The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Introduction

In our perypatetik project, particularly the emblems in The Anthology of Global Instability, The Codex of Uncertainty, and now The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes, we have been collecting the work of translators and writers from diverse backgrounds on one platform without the discrimination, bias or elitism characteristic of established publications and media.

These texts give us, on the one hand, an impression of different cultural attitudes toward a given topic (instability, uncertainty, polarization, extremes), and, on the other, an understanding of how the common wo/man thinks in our (post-)modern-age.

While all contributions are welcome, we have especially hoped to receive work capable of shedding light on marginalized groups, in particular a major international, overarching type that we call romantics (as opposed to pragmatists). This is a type that is not necessarily associated with any gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, class, etc. All of these subgroups consist of both romantics and pragmatists, even if one or the other type may be more common in each of them.

The reason behind the thinking here is that we live in an age of tremendous tolerance in terms of these subgroups, but, at least judging by the media, we are seemingly intolerant about ideology and worldview. To the extent that this statement is true, it is in many cases reflective of a misunderstanding about life today due not to our own perceptual inadequacy, but rather to the one-sided representation of life dominated by the materialist agenda of pragmatists.

It is not easy to judge the time one lives in. Comparison with a generalized and – usually – idealized past is problematic since we cannot live identically in two times at once.

Nonetheless, it does seem possible to make some statements about our time.

In terms of differences, we can say, for example:

If we recall the influence of organized religion, the church, in the centuries preceding the 20th, then we can call our post-religious age of money, property and success materialist.

Relative to most of the twentieth century when attention was drawn to competing materialist systems – Soviet communism and American capitalism – the economic system in almost every country today is capitalist, i.e. companies are controlled by the private sector as opposed to the state.

Within capitalist societies, the previous balance between capital and labor has swung greatly in favor of capital.

Almost irrespective of our situation, we sense and often participate in technological development – primarily through the computer and cell phone. It is now a reality that many of us spend extensive periods of life in front of a screen.

Increasingly, various forms of intolerance (racism, sexism, discrimination) are not accepted, and all environments – from lines for clubs or concerts to staff in corporate offices – are far more diverse than fifty years ago.

Despite these differences, many aspects remain the same:

Most of us will work for almost all of our productive adult years.

All of us are easily replaceable (as partners, spouses, parents, friends, employees, managers, etc.).

Almost nobody will be extremely successful or get rich.

The world has not come to an end (nor has work).

Life is difficult, or difficulties in life continue to surface.

There will be no permanent state of happiness, despair or otherwise for any of us.

Our perception of the present day is particularly difficult due to the role of mainstream media (television and newspapers). They have a near monopoly in terms of shaping public opinion, with other institutions such as the church, the arts (mostly televised/streamed shows and film) and academia being overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of moderators, pundits, journalists, talk show hosts and op-ed writers.

Media’s primary objective as a commercial business complicates the picture even more. It must generate profits. By polarizing almost every topic to draw attention, the media business model tends to exacerbate and reinforce existing differences. This approach, coupled with our tendency to trust our preferred sources of information, is bound to increase division.

By contrast, our diverse society – with people across the archetypal spectrum constantly coming into personal contact with each other – acts as a counterweight to media divisiveness.

Our perception is also guided by social, economic and political factors. In stable countries such as America, France, Germany, the UK, Italy – to name but a few – entrenched stakeholders in the form of investors, lenders, boards, employees, association members and their associates informally exercise immense influence. The lengthy period of stability in Western countries has allowed them to consolidate their grip as senior stakeholders informally vet subordinates and prospective managers. The future generation of leaders is therefore determined by the preceding group, ensuring continuity in business, but also in the mission or orientation. In America, we see this in the material (i.e. profit) orientation of companies. Throughout the West, we have witnessed this in the hesitant and slow diversification of management. These influencers naturally weigh in on the programming, staffing, mission, etc.

In this constellation, society as a whole should not be forgotten. While its interests are primarily monitored by parties looking to take advantage of and manipulate it (usually by extracting its money through consumption), there are cases of outrage that resonate with the public and require stakeholders to react. In 2017 and 2018 we saw this dynamic in various sexual harassment scandals involving actors, entertainers, corporate officers and directors.

The distinction between romantics and pragmatists can be crudely summarized – for the time being – on the basis of rough artistic generalizations as follows:

Romantics can be said to accept fate, view life as a process, not worry about the future (but have a more pessimistic outlook), disregard education, success, achievements and money, be less open to strangers (not in the sense of immigrants/refugees, but rather people outside of their immediate circle of friends and acquaintances), have a sense of humor, relax, rest and enjoy their leisure time, have polarized minds (swinging from very active to complete lethargy), think quickly (but are erratic in terms of acting), love freedom, live existentially, produce and work.

Pragmatists shape their fate, are focused on the end of the process rather than the process itself, are optimistic about the future, consider education to be critical, success and achievements as proof of personal value, are frugal and cautious with money, network and are basically moralists with an intellectual sense of humor, work constantly, do not think quickly, but act consistently, prefer activity to breaks, like (primarily social and financial) obligations, embrace materialism, consume and manage.

As we have seen in The Anthology of Global Instability and in The Codex of Uncertainty, translators as authors not only are ideal mediators for exploring a culturally conditioned, grassroots view, but also act as a reflection of these idealized types and variations thereof.

In regard to the grassroots, a longstanding problem that intellectuals around the world have faced is that the position of mediator (author, writer, artist, etc.) entails that one is no longer a member of the folk (middle class, lower-middle class, lower-class, precariat – to adopt class terminology for the sake of clarity). The attempts to work around this by interviews or even obtaining direct accounts from the folk generally fail due to the inevitable confusion that ensues in the encounter: if you are not familiar with being interviewed, you will probably make a mistake and in all likelihood even say things you don’t mean at all. If you are given a piece of paper, you will freeze up and fail to compose much comprehensible work. Translators’ familiarity with words and text, their exposure to various fields (the ones in which they translate) and their need to work in order to survive give them a unique position that is oddly close to the vast majority of the folk.

As a result of this position, the texts of translators qua authors can and should hew to the masses (in all their diversity). This applies to both form and content in the traditional sense. But it would also be valid if we reinterpret form and content in the context of the perypatetik emblem project. Accordingly, the content would be, naturally, what the author has to say about the topic in any given year (instability, uncertainty, polarization, etc.), while form in this case would be what the texts or parts of the text say about the characteristics of romantics -> pragmatists.

In 2019 we will learn about a wide range of perspectives on polarization and extremes, just as we did on instability and uncertainty over the last two years. At the same time, however, we will also be able to see fundamental differences between the thinking of romantics and pragmatists. Both are everywhere among us and would be everywhere in the media and thus in our consciousness if only we were aware of the possibilities. We hope you enjoy the possibilities in The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes.

Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov, Henry Whittlesey

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Alencar, Joana. Uncertainty – Our Spirit – Brazil. November 2018.

Awdejuk, Pawel. Niepewność – The Road to Freedom – Poland. July 2018.

Bell, Sarah. The Bushfire Drive – Australia. July 2018.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. Twenty Plus Years. August 2018.

Cajoto, Christina. The Trajectory of Life – España. August 2018.

Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.

Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.

Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.

Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.

Deiana, Sara. The Dark Side of Perfection. September 2018.

Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018

Fischer, Kristin. Talking about Cancer – Germany. September 2018.

Gómez, Javier. Uncharted Bliss. October 2018

Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.

Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.

Guillot, Iuliana. Preparing for Change – Romania. June 2018.

Huihao, Mu. Going the Uncertain Way. July 2017.

Husaini, Maha. Inshallah – Jordan. December 2018

Israyelyan, Mania. 30 Years of Anoroshutyun – Armenia. December 2018.

Julber, Lillian. What Will Tomorrow Bring? – Chile. July 2018.

Kanunova, Nigina. Metamorphoses in Modern Life. June 2018.

Kingsley, Anastasia. Expect the Unexpected. November 2018.

Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.

Korneeva, Kate. One We – Russia. April 2018.

Krnceska, Sofija. No Name Country – Macedonia. May 2018.

Lassa, Verónica. The Old Eastern Books of Uncertainty – Argentina. May 2018.

Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.

Marti, Sol. A Thought Falling – Spain and Germany. December 2018.

Pang, Lian. Now or Later? October 2018.

Phelps, Jade. Healing Journey Pulls Us Apart – America. June 2018.

Protić, Aleksandar. Environmental Uncertainty. August 2018.

Romano, Mavi. An Uncertain Democracy – Spain. April 2018

Ranaldo, Mary. Incerto or Flexible: Italia and UK. March 2018.

Ray, Sanjay Kumar. Once upon a Time in a Queue – India. November 2018.

Çakır, Peren. Building a Future in Times of Uncertainty – Argentina and Turkey. May 2018.

Sanmartín, Virginia. Qué Será, Será – Spain. June 2018.

Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.

Sariñana, Alejandra González. A Brighter Future? – Mexico. December 2018.

Skobic, Aleksandar. Genetic Code Name: Unique – Bosnia and Herzegovina. December 2018.

Sekulić, Jelena. Nesigurnost of the Past, Present and Future – Serbia. June 2018.

Sem, Sebastião. Vagrant Poets. September 2018.

Sepi, Andreea. Uncertainties Galore – Germany. April 2018.

Sevunts, Nane. From Uncertainty to Newness. November 2018.

Sitorus, Rina. When Uncertainty Reaches the Land of Certainty – Indonesia and the Netherlands. May 2018.

Trojnar, Kamila. Ephemeral. October 2018.

Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.

Uberti, Alejandra Baccino. Adventure – Uruguay. September 2018.

Vuka. Lacking Uncertainty in Political Culture – Serbia. April 2018.

Wallis, Toni. Living for Today – South Africa. October 2018.

Younes, Ghadir. Economic Uncertainty in Life – Lebanon. Part 38.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. LGBQT – Russia. August 2018.

The Anthology of Global Instability

Alvisi, Andrea. Political and Social Instability: The Brexit Mess. May 2017.

Bahras. Unstable Air Pollution – Unstable Solutions: Mongolia. June 2017.

Bichen, Svetlana Novoselova. Mental and Cultural Instability: Russia and Turkey. February 2017.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. Hybrid War: Ukraine. December 2018.

Borghi, Silvana Renée. Living in Inestabilidad. September 2017.

Caetano, Raphael. Instabilidade emocional: Brazil. February 2017.

Çakır, Peren. On the Road in Search of Stability: Argentina and Turkey. June 2017.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero. Emotional Estabilidad: The Key To a Happy Life – Cuba. December 2017.

Charles-Dee. Social Onstabiliteit – South Africa. December 2017.

Cordido, Verónica. Instability, a Stable Reality: Venezuela and America. April 2017.

Dastan, S.A. The Stability of Instability: Turkey and Syria. March 2017.

D’Adam, Anton. Psychosocial Instability in Argentina and America: El granero del mundo and The Manifest Destiny. January 2017.

Delibasheva, Emilia. Political Instability: Electoral Coups in America and Bulgaria. December 2016.

Ellie. Angry Folk: Korea. June 2017.

Farid, Isis Kamal. Stability Is Not An Option – Egypt. August 2017.

Friedrich, Angelika. Introduction: The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Fondevik, Vigdis. Unstable Nature: Norway and Denmark. October 2016.

Ghadir, Younes. Political Instability – Lebanon. September 2017.

Gómez, Javier. The Way of No Way – Argentina and the UK. December 2017.

Gotera, Jay R. In Flux Amid Rising Local and Regional Tensions – Philippines. November 2017.

Guillot, Iulianna. Starting and Staying in Instability – Moldova. October 2017.

Gjuzelov, Zoran. The Нестабилност of Transition – Macedonia. November 2017.

Halimi, Sophia. Modern Instabilité: Youth and Employment in France and China. March 2017.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Embracing Instability – Spain. February 2017.

Kelvin, Sera. The Stability in Expecting Emotional Instability: Brazil. April 2017.

Konbaz, Rahaf. The Castaways: On the Verge of Life – Syria. August 2017.

Korneeva, Ekaterina. Instability… or Flexibility? July 2017.

Kreutzer, Karina. Hidden Instabilität – Ecuador and Switzerland. December 2017.

Krnceska, Sofija. Decades of Economic Instability – Macedonia. September 2017.

Kutscher, Karin. Inestabilidad in Interpersonal Relationships – Chile. October 2017.

Larousse, Annabelle. Legal and Emotional Instability in a Transgender Life – Ireland. August 2017.

Larrosa, Mariela. The Very Stable Spanish Instability. April 2017.

Lobos, José. Political Instability: Guatemala. May 2017.

Lozano, Gabriela. Estructuras Inestables: Vignettes of a Contemporary, Not Quite Collapsing Country – Mexico. November 2017.

MacSweeny, Michael. A House on a Hill – America. October 2017.

Mankevich, Tatiana. The Absence of Linguistic Cтабiльнасць: Does the Belarusian Language Have a Future? December 2016.

McGuiness, Matthew. Loving Lady Instability. November 2017.

Meschi, Isabelle. Linguistic Instabilité and Instabilità: France and Italy. November 2016.

Mitra, Ashutosh. The Instability of Change: India. January 2016.

Moussly, Sahar. The Instability of Tyranny: Syria and the Syrian Diaspora. December 2016.

Nastou, Eliza. Psychological Αστάθεια and Inestabilidad during the Economic Crisis: Greece and Spain. December 2016.

Nevosadova, Jirina. Whatever Happens, It Is Experience. May 2017.

Olisthoughts. Stable Instability – Moldova. October 2017.

Partykowska, Natalia. Niestabilność and адсутнасць стабільнасці in the Arts: Polish and Belarusian Theater. January 2017.

Payan, Rodrigo Arenas. Impotence – Venezuela and Columbia. September 2017.

Persio, P.L.F. Social Instabilità and Instabiliteit: Italy and the Netherlands. November 2016.

Pranevich, Liubou. Cultural Instability: Belarus and Poland. March 2017.

Protić, Aleksandar. Demographic Instability: Serbia. July 2017.

Romano, Mavi. Unstable Identities: Ecuador and Europe. October 2016.

Sekulić, Jelena. Нестабилност/Nestabilnost in Language – Serbia. August 2017.

Sepa, Andreea. Instabilitate vs. Stabilität: How Important Are Cultural Differences? – Romania and Germany. September 2017.

Shunit. Economic Instability: Guinea and Gambia. April 2017.

Shalunova, Marina. Language Instability: Russia. June 2017

Sitorus, Rina. Instabilitas Toleransi: Indonesia. May 2017.

Skrypka, Vladyslav. National нестійкість: Ukraine. July 2017.

Staniulis, Justas. Nestabilumas of Gediminas Hill and the Threat to the Symbol of the State: Lithuania. July 2017.

Sousa, Antonia. Social and Economic Instabilidade: Portugal. January 2017.

Vuka. My Intimate Imbalanced Inclination. March 2017.

Walton, Éva. Historical and Psychological Bizonytalanság within Hungarian Culture. January 2017.

Yücel, Sabahattin. The Instability of Turkish Education and its Effect on Culture and Language: Turkey. July 2017.

Zadrożna-Nowak, Amelia. Economic Instability: Poles at Home and the Polish Diaspora. November 2016.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Instability in Relationships: Russia. April 2017.

Forthcoming

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

CW 1 – Spain – Mavi Romano
CW 2 – Brazil – Joana Alencar
CW 3 – Venezuela – Veronica Cordido
CW 4 – South America – Alejandra Baccion
CW 5 – Germany and Romania – Andreea Sepi
CW 6 – South Africa – Sarah Leah Pimentel
CW 7 – Bolivia – Osvaldo Montano
CW 8 – Spain – Jonay Quintero Hernandez
CW 9 – Indonesia – Rina Sitorus
CW 10 – Mexico – Alejandra Gonzalez Sarinana
CW 11 – Armenia – Armine Asryan
CW 12 – Serbia – Vuka Mijuskovic
CW 13 – Peru – Monica Valenzuela
CW 14 – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Aleksandar Skobic
CW 15 – Argentina – Julieta Spirito
CW 16 – Italy – Mary Ranaldo
CW 17 – Lebanon – Ghadir Younes
CW 18 – Cuba – Marilin Guerrero Casas
CW 19 – Ukraine – Evgeny Bondarenko
CW 20 – Uruguay – Andrea da Silva Escandell
CW 21 – Spain – Jazz Williams
CW 22 – Armenia – Mania Israyelyan
CW 23 – Poland – Pawel Awdejuk
CW 24 – Balkans – Aleksandar Protic
CW 25 – Italy – Daniela Cannarella
CW 26 – Serbia – Jelena Sekulic
CW 27 – Tajikistan – Nigina Kanunova
CW 28 – Portugal – Nuno Rosalino
CW 29 – Uruguay – Lillian Julber
CW 30 – Argentina – Javier Gomez
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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