One of the main objectives of the neoliberal project, which is also its method, is the atomisation of the social – human – being into a thousand schizophrenic splinters of personal pseudo-freedoms and pseudo-independences.
We can look for the crudest examples. We have never seen any commercial or advertisement of any business promoting something collective, intangible, madly detached from the material fetish, even if it is disguised with a thousand spiritual promises. No. The issue is much simpler. From a very early age, we are taught to distinguish the world of our fantasies from the “real world” and this real world is usually explained as a race, a competition towards a goal called “success”, and in this map that we are presented and forced to follow, there are many intentionally omitted contents, such as old age or death, which remain taboos in western civilisation.
It seems that everything is done for it to make us avoid asking ourselves some questions. So that we do not discover that the greatest moments of happiness in our lives had little or nothing to do with our economic situation at the time. They prefer to have us always on small material goals with the big void waiting after achieving them.
It is interesting to analyse these processes in the ambit of work. The vast majority of us mortals work to satisfy our economic needs, some of us going through very harsh and pressing realities. Several times, beyond the compensation or the financial results of our own business, we feel satisfied with something we did well, which gives us the happiness of knowing that material motivation is not the only one. And also, sometimes, like me now, this feeling of living inspiration happens to us as I write these words to you. I feel back in Latin America, where I spent most of my life, or with a little piece of Latin America somewhere in my world in Moscow, with the people I know and love. Without haste and with total confidence, we talk about so many things we are discovering on this road.
I know that some will see in these words “Putin’s propaganda”. Others, the more studious ones, will find a total lack of scientific rigour and a mental chaos unforgivable for serious journalism. Some in their criticisms will have one reason or another. But the important thing is that together we are building this space of sharing and feeling very close, far beyond not seeing each other physically, of not always agreeing on everything and of not demanding non-existent perfections from each other. But this pleasure of human connection is always the inspiring source of my words.
We are taught not to trust others or ourselves, and if we continue to do so, then we have not understood the basic principles of the new rules of modernity. Lack of principles is declared “flexibility”, opportunism is “the ability to adapt to new conditions” and lack of feelings of disgust and responsibility is named “hedonism”.
Everything seems to be an evasion. A thousand important tasks from the moment of waking up, the most urgent emergencies, all in order not to have to look in the mirror before going out into the world.
It seems that the idea of the “individual” was a mental trap to turn us into a mass of solitudes incapable of connecting with worlds we carry inside. When the “free thinker” of the previous century abandoned his church, his family, his trade union or his party to build his “independent look”, in his naivety, he surely could not see that for our nature as social beings, the only true personal development possible is by improving and deepening our interrelations with other human beings, that without the mirror of the other we simply have no way of seeing ourselves and that to discover and fulfil our mission in this world, we must together with others learn to build relationships of interdependence, complicity and harmony. As human happiness is always a bad deal for the system, we are now kept en masse for most of our lives staring at the screens of electronic devices, so that hopefully we will not see the one next to us and, ideally, we will not even remember our existence.
It is not true that behind the impenetrable, dark cloak of past history there have been no moments of light. At some point, our ancestors learned to share and agree. Without this, they would have been eaten by prehistoric beasts and we would never have left the caves. Perhaps it was on this journey from the caves, many to the huts and a few to the palaces, that the first deviation occurred, which the press and politicians over the years have been able to explain and justify using concepts of “human nature”, very convenient for those in power in order to perpetuate their comfortable status quo.
The system annuls the basis of human society: the ancient search for social agreement, which emanates from values, principles and ideas about the common good. The triumph of individualistic utopias inculcated in us from the moment we are born into capitalist society is precisely the “end of history” sought by the powers-that-be, to condemn humans to a death of loneliness and void.
The key political factor to solve the problem is love. After so many soap operas, cartoons, comic strips and a thousand lectures on hypocrisy of all kinds, which we all know very well, this word sounds perhaps even worse than the words “democracy”, “freedom”, “justice” or “human rights”. I know. But let’s agree that the poor word is not to blame and that we have no choice but to keep abusing it, until we find a better one (or if love were to become a norm in human relations, perhaps it would disappear as unnecessary). And then… those who know something about love say that there is no such thing as love, neither big nor small, neither romantic, nor unhappy, nor ardent, nor cursed. They say that there is only love as something complete, absolute, integral, that does not tolerate adjectives, nor does it need literature.
In an emotionally failed society, which is a paradise for psychologists and television scriptwriters, one can hardly talk about anything seriously. I have never known how to explain why love is not “made”, not “sought”, let alone “claimed”, for these are profoundly offensive and wrong concepts. Trying to evoke it, I speak of something else. It must be like a way of locating oneself in the world, without skin, uniting all that we carry inside us with the infinite that surrounds us, searching for words, looks and silences that are hugs, and united with those of others are a revolution.
The system does everything to disintegrate and fragment us. It has more and more of us left over. Strange diseases, remedies worse than diseases and weapons of mass destruction serve the same function as the plasmas that offer us loneliness and void. Our duty is to reconnect as humans and regain our collective essence, something without which we simply have nowhere to go.