Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

„Happy New-Year“ – Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto. „Ethics and Politics.“

Why wish others a Happy New-Year when there is so much unhappiness around us?  Will the next year be happy for Afghans and Iraqis and for the American soldiers who obey the orders of a president who qualifies as ”just the wars of genocidal occupation? Will the African children reduced to skeletons with eyes perplexed from the torture of hunger be happy? Will we all be happy knowing of the failures in Copenhagen which save profits and compromise sustainability?                                                                                    
What is happiness? Aristotle pointed out: it is the higher good which we all desire. Thomas Aquinas, my co-friar alerted: even when we practise evil. From Hitler to Mother Teresa of Calcutta everyone seeks, in all they do, their own happiness.





The difference lies in the equation selfishness/altruism. Hitler thought of his hideous ambition for power. Mother Teresa thought of the happiness of those whom Frantz Fanon called ”the condemned of the Earth.Happiness, the most longed for good, does not figure in the offers of the market. It cannot be bought, it must be conquered. Advertising tries to convince us that it results from the sum of pleasures. For Roland Barthes, pleasure is ”the great adventure of desire.Stimulated by propaganda, our desire is buried in objects of consumption. To wear a certain brand, to possess a certain car, to live in a luxury condo “ publicity preaches – will make us happy.To wish a Happy New-Year is to hope that the other will be happy. Is it to desire that they will make others happy? Does the cattle rancher who does not pay for medical assistance for his workers but spends a fortune on veterinarians for his herd also hope his neighbour will have a Happy New-Year?Contrary to consumerism, Jung agreed with St. John of the Cross: desire seeks happiness, the ”life in abundance about which Jesus spoke, but it is not to be found in the perishable goods offered by the market. As Professor Milton Santos used to say, it is to be found in eternal goods.The art of true happiness consists in channeling desire within ourselves and, starting from subjectivity impregnated with values, to give meaning to existence. In this way one can be happy even when there is suffering. It is a spiritual adventure, being capable of removing the various layers which cover our ego.

However, when plumbing the dark passages of the interior life, guided by faith and/or meditation, we trip particularly on emotions which betray our reason: we are offensive with those we love, rude with those who treat us kindly, selfish with those who are generous with us, overbearing with those who welcome us with thoughtful gratuitousness.

If we manage to go deeper, beyond egotistical reasoning and possessive feelings, we get closer to the source of happiness which is hidden behind the ego. As we travel the deep pathways which guide us towards it, moments of joy are consubstantial with the spiritual state, as in love.

Happy New-Year is, therefore, a wish for spiritual emulation. Of course, many other achievements can give us pleasure and joyful sensations of victory. But they are not enough to make us happy. It would be better to have a world without poverty, inequality, environmental degradation or corrupt politicians!

The unhappy reality which surrounds us and for which we are responsible either by option or omission, becomes a loud appeal for us to get involved in the search for ”another possible world. However, it still will not be a Happy New-Year.

The year will be new if, within us and amongst us, we were to overcome the old. The old is all that which no longer contributes towards making happiness a right for all. In light of a new civilization framework one must overcome the productivity-consumerist model and introduce, in place of the Gross National Product (GNP), the Happiness National Product (HNP), based on an economy of solidarity.

If the new becomes advent in our spiritual life, then we will certainly have, without miracles or magic, a Happy New-Year, even though the world remains in conflict, cruelty is transformed into sweet principles and hatred disguised in loving discourse.

The difference is that we will be aware that, in order to have a Happy New-Year, it is necessary to embrace a resurrection process: become pregnant with ourselves, turn ourselves inside out and leave pessimism for later.

*Frei Betto is a writer and advisor to social movements, author of ”Um homem chamado Jesus (A Man called Jesus “ a novel) (Rocco).

Copyright 2010 by Frei Betto – Without prior authorization, the reproduction of this article is forbidden by either electronic or printed means. Contact: MHP “ Literary Agents (E-mail: mhpal@terra.com.br)

He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian.

Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name. In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union.

Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST).

In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.



Dieser Beitrag wurde am Samstag, 02. Januar 2010 um 12:25 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

«  –  »

Keine Kommentare

Noch keine Kommentare

Die Kommentarfunktion ist zur Zeit leider deaktiviert.

    NEU: Fotoserie Gesichter Brasiliens

    Fotostrecken Wasserfälle Iguacu und Karneval 2008

    23' K23

interessante Links







© Klaus Hart – Powered by WordPress – Design: Vlad (aka Perun)