The fish dies by the mouth; and the nightingale, in the evening. (Popular saying)
A few days ago, our good friend Heraldo de Pujadas reminded us, with regard to the Christian custom of not eating red meat during Holy Week, of the saying that the mouth sins more for what comes out of it than for what goes into it. We rarely notice the wise lesson that nature gives us by giving us two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth.
SOME UNFORTUNATE EXPRESSIONS
The preceding words come to mind in connection with the unfortunate reflections that Mrs. María Soledad Font, mother of President Gabriel Boric, made about the Constitutional Convention CC, to the magazine ‘Ya’, owned by ‘El Mercurio’, on Monday 12 of this month .
According to press reports, Mrs. María Soledad Font reportedly said of the corporation, among other things, that
“I initially realised that all the people were prepared, that all the people who were there knew the subject, but afterwards I realised that they didn’t and that made me stay away, that scared me when I realised that they hired consultants because they didn’t know what it was going to be about”.
“I got worried when I realised that not everyone was a scholar. (There are) a lot of good people who want to do good things, but to do that you have to know!”
“When I started to see that there was a lack of money, that there was a lack of…, I said, but how, because I thought that the people who were integrating this were people with knowledge and had all the talents to be able to do this very important thing, for which, at least I saw, that Gabriel sacrificed himself to make this happen. And to realise that people who didn’t… because they were chosen, I don’t know in what nomination, but not all of them had the qualifications,” he said.
“I thought that all the people who were on the ballot were people who had the capabilities to do that mega-job.”
We cannot fail to repeat here that we find Mrs. Font’s words extremely unfortunate, without a doubt, because it is not because she is the mother of the current president of the Republic that she has the freedom to express herself in this way about an institution that enjoys the confidence of the national community and that of her son. Expressions such as these could damage the future of her government, which is intimately linked to the work of the CC. And strongly undermine the work that the president himself is trying to do, as they facilitate the demolition work against him by those sectors that are critical of him. In this regard, suffice it to cite the information provided by the Interpreta Foundation on the ‘copying’ of digital networks, especially Twitter, with attacks on the government headed by Gabriel Boricenc.
This attitude is not strange. The president’s parents do not have the same ideology as their son and are, rather, critical of it, a confession made to the media by Simón Boric, the president’s brother, in an interview with ChileVisión on 20 December 2021, when, referring to the primary elections of that year, he pointed out that his father (Luis) voted for Yasna Provoste:
“My father is a militant of the Christian Democracy, in fact he voted for the candidate Yasna Provoste in the primaries (consulta ciudadana). I don’t think I can say how I voted, but well (…) I’m sorry dad if I went off the rails”,
“Those are the rules and, at that time, he voted for his party’s candidate. Afterwards I imagine he supported his son. You’d have to ask him about that”.
ONLY EDUCATED PEOPLE CAN LEAD SOCIETY
The belief that the work of the CC should be carried out only by scholars is not an isolated thought, or the exclusive thought of Mrs. María Soledad, but a conviction that, although not the predominant one in the country, has fanatical supporters, people who are convinced of the need to have constitutional convention members with exceptional knowledge.
This sort of ‘elitism’ has governed Chile since the beginning of the post-dictatorial era and reached its climax with the creation of the Alta Dirección Pública ADP, which prevents an ordinary person from holding a high state position without certain studies, given ‘the high complexity of the job’. The perfecting of this policy was carried out, paradoxically, by a person who was never an academic, but who had an unconfessed desire to be one and today, after much effort, has been able to fulfil his dreams without meeting the requirements that he himself imposed on others. Because in the world of power, that is how it works.
The reasons for this belief are to be found in the widespread dominance of the dominant culture over the population, in accordance with the axiom that he who wields material power in a society also wields its spiritual power. From this we can infer that, if the military coup of 1973 was clearly intended to establish a class-based society, such a process could only be perfected by organising the state in the same way.
In Chile, historically, social differentiation was institutionalised with the introduction of the so-called ‘census vote’, an idea that Dr. María Luisa Cordero has taken to paroxysm:
“The census vote is discredited because it was used for negative things, but the ethical essence of the census vote is that votes are differentiated. The vote of a person like me, who has a university degree, who has worked in public hospitals with the poor, is not worth the same as the vote of my Bertita, who is my household counsellor” .
THE TEACHINGS OF ERICH FROMM
Erich Fromm, who was concerned with the role of intellectuals in the evolution of human society, distinguishes between intelligence and rationality, pointing out that,
“By intelligence I mean the ability to manipulate concepts in order to achieve some practical end. The chimpanzee who joins two sticks together to reach the banana uses intelligence, because neither of the two is sufficient by itself to reach it”.
“Intelligence, in this sense, is taking things as they are, making combinations whose purpose is their manipulation; intelligence is thought in the service of biological survival”.
On the contrary, for the German psychologist, rationality
“…] wants to understand, it strives to discover what lies behind the surface, to recognise the core, the essence of the reality that surrounds us”.
For this reason, he adds:
“Reason is man’s instrument for arriving at the truth; intelligence is man’s instrument for manipulating the world with better success; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.” We write, therefore, in regard to this.
That is why we wrote, on a certain occasion, in this regard:
“An invention, a discovery, an innovation, a simple gadget is always the product of intelligence. Accurate calculations, precise dimensions, a careful selection of materials, rapid solutions, are most often manifestations of intelligence, but not always of reason. An atomic bomb is the most elaborate product of expertise in the extermination of human beings. Built by physicists, chemists, engineers of the highest academic level, people whose ability no one would dare to doubt, it is the result of intelligence, but not of rationality. The same is true of missiles. And with the mechanism of slot machines, designed to take money from the unwary gambler. The product of intelligence is the calculation that establishes the maximum point of profit in the so-called games of ‘chance’ (lotteries and others), the one that fixes differentiated rates for the use of urban transport vehicles, the one that grants decreasing pensions as age advances or the one that deprives terminally ill patients of medical care because their treatment is not economical”.
This special distinction allows us to understand that intelligence has allowed the productive forces to develop to unsuspected levels, but it has also delivered abominable inventions such as nuclear weapons. For there is the same difference between the intelligent subject and the rational subject as there is between the horse (which is a ‘phenotype’, i.e., an organism whose limbs have been specialised to make it unsurpassable in the race) and the human being (which is a ‘eurotype’, an organism whose upper limbs can perform all kinds of work and is therefore ‘universal’).
From which we can conclude that it does not seem advisable to hand over the management of a society to intelligent subjects but to rational subjects, who can look at the social whole as it really is and, therefore, seek global (or ‘holistic’) solutions to the phenomena they have to face.
A CRUDE ANALOGY
It should come as no surprise that, in this sense, so characteristic of the dominant sectors of society, commenting on Ms Font’s expressions – and drawing attention to the question posed by the rector of the Diego Portales University, Carlos Peña, as to whether or not it would be important for the constituent conventions to be erudite – La Tercera columnist Sebastián Edwards concludes by saying that yes, it is important, and resorts to a crude analogy to do so:
“In a footballing parallel, what we have seen so far in the CC is a team that plays badly, that gets tangled up, that is crafty, that contradicts itself, and that has scored two or three own goals. The game may not be over, but it is a legitimate opinion that the team is going badly, and with a very high degree of probability is going to lose the game. And, of course, it is valid to say that it would be good to start thinking about a change of coach and selection. These comments are legitimate, even if before the match, 78% of those consulted supported the manager and the starting line-up.
The “non-scholars” of the CC are also being irresponsible. They are taking Chile down an unknown and dangerous path, without fully informing the population of the background to what they are doing”.
No one questions the right of every person to have an opinion. This does not require special knowledge or waiting for a process to be concluded; in popular wisdom it is said that one does not need to be a farmer to have an opinion on the taste of potatoes. But you should never represent to someone, as former minister Briones recently did so haughtily to former RN leader Mario Desbordes, his incompetence by telling him ‘cobbler to your shoes’, and thus prevent him from giving his opinion on economics. All arrogance is unacceptable. Like the one that Sebastian Edwards denies for others and demands for himself.
ERUDITION IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
The vast majority of the CC’s members are highly qualified. On the programme ‘Pauta Libre’, on the television channel La Red, Sunday 17 of this year, the panellists made a comparison of the capacity of the parliamentarians and the members of the CC, concluding that the latter has an immensely higher percentage of qualified people than those in the current Congress.
Moreover, CC members need not be ‘scholars’. On the contrary: as has already been said, they have to reflect a social reality that exists, that has been hidden for centuries and that needs to be manifested as such, as it truly is. Therefore, not as a privileged sector that acquires illustration, that acquires knowledge in order not to share it and offer it as a gift to the community, but to place itself above the others and dominate them.
That is why the diversity that exists within the CC, its social composition – which is nothing more than the reproduction of the class structure of Chilean society – is the great thing about this corporation. Therein lies its legitimacy.
SUBORDINATION AS THE AXIS OF TODAY’S SOCIETY
Domination through the intellect leads ineluctably to the subordination of some strata by others. It is therefore unacceptable. Because in human society, no one has more rights than another; no one is above the others. The subordination of some to others is the most abject invention of human intelligence, not of its rationality. There is no drama more devastating than the expressions of that poor woman who, once beaten by her husband, when offered legal aid to prosecute her aggressor, begged her interlocutor, completely overpowered:
“No… You have to respect him. He is ‘mine’: he has the right to hit me”.
For the same reason, nothing could be considered more abject than that ‘order’ of which a French peasant girl spoke after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, and whose words were recorded for history by Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian:
“Now everything is in order: the lord goes to administer his castle, the peasant to till the soil and the good priest to his prayers.”
THE MARCH OF HUMANITY
Humanity seems to be moving in the opposite direction to that which the conservative forces have tried to maintain in their march through history, and which they intend to continue to reproduce. In societies more advanced than ours, the development of the forces of production is surprisingly allowing certain trades or professions, despised in this social formation, to be highly valued in those societies, with those who carry them out earning much higher salaries than others, and which far exceed those established for employees in collars and ties.
Rubbish collectors who, in Chile, receive the derogatory name of ‘jotes’, in some countries in the northern hemisphere are highly valued and their work is reserved only for nationals, and foreigners cannot do it. And the wages established for this craft are tremendously high because those who practice it require special knowledge related to the selection and treatment of rubbish. Lessons that we must begin to learn in order not to despise those we assume to be inferior to us.
Criticism of the lack of ‘erudition’ of conventional constituents may well help us to perfect ourselves in this new form of social relationship.
 News Desk: “María Soledad Font is disappointed with the Convention: ‘I thought that all the people on the ballot were capable of doing that mega-job'”, ‘El Mostrador’, 12 April 2022.
 González, Alberto: “Madre de Boric ‘desilusionada’ de la Convención: ‘Pensé que serían personas con conocimientos’, Radio Biobío, 12 April 2022.
 Cárdenas Guzmán, Andrés: “A un mes del Gobierno, Fundación Interpreta revela campaña de ‘copamiento’ en Twitter contra PresidenteBoric”, ‘El Mostrador’, 18 April 2022.
 Vega Martínez, César: “Simón Boric relata en TV curiosa infidencia familiar: reveló voto de su padre por Yasna Provoste”, Radio Biobío, 20 December 2021.
 Editor: “Doctora Cordero indigna a varios al decir que su voto vale más que el de su asesora del hogar”, ‘El Mostrador’, 05 December 2013.
 Fromm, Erich: “Psicoanálisis de la sociedad contemporánea”, Fondo de Cultura Económica S.C. de C.V., Mexico, 1990, p.144.
 Fromm, Erich: Work cited in (6), p. 145.
 Fromm, Erich: Work cited in (6), p. 145.
 Fromm, Erich: Work cited in (6), p. 60.
 Acuña, Manuel: “In Memoriam”, Editorial Senda/Senda Förlag i Stockholm, Stockholm, 2010, pp. 156 and 157.
 Edwards, Sebastián: “Convención, dónde están los eruditos?”, La Tercera, 17 April 2022.