Skip to content

Liberation Ecology – Toward Transformative Vision and Praxis

20/08/2016

Publico aqui uma entrevista dada à esta Iniciativa norte-americana que abre espaço para pensamentos que vem de fora do âmbito acadêmico normal mas que levam as pessoas a pensar. Lboff

Liberation Ecology

Leonardo Boff

Theology can play a central role in defining the moral fiber of a society, including its commitment to poverty alleviation and stewardship of Earth. Allen White, Senior Fellow at Tellus Institute, talks with Leonardo Boff, a founder of liberation theology, about the origins of the movement and the vital connections between ecology and social justice.


Half a century ago, you were among a small group of theologians who were instrumental in conceptualizing liberation theology. What spurred this synthesis of thought and action that challenged the orthodoxy of both Church and State?

Liberation theology is not a discipline. It is a different way of practicing theology. It does not start from existing theological traditions and then focus on the poor and excluded populations of society. Its core is the struggle of the poor to free themselves from the conditions of poverty. Liberation theology does not seek to act for the poor via welfarism or paternalism. Instead, it seeks to act with the poor to tap their wisdom in changing their life and livelihood.

How, then, do we act with them? By seeing the poor and oppressed through their own eyes, not with those of an outsider. We must discover and understand their values, such as solidarity and the joy of living, which to some extent have been lost by society’s privileged. Some of those who subscribe to liberation theology choose to live like the poor, sharing life in the slums and participating in residents’ organizations and projects. This method can be described as “see, judge, act, and celebrate.” Seeing the reality of the poor firsthand awakens an outsider to the inadequacy of his perceptions and doctrines for judging it and how to change it. This occurs in two ways: first, through understanding the mechanisms that generate poverty and, second, by awakening to the fact that poverty and oppression contradict God’s plan and that actions must thus be taken to eliminate them.

How does this understanding and awakening manifest itself?

Following understanding and awakening is action: How can we work with the poor to end oppression and achieve social justice? The opposite of poverty is not wealth but justice. This commitment to action spurred the birth of thousands of ecclesiastical communities, Bible circles, and centers for the defense of human rights, all focused on the rights of the poor, the landless, and the homeless, and the advancement of people of African descent, the indigenous, women, and other marginalized groups. These expressions of liberation theology are not rooted in rituals, but rather in the celebration of life and its victories in light of the Gospel. This approach is visible in the words and actions of Pope Francis, particularly in his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. This style of theology has created a type of priest and religious life that unites faith and social commitment to the poor and welcomes all who wish to participate. This method of living and thinking faith has helped the Church to better understand the reality of the poor and to shift away from doctrines and rituals. The Church of Liberation helped found political parties such as the Workers’ Party of former president Lula in Brazil that embody the commitment to social change that Jesus viewed as essential to a more just and fraternal society. This kind of thinking encouraged Latin American countries to introduce social policies that embraced millions of people who previously lived on the margins and in misery.

What led you to such social activism?

What drove my commitment to social change was my work in the slums of Brazil. The poor were our teachers and doctors. They challenged us to answer the question, how can our Christian faith inspire us to look for a different, more just world where brotherhood and sisterhood are deeper and richer and love is made easier? It was not the politics and works of Karl Marx, Johann Baptist Metz, or Jürgen Moltmann that inspired us to get close to the poor. Marx was neither father nor godfather of liberation theology, though he has helped us in fundamental ways. He showed how poverty results from the way society is organized to exploit and oppress the weakest among us, and he called attention to the fact that the ruling classes, in conjunction with certain segments of the Church, manipulated the Christian faith to be a source of passivity rather than a force for indignation, resistance, and liberation.

In the 1950s and 1960s, liberation theology took root most deeply in Latin America, especially in Brazil. Why this region, and why this country?

The Church in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s was unique in Latin America and, I would say, even the world. We had many prophetic bishops who opposed the military dictatorships, denounced torture, and publicly defended human rights. Thanks to the great Bishop Hélder Câmara, a coordinated pastoral meeting was organized for the first time. It involved more than 300 bishops and led to the creation of the National Conference of Bishops, which, in turn, developed strategies for social change that became widely adopted. For a long time, the Conference advocated for basic social justice and agrarian reform.

This initiative led to a shift away from the concept of “development of underdevelopment,” which draws attention to the historic and structural roots of underdevelopment, to a focus on the process of liberation. The educator Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Education as the Practice of Freedom, helped to shape the minds of bishops, theologians, and pastors. It marked the beginning in Brazil, and soon Peru, of liberation theology as a foundational concept in the Catholic Church.

In 2009, you wrote that “everyone must be freed from this system that has continued for three centuries and has been imposed across the planet.” What is the “system,” and what makes escape so urgent?

Every modern society is indebted to the founding fathers of the Enlightenment worldview beginning in the seventeenth century with Descartes, Newton, Bacon, and others. Together, their work gave rise to the idea of conquest of people and the Earth. The Earth was no longer viewed as the great Mother, alive and purposeful. Instead, it was reduced to something to be exploited by humans for wealth accumulation. In the capitalist system that emerged out of this, value is ascribed to accumulated capital rather than to work, now simply a vehicle for such accumulation. This system creates vast economic inequalities as well as political, social, and ethnic injustices. Its political manifestation is liberal democracy, in which freedom is equated with the freedom to exploit nature and accumulate wealth. This system has been imposed worldwide and has created a culture of limitless private accumulation and consumption. Today, we realize that a finite Earth cannot support endless growth that overshoots the Earth’s biophysical limits and threatens long-term human survival and Mother Earth’s bounty.

Your recent writings suggest that ecology should be an additional pillar of the movement. What is the connection between ecology and social justice?

The core of liberation theology is the empowerment of the poor to end poverty and achieve the freedom to live a good life. In the 1980s, we realized that the logic supporting exploitation of workers was the same as that supporting the exploitation of the earth. Out of this insight, a vigorous liberation eco-theology was born. To make this movement effective, it is important to create a new paradigm rooted in cosmology, biology, and complexity theory. A global vision of reality must always be open to creating new forms of order within which human life can evolve. The vision of James Lovelock and V. I. Vernadsky helped us see not only that life exists on Earth, but also that Earth itself is a living organism. The human being is the highest expression of Earth’s creation by virtue of our capacity to feel, think, love, and worship.

After publication of your 1984 book Church: Charisma and Power, the Vatican prohibited your writing and teaching, a turning point in the strained relationship between liberation theology and the Church. How did you respond to this?

The imposition of “silentium obsequiosum” in 1985 by the Vatican forbade me from speaking and writing. That is when I began to study ecology, Earth science, and their relation to human activity. This coincided with an invitation to participate in a small, international group convened by Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller to explore universal values and principles essential for saving Earth from the multiple threats she faces. I had the opportunity to meet leading scientists while actively participating in drafting a text that significantly inspired Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’. I was determined to ensure that the views of the Earth Charter would be based on a new paradigm incorporating the interdependency of all creatures—indeed the whole living fabric—and the need for mutual care. This paradigm must extend beyond a purely environmental ecology to an “integral ecology” that includes society, human consciousness, education, daily life, and spirituality.

This must start with the new paradigm for physical reality that has emerged from the thinking of Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Stephen Hawking, Brian Swimme, Ilya Prigogine, Humberto Maturana, Christian de Duve, and many others who see the universe as a process of cosmogenesis—expanding, self-regenerating orders of increasing complexity. The basic law governing this cosmological vision is that everything has to do with everything else at all times and in all circumstances. Nothing is outside this integrated vision. Knowledge and science are interlinked to form a greater whole. Contrary to the earlier atomized paradigm, this helps us develop a holistic view of a world in continuous motion. Mutation, not stability, is the natural state of the universe and Earth. And we humans are intrinsic to this process. So I believe there are four major trends in ecological thinking: environmental, social, mental, and integral. Together, these form a reality in which the component parts are dynamically in tune with each other.

Do you see elements of liberation theology in Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’?

The encyclical Laudato Si´ is the fruit of the theological ecology that developed in recent years in Latin America. The Pope adopted the method of “see, judge, act, and celebrate” and used it to organize the encyclical. He makes use of the basic categories that we used in Latin America, such as the “relatedness of all with all,” the focus on the poor and the vulnerable, the intrinsic value of every being, the ethics of care and collective responsibility, and—especially—the condemnation of the system that produces the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, a system that is anti-life, perhaps even suicidal. The document is full of the resonances of liberation theology and encourages liberation theologians as well as like-minded churches and theology everywhere.

Many view religion in the contemporary world as a source of strife and exclusion rather than the harmony and inclusiveness needed to foster global solidarity. Do such critics of religion have a valid point?

Almost all religions show signs of the sickness of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is not a doctrine but a way of understanding doctrine. Fundamentalists think that their doctrine and their truth is the only one. Others are wrong and deserve no rights. From these conflicts is born the bloodshed we know too well, conflicts pursued in God’s name. But this is a pathology that does not eliminate the true nature of religion. Everything healthy can get sick. That is what is happening today. On the other hand, compare the conflicts driven by fundamentalism with the hopefulness of leaders like the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Pope Francis, who are clamoring for cooperation among religions and spiritual paths to help overcome the current ecological crisis.

What is your view on the prospects for a progressive transformation of religious institutions and for the overall shift in of planetary civilization we call the Great Transition? And what role would religious institutions play in this transformation?

I think the legacy of the financial crisis is the insight that the global capitalist system met its limit in 2007–2008. More than an economic crisis, it was a crisis of Earth’s limited resources. Shortly after the onset of the financial crisis, scientists announced the infamous Earth Overshoot Day, calling attention to the fact that the pressure we put on Earth exceeds its biocapacity. But this moment, which should have provoked reflection on our profound lack of environmental consciousness, passed with little public reaction.

Because of the inseparability of the ecological and the social, the looming depletion of resources could lead to social unrest of great proportions. Today, at least forty armed conflicts afflict the world. Our system does not have the tools to solve the problems it has created. As Albert Einstein eloquently stated, “We cannot solve the problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

We have to think and act differently. The Earth Charter explicitly states, and Pope Francis has repeated, “Common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. This requires a change in the mind and in the heart. It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility to reach a sustainable way of life locally, regionally, nationally and globally.” This is the foundation for a different way of inhabiting the Common Home in which material resources are finite. In contrast, human and spiritual capital are inexhaustible because they are intangible and include limitless values such as love, solidarity, compassion, reverence, and care. This places life at the center: the life of Mother Earth, the life of nature, and human life.

Leonardo Boff is the founder of the liberation theology movement. He entered the Franciscan Order in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1964. He is a co-author of the Earth Charter and the author of more than eighty works, including Jesus Christ Liberator: A Critical Christology for Our Time; Church, Charisma and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church; Ecology: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor; and Essential Care: An Ethics of Human Nature.Cite as Leonardo Boff, “Liberation Ecology,” Great Transition Initiative (August 2016), http://www.greattransition.org/publication/liberation-ecology.

20/08/2016

Publico aqui uma entrevista dada à esta Iniciativa norte-americana que abre espaço para pensamentos que vem de fora do âmbito acadêmico normal mas que levam as pessoas a pensar. Lboff

Liberation Ecology

Leonardo Boff

Theology can play a central role in defining the moral fiber of a society, including its commitment to poverty alleviation and stewardship of Earth. Allen White, Senior Fellow at Tellus Institute, talks with Leonardo Boff, a founder of liberation theology, about the origins of the movement and the vital connections between ecology and social justice.


Half a century ago, you were among a small group of theologians who were instrumental in conceptualizing liberation theology. What spurred this synthesis of thought and action that challenged the orthodoxy of both Church and State?

Liberation theology is not a discipline. It is a different way of practicing theology. It does not start from existing theological traditions and then focus on the poor and excluded populations of society. Its core is the struggle of the poor to free themselves from the conditions of poverty. Liberation theology does not seek to act for the poor via welfarism or paternalism. Instead, it seeks to act with the poor to tap their wisdom in changing their life and livelihood.

How, then, do we act with them? By seeing the poor and oppressed through their own eyes, not with those of an outsider. We must discover and understand their values, such as solidarity and the joy of living, which to some extent have been lost by society’s privileged. Some of those who subscribe to liberation theology choose to live like the poor, sharing life in the slums and participating in residents’ organizations and projects. This method can be described as “see, judge, act, and celebrate.” Seeing the reality of the poor firsthand awakens an outsider to the inadequacy of his perceptions and doctrines for judging it and how to change it. This occurs in two ways: first, through understanding the mechanisms that generate poverty and, second, by awakening to the fact that poverty and oppression contradict God’s plan and that actions must thus be taken to eliminate them.

How does this understanding and awakening manifest itself?

Following understanding and awakening is action: How can we work with the poor to end oppression and achieve social justice? The opposite of poverty is not wealth but justice. This commitment to action spurred the birth of thousands of ecclesiastical communities, Bible circles, and centers for the defense of human rights, all focused on the rights of the poor, the landless, and the homeless, and the advancement of people of African descent, the indigenous, women, and other marginalized groups. These expressions of liberation theology are not rooted in rituals, but rather in the celebration of life and its victories in light of the Gospel. This approach is visible in the words and actions of Pope Francis, particularly in his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. This style of theology has created a type of priest and religious life that unites faith and social commitment to the poor and welcomes all who wish to participate. This method of living and thinking faith has helped the Church to better understand the reality of the poor and to shift away from doctrines and rituals. The Church of Liberation helped found political parties such as the Workers’ Party of former president Lula in Brazil that embody the commitment to social change that Jesus viewed as essential to a more just and fraternal society. This kind of thinking encouraged Latin American countries to introduce social policies that embraced millions of people who previously lived on the margins and in misery.

What led you to such social activism?

What drove my commitment to social change was my work in the slums of Brazil. The poor were our teachers and doctors. They challenged us to answer the question, how can our Christian faith inspire us to look for a different, more just world where brotherhood and sisterhood are deeper and richer and love is made easier? It was not the politics and works of Karl Marx, Johann Baptist Metz, or Jürgen Moltmann that inspired us to get close to the poor. Marx was neither father nor godfather of liberation theology, though he has helped us in fundamental ways. He showed how poverty results from the way society is organized to exploit and oppress the weakest among us, and he called attention to the fact that the ruling classes, in conjunction with certain segments of the Church, manipulated the Christian faith to be a source of passivity rather than a force for indignation, resistance, and liberation.

In the 1950s and 1960s, liberation theology took root most deeply in Latin America, especially in Brazil. Why this region, and why this country?

The Church in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s was unique in Latin America and, I would say, even the world. We had many prophetic bishops who opposed the military dictatorships, denounced torture, and publicly defended human rights. Thanks to the great Bishop Hélder Câmara, a coordinated pastoral meeting was organized for the first time. It involved more than 300 bishops and led to the creation of the National Conference of Bishops, which, in turn, developed strategies for social change that became widely adopted. For a long time, the Conference advocated for basic social justice and agrarian reform.

This initiative led to a shift away from the concept of “development of underdevelopment,” which draws attention to the historic and structural roots of underdevelopment, to a focus on the process of liberation. The educator Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Education as the Practice of Freedom, helped to shape the minds of bishops, theologians, and pastors. It marked the beginning in Brazil, and soon Peru, of liberation theology as a foundational concept in the Catholic Church.

In 2009, you wrote that “everyone must be freed from this system that has continued for three centuries and has been imposed across the planet.” What is the “system,” and what makes escape so urgent?

Every modern society is indebted to the founding fathers of the Enlightenment worldview beginning in the seventeenth century with Descartes, Newton, Bacon, and others. Together, their work gave rise to the idea of conquest of people and the Earth. The Earth was no longer viewed as the great Mother, alive and purposeful. Instead, it was reduced to something to be exploited by humans for wealth accumulation. In the capitalist system that emerged out of this, value is ascribed to accumulated capital rather than to work, now simply a vehicle for such accumulation. This system creates vast economic inequalities as well as political, social, and ethnic injustices. Its political manifestation is liberal democracy, in which freedom is equated with the freedom to exploit nature and accumulate wealth. This system has been imposed worldwide and has created a culture of limitless private accumulation and consumption. Today, we realize that a finite Earth cannot support endless growth that overshoots the Earth’s biophysical limits and threatens long-term human survival and Mother Earth’s bounty.

Your recent writings suggest that ecology should be an additional pillar of the movement. What is the connection between ecology and social justice?

The core of liberation theology is the empowerment of the poor to end poverty and achieve the freedom to live a good life. In the 1980s, we realized that the logic supporting exploitation of workers was the same as that supporting the exploitation of the earth. Out of this insight, a vigorous liberation eco-theology was born. To make this movement effective, it is important to create a new paradigm rooted in cosmology, biology, and complexity theory. A global vision of reality must always be open to creating new forms of order within which human life can evolve. The vision of James Lovelock and V. I. Vernadsky helped us see not only that life exists on Earth, but also that Earth itself is a living organism. The human being is the highest expression of Earth’s creation by virtue of our capacity to feel, think, love, and worship.

After publication of your 1984 book Church: Charisma and Power, the Vatican prohibited your writing and teaching, a turning point in the strained relationship between liberation theology and the Church. How did you respond to this?

The imposition of “silentium obsequiosum” in 1985 by the Vatican forbade me from speaking and writing. That is when I began to study ecology, Earth science, and their relation to human activity. This coincided with an invitation to participate in a small, international group convened by Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller to explore universal values and principles essential for saving Earth from the multiple threats she faces. I had the opportunity to meet leading scientists while actively participating in drafting a text that significantly inspired Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’. I was determined to ensure that the views of the Earth Charter would be based on a new paradigm incorporating the interdependency of all creatures—indeed the whole living fabric—and the need for mutual care. This paradigm must extend beyond a purely environmental ecology to an “integral ecology” that includes society, human consciousness, education, daily life, and spirituality.

This must start with the new paradigm for physical reality that has emerged from the thinking of Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Stephen Hawking, Brian Swimme, Ilya Prigogine, Humberto Maturana, Christian de Duve, and many others who see the universe as a process of cosmogenesis—expanding, self-regenerating orders of increasing complexity. The basic law governing this cosmological vision is that everything has to do with everything else at all times and in all circumstances. Nothing is outside this integrated vision. Knowledge and science are interlinked to form a greater whole. Contrary to the earlier atomized paradigm, this helps us develop a holistic view of a world in continuous motion. Mutation, not stability, is the natural state of the universe and Earth. And we humans are intrinsic to this process. So I believe there are four major trends in ecological thinking: environmental, social, mental, and integral. Together, these form a reality in which the component parts are dynamically in tune with each other.

Do you see elements of liberation theology in Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’?

The encyclical Laudato Si´ is the fruit of the theological ecology that developed in recent years in Latin America. The Pope adopted the method of “see, judge, act, and celebrate” and used it to organize the encyclical. He makes use of the basic categories that we used in Latin America, such as the “relatedness of all with all,” the focus on the poor and the vulnerable, the intrinsic value of every being, the ethics of care and collective responsibility, and—especially—the condemnation of the system that produces the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, a system that is anti-life, perhaps even suicidal. The document is full of the resonances of liberation theology and encourages liberation theologians as well as like-minded churches and theology everywhere.

Many view religion in the contemporary world as a source of strife and exclusion rather than the harmony and inclusiveness needed to foster global solidarity. Do such critics of religion have a valid point?

Almost all religions show signs of the sickness of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is not a doctrine but a way of understanding doctrine. Fundamentalists think that their doctrine and their truth is the only one. Others are wrong and deserve no rights. From these conflicts is born the bloodshed we know too well, conflicts pursued in God’s name. But this is a pathology that does not eliminate the true nature of religion. Everything healthy can get sick. That is what is happening today. On the other hand, compare the conflicts driven by fundamentalism with the hopefulness of leaders like the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Pope Francis, who are clamoring for cooperation among religions and spiritual paths to help overcome the current ecological crisis.

What is your view on the prospects for a progressive transformation of religious institutions and for the overall shift in of planetary civilization we call the Great Transition? And what role would religious institutions play in this transformation?

I think the legacy of the financial crisis is the insight that the global capitalist system met its limit in 2007–2008. More than an economic crisis, it was a crisis of Earth’s limited resources. Shortly after the onset of the financial crisis, scientists announced the infamous Earth Overshoot Day, calling attention to the fact that the pressure we put on Earth exceeds its biocapacity. But this moment, which should have provoked reflection on our profound lack of environmental consciousness, passed with little public reaction.

Because of the inseparability of the ecological and the social, the looming depletion of resources could lead to social unrest of great proportions. Today, at least forty armed conflicts afflict the world. Our system does not have the tools to solve the problems it has created. As Albert Einstein eloquently stated, “We cannot solve the problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

We have to think and act differently. The Earth Charter explicitly states, and Pope Francis has repeated, “Common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. This requires a change in the mind and in the heart. It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility to reach a sustainable way of life locally, regionally, nationally and globally.” This is the foundation for a different way of inhabiting the Common Home in which material resources are finite. In contrast, human and spiritual capital are inexhaustible because they are intangible and include limitless values such as love, solidarity, compassion, reverence, and care. This places life at the center: the life of Mother Earth, the life of nature, and human life.

Leonardo Boff is the founder of the liberation theology movement. He entered the Franciscan Order in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1964. He is a co-author of the Earth Charter and the author of more than eighty works, including Jesus Christ Liberator: A Critical Christology for Our Time; Church, Charisma and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church; Ecology: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor; and Essential Care: An Ethics of Human Nature.Cite as Leonardo Boff, “Liberation Ecology,” Great Transition Initiative (August 2016), http://www.greattransition.org/publication/liberation-ecology.


Stille Revolutionen: Geselligkeit

19/08/2016

Mit dem Fall der Berliner Mauer im Jahr 1989 und dem des Sozialismus, der deren Kontrapunkt war (unabhängig von seinen schwer wiegenden inneren Problemen) besetzte schließlich der Kapitalismus den gesamten Raum in Ökonomie und Politik. Mit Margaret Thatcher an der Macht in Großbritannien und Ronald Reagan in den Vereinigten Staaten bekam die Logik des Kapitalismus freie Bahn: die komplette Liberalisierung der Märkte einhergehend mit dem Zusammenbruch jeglicher Kontrollen, der Einführung des minimalistischen Staates, der Privatisierung und dem grenzenlosen Wettbewer

Die sogenannte „glückliche Globalisierung“ war nicht so glücklich.

Der Nobelpreisträger Joseph E. Stiglitz schrieb im Jahr 2011: „Nur 1 % der sehr Reichen lenken die Wirtschaft und alle essentiellen Funktionen unseres Planeten so, dass diese ihren eigenen Interessen dienen.“ („Über das 1 % von 1%“ Vanity Fair, Mai 2011). Aus diesem Grund prahlte der Spekulator Warren Buffet, einer der größten Multimillionäre: „Ja, Klassenkampf existiert, doch meine Klasse, die Klasse der Reichen, führt den Kampf an, und wir gewinnen ihn“ (Interview CNN, 2005).

Wie es der Zufall will, gelang es all den Reichen nicht, den Faktor Ökologie in ihre Kalkulationen einzubeziehen. Vielmehr erachten sie die Schätze und Dienste der Natur als wertlose Äußerlichkeiten. Dies geschieht ebenfalls in den Wirtschaftsdebatten in Brasilien, das in dieser Thematik eher rückständig ist, abgesehen von wenigen Ausnahmen wie z. B. Ladislaus Dowbor.

Parallel zur globalen Hegemonie des kapitalistischen Systems entstanden überall stille Revolutionen. Sie sind die Basisgruppen, Wissenschaftler und andere um die Ökologie besorgte Personen, die alternative Weisen zu den bisherigen lehren, unseren Planeten Erde zu bewohnen. Sollte die Erde weiterhin erbarmungslos gestresst werden, könnte sie sich verändern und ein Ungleichgewicht erreichen, welches in der Lage wäre, einen Großteil unserer Zivilisation zu zerstören.

In solch dramatischem Kontext entstand die Bewegung „The Coexistence“ aus Gruppen, die inzwischen mehr als 3.200 Menschen weltweit zählen (siehe www.lesconvivialistes.org). Es geht ihnen um das Zusammenleben (daher der Name Koexistenz), wobei man sich umeinander und um die Natur kümmert, ohne Konflikte zu leugnen, doch diese zu Faktoren von Dynamik und Kreativität zu machen. Es ist dies eine Win-Win-Politik.

Vier Prinzipien stützen dieses Projekt:

Das Prinzip gemeinsamer Menschlichkeit. Trotz all unserer Unterschiedlichkeit formen wir eine einzige Menschheit, die in Einheit gehalten werden muss.

Das Prinzip gemeinsamer Sozialität: das menschliche Wesen ist sozial und lebt in verschiedenen Gesellschaftssystemen, deren Unterschiede respektiert werden müssen.

Das Prinzip der Individualität: Auch als soziales Wesen hat jeder Mensch das Recht, seine Individualität und seine Einzigartigkeit zu bekräftigen, ohne dadurch den/die anderen zu schaden.

Das Prinzip der verordneten und kreativen Opposition: wer anders ist, kann auf legitime Weise opponieren, muss jedoch stets darauf achten, aus dem Unterschied keine Ungleichheit zu machen.

Diese Prinzipien implizieren ethische, politische, ökonomische und ökologische Konsequenzen, die wir hier nicht detailliert aufführen.

Wichtig ist, anzufangen: von unten zu starten mit Bio-Regionalismus, mit kleinen Einheiten ökologischer Produktion, mit der Generierung von Energie durch Abfall, mit einem Sinn für Selbstbeschränkung und für das rechte Maß, in bescheidenem Maß zu konsumieren und miteinander zu teilen.

Heutzutage ist es besonders wichtig, Geselligkeit zu betonen, denn zurzeit gibt es viele, die kein Zusammenleben mehr anstreben.

Geselligkeit als Konzept wurde von Ivan Illich (1962-2002) in seinem Buch „Werkzeuge zur Geselligkeit“ (Tools for Conviviality, 1973, La convivialidad, 1975) in Umlauf gebracht. Illich war einer der großen Vordenker des 20. Jahrhunderts. Als Österreicher lebte er die meiste Zeit seines Lebens in Süd- und Nordamerika. Für ihn bestand Geselligkeit aus der Fähigkeit, die Dimensionen der Produktion und der Achtsamkeit, der Effizienz und des Mitgefühls, der Massenproduktion und der Kreativität, der Freiheit und der Fantasie, des multidimensionalen Gleichgewichts und der sozialen Komplexität koexistieren zu lassen: Sie alle sollen den Sinn für die universelle Zugehörigkeit bestärken.

Geselligkeit beansprucht für sich auch, eine angemessene Antwort auf die ökologische Krise darzustellen. Geselligkeit kann einen wirklichen Zusammenbruch des Planeten verhindern.

Es wird einen neuen natürlichen Bund mit der Erde und einen sozialen Bund unter den Völkern geben. Der erste Paragraph des neuen Bundes wird das geheiligte Prinzip der Selbstbeschränkung und des rechten Maßes sein; danach geht es um die essentielle Achtsamkeit aller die existieren und leben, um Freundlichkeit zu den Menschen und um Respekt für Mutter Erde.

Es ist möglich, eine gute Gesellschaft zu organisieren, eine Erde der guten Hoffnung (Sachs und Dowbor), wo Menschen Kooperation und Teilen dem Wettbewerb und grenzenlosem Anhäufen von Eigentum vorziehen.

Leonardo Boff ist Theologoe und Schriftsteller

 

A agroecologia como antídoto à produção transgênica

15/08/2016

O atual sistema politico e econônico parece obedecer à lógica das bactérias dentro de uma “placa de Petri”. Esta é um recipiente achatado de vidro com nutrientes para bactérias. Alguma espécies, quando pressentem que os nutrientes estão prestes a acabar, se multiplicam espantosamente para, em seguida, todas morrerem.

Algo parecido, a meu ver, está ocorrendo com o sistema do capital. Ele está se dando conta de que, devido aos limites intransponíveis dos recursos naturais e da ultrapassagem da pegada ecológica da Terra, pois precisamos já agora de um pouco mais de um planeta e meio (1,6) para atender as demandas humanas, ele  não terá mais condições de, no futuro, se autoreproduzir. E não há outra alternativa, como advertiu o Papa em sua encíclica Laudato Si senão ter que mudar de modo de produção e de consumo e ter que cuidar da Casa Comum, a Terra.

Qual a reação dos capitais produtivos e especulativos? À semelhança das bacterias da “placa de Petri” multiplicam exponencialmente as formas de lucro, acumulando cada vez mais e se concentrando de forma espantosa. Segundo dados publicados pelo economista L.Dowbor em seu site ((dowbor.org de 15/12/2015: A rede do poder corporativo mundial)), “apenas 737 principais atores (top-holders) detém 80% do controle sobre o valor de todas as empresas transnacionais.”

O poder econômico, politico e ideológico que se esconde atrás destes dados é espantoso. Adorador do ídolo-dinheiro, este sistema se torna, no dizer do Papa no avião de regresso da Polônia, como  “o verdadeiro terrorismo contra a humanidade”.

Será que o sistema, inconscientemente, não está pressintindo como as referidas bactérias, de que pode desaparecer, caso não mudar? E ousa mudar?

Não pensem os leitores/as que esta situação isenta a sétima economia do mundo, o Brasil. Pertence à “estupidez da inteligência brasileira” no dizer de Jessé Souza não inserir esse dado geopolítico nos debates sobre o impeachment e sobre a economia nacional, como por exemplo vem sendo feita há anos no programa Painel da Globonews. Aí domina soberanamente o neoliberalismo. A ecologia e os movimentos sociais não existem para esse programa.

O real problema é esse: com o PT, Lula e Dilma, o sistema mundial não consegue enquadrar o Brasil na lógica predadora do capital globalizado. O povo e os pobres, diz-se, ganham demais em prejuizo do mercado e das grandes corporações nacionais articuladas com as transnacionais. Por isso há que se dar um golpe, sob qualquer forma, na democracia para assim liberar o caminho para a acumulação dos endinheirados. As políticas do vice-presidente Temer visam um desmonte completo das políticas sociais do governo Lula-Dilma. O Ministério de Desenvolvimento Agrário foi extinto. A Secretaria da Economia Solidária virou um departamento, chefiado por um policial.

Mas onde há poder, surge também um contra-poder. Por todos os lados no mundo estão se reforçando as resistências ao capitalismo insustentável que não consegue mais dar certo sequer nos países centrais.

É neste contexto, como antidoto, que entra  a agroecologia, a produção orgânica e o surgimento de cooperativas agrícolas sem pesticidas e transgênicos.

Entre os dias 27 e 30 de julho de 2016 ocorreu em Lapa-Paraná a 15º Jornada de Agroecologia, reunindo mais de três mil participantes de diferentes regiões do Brasil  e de outros sete países. A tema central era a preservação das sementes crioulas, criando bancos e casas de sementes contra o assalto das grandes corporações, como a Monsanto e a Syngenta entre outras. Estas procuram tornar estéreis as nativas para obrigar os camponeses a comprar suas sementes geneticamente modificadas que não podem mais ser replantadas.

Sabemos que as sementes constituem um bem comum da humanidaade e não podem ser apropriadas por grupos privados. O acesso às sementes estabelece um direito humano básico, ferido pelas poucas transnacionais que controlam praticamente todas as sementes. Para que a vida continue a reproduzir-se é fundamental defender a riqueza ecológica, patrimonial e cultural das sementes. Curiosamente,  Cuba ocupa, na agroecologia, o primeiro lugar no mundo e na criação de cooperativas em todos as esferas. É a forma pela qual o socialismo evita ser absorvido pelo capitalismo.

Era comovente assistir na “mística”final da Jornada, a troca de sementes e de mudas de plantas entre todos os presentes. Havia muitas crianças, jovens, indígenas, homens e mulheres que lutam pela vida sã para todos, contra um sistema anti-vida. Eles carregam a esperança de que o mundo pode ser sadio e melhor.

*Leonardo Boff é articulista do JB on line e escreveu Sustentabilidade: o que é e o que não é, Vozes 2012.

 

Los juegos olímpicos: metáfora de la humanidad humanizada

15/08/2016

Desde el día 5 de este mes de agosto Río de Janeiro es la sede de los Juegos Olímpicos de 2016. Se ha creado una inmensa infraestructura de arenas, estadios, nuevas avenidas y túneles que dejarán un legado inolvidable a la población carioca.
La apertura y la clausura son ocasión de grandes celebraciones, en las cuales el país que hospeda intenta mostrar lo mejor de su arte y singularidad. La apertura esta vez fue de un esplendor inigualable, a semejanza de los grandes desfiles de las escuelas de samba. Los efectos de luces y de imágenes proyectadas en pantallas enormes creaban una atmósfera de mágica y casi surrealista, provocando en muchos lágrimas de emoción.

El momento principal fue el desfile de las delegaciones de 206 países, un número mayor que el de los países representados en la ONU, que son 193. Cada delegación desfilaba con trajes típicos de sus pueblos, destacándose por sus colores vistosos y elegantes, los trajes africanos y asiáticos.

Sabemos que en todas las relaciones sociales e internacionales subyacen intereses y maniobras de poder. Pero aquí, en los Juegos Olímpicos, si existieron, fueron prácticamente invisibles. Predominaba el espíritu deportivo y olímpico por encima de las diferencias nacionales, ideológicas y religiosas. Aquí todos estaban representados, hasta un grupo, muy aplaudido, de refugiados que hoy inundan especialmente Europa. Tal vez este evento sea uno de los pocos espacios en los cuales la humanidad se encuentra consigo misma, como una única familia, anticipando una humanización siempre buscada pero nunca definitivamente mantenida porque todavía no hemos avanzado en la conciencia de que somos una especie, la humana, y tenemos un único destino común junto con nuestra Casa Común, la Tierra.

Este tal vez sea el mensaje simbólico más importante que un evento como este envía a todos los pueblos. Más allá de los conflictos, diferencias y problemas de todo tipo, podemos vivir anticipadamente y, por un momento, la humanidad que finalmente se humanizó y encontró su ritmo en consonancia con el ritmo del propio universo. Este es uno y complejo, hecho de redes incontables de relaciones de todos con todos, constituyendo un cosmos en cosmogénesis, gestándose continuamente a medida que se expande y se complejiza. A este ritmo no escapa tampoco la humanidad.

Los Juegos Olímpicos nos invitan a reflexionar sobre la importancia antropológica y social del juego. No pienso aquí en el juego que se volvió profesión y gran comercio internacional como el futbol, el baloncesto y otros que son más bien deportes que juegos. El juego, como dimensión humana, se revela mejor en los medios populares, en la calle o en la playa o en algún espacio con hierba o con arena. Este tipo de juego no tiene ninguna finalidad práctica, pero lleva en sí mismo un profundo sentido como expresión de alegría de divertirse juntos.

En los Juegos Olímpicos impera otra lógica, diferente de la cotidiana de nuestra cultura capitalista, cuye eje articulador es la competición excluyente: el más fuerte triunfa y, en el mercado, si puede, se come a su concurrente. Aquí hay competición, pero es incluyente, pues participan todos. La competición es para el mejor, apreciando y respetando las cualidades y el virtuosismo del otro.

La tradición cristiana desarrolló toda una reflexión sobre el significado transcendente del juego. Quiero concentrarme un poco sobre ella. Las dos Iglesias hermanas, la latina y la griega, se refieren al Deus ludens, al homo ludens e incluso a la eccclesia ludens (Dios, el hombre y la Iglesia lúdicos).

Veían la creación como un gran juego de Dios lúdico: hacia un lado lanzó las estrellas, hacia otro el sol, más abajo puso los planetas y con cariño colocó la Tierra, equidistante del Sol, para que pudiese tener vida. La creación expresa la alegría desbordante de Dios, una especie de teatro en el cual desfilan todos los seres y muestran su belleza y grandeur. Se hablaba entonces de la creación como un theatrum gloriae Dei (un teatro de la gloria de Dios).

En un bello poema dice el gran teólogo de la Iglesia ortodoxa Gregorio Nacianceno (+390): «El Logos sublime juega. Engalana con las más variadas imágenes y por puro gusto y por todos los modos, el cosmos entero». En efecto, el juguete es obra de la fantasía creadora, como lo muestran los niños: expresión de una libertad sin coacción, creando un mundo sin finalidad práctica, libre del lucro y de beneficios individuales.

«Porque Dios es vere ludens (verdaderamente lúdico) cada uno debe ser también vere ludens, aconsejaba, ya mayor, uno de los más finos teólogos del siglo XX, Hugo Rahner, hermano de otro eminente teólogo, que fue profesor mío en Alemania, Karl Rahner.

Estas consideraciones sirven para demostrar cómo puede ser sin nubarrones y sin angustia nuestra existencia aquí en la Tierra, al menos por un momento, especialmente cuando se vislumbra en la belleza de las diferentes modalidades de juegos la misteriosa presencia de un Dios lúdico. Entonces no hay que temer. Lo que nos bloquea la libertad y la creatividad es el miedo.
Lo opuesto a la fe no es tanto el ateísmo sino el miedo, especialmente el miedo a la soledad. Tener fe más que adherirse a un conjunto de verdades es poder decir, siguiendo a Nietzsche, “sí y amén a toda la realidad”. En lo profundo, ella no es traicionera sino buena y bonita, alegre acogedora. Alegrarse por formar parte de ella lo expresamos en el juego y, de forma universal, en los Juegos Olímpicos. Tal vez este sea su sentido secreto.

Leonardo Boff es articulista del JB online y ha escrito Virtudes para otro mundo posible: convivencia, respeto y tolerancia, Sal Terrae 2006.

Traducción de MJ Gavito Milano

Every so often the plutocracy attempts a coup

13/08/2016

The Brazilian plutocracy (the 71,440 multimillionaires, according to IPEA) has little imagination. It uses the same methods, the same language, the same pharisaic recourse to moralism and combating corruption to hide their own corruption and to mount a coup against democracy, in order to protect their privileges. Whenever a democracy emerges that is open to social issues, plutocrats are filled with fright. They organize a collection of forces that includes sectors of politics, of judicial power, the MPF, the Federal Police, and principally, of the conservative and reactionary press, as is the case of the O Globo conglomerate. They did the same thing with Getulio Vargas, Joao (Jango) Goulart; and now with Lula da Silva and with Dilma Rousseff.

In an interview with la Folha de São Paulo (04/24/2016), Jesse Souza, author of The Stupidity of Brazilian Intelligence, (La estupidez de la inteligencia brasilera, Leya, 2015), a book that deserves to be read, with a critical mind, correctly wrote: «Our moneyed elite has never been committed to the destiny of the country. Brazil is the stage of a dispute between these two projects: the dream of a big and powerful country for the majority, and the reality of a rapacious elite wanting to siphon off everyone’s labor and plunder the wealth of the country to fill the pockets of the half dozen. The moneyed elite rules for the simple fact that it is able to “buy” all the other elites» (Who made the coup and against whom).

In the current process of impeachment, the removal of President Dilma Rousseff, they had a powerful ally: the State’s judicial-police complex, that replaced the bayonets. The vice-president usurped the title of president and mounted a pantomime ministry with several corrupt ministers, and weakened the ministries of culture, communications, and the secretary of human rights of the Blacks and of women, criminally cutting the budgets of health, education, attacking the rights of the workers, the minimum wage, labor legislation, retirement and other social benefits, that were created during the two previous regimes.

Behind the parliamentary coup are the forces mentioned by Jesse Souza. Pope Francis said it well to Leticia Sabatella two months ago, when Sabatella and another famous jurist had an audience with the Pope in Rome, and she shared the threat to Brazilian democracy with the Pope. Pope Francis commented: «that coup comes from the capitalists».

The fact is that we all are tired of so much corruption, justly denounced, and of the delays in the process of impeachment.

No one knows where are we going. Something seems clear: that the social design, mounted since colonialism and slavery with the wealthy casts that were affirmed in power, be it in society or in the structure of the State, is coming to an end.

In times of darkness, such as the present, we need a minimum theoretical framework that brings us light and some hope. The late Arnold Toynbee gives me guidance. He was the British historian who wrote ten volumes about the history of civilizations. To explain the birth, development, maturity and decline of a civilization Toynbee uses an extremely simple but illuminating test: «challenge and response».

Toynbee says: there are always fundamental crises within civilizations. They are challenges that demand a response. If the challenge is greater than the capacity of the response, the civilization enters a process of collapse. If the response to the challenge is excessive, arrogance and the abuse of power emerge. The ideal is to find the equation for an equilibrium between the challenge and response, so that the civilization maintains its cohesion, positively faces new challenges, and prospers.

Returning to the case of Brazil: The moneyed and the powerful cannot respond to the challenge coming from the bases, that in recent years have grown enormously in consciousness and in demanding their rights. No matter how hard the moneyed and powerful manipulate the data, they know that it will be difficult for them to return to the centers of power by means of elections. Hence the reason for the coup. Demoralized, they have nothing to offer to the new Brazil that has escaped from their control.

The legacy of the present crisis will probably be the emergence of a different kind of Brazil, of democracy, of the State, of other forms of popular participation.

The pains of the present are not those of a moribund at the gates of death, but the birth pangs of another type of Brazil, more democratic, more participatory and more sensitive to overcoming the worst wound that fills us with shame: the abysmal social inequality. Finally there will be a more humane Brazil, were we can simply be happy.

Leonardo Boff  Leonardo Boff Theologian-Philosopher  Member of the Earthcharter Commission

Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, alfaro_melina@yahoo.com.ar.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.

Os Jogos Olímpicos : metáfora da humanidade humanizada

11/08/2016

O Rio de Janeiro a partir do dia 5 de agosto está sediando os Jogos Olímpicos de 2016. Criou-se uma imensa infraestrutura de arenas, estádios, novas avenidas e túneis que deixarão um legado inesquecível para a população carioca.

A abertura e o encerramento constituem ocasiões de grandes celebrações, nas quais o país-hóspedante tenta mostrar o melhor de sua arte e singularidade. A abertura desta vez foi de um esplendor iniqualável, à semelhança dos grandes desfiles das escolas de samba. Os efeitos de luzes e de imagens projetadas em telões imensos conferiram uma atmosfera feérica e quase surreal, provocando, em muitos, lágrimas de emoção.

O ponto alto foi o desfile das delegações de 206 países, número maior que os países representados na ONU que são 193. Cada delegação desfilava com os trajes típicos de seus povos, estacando-se pelas cores vistosas e elegantes, os trajes africanos e asiáticos.

Sabemos que em todas as relações sociais e internacionais subjazem interesses e manobras de poder. Mas aqui, nos Jogos Olímpicos, se existiram, ficaram praticamente irrelevantas. Predominava o espírito esportivo e olímpico acima de diferenças nacionais, ideológicas e religiosas. Aqui todos estavam representados, até um grupo, muito aplaudido, de refugiados que hoje inundam especialmente a Europa. Talvez este evento seja um dos poucos espaços nos quais a humanidade se encontra consigo mesma, como única família, antecipando uma humanização sempre buscada mas nunca sustentada definitivamente porque não avançamos ainda em consciência de que somos uma espécie, a humana, e que temos um único destino comum junto com a Casa Comum, a Terra.

Esta seja talvez a mensagem simbólica mais importante que um evento como este envia para todos os povos. Para além dos conflitos, diferenças e problemas de toda ordem, podemos viver antecipadamente e, por um momento, a humanidade que finalmente se humanizou e encontrou seu ritmo em consonância com o ritmo da próprio universo. Este é uno e complexo, feito de redes incontáveis de relações de todos com todos, constituindo um cosmos em cosmogênese, se gestando continuamente na medida em que se expande e se complexifica. A esse ritmo não escapa também a humanidade.

Os Jogos Olímpicos nos dão o ensejo de refletirmos sobre a importância antropológica e social do jogo. Não penso aqui no jogo que virou profissão e grande comércio internacional como o futebol, o basquetebol e outros. São antes esportes que jogos. O jogo, como dimensão humana, se revela melhor nos meios populares, nas peladas de rua ou na praia ou em algum espaço gramado ou arenoso. Este tipo de jogo não possui finalidade prática nenhuma. Em si mesmo carrega um profundo sentido como expressão de alegria de divertir-se em companhia dos outros.

Nos Jogos Olímpicos impera outra lógica, diferente daquela cotidiana de nossa cultura capitalista, cujo eixo articulador é a competição excludente: o mais forte triunfa e, no mercado, se puder, engole o seu concorrente. Aqui há competição. Mas ela é includente, pois todos participam. A competição é para o melhor, apreciando e respeitando as qualidades e virtuosidades do outro.

A tradição cristã desenvolveu toda uma reflexão sobre o significado transcendente do jogo. Sobre ela quero me concentrar um pouco. As duas Igrejas-irmãs, a latina e a grega, se referem ao Deus ludens, ao homo ludens e até da eccclesia ludens (o Deus, o homem e a Igreja lúdicos).

Eles viam a criação como um grande jogo do Deus lúdico: para um lado jogou as estrelas, por outro o sol, mais abaixo jogou os planetas e com carinho jogou a Terra, equidistante do Sol, para que pudesse ter vida. A criação expressa a alegria transbordante de Deus, uma espécie de teatro no qual todos os seres desfilam e mostram sua beleza e grandeur. Falava-se então da criação como um theatrum gloriae Dei (um teatro da glória de Deus).

Num belo poema diz o grande teólogo da Igreja ortodoxa Gregório Nazienzeno (+390): ”O Logos sublime brinca. Enfeita com as mais variegadas imagens e por puro gosto e por todos os modos, o cosmos inteiro”. Com efeito, o brinquedo é obra da fantasia criadora, com o mostram as crianças: expressão de uma liberdade sem coação, criando um mundo sem finalidade prática, livre do lucro e de vantagens individuais.

“Porque Deus é vere ludens (verdadeiramente lúdico) cada um deve ser também vere ludens, admoestava, já velhinho, um dos mais finos teólogos do século XX, Hugo Rahner, irmão de outro eminente teólogo, que foi meu professor na Alemanha, Karl Rahner.

Estas considerações vem mostrar como pode ser desanuviada e sem angústias a nossa existência aqui na Terra, pelo menos por um momento, especialmente quando entrevemos na beleza das várias modalidades de jogos a presença misteriosa de um Deus lúdico. Então não precisamos temer. O que nos tolhe a liberdade e a criatividade é o medo.

O oposto à fé não é tanto o ateísmo mas o medo, especialmente o medo da solidão. Ter fé mais que aderir a um feixe de verdades, é poder dizer, na esteira de Nietzsche, “sim e amém à toda a realidade”. No seu profundo, ela não é traiçoeira e má, mas boa e bela, alegre acolhedora. Alegrar-se por participar dela o expressamos pelo jogo e, de forma universal, pelos Jogos Olímpicos. Talvez este seja seu sentido secreto.

Leonardo Boff é articulista do JB o line e escreveu Virtudes de outro mundo possível: convivência,respeito e tolerância,Vozes 2006.

 

Seguir

Obtenha todo post novo entregue na sua caixa de entrada.

Junte-se a 1.040.170 outros seguidores

%d blogueiros gostam disto: