being constituted by the habitual and majority, just as television manages to show us a world where most of the men are North Americans and Europeans, neat and well fed. .
Those who still manage to keep up with the pace imposed by the production little consumer paraphernalia, do not seem to be happier than the vast marginalized majority. Physical, material and even social well-being in rich countries and rich sectors of poor countries does not escape the daily tragedy of isolation and alienation.
Loneliness among crowds, agonizing isolation that is not relieved with cell phones in your pocket, not even surfing the Internet.
A thousand devices produce anesthesia, and precariously alleviate the pain of this profound absence of meaning.
There is no longer any credible, sustainable ideology that justifies this dynamic.
The underlying materialism, until recently, flaunted on its erect neck, two heads that tried to engulf each other. And now that one of them has been eaten, the remaining head of capitalism turns mad, in its maelstrom of struggle and confrontation, no longer able to bite any enemy, because the disease explodes from within.
Capital falls badly wounded, prey to its own contradictions. Its static, bulky volume is not satisfied with the strangled flows that circulate: it is then necessary to expel more women and men from the system, further reducing the privileged sector and concentrating resources even more, in order to continue to function.
Increases unemployment, poverty, as structural requirements for survival - or post-mortem prolongation of the beast.
To keep his bonfire burning, increasingly central, indispensable furniture is thrown into the flames, the planetary ecosystem is destroyed.
Towards the middle of the 21st century - if everything could continue like this - a ridiculous island of 12% of humans will light up and warm with the ocean of fire that will burn over the heads of 9,000 million of their peers.
The impotence of governments
Against this background, national governments turn out to be painful, grotesquely anachronistic to dominate this accelerating maelstrom.
Many are those who have wanted to see in them - as in other structures of power - a planned perversity.
Instead, it is likely that many statesmen are eager to solve this problem that is getting out of hand.
But they do not find solutions, because the fragmented, rigid and vertical structures through which they try to operate are as ineffective in controlling the new variables in play, as a pincer can be to trap a substance that has liquefied and spread everywhere. .
It is the fragmentary and mechanistic materialist vision, consolidated with the European scientific renaissance, although today largely surpassed by quantum, systemic and oolitic theories and the new scientific paradigm in formation, it continues to be installed in the political and social environment.
The sociopolitical theoretical framework slowly begins to change, but the eye with which reality is viewed continues to be strongly conditioned by a kind of "common sense" that is not typical of man himself but is a child of the old paradigm.
What governments can be accused of is not taking elementary but energetic steps towards the development of a supranational, globally representative, flexible, decentralized order, whose control transcends any of its individual parts.
The reason for this tragic lethargy is simple: conventional politicians want not to lose control, or even partially give up, their sovereignty and power.
Paradoxically, they are losing it more than ever, in the hands of terrorism, drug trafficking and other multinational companies, which have learned to network and move ubiquitously, circumventing borders.
The United Nations, laudable in its purpose, was designed more than half a century ago, when the role of governments was much more prominent and the global circulatory network of information was still embryonic.
In their current state, they constitute only a stage of conscious declamation of what should be done, without a deep and real insertion in world processes.
Regional integration is proceeding at an incredibly slow pace. The European Union and on our continent Mercosur are not conscious efforts in pursuit of global benefit, rather they seem to be an expression of economic and political interests - the capital that seeks its expansion, in the case of Mercosur - still born of the sectoral vision and partisan.
Despite this, due to their integrative nature, they collaborate - without intending to - with other forces of the time that exert their growing influence over the territory liberated by the winds of devastation.
Economic control passed, especially the multinational. The big capitalists, more and more concentrated, move virtual masses of money across borders, with local telephone calls or by pressing the keys of an unreachable lap-top.
Governments, especially in poor countries, unable to impose control measures on capitalism, and with their coffers exhausted by the meager revenues due to evasive companies, the corruption of officials and the poverty of the people, appeal to the easy way of giving more patrimony to the private sector to obtain fleeting resources, and they adjust more and more severely in the income of the already afflicted poor.
They also lose social control, as has already occurred in up to a third of southern Peru, in the interior of the favelas or in Calí and Medellín.
Government analysts - and transnationals as well - examine basic social conditions and send temporary relief where the outbreak is imminent, in the form of bags of flour, disguised as charity.
Satellites photograph arable areas, predict the volume of crops, anticipate extreme poverty and hunger for several months.
Based on these data, the political decision-makers relax or repress in the affected region, as appropriate.
However, it seems unlikely that these mechanisms will be able to maintain control for long. Wild, terrifying revolts appear. They are incomprehensible and brutal to the point of implausibility. The former Yugoslavia, and especially Rwanda, leave hundreds of thousands of corpses rotting in the sun before the cameras of the international TV channels.
The protests and insurgencies become agonizing, fierce, spasmodic.
Revolutions lose their romantic and ideological character. They are no longer born from the beliefs of philosophers and leaders, but from the urgency of elementary needs, organized by the grassroots.
Chiapas, and even some uprisings in Argentine provinces could be interpreted as outbreaks of a new type of conflict, that of those who believe that they no longer have anything to lose, after having been outraged to the unthinkable.
From this perspective, a chain reaction of uncontrollable social outbreaks seems a not unlikely possibility.
In this context, moreover, it is worth asking if China, with its 1.2 billion people, a productive apparatus that continues to strengthen and an anachronistic but monolithic organization around an obsolete ideology, will not emerge, at least temporarily, on the decomposed remains. of the West.
The decaying culture
Human beings seem to be divided into those who seek an answer, those who escape and those who no longer have the strength to ask or to flee. In turn, some human beings are intermittently torn between these alternate states.
Nightclubs and stadiums roar deafeningly, undulating crowds reduced to the lowest levels of creativity, while millions of others lose their desolate gaze on the walls of a hospice, on the nauseating mountains of garbage dumps, on the ocean of despair.
While the big cities of rich countries have stopped their physical growth, and a phenomenon of decentralization seems to be observed thanks to the technology of communications, in Asia, Africa and Latin America gigantic cities of ten, fifteen and even more than twenty million souls , continue to grow uncontrollably according to anarchic patterns, generating problems of overcrowding, crime, unsanitary conditions and pollution, in a spiral whose end is not yet in sight.
These unsightly and contaminated asphalt and concrete labyrinths thus become death traps for millions of people, in the event of a collapse of the global system.
The mass media - incommunicado media - stun with news that like the waves of the sea seem to change and are, however, always the same.
The deepest alienation, the great division of one soul towards another, has become reality, and most of them are prey to torpor and idle fantasies.
For many, the family nucleus is the last stronghold with a certain sense; others indulge in absurd paralyzing beliefs, become ugly to magical assumptions that opened up to suddenly bring them out of pain - be it intergalactic visitors in their space Noah's arks, electronic shepherds or vibrating gems.
All these pseudospiritual beliefs have a feature in common: they do not mobilize social transformation or solidarity with others.
The great religions of the past are heavy bodies without spirit. Deeply discredited among intellectuals, far removed from the visionary spirit of their founders, today they contribute more to the numbing and division of humans than to their transformation.
Incapable of accounting for the current world, they concentrate their weapons on retaining parishioners from primitive emotional states, appealing to guilt and a supposed ritualistic, individualistic and alienating spirituality.
Its leaders, as always and today more than ever, seem willing to resort to the call of atavistic drives of the lowest nature of man, and to arouse fanatical masses, if necessary, to combat any threat to their power or to prevent their lies from remaining exposed.
To this set of serious economic, social, psychological and spiritual afflictions, we must now add the environmental ravages that this failed idea of progress and development has caused for centuries, but whose magnitude has made them inescapably untenable in recent decades.
The crisis of human civilization now manifests itself on the physical plane of the planetary ecosystem. The air, the waters and the earth are poisoned, the sky burns, the garbage dumps expand their stench, the forests collapse, radiation and electromagnetic fields invade the last recesses of the planet, animals perish, species become extinct.
Just as it is in the depths of the night, when dawn breaks, the confused and convulsive episodes of this end of the millennium are not necessarily the prelude to an absolute end, but rather to the end of the era of division and materialism. The collective childhood of the human race ends and maturity comes, marked by the consciousness of world unity in diversity.
Organized civil society and its NGOs appear as the prow of social evolution and the candidate sector to lead the construction of the new world order.
The winds of reborn history blow in your favor.
However, if regressive and partisan sentiment were to prevail over the spirit of the new era, corrupting the emergency processes of civil society, peace - which will inevitably come anyway - will come later, and after greater suffering.
* Article published in Eco Magazine Year 5 Nº 13