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José Antonio Marina: "That happiness has become fashionable is catastrophic"

2022-12-04T11:09:41.014Z

The philosopher reviews in a new book history from desires and emotions Jose Antonio Marina, philosopher and writer, photographed in Madrid.Santi Burgos History, that great compilation of events with which we try to understand the past from angles, perspectives, documents, dates, wars, empires, alliances, betrayals and a succession of events hit so many times by the story of the victors, has a novel, original approach. The philosopher José Antonio Marina (Toledo, 83



Jose Antonio Marina, philosopher and writer, photographed in Madrid.Santi Burgos

History, that great compilation of events with which we try to understand the past from angles, perspectives, documents, dates, wars, empires, alliances, betrayals and a succession of events hit so many times by the story of the victors, has a novel, original approach.

The philosopher José Antonio Marina (Toledo, 83 years old) goes through it from the emotions, desires and drives that haunt the search for happiness in

The endless desire

(Ariel).

In this new book he addresses the emotions that are behind human acts and that, therefore, have shaped the story of the past.

More information

“Technology is creating a dangerous passivity”

Ask.

Is desire the main engine of the story?

Response.

It's the big engine.

All history is moved by motivations.

Q.

Are Hitler and Putin also moved by this?

R.

Actions are generated by desires, passions and fears, that is, by the affective world.

There are people who make decisions motivated by their specific desires, and when they add to others, collective desires are produced.

That gives rise to the movements of history.

Putin, for example, has decided on the war in Ukraine motivated by a desire to exercise power, to protect his money, the greatness of Russia, to take revenge on the West... Whatever you want, but it is a desire and only afterward are the arguments.

In his last speech to justify the war, fear of the West awoke in the Russian people, the need to recover the greatness of Russia and the mobilization that he desired.

Arguments alone do not mobilize, we need them to link with desires.

We're talking about power

one of the great desires that intervenes in history and none is maintained only by force, has to mobilize the obedience of the subjects.

Also the Nazi regime was based on obedience, as now the Chinese.

Q.

Is the West failing to get the moral authority of its leaders to sustain the credibility of the system?

R.

After a period of boom in democracies, today we see a kind of distrust, and that is the great failure of the Western world.

That is why illiberal democracies are appearing, with strong leaders who push legality to the limit.

It happened with Trump, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Putin, Orban, Kazynkski… Suddenly they begin to be attractive within democracies.

Westerners are not recognizing the great achievements made and there is an excessive distrust in the system that connects with the nostalgia of the strong leader.

We consider China only as an economic and technological power when it turns out that it is a very strong ideological power that is proselytizing its model.

We are so overly obsessed with the economy that we don't realize this,

Q.

What is the problem of Westerners from the point of view of emotions?

We have plenty of reasons and arguments, but we lack adherence to our model.

R.

We have an excessively emotional political life, which generates a very great polarization.

We have not managed, for example, to have an emotion related to the term Europe, or to “democracy”.

There we have failed.

And we easily return to the ancestral.

The emotional centers are very deep in the brain and change very slowly.

Instead, the cognitive centers are in the cortex, and they do so very quickly.

For this reason, we can change our ideas very quickly and not our emotions, and the oldest ones push to leave.

For this reason, wars always work the same way: I want to destroy you, I suffer and I want to take revenge.

They are very old emotions that emerge at the moment when cognitive control disappears.

Today the columns of those fleeing from Kherson have cell phones, but they are fleeing exactly the same as always.

Our emotional systems don't change.

Q.

Why are we so polarized?

R.

For the same reason that the importance of identity has increased.

One of the most ancient emotions of humanity is belonging to the group.

In a globalized world that is starting to get lost, which generates fear and people want to feel identified with their group again.

One of the ways for a group to unite is to oppose another.

Q.

The external enemy.

R.

.

All the confrontation of ideologies that takes place today is confirmation.

That is what Putin has done with the West, we are the bad guys.

In our case, the polarization is based on political and social identity: the value that I give to the past with respect to the future, trust in tradition, fear of novelty.

In a conservative group like Vox, for example, that brings together very different people.

What does being against abortion have to do with liking hunting or bullfighting or being against gays?

The cohesion is in the eternal values ​​and everything else is dangerous.

And if you look for an enemy you reinforce the group.

The other does the same.

The conservative and the progressive character are inherited, a lot has been written about it, but there is a physiological component in the conservative that is that he prefers to avoid punishment and therefore risk,

he wants to go back to safety;

while the progressive prefers to get the prize, he takes risks, innovates.

The problem is: and there is no one in the middle?

A center demands to always be valuing different behaviors and it is the least comfortable.

In Spain it has not worked.

Q.

Are we more fratricidal, are we more polarized?

R.

_

I don't think Spain is special.

It occurs in France, in the United Kingdom.

What happens is that sometimes here it becomes more violent.

Q.

_

For example, in the Civil War.

R.

_

It is one of the typical cases, you cannot understand it if you do not understand the passions, the desires, the fears, the emotional spectrum of that moment.

Azaña said it: Franco's rebellion is caused by fear.

Q.

_

What are the big emotions today?

R.

_

Those of today, yesterday and always are the same and are universal: grief, joy, anger, fear and disgust.

They are from everywhere and from there the cultures create variations or more complex feelings.

In the Spanish dictionary there are more than 650 feelings.

All the variations of sadness in Spanish culture are nostalgia, melancholy, despondency, guilt….

Nostalgia is so modern that the word didn't exist until the 19th century.

And today the most widespread is fear.

Fear and the feeling of identity.

Q.

_

Is our model of precariousness not generating disaffection?

R.

_

Yes, in some groups and adherence in others.

New technologies allow you bubble filters to interact only with those we love: gays, trans, Catholics, lesbians... We are globalized and developed in some things and returning to our homeland in others.

And that often produces disorders.

Q.

_

Have we not progressed?

R.

_

We live longer, diseases are better controlled, fewer mothers and children die in childbirth, there is less hunger in proportion to the past, there is more schooling.

But terrible collapses occur and everything falls apart.

In the last century, two world wars, genocides that begin in Armenia and end in Rwanda, gigantic famines with millions of deaths like the one in Ukraine, caused by Stalin, and the one in China, the rape of women as a weapon of war that we see again ... As soon as a kind of moral veneer that we have cracks, a character suddenly emerges that scares me.

Q.

_

Is ethical collapse possible today?

R.

_

If possible.

It happened not so long ago in the most educated, technological and scientifically advanced nation that was Germany.

The people who killed five million Jews were not mentally ill.

They were ordinary people who suddenly saw the entire legal and ethical structure disappear.

And very dangerous emotions appeared.

There are dangerous ones and there are other protective ones like compassion.

Q.

_

Marx defined happiness as the struggle, others as well-being.

How to make the search for happiness become something beneficial for the community?

R.

.

There are two types of happiness: lower case and upper case.

But since the 18th century we have become aware of another, social, public happiness, the only one in which we can agree, which leads us to ask ourselves: in what model do we want to live? Do we want to be protected by law or force to prevail? ?, be compassionate or fierce?, rely on others or live isolated?

And once I have that framework of rights and compassion, I dedicate myself to seeking my private happiness.

The idea of ​​happiness is linked to the idea of ​​justice, which is social happiness.

I have to reconcile the two things and realize that, isolated, I have very few resources, I am going to be at the mercy of the most powerful, so I have to collaborate with a framework of social happiness that protects me.

And that is the dialectic that we forget all too easily.

In Ukraine, for example,

You cannot be happy because I have a framework of absolute public unhappiness that has been taking shape since the French Revolution with the welfare state.

Something that Herodotus recounted is that when the king of Persia died for five days, all laws were abolished.

People could kill, steal, rape.

So that?

So that they realized that they needed to be protected by laws.

And we forgot that.

The neoliberal or ultraliberal idea of ​​a rule of law is that no one interferes with my rights because they are going to alter my freedom.

They don't know what they are saying.

You need others to realize your rights.

Something that Herodotus recounted is that when the king of Persia died for five days, all laws were abolished.

People could kill, steal, rape.

So that?

So that they realized that they needed to be protected by laws.

And we forgot that.

The neoliberal or ultraliberal idea of ​​a rule of law is that no one interferes with my rights because they are going to alter my freedom.

They don't know what they are saying.

You need others to realize your rights.

Something that Herodotus recounted is that when the king of Persia died for five days, all laws were abolished.

People could kill, steal, rape.

So that?

So that they realized that they needed to be protected by laws.

And we forgot that.

The neoliberal or ultraliberal idea of ​​a rule of law is that no one interferes with my rights because they are going to alter my freedom.

They don't know what they are saying.

You need others to realize your rights.

Q.

_

Individualism and inequality prevail.

R.

_

That is why it is a very conflictive society.

That happiness has become fashionable is catastrophic, because everyone is being told to think about their psychological happiness and the relationship of happiness with justice, with ethics and with public happiness is broken.

It is a return to narcissism.

The person is being locked up in her happiness and breaking the bond with social happiness.

The proposals of positive psychology are fiercely reactionary and unethical.

We are in intellectual poverty and an absolute collapse of critical thinking.

Philosophy is absolutely in crisis, thinking in aphorisms and little things and spreading from the American universities that we cannot disturb the students.

And restless critical thinking.

Q.

What should we do?

R.

We have to rearm ourselves intellectually, we have a tremendous conceptual mess.

There is a discredit of the truth from philosophy itself, because the truth cannot be reached;

from the religious, because the truth is revealed;

from politicians, because

fake news has appeared;

from the universities, because the truth related to identity appears and it is not universal.

That can end up demolishing great conquests such as democracy or ethics that are based on universal truths.

The critical thinking crisis is so brutal that we have to campaign to claim the truth as something that can be achieved.

The truth is difficult and people say why am I going to make an effort if each one has their own.

That in the end will only serve to validate the law of the strongest.

Source: elparis

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