Let's switch chips

During the Middle Ages, humanity lived obsessed with the magical-religious thought that, in some interpretations, denied freedom and responsibility of the people subdued to the dictatorship of castes and of feudal privileges. Renaissance and the Illustration rescued human beings in the name of Reason; but their dreams produced monsters that were crystallized in inhumane life concepts, which were totalitarian. Sole thought expresses the Calvinist logic that confuses progress with development.
While progress holds the human as the protagonist, development is mechanic and its objectives are benefits. “The more, the better.” Progress remains always at the level of the person who walks, takes steps, pro-gressus. “The better, the more.” Without conscience of liberty and of social dimension, there is no progress.
Economic growth, material development, richness, industrialization and technological innovations make sense if they remain outside the community.
It’s not understandable how profit can lead any activity if it’s not the benefit of society; not only of a few privileged.
Calvinist fundamentalism that gave origin to capitalism made human beings productive objects whose activity was the obtaining of benefits. The monstrosity “we live to work” was assumed. Since our eternal salvation depended upon Providence, it was necessary that it found us working, saving money, producing without leaving gaps for rest, leisure or art, for which they set a price. In the “Ordonnances sur le régime du peuple de Génève”, Calvin states that the signals of predestination are: industriousness, work and worldly ascetics, which will be the means for salvation. It was a crime to laugh. Rousseau’s father was condemned for teaching dance. They condemned leisure and idolized business
Economic profit, condemned by St. Thomas of Aquinas and Aristotle, became the key of a structured life destined to reach its perfection. Religiously, the need for capital and banks, the goodness of loans and credit are sanctioned, like any benefit that exceeded any strict need. The slogan “to pray is to work” ruled.
Believing that we are free, we live chained by the mythic thought of productivity, of the triumph and victory over others. Competitiveness has displaced competition.
The most atrocious individualism has uprooted us from our identity as people. They make us forget that we live to be happy, which is the only sense of existence. To be ourselves in relation to others seems obscene because the norms of the market establish that thinking, daring, disagreeing, leaving the consumerist prison, is a sin. The ends justify the means and war is the logical instrument of this idolatry.
It’s precise to switch chips; to organize resistance and to rebel ourselves; to denounce social injustice and to throw from power those who unlawfully retain it. A model based on arms, the exploitation of resources and dehumanisation is not viable. A global society, in which we define ourselves as responsible neighbours, is only possible through solidarity.

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 07/05/2004