Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

„Producing Meaningfulness“. Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto.


Frei Betto*

Many parents complain about their children’s lack of interest in altruistic, solidary or sustainable causes. They seem to think that a considerable number of young people simply seek wealth, beauty and power and no longer look to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara and Nelson Mandela who have been involved in social causes with ideals for a better world, as examples.


What does the new generation lack? There are no institutions which produce meaning. Life must have meaning. My generation, who were in their 20s in the 1960s, had churches, social movements and political organisations which produced meaning.

The Catholic Church, renewed by Vatican II, produced activists full of faith and idealism through Catholic Action and the Youth Ministry. We wanted to be new men and women and to create a new society based on personal ethics and social justice.


Frei-Betto-Texte:  http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2008/02/13/amazonia-an-ecocide-foreseen/



Frei Betto beim Website-Interview im Dominikanerkloster von Sao Paulo.


The social movements, such as literacy training with the Paulo Freire method, would take us out of our comfort zone and impel us to seek out the poorest persons in the population thus educating our sensibility towards the pain in others caused by unjust structures.

The political organisations which were almost all clandestine under the dictatorship, inspired a critical conscience in us, a certain heroic spirit which made us fearless before the risks of struggling against the military regime and the interference of North American imperialism in Latin America.

What institutions produce meaning nowadays? Where can a world vision which disagrees with neo liberal world vision centred on the market’s monotheism be acquired? Why is art seen as mere merchandise, be it in its production or its consumerism and not as a creation capable of bringing ethical values, critical perspective and an aesthetic appetite to our subjectivity?

New communication technologies provoke the explosion of social networks which, in fact, are virtual. They shred apart the real social networks such as trade unions, associations and political groups which previously brought people together physically, inspiring collaboration and congregating them in various forms of activism.

At present exchange of information and opinion exceeds the interchange in training and in proposals for mobilisation. Mega reports are in crisis and there is little interest in sources of critical thought such as Marxism and Liberation Theology.

However, as was said in the past, never have objective conditions been so favourable for bringing about structural change. Capitalism is in crisis, social inequality in the world is alarming, Arab peoples are rebelling, Europe is faced with 25 million unemployed while in Latin America the number of progressive governments grows, emancipating from the claws of Uncle Sam and sufficiently independent to the point of electing Cuba to preside the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean states). 

At the moment there is discrepancy between what we see and what we want. There are a multitude of young people who simply want a place in the sun, without, however, noticing that heavy shadows are blocking the horizon.

When changing the world is not an option, the dream is privatised by changing the hair style, the clothing, the appearance. When one does not risk writing graffiti on walls, one’s scale of values is tattooed on the body. When utopia is not injected into the veins, one runs the risk of injecting drugs.

e were not created to be sheep in a huge flock kept in the market’s pen. We were created to be protagonists, inventors, creators and revolutionaries.

When will Hercules break Prometheus’ chains and prevent consumerism from continually eating his liver? “Prometheus caused blind hopes to live in the hearts of men” wrote Aeschylus. Where to imbibe clear hopes if the wells of meaning appear to have dried up?

They appear to, but they do not disappear. The wells are there, easily seen: spirituality, social movements, the struggle for environmental preservation, the defence of human rights and the search for other possible worlds.

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of “Minas do Ouro” (Gold Mines) (Rocco).

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Sonntag, 28. April 2013 um 23:47 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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