Above photo: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador leaves a Spanish-language church in New York City when he was campaigning for the presidency on March 13, 2017. Andres Kudacki/AP.
I want to be an optimist, to the point that I am willing to err in that direction. I want to suppose that the pandemic achieved some balance in the world, to shake off the viruses that afflict it, that humanity has learned to distinguish between the garbage that overwhelms us and the true things that life offers, between planet-killing egotism and fortunate solidarity. It isn’t possible to be a pessimist; that would be to accept the inevitability of deterioration and the abolition of humanity on Earth. I believe that now a new possible world ought to be born, not just a new normality.
But I am sure that this optimism requires a lot of thought to design the way toward the possible new world. It is time for philosophy and a collective intellectual effort to manage this new culture, one that will assess the values and the affirmative virtues of a new and better reality, and which would be able to spread them. A philosophy capable of enriching technological efforts by placing them in the service of a just and happy society.
It is necessary to rethink our culture – in the very first place that part that refers to the relationship of the individual with others and with nature – to redesign the forms of societal organization, from the family to humanity, passing through and including community and nation. It is necessary, then, to conceive new forms of democracy and liberty, for we know that these are not unique but differentiated by each cultural characteristic, including religions.
Now I arrive at the position of evaluating things that I did not fully understand (and still do not), products of the thought of wise folk of skin and bone, within our reach such as Ivan Illich, whose Centro Intercultural de Documentación ( Intercultural Documentation Center) in Cuernavaca, Morelos, developed a vigorous critical movement, widely recorded in books and documents that today, in the light of the collapse of the culture misnamed “western,” gains enormous relevance, a relevance previously confined to the reach of the educated elite, far from society and those who direct it. I will be so bold as to recommend the reading of the Anthology of Ivan Illich, A Radical Humanist, compiled by Braulio Hornedo Rocha and published by Ediciones La Llave. It is a document for the present time. Enrique Dussel is another giant to follow; he is very relevant.
Well, among all this I hope only that the studious among us debate and involve those of us who only feel without knowing. I move on from the essential now, and I will confine myself to pointing out some aspects of the incidental, such as for example, consumption.
In the possible new world, consumption will have to regain its function of satisfying real needs, which is very different from the idea of consumption as the impulse driving development and accumulation of capital. This confusion has resulted in cultural alienation and the destruction of the natural world and of human health. It is enough to cite the example of the spread of obesity and of diabetes, more lethal than all the coronaviruses together. Our effort will have to be to apply ourselves to determining the correct qualitative and quantitative relationship between supply and demand for food. The countryside should be reclaimed and repopulated.
The creation of knowledge, besides multiplying itself, will have to identify and link real necessities with their appropriate satisfaction, invent solutions that respond to the goal of the well-being of the people, with their participation. I indicate here that the new Consejo de Ciencia y Tecnología (Council of Science and Technology) is taking important steps along this route, with an emphasis on our relations with nature as the nourishing mother of this well-being.
A new concept of industry is required, so that it will be able to offer fulfillment of socially valid necessities, with the elimination of imitative consumerism, and so that it will use human and natural resources in a rational way. So that ingenuity and creative impulse find usefulness in business that pays attention to this new concept and contributes to its creation.
Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador defines himself as a humanist and conceives of politics as an instrument for achieving the power to serve humanity and procure its happiness; this is the sought-for and incomplete Fourth Transformation. There is a long road to cover and many solutions to find so as not to fall into the error of imitating or adopting solutions that are alien to us; we may refresh ourselves with ideas previously discarded because they contradict the only predominant thought pattern.