Critical research – in progress (by Marco Emanuele)

The purpose of this “open” research is to try to imagine “new ways” for “new beginnings” of the human History. This is a research in a thought in the reality that evolves, an uncertain and complex thought. I think that the “certain thought” is already “dead”.

Too often, prisoners of our certainties, we do not problematize them; we do not get out of the “already thought”, of the “already known” and, consequently, we can not “walk” in innovation, in change, in the beyond. Someone can say that all we live is inevitable; for me, however, nothing of human is constructed once and for ever but can and must be re-thought in a free and responsible way, critically, tactically and strategically, taking into account the particular needs and experiences, both local and global.

There are no impermanent certainties in historical evolution; we need to constantly de-build to re-build and then de-build to re-build and so on. This flexibility in uncertainty is the best antidote to our increasing precariousness in certainties that we do not problematize.

Imagine the ways for “new beginnings” of human History is a process that calls, in particular, for the involvement and participation of the young generations, protagonists of a third millennium which risks to fall again (with new forms and forces) in the “totalitarian darkness”.

Reality needs the creativity of each of us. Although for a long time humanity has invented instruments for its own self-destruction, the risk today is represented by the “explosive mix” between the instruments and the “cultural surrender” to the absolutization of certainties and to the exasperation of competition. We are “primitives developed” able, however, to change course; my alert concerns the risk of resignation to the imminence.

It’s evident, in today’s world, the separation between the “visionary thought in the necessary mediation” and the “decision to do”. Too often we say we do not have time to think and mediate because the competition (which we have exasperated) forces us to work for the goal, to show us wins, determined, able to prevail and to gain points in any globalized ranking; in doing without thought and without mediation it is inevitable that we tend to put ourselves at the center of History, to dominate. Our conviction of “doing for doing” radicalizes us, whatever be our cultural background and the geographical context we come from or in which we live.

We are so convinced of what we are to forget what we become. We only seek our little worlds, our values, what is right for us. We talk among “equals” and we do not admit interferences; we consider the natural contradictions of the reality as mistakes.

Radicalized, we are building a world of “reactions” instead of “relationships”. The globalized system risks more and more to become a prison in which we are, at the same time, victims and offenders.  We would like to make every “cultural universe” (to link and cooperate with each other) a “universal cultural” (to be imposed in a competitive manner).

We have the conviction to free ourselves from imposing, in competition, our every “cultural universe” that we mean as “universal cultural”. The competition, criticized here in the sense of its exasperation,  “dogmatizes” every uniqueness to the point of modeling it and making it instrumental to a goal that only meets imminent logic of functionality. By modeling every uniqueness, exasperating competition, we risk emptying the “mystery” of every difference, transforming differences into diversities and using them as separation and domain weapons.

Reality is a “mystery in progress”, a “fruitless contamination”; wanting to break all this, using every “particular” for instrumental purposes, means to be deluded of understanding and dominating the mystery that we are. This approach is typically totalitarian.

The totalitarian idea lives whenever we neglect the complex essence of us and of reality. We think that the “global” is linear and causal and we consider it as a mechanism, soulless and only sometimes to be maintained.

There is no mystery in a mechanism while the human person is, first of all, a mystery not always predictable, not always governable. Human experience is understood only by living. No academic discipline can ever fully know this experience, because it is mysterious, but only the interrelation between disciplines can approach this knowledge and allow us to look realistically at what we are.

In what we are there is, of course, our becoming and this makes our “being” unmanageable because the complexity of life is not reducible to something achieved once and for ever; the mystery of us is in our “changing” beyond our rationalizing and closed reason and our inactive will.

I’m very interested in a research in the complexities of the human factor, especially from the point of view of the possibilities of  a human coexistence that is able to make a continuous synthesis of the differences of the humanity.

The importance of studying the human factor, researching in it, has an extraordinary relevance in our historical time. We need “new alliances” for “new beginnings” in human History. We need to reconcile not only the single academic disciplines but above what we call the “two cultures”. The real tragedy in today’s interconnected world is the tragedy of a still separate culture.

Every cultural operator must be aware of having a mission that goes beyond its “particular”; this approach is increasingly important because those who feel to have a mission, and not just a goal, need to cooperate and to dialogue, not just to compete.

If we observe reality we see that, in the age of the knowledge society  (Carola Frediani, Guerre di rete – Editori Laterza 2017 – IX, writes on “the technopolitical complexity in which we are immersed”) and in the concrete perspective of the artificial intelligence, human beings are increasingly atomized and alone; in this paradox there is the difficulty of re-imagining visions of community, of coexistence, and there is also the difficulty of re-thinking new possibilities of “political government” of the innovations that we ourselves create. Can we live together in the third millennium? With which kind of thought, in which way? 

These are, I believe, the fundamental questions with which humanity has to face today. If the dominant logic is to look for answers, I think it is necessary to stop ourselves, to re-think reality in terms not only competitive and not just imminent. Innovation can not stop because human creativity “looks beyond” by nature. The point is to adapt our reason and our will, our thought, to the evolving reality; while today we are “resigned” to innovations, using them without reflecting, very often risking to become “instruments of the instruments”, the possibility to change concerns “new visions” for “new beginnings”. I’m not afraid to say that the person “slave” of the instruments is a “emptied person”, more and more easily manipulated.

We have, at the same time, to break the chains that limit innovation (no one can stop us from “looking beyond”) and to break the chains that “reduce” us to become “slaves” of our own innovations. As a dramatically unresolved issue, I return to the question of which thought is necessary.

It is hard to give a definitive answer to such articulated issues and what I write is and remains a point of view. My impression is that we must come out of the logic of a linear and causal thought to enter into the possibilities of a complex thought.

Complex thought is a “continuous awakening to a problem”. In the fast and radical changes that surround us, how can we continue to think in terms of certainties ? In the global change we also change and, in order not to become “slaves” of any organized system (democracy included), we need to free our thought into the evolving reality.

Through complex thought, immersed in reality, we can reach together a “non-dogmatic ethics”, soul of a “historical judgment” in the dynamics of vital processes. “Non-dogmatic ethics” passes from a realistic understanding of what is evolving, beginning with ourselves. Ethics, the soul of “judgment”, acts on the possibilities of re-knowing us in uncertain transitions. Ethics is what allows us to understand transitions because we are transitions.

We are transitions and we live continuously the natural uncertainty of our condition, necessarily “contaminating to fertilize” us. Ethics helps to re-think us limited, relativized; “non-dogmatic ethics” is the “ethics of responsibility”, never exalting us as bearers of an absolute Truth but relativizing us as subjects seekers of Truth, in search of sense.

My vision begins to emerge from a “complex thought” and from a “non-dogmatic ethics as an ethics of responsibility”. In addition, my vision is based on a “pertinent realism” which allows us to understand transitions in the evolving reality and to develop personal “historical judgments” to integrate into the “historical judgment” of humanity.

This research, looking into the human condition (seeking the “beyond”), have to “walk” in the “deep and complex” of the transitions that characterize reality. I try to analyze some “signs of the times” that mark our historical era, being aware that we live in a time of great transformations, in a real change of era.

I try to list some “signs of the times”:

– the immateriality and intangibility of many of the fundamental processes of reality;

– the growing asymmetry, especially of the threats, and the “geopolitical butterflies”;

– the “separate knowledges” and the crisis of education;

– the exasperation of competition and the lack of cooperation;

– the growing culture of fear and the growing “banal” evil;

– the increasing inequalities into the States and at the global level;

– the “political vacuum”;

– the ” emptied democracies” in the crisis of State (in particular the crisis of the “Nation-State”);

– the importance of the “religious” in the evolving reality;

– the international criminal networks and the reconfiguration of States;

– the cities, increasingly “indifferent agglomerates” instead of “inclusive communities”;

– the real impact and the perception of migrations;

– the environmental sustainability and the 2030 agenda.

All these “signs of the times” can no longer be analyzed separately but it is necessary, in looking at each of them, to find global connections. Which globalization are we building?

We are in a historical moment in which the complexity of reality we create is likely to overwhelm ourselves. We risk being the subjects of our own self-destruction, first of all culturally. The recall of history corresponds to the recall of fear; we need an enemy and, if we do not have it, we invent it in our minds to justify our failures. This, of course, does not mean denying that the evil exists in History; it means, instead, that we want to build a “reality of the enemy” where we perceive that our freedom is in danger, that we are degenerating in a manner that is no longer human. We dogmatize the need for security to the point of imagine an “absolute security” which is “absolutely” unreal.

We have to break the chain of our “securitarian obsession” by returning to reflect on reality, stopping us and re-starting to think the fundamental questions about us and about coexistence, not imagining to have all the possible answers. It is, at the same time, a collective problem of cultural responsibility and of responsibility in the construction of “leading classes” appropriate to the historical time we are living.

The Global Eye could become a think tank on “the complexity of the human condition on the planet”. We would like to be a place of strategic synthesis, not just of analysis.

If the global dynamics can not be completely predictable and governable (especially “from above”), it is also wrong to think that such dynamics are naturally adjusted by the intervention of a “invisible hand”. It is only the profound knowledge of what happens, combined with the ability to make a synthesis between the different “historical judgments”, which allows us to become “protagonists” of reality.

The human condition is uncertain and mysterious but, at the same time, needs our historical responsibility. How should the principle of responsibility can be interpreted, considering the historical dynamics ?

It is very interesting to reflect on this challenge because here plays our relationship with reality, or, better, our being “reality of reality”. In fact, we have to reconcile our reason and our will, respectively opening and activating them, with the “signs of the times”.

Our responsibility begins in the re-appropriation of the “signs of the times”; nothing of what happens is extraneous to us. Re-appropriation is the first step to “feel  us reality”. We understand how important this is if we realize that we are making the world a “globalized home of separation”; separation in ourselves (we are afraid to go into our “shadow zones”), separation from the other (understood and lived as stranger and not as different), separation from reality (resignation to the “I can not do anything to change”).

Re-appropriation is a complex process because it is, at the same time, intrapersonal, interpersonal and global.

The intrapersonal step of re-appropriation is necessary in order to realize the interpersonal and global ones. We can not become “historical protagonists” in global reality if, first of all, we are not aware and responsible for our own complexity.

Reflecting on what we are at the personal level, privileging relativization rather than the absolutization of us, is the way to imagine a “world of possible dialogues”; dialogues able to erode from the inside the walls of separation that we continually build. We build these walls first in us, where we think that we can separate our “areas of light” from our “areas of shadow”; we would always “walk” through our “areas of light” and, in absolutizing this need (true and vital in each of us), we tend to exalt what makes us feel good until it becomes authentic, pure, and uncontaminable. In facts, contrary to our convictions, nothing in us is pure, authentic and uncontaminable but everything is “in question” and “in progress”; nothing is certain once and for ever.

Way for possible dialogues, the intrapersonal re-appropriation never ends because our mission of humans is to look inside us to go beyond. Our life is a hard process of complex relationships with whom “we are not”. Certainly, and fortunately (at least in my opinion), the other is different; this does not mean, however, that the other is stranger (a “cultural category” that we have invented to justify our supposed superiority) and  that, therefore, we must be indifferent (“twisting” our mission of human beings) .

In passing from us to the other there is a non linear exchange of languages, attitudes, symbols, lifestyles, certainties, accumulated stories. Every passage from us to the other is a transition, a possible growth; in transitions we experience the difficulties, the generation of crises but also the opportunities to become deeply and mutually human.

I underline the concept of transition. Whenever we meet someone who “we are not” begins into us a sort of “natural” suspicion but this is not yet reject.

In transition we have the opportunity to move from suspicion to relationship and, also, to move from suspicion to reject. Transition is a “neutral zone” in which everything can happen; in fact, our talent of human beings may be fulfilled or denied. In transitions we can choose to rediscover our limits (starting the virtuous circle where my freedom begins where the other begins) or we can choose to absolutize our talents (starting the vicious circle in which my freedom ends where the other begins). In the first case, we become aware that true freedom is liberation and that the world will never be free until there is only one “slave” (in whatever form); in the second case, we “imprison” ourselves in a practice of self-referential freedom driven by the need in imminence. Which I call “vicious circle” is the dominant idea of ​​freedom in today’s world. Someone might say that stop us where the freedom of the other begins is a form of respect; if this is true, I believe that the deep respect, in a world that must strive for multipolarity (if we want to give a human and political sense to globalization), is to consider freedom as liberation.

Interpersonal re-appropriation is a not dominant re-appropriation in us of the “destiny” of each other; this obviously involves the risk of dialogue that never evolves in a linear way. The other, like us, is a mystery and this entails the difficulty of discovering and understanding its complexity. We have the historical responsibility to make possible the potential living in each situation of dialogue.  We have been created to re-generate humanity and this is only possible in the dialogue between “different humans”.

We started from intrapersonal re-appropriation, passing through the interpersonal one; the process of re-appropriation needs a global dimension. Our today’s problem is: to which horizon can we lead our planet, how can we re-think the inevitable process of globalization by putting in the center the complexities of humanity and the safeguard of the natural environment?

Gianluca Bocchi, Mauro Ceruti, Edgar Morin write in “Turbare il futuro. Un nuovo inizio per la civiltà planetaria” (Moretti & Vitali, 1990, 11):”The crisis of becoming (…) is at the same time the crisis of the planetary era. The development crisis devastates not only the Third World, but our own world, which has underdeveloped morally, intellectually, and emotionally, because of its own scientific and technical development. In our end of the century, all kinds of crises intertwine.” (my translation)

Gianluca Bocchi, Mauro Ceruti, Edgar Morin (mentioned book, 13): “The Wind of History that moves and drags us out of the known schemes into the great unknown adventure. Our Earth is really, according to the ancient definition of the word planet, a wandering star.” (my translation)

If, as I believe, humanity and the planet are immersed in an unknown adventure, what is the sense of the “end of the History”? Too often, in our analysis of globalization, we only feel safe in our consolidated certainties and we do not have attention to the “signs of the times” that express the dynamism of vital historical processes. Nothing is forever and this is a lesson we should learn. Today, the problem is no longer only the sustainability of the current globalization model, but what we need is its re-thinking in complex terms; today we have to imagine new perspectives, new ways, first and foremost cultural and political.

Bocchi, Ceruti and Morin (mentioned book, 14), “We are in the deep ambivalence of an age (…) in which all symptoms of death can be at the same time symptoms of birth.” (my translation)

“Prisoners” of certainties, we live our natural uncertainty as insecurity and we try to defend ourselves in every way. What is normal in vital historical processes, the crises, appear to us as dangers. We should, however, re-distinguish between the naturalness of the crises  from the tragedy of politically unmanaged crises that, inevitably, turn into de-generations. The different crises that we live today, all reassembled in the crisis of the planetary era, must be re-thought at the same time as symptoms of death and symptoms of birth (or, better, of re-birth). The crisis is the principle of every possible innovation

Bocchi, Ceruti and Morin (mentioned book, 14″: “It is true that the complexity of the problems of this world disarms us. This is why we have to intellectually re-arm ourselves, educating us to think of complexity. ”

I return to the cultural setting of this research. We need a complex thought that, in addition to characterize our analysis, allows us to develop appropriate synthesis (“historical judgments”) on the dynamics of globalization that I call “signs of the times”. This complex thought must be the “cultural soul” of the new paths that we must seek by walking in the “beyond”. Above all, complex thought must change the nature of education and of longlife learning processes, not just for young generations.

To walk in the “beyond” is a risk, it is ambiguous, but we have, as humans,  the historical responsibility to face it. Bocchi, Ceruti and Morin write (mentioned book, 14): “We need to develop the consciousness of the ambiguity of scientific and technical processes, the consciousness of the uncertainty of our becoming. We must develop self-critical rationality in our own reason The games for the future are never done, we must always disturb the future, … re-open a future, we must suggest counter-futures.”. (my translation)

One of the “signs of the times” that I would like to develop in this research is what I called the “political vacuum”. In today’s world, in particular, where everything is transparent and imminent, politics is absent. Personally, I believe that politics must return to be the protagonist, in new forms and with new contents, adapting itself to the times we live. Our political thought is still referring to a world that no longer exists. On the importance of  “political” I publish what Bocchi, Ceruti and Morin write (mentioned book, 14-15): “We must introduce the perception of complexity into the domain in which it was less recognized and where it is more necessary: ​​the political domain. Today we can always imagine that everything of human, including the biological dimension, involves a political dimension, and that all which is politically involves an infra or meta-political dimension. (…) Recognizing the complexity of the “political” leads to the substitution of imperative and abstract programs with strategies able to consciously deal with the unplanned, leads to replace the myth of perfect societies with the idea of responsability, to replace the idea of ​​automatic progress with the will of human progress. Today we must be aware that the Order of the world, the social Order, the Radiant Future through Science, the Reason, the Politics are produced by a faith imprisoned in adoration of a great Controller-Ordinator “. (my translation)