What characterises the political debate at global level is dualism. What we are witnessing, in fact, is a continuous divisive clash in which the essential function of politics, that of finding solutions to the real and concrete problems of citizens, has been lost. Modernity seems to be increasingly dominated by polarizations in which one particular worldview must prevail over the other.
The dynamic of “us against the others” is a refrain. We are right, our ideas are right, the others are ugly and bad. If you pay attention, it seems that everything is a continuous struggle between good and evil and each one of us thinks, without any doubt, that we are embodying good, of course, those who do not think like us are evil.
The demonization of the position of the political/dialogical adversary no longer sees in it a human being with whom to dialogue in order to find solutions but an enemy to be defeated, with the risk of defeat and victory of evil. But what we are asking ourselves here is, is not division the evil itself? Is not evil itself a dualist vision of the world?
It is no coincidence that the word devil comes from the Greek diabàllo, i.e. to divide, or to put a barrier. Without bringing into question René Girard’s analysis of the satanic mimetic circle in community dynamics, here what we want to highlight is how today’s politics, affected by a voracious economicism and, therefore, by a consensus to be sought at all costs, increasingly embodies tribal dynamics in which the “foreigner”, the one who does not share the community’s or the party’s worldview, is discarded, mocked, branded as ignorant, violent, dangerous. In this way the community itself makes itself a stranger to itself, not welcoming the other with all its good and evil, paradoxically denying the good it demonstrates to carry. Ideas are preferred over compassion, justice over mercy.
Unfortunately, these seem to be the effects of the extension of the epistemological paradigm of utilitarianism and profit, the workhorse of the financialisation of society, to the political phenomenon. What is not useful in the immediate future, what does not bring profit does not interest us. Short-term visions and slogans that arise emotions of enthusiasm or anger are the projection of this vision of the political phenomenon.
How then can we get out of this impasse? Can politics recover its role of concreteness and closeness to the real daily problems of people or is it destined to remain in the dualism of right, left and cascade bogged down in all the other dualisms rich, poor, immigrants, citizens, white, black, heterosexual, lgbtq, west, east, after all of us against the notorious “others”?
What seems certain is the deep need, that cannot be delayed, to develop a non-dual vision of reality, to be extended to politics as well. To do this it is necessary to have a vision that does not place ideas at the centre but the needs of the neighbour, a closeness to reality, a closeness to human suffering, in one word: compassion.
As Pope Francis says, reality is greater than any idea. The challenges seem enormous, from climate change to war, from pandemic to mass migration. To say it with Camus, the challenges we are facing are absurd! Perhaps, just as the French philosopher said, it is precisely by accepting the absurdity of the world as a mediator of our vision that we can get in touch again with our deepest part, with our wounds and with the wounds of the world. If we deny the absurdity of everything that is happening, the risk is to fall, both as individuals and as a community, into a strenuous defence of our own identity, to hold back what little we have left, for fear of being definitively violated by phenomena greater than ourselves or by unprecised “others”, and so, with this obsession of identity, we fall back into the dualism I-versus-you and we-versus-others.
In the acceptance of the absurd, of suffering, pain, death, violence, which we see more and more spreading in the world, who knows, we could gain access to a generative vision that is not dual, unified, integrated which includes also what we don’t consider generative. In order for a vision to be generative it is necessary for it to pass through awareness and acceptance of our wounds, our pain, our being miserable, there is no generativity without mercy and there is no mercy without generativity. In accepting the absurdity that overwhelms us we can perhaps look again at reality not through the lens of our ideas, more or less right, but looking for a profound response within ourselves.
In respondere (answering), from which the word responsibility derives, to the questions of the present we can perhaps look at ourselves and the other with new eyes, with merciful eyes and not fall into the deception of the continuous defence of our identity but rather give in to the acceptance of the other, who, as the experience of prayer and relational ontology teaches us, is already present within ourselves (to quote St Paul we could say: it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me).
The “other”, be it reality including the human being or the earth and universe, is not an enemy to defend or conquer but someone to welcome; politics that does not have access to a merciful and therefore generative vision of reality risks being asphyxiated under the weight of ideas that are increasingly distant from the wounds of the world, is a politics in which each side does not accept that it can lose, symbolically, it doesn’t accept to die.
As St Thomas Aquinas said: non ratio est mensura rerum sed potius e converso. It is not the reason that measures things but it’s the things (the facts) that put at challenge our reasonings. In the individual and then collective awareness of one’s own unconscious complexes one can pass, in the welcoming of the ego, to a generative and ecological “I” and therefore from a collective ego to a collective generative and ecological “I”, from an I am to a we are. What we profoundly need is a mystical relational gaze that is open to the transcendent, a gaze that welcomes, and not a moralistic gaze, we need to open ourselves, discovering ourselves fratres omnes (all brothers and sisters), to true love, compassion and hope also on a political level.