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And the award goes to...
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-12-31 08:26:31
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Fine, this has taken too long! The years before we had a plan but a comment last year has ruined this plan. Usually we see who or what influenced our lives more than anything the year that ends and we write the reasoning naming the persona or the events of the year and last year it was the economic crisis that had changed our lives, dramatically I would say.

The name Barack Obama kept coming out all the time last year and still keeps coming this year but this time it was us who had our doubts. Not because Barack Obama has stopped to be the carrier of hope and we all give him plenty of time and excuse to succeed despite all the small or big setbacks. But then came December and the big flop, the UN Summit for the environment in Copenhagen to make at least me a bit sceptic about the future. Barack Obama decided to give a stand up to the environmental issues in favour of his health plan. Again even though everybody fully understands how valuable it is a health system in USA and in long term it might become a blueprint internationally it is still something internal and that Obama preferred to give that battle only it was a bit disappointed for the ones who are fully aware of what’s going on in the environment. What can you do with a perfect health system when thousands if not millions die because of the distraction we cause to earth. And in this case there is one more disappointing element; that the lobbies that Barack Obama was so much after during his campaign have won since they manage to make him chose.

The financial crisis is still here, actually worst than the year before and nobody really knows when it will end. The worst part is that when it will end what is going to leave behind and if the number of the neo-poor, unemployed, homeless will not create a new financial reality that will even include clashes and rebellions. You see the financial crisis has made the poor poorer but the same time also created a new reality for the rich making the rich richer and new profits this time more cynic and often cannibal literally making profits on dead bodies.

Hard times like that I often remember something Jean Paul Sartre said, that in hard times art, literature found a way to thrive; but Jean Paul Sartre was referring to the Nazi occupation in France when he was talking about hard times and even during that occupation there was something physical. Nowadays the crisis that comes to all the fields is eating the spirit and it is natural that art is beaten as well. Nowadays everything has become a constant fight to survival from the uncontrolled and unexpected. A bank faces financial problems in USA because of bad management and the milk goes more expensive in my neighbourhood in Finland and it looks impossible for the Finnish government to do something about it.

Bottom line is that whatever we say, whatever we hope, whatever message Barack Obama’s presents in the international scene has brought this last year we always end up in politics. If the experts were left to decide for the future of the environment things would have been different but even the scientists depend on political decisions. If the experts had been heard about the financial crisis perhaps this things would have never taken the gigantic dimensions it took but in the end it was a political decision, if Barack Obama was left to make what he wanted to do things would have been different already but political lobbies with political influences don’t let him and again it ends in politics and for the ones that follow art they know how much politics influence art the last decades; even the literature Nobel Prizes have a political edge. So what is left is politics.

And this is where my thought about the persona or the event of the year end. There is a politician in the international scene that mocks with his controversial attitude everything that he represents. It is the man who constantly reminds us how fragile our democracy is and the same time with his often over-dramatic moves makes us laugh. The man was hit from a mad man and most of us smiled when we saw the scenes on the news with him climbing on top of his car to show his bloody face. If you are Italian nowadays living abroad you always have to face the smile the man brings and the uncomfortable questions from everybody. If you are European you don’t know how to deal with this phenomenon coming from the Caesar’s land and literally everybody for Japan to Chile and South Africa to Alaska knows Mr. Silvio Berlusconi!

As I said before Silvio Berlusconi reminds us constantly how fragile democracy is but the same time he shows us how human and weak authority is, that there is no magic way that transforms human with passions and faults to super-humans when they become authority doesn’t matter how high this authority is.  The man is a prove that power corrupts in every single sense and with his every single act. And the same time Silvio Berlusconi makes us laugh. He makes us laugh because in a very twisted way he is one of us and I suppose that’s the reason the Italian people vote him again and again giving him the power to stand there and feel god. The man is a painful joke but the same time he is fully representing the true face of politics and the ones who hold with their decision our future and the solution to things like the economic crisis or the environmental issues!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-31 16:07:00
Since the times of Caesar Augustus in the land of the Caesars there is a Machiavellian view abroad that history is made by men who yield power and decide the destinies of nations and empires, that is to say ultimately everything is decided by the politicians. There is an element of truth in this if we follow the etymology of the word politicians and trace it back to the ancient Greek “polis” (city), pertaining to the city and the political social organization of the city. But it is only half the truth. The whole truth is that there are other men who are not “politicians” in the strict sense of that word, they did not conquer empires, they made no momentous political decisions and yet they affected history even more powerfully than the current politicians. There are thousands of examples to pick from, but let us stay with only one. Caesar Augustus, the most powerful man on earth ordered the census and because of that census a Jewish man who ought to have been born in Nazareth of Palestine, was born in Bethlehem. He changed the trajectory of history to the point that after him history is divided in B.C and A.D.[continued below]

Emanuel Paparella2009-12-31 16:07:51
Vis a vis that Man born in Bethlehem the powerful politician residing in Rome by the name of Caesar Augustus looks like a puny instrument used by Providence to make it possible for a man to fulfill his mission and for that mission to then spread to a whole continent called Europe. Indeed there were two men in the year 0 and the greater of the two was not the politician but the non-politician. The one who affected history the most was the one who exemplified principle not based on political power. The cynics among us will continue pointing out of course that the same man, only thirty years later was condemned and put on a cross by the very same power that ordered the census, which proves that he was a loser. I would suggest that they are being clever by half; they are missing the other half of the picture: the conspiracy and audacity of hope, still ongoing.

Emanuel Paparella2009-12-31 22:28:55
Errata above: wield power, exemplified principles.

Marco Andreacchio2010-01-01 18:38:48
Attempts to refute the identification of justice (the order of human things) with power-politics, fail to convince those who are not Christian believers, as long as those appeals presuppose the veracity of Christian revelation and the divine foundation of the Catholic Church.

For, the Machiavellian may easily retort that the rise of Christianity is itself testimony of power-politics (cf. Nietzsche).

The problem at hand lies in the depreciation of politics testified by the Hedonist's identification of justice with power. But political life always presupposes/entails an END, whereas amorphous "power" does not. Man as "political animal" cannot be understood unless we take into primary consideration the ENDS for the sake of which he struggles. The "abstract" reduction of those ENDS to "Struggle" points straight to the infamous doctrine of the Will to Power. which volens nolens serves as "ontological" support for barbarism.

It would seem that the only rationally effective response to power-politics doctrines rests in the recovery of a pre-modern, classical understanding of "the Political" on account of which man's practical life is not yet abstracted from its NATURAL ENDS.

Best regards,
Marco Andreacchio

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