The daily battle is for safety, comfort and stability. In the midst of this idyllic aspiration for control is real life and the suffering that comes with it. And it is surprising that even after Freud and Vinicius de Moraes we still have to reiterate that there is an intrinsic human suffering and that happiness is episodic. It is about the suffering of knowing our finitude, the amorous disagreements, the false expectations, our disagreement with ourselves, our smallness in the face of the imponderable. Those who cannot admit it, captured by the promise of neoliberal fullness, have a greater chance of getting sick.
There is also the contingent suffering that stems from bad encounters, misfortunes, lightning strikes that sometimes insist on falling on the same person over and over again. We pray that they don’t happen or that we have the strength to overcome them. These are situations that will allow us to glimpse what we are made of.
But there is a suffering that we collectively impose on each other that reveals our immorality in social dealings and that concerns the systematic attack on the conditions of existence of the other. It is about suffering from being subjected to hunger, cold, homelessness, subjected to inhumane conditions, systematic disrespect, being humiliated by one’s social condition. José Mauro Gonçalves Filho coined the term “social humiliation” in a famous article from 1998, in which he defined this psychic condition of suffering as a political problem. It stems from the failure of civilization as we know it today.
In the Titanic of capitalism —which sinks due to the arrogance of those who insist on ignoring the iceberg— lifeboats are not foreseen for everyone from the point of departure. Citizens on the margins of society, whether in the center of our capital or on its periphery, reveal possible ways of facing so much pain.
Legal and illegal drugs whose function is to cushion and distract from the weight of existence are present in all social classes and are no less useful for those on the margins. There are ethyl happy hours, weekend drunks, recreational marijuana, antidepressants, anxiolytics and all other ways to cushion the stride. It would not be different for those who live in degrading conditions as we see in the heart of the city, currently kidnapped by the drug trafficking.
There is no one who does not ardently want to recover one of the most beautiful and culturally rich metropolitan areas in the world. But ignoring that the health problem you see there is the result of the indignity of how these people are treated is to return endlessly to square one. Compulsory hospitalization does not solve the problem of housing, care, work. You don’t detoxify a person from the humiliating experience of living and raising your children in the open air, of seeing them go hungry and not having anything to offer, of not having a job to be proud of. The person will leave hospitalization towards the same reality that put him there.
The institutes that work in the region, remnants of deactivated public projects, start from the only assumption that can change something there: they work with their fellow man, not with zombies. There are, among others, the Container Theater/Cia Mungunzá; Collective Has Feeling; Trampo, Ceiling and Treatment; It’s by law; Forum Mundaréu da Luz; Brico; Paulestinos; Instituto Luz do Faroeste.
The relationship they establish with the environment is horizontal because they know that our humanity is also at stake there. The heart of the city beats hard and with a lot of emotion. For anyone looking for it, I recommend getting to know and contributing to these true centers of resistance.
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