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Justiça / 22/08/2020

Marcia Tiburi, Brazilian philosopher

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Marcia Tiburi, Brazilian philosopher

Fonte CULT

Hannah Arendt, the philosopher who gives the name to Margarethe von Trotta's film, is the author of one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. The director chooses to portray the philosopher as an ordinary person, the teacher involved with her academic work, her classes and researches. It fixes the plot of the film in the period when Hannah Arendt wrote her controversial Eichmann in Jerusalem. She tries to show what was happening with the philosopher, the scenario that motivated her to write the book whose content was taken by many as a scandal. The reason was the demystifying analysis of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi executioner captured in Argentina and tried in Jerusalem in 1962. This man was expected to be a monster, an evil being, a madman, a cruel, perverse one. Arendt's perception of the character of this historical character, of his common stance that made him like so many people, caused discomfort.

It was precisely Eichmann's stance that allowed Arendt to coin the idea as curious as it was critical about the “banality of evil”. By banality of evil, she referred to the evil practiced in everyday life as any act. Many people interpreted Arendt's view as an affront to Jewish disgrace, while she - a philosopher uncommitted to any kind of faction, religion, party or ideology - tried to understand what

it really happened with the subjectivity of a man like Eichmann.

Arendt did not consider her Jewish status to be superior to her position as a thinker committed to understanding her time. The Jewish condition was, for her, a human condition. Not less, not more. The problem of subjectivity, of ethical choices that imply freedom and responsibility, was the central issue when it came to thinking and carrying out politics.

The performativity of the thesis

In the film, it is clear that those who were angry or offended against Arendt's thesis did not really understand it. This is because the banality of evil thesis is a difficult one, not because of its logic, but because of its performative character. One who is confronted with it needs to make an examination of his particular conscience in relation to the general and, therefore, of his actions as a participant in the human condition. The banality of evil means that evil is not practiced as a deliberately evil attitude. The practitioner of banal evil is the common human being, one who, when given orders, is not responsible for what he does, does not reflect, does not think. Eichmann was characterized by Arendt as a person taken by the “emptiness of thought”, as an idiot who did not think, who repeated clichés and was incapable of an examination of conscience. Heidegger, the Nazi philosopher who says he regretted joining the regime, was, however, a genius of philosophy, and yet he was no different Eichmann.

Terrifying, however, is that between Eichmann, the imbecile, and Heidegger, the genius, is the common human being. Eichmann was no different than anybody else, he was a simple bureaucrat who received orders and started the system's “machine”, in the same way that each one of us can do it at every moment, released the reflection that unites , in our capacity for discernment and judgment, theory and practice, we follow the “dominant tendencies” as free slaves, however, of themselves. To get out of the banality of evil is to make the ethical and responsible option against the tendency to destruction that constantly invites everyone to join.

The banality of evil is, therefore, a characteristic of a culture lacking critical thinking, in which anyone - be it Jew, Christian, German, Brazilian, woman, man, it does not matter - can exercise the negation of the other and of himself.

In a country like Brazil, the banality of evil takes place in authorized corruption, homophobia, consumerism and the murder of all those who have no power, be it Amarildo de Souza or Celso Rodrigues Guarani – Kaiowá, a stop to think can mean a good start to a crime unless in society and the state transformed into a deadly machine

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