Transposing emblem by Aleksandar Protić

If they hadn’t heard of it before, everybody learned about the Balkans in the 1990s due to a series of bloody conflicts in the area formerly known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I was about to write “international conflicts,” but back then, Yugoslavia was a single nation. It first appeared as a state after WWI – initially known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and later as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The kingdom, as well as its successor, socialist Yugoslavia, sought to integrate all South Slavic nations (except Bulgarians) into a single Yugoslav nation (hence the name, jug/yug standing for “south” in most Slavic languages), but at some point (maybe even at the very beginning), the process went in the totally opposite direction.

Belgrade, Serbia – Inside – Alex Blokstra

Fast forward 73 years and Yugoslavia was no more. At the point of dissolution, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke up into the following states: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, while Serbia and Montenegro stuck together for some more time and ultimately broke up in 2004. So, enter 3, exit 6, but that is not the end of it. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as such, is home to 3 constituent nations – Bosniaks, Serbs and Croatians. These three nations were also central to the (attempted) creation of the Yugoslavian nation – forming a tight ethno-linguistic cluster which was supposed to act as the fulcrum of the new state. The language known as Serbo-Croatian or Croatian-Serbian during the existence of Yugoslavia was also formed on the basis of the central segment of the South Slavic dialectal continuum. The language was meant to integrate the nation and promote bratstvo i jedinstvo (in English: brotherhood and unity, a popular slogan and a guiding principle of communist Yugoslavia’s ethnic policies). Macedonians and Slovenians were (and still are) located on the peripheries of this dialectal continuum, so we will leave them alone as I will be focusing on language here.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina –  Bascasija square – Greta Gabaglio

In the Balkans, it is not quite right to say that many extremes have aided the creation of rifts between the nations of the former Yugoslavia. However, polarization has been a driving and defining force throughout the history of this region. The public has been polarized by all sorts of important and not so important issues used to achieve various kinds of political goals. What’s more, polarization was needed precisely because we are all too similar. In order to promote themselves and create seemingly opposing national identities, our post-Yugoslavian political “elites” needed to emphasize the distinctive characters of our nations – or to create them where they had not existed already. The most notable difference between the nations currently making up the post-Yugoslavian region is manifested in people’s affiliation with three dominant faiths – Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, and Islam. The first is practiced by the Serbs (and Montenegrins), the second by Croats, while Bosniaks practice Islam, a heritage of several centuries of Ottoman rule. Yet, in all three cases, religious affiliation is seen more as a defining national trait than a matter of faith. This is, again, due to a lack of other fundamental, inherent distinctions between us.

Perast, Montenegro – In the Bay of Kotor – Valentin Ivantsov

A prime example of polarization in the so-called “Western Balkans” region can be seen in language. Or languages, as some would prefer. From a purely linguistic point of view, the languages spoken in the former Yugoslavia include Serbo-Croatian and closely related, but not entirely similar, Macedonian and Slovene. That is what linguistics as an academic field says. For those not familiar with these languages – the differences between the dialects of Serbo-Croatian can be compared to those between the dialects of English, e.g. British, American or Australian English. Some minor differences in grammar and spelling, some variations in vocabulary, but nothing drastic. For instance, the difference between certain local dialects within the Serbian language is far greater than the difference between Serbian and any other variety of Serbo-Croatian. On the political level, however, the situation looks a bit different. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, “brotherhood and unity” fell out of favor, and so did the name of the language as a vital part of the concept. Croatians decided to revert to calling their “half” of the language Croatian, Serbs logically stuck with Serbian, which left Bosniaks in an uncomfortable position, so they quickly came up with Bosnian. Linguistically speaking, all these are standardized varieties of a single dialect, and as such, they are entirely mutually intelligible. So what’s the big deal, you might ask? Well, this is where it gets interesting.

Osijek, Croatia – Light pillars – Dominik Lalic

In the vicious political arena of post-Yugoslavia, language has been used as a handy tool for solidifying the national identities based upon the opposing concepts of “Us” vs. “Them.” Language as a means of polarization is particularly convenient because you cannot change a nation’s culture or mentality overnight, and neither can you teach a nation to speak a whole new language by issuing a decree. However, what you can do is change the name of a language and declare it to be “totally different” than the one you want to distance yourself from. And that can yield truly absurd results. For instance, although Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs understand each other perfectly well, regardless of how they prefer to call their languages, that did not stop a certain Bosniak politician in Serbia from demanding a Serbian-Bosnian interpreter in a TV debate with a fellow Serb politician. The “trend” got an interesting twist when a bunch of quick-thinking folks in Sanjak or Raška – a region in Serbia inhabited by a Bosniak minority – realized they could use language to delay unwelcome legal proceedings by demanding that all paperwork be “translated” from Serbian into Bosnian. Or this – some Serbs, for instance, are likely to avoid using certain words or phrases just because they feel “too Croatian”; while the Croatian language, on the other hand, has borrowed considerably from other Slavic languages (in this case, the more unrelated, the better) in order to appear more distinct from Serbian. However, when Croatian lawmakers decided to force Croatian TV stations to translate all Serbian movies, the decision (and especially its outcome) was ridiculed by all except the most hard-core nationalists. The reason is simple – the end result was awkward and superfluous, only distracting the viewer and ruining the films’ artistic value and original flavor. Of course, the linguistic Balkanization does not end there. Today, half of Montenegrins consider themselves Montenegrin by ethnicity, the other half consider themselves part of the Serbian nation, regarding the name Montenegrin as merely a geographical determinant. To add to the confusion, part of those that see themselves as ethic Montenegrins claim Serbian as their native tongue, while only a minority has declared Montenegrin to be their native language. Which is not surprising, given that the language was “discovered” less than 10 years ago. Before that, everyone just spoke Serbian. But now, thanks to this cultural advance, it is not uncommon to have a Serbian speaking Serb, a Serbian speaking Montenegrin and a Montenegrin speaking Montenegrin within a single family, depending on each’s political preference! I hope I haven’t confused you beyond all hope because there is more to come.

Pirot, Serbia – Crossing – Dimitar Kazakov

Serbian is one of the few languages in the world that uses two types of script – Latin and Cyrillic. This feature is a remnant of the aforementioned Serbo-Croatian and attempted to achieve inter-ethnic equality, because the Orthodox part of Yugoslavia historically used Cyrillic, while the Catholic and Muslim part used Latin. Having been deprived of its only function, this concept has turned into another source of polarization, this time within the Serbian nation. One portion of the population prefers Cyrillic, considering Latin script “Croatian” (and thus unwelcome), while the rest prefer Latin, considering it more “cosmopolitan, modern, closer to the world,” contrary to Cyrillic, which is held to be “obsolete, nationalistic” and so on. Do we need both? Probably not, but we do need to have a bone to pick.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – In-between – Pika Žvan

Polarization does not only occur on the national level – most of the people in the ex-Yugoslavian region will either tell you that “Yugoslavia was the best country in the whole world, we never lived better” or “Good riddance, it was a bloody dungeon” – irrespective of what country they currently live in. One will rarely hear a less emotional, middle ground point of view. You won’t meet many people who say “Yugoslavia or no Yugoslavia, why can’t we just act like normal people and realize that’s in our best interest?” It’s just not us, I guess. Being so hopelessly similar, we have no other option than to constantly accentuate the tiniest of differences and fabricate new ones in order to solidify our self-perception of “Us” vs. “Them.” Or at least, that is what our leaders keep telling us. But hey, divide et impera is not something I came up with while writing this, it’s been around a lot longer than that and as it turns out – it still works! Interestingly, though, once people remove themselves from the sources of polarization – which often happens when you move to another country in search of a better life (which a lot of us do) – you quickly realize we are not that different after all. Yugos that go abroad for work often stick to their (former) neighbors. Simply, they speak the same language, they largely share the same culture and mentality, and being alone in a foreign country makes you see what being different really means. And to the unbelievers, I will only say this – if we really spoke different languages, I am sure we would quarrel a lot less.

Aleksandar Protić

Credits

Snapshot 1: Zagreb, Croatia – Festival of light – Dominionart (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Belgrade, Serbia – Inside – Alex Blokstra (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina –  Bascasija square – Greta Gabaglio (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Perast, Montenegro – In the Bay of Kotor – Valentin Ivantsov (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Osijek, Croatia – Light pillars – Dominik Lalic (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Pirot, Serbia – Crossing – Dimitar Kazakov (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – In-between – Pika Žvan (Unsplash)

Cinemblem voiceover: Nathan Jackson

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Awdejuk, Pawel. Pole-arization – Poland. June 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies. May 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Forthcoming

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
CW 31 – Turkey – Seyit Ali Dastan
CW 32 – India – Sanjay Ray
CW 33 – Russia – Anastasiya Zakharova
CW 34 – Canada – Maha Husseini
CW 35 – Spain – Virginia Sanmartin Lopez
CW 38 – Turkey – Peren Cakir
CW 37 – Armenia – Hayk Antonyan
CW 38 – Italy – Sara Deiana
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Pawel Awdejuk

One of the most polarizing topics in modern Poland is the question of immigrants and refugees. Should we let them in, or not? Naturally, the issue is much more complicated than it seems.

Unfortunately, we are in a group of anti-immigrant countries at the moment. This is largely due to the rule of a right-wing, populist “Law and Justice” party. But that is not the only reason. There is a vocal group of people supporting this position and protesting any decision on accepting outsiders.

However, there are also strong advocates for welcoming immigrants.

Which side is right? And is this a question of right or wrong at all? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of accepting people from other nations.

Poznań, Poland – Autumn morning – Erik Witsoe

The main arguments for accepting immigrants are:

1) It is our moral duty to help them.

War is a terrible, inhuman cataclysm. No one deserves to take part in such a hellish experience. People, who just try to survive, to live another day, victims of such a barbaric catastrophe, should be helped. Especially, since Poles also needed this help some time ago. And got it. During World War 2, thousands of Polish refugees were accepted in Iran, India, Mexico, Africa and New Zealand. And citizens of these countries were afraid of these waves of aliens as well. But the important thing is – our refugees got help, when they needed it.

2) They can work.

The unemployment rate in Poland today is at a record low. And many companies struggle to find good workers. Especially in manual labor. Both immigrants and refugees can fill that void and help Polish entrepreneurs operate their companies at optimal capacity. This will result in better productivity, more goods and an increase in the economic stability of our country.

Wroclaw, Poland – Multicultural – Maciej Ostrowski

3) They can help us fight demographic decline.

Poland’s demographic problems get worse every year. Society is getting older, and there are fewer and fewer working citizens. Government programs designed to stimulate the birth rate have not been very helpful. The broadly advertised “500+” program (where each family gets PLN 500 monthly for their second child and every one after that) began to fail two years after its introduction. The growth rate of the population is dropping again, despite the money being thrown at parents to procreate. We need fresh blood, and newcomers from outside may prove to be the only answer we have.

4) They bring cultural diversity with them.

It is a proven fact that diverse organisms operate better. It does not matter if we talk about genetic variation, interdisciplinary teams or societies with diversified backgrounds. People from different cultures bring new things with them. They can teach us new skills, new ideas, a new approach to art. By mixing with us, they can make us stronger.

Wroclaw, Poland – Incinerating – Pawel Czerwinski

5) Poles are immigrants too.

Poles are among the most active immigrants in the world. You can basically find us in every country. A huge Polish diaspora can be found in America, Germany, France, Ireland or the United Kingdom. Actually, according to the Office for National Statistics, Poland is now the most common non-UK country of birth for people living in the United Kingdom. Poles are second only to Brits when it comes to numbers in the UK. And it wasn’t easy for the people in Great Britain to accept us either. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty in 2004 when British borders were opened to Polish workers. Therefore, it’s a bit hypocritical for Polish people to be so aggressive and afraid of immigrants coming to us.

Poznan, Poland – Urban reflections – Erik Witsoe

The arguments above look quite nice, right? So are all the immigrants good, honest and a great addition to our happy Polish flock? Unfortunately, no. And there are some strong arguments against accepting them as well:

1) Adaptation problems

People from different cultures can add much to our own and enrich us as a society if they want to share with us and adapt to our society. Sadly, many of the newcomers remain in closed, homogenous groups and can resist joining the society they live in even decades after coming to a country. Especially, if they come from war-torn places.

2) Aggression

War never changes. And it’s basically always hell. Living in a country affected by war is an extreme experience often demanding an extreme approach to survival. Watching your loved ones die, fighting for shelter and the last scraps of food, doing hideous things just to keep living. It changes people. So, oftentimes refugees coming from countries affected by war have a mentality that is far from a “happy camper.” They’re closer to a bunch of Mad Maxes coming straight from a post-apocalyptic wasteland. They don’t need just a place to sleep and something to eat. They need social workers and psychologists to work long and hard with them, so they can be ready to join peaceful society again. And if there’s no psychological help and they’re left to themselves, they retain the war-survival mentality and simply attack and grab whatever they need. Logically, this leads to problems with the law and contributes to the opinion that refugees are brutal beasts ill-adapted to living in a civilized country.

Warsaw, Poland – Down under – Karol Kaczorek

3) Terrorism

Unfortunately, some immigrants are connected to terrorist cells. Others are simple criminals, looking for easy prey. They are a definite minority, but the problem is real. Therefore, a country, which intends to invite immigrants and especially refugees, needs a solid verification program created in cooperation with other European countries to be able to recognize and deter such threats.

4) Welfare parasites

Most immigrants and refugees just want to have peace and something to do to earn their living. However, there are those who abuse the social welfare system and just want to live off the benefits. It’s a worldwide problem and some of the Poles also have shown the ability to leech the British welfare system for their own gain. Therefore, again, the immigrant and refugee verification – both before accepting new guests and after they have settled in our country – should be well-planned and efficient.

Niedzica, Poland – Falling into the Dunajec – Mariusz Switulski

5) There are many more shouters than helpers.

This issue regards activists more than refugees or immigrants. Many people are vocal supporters of accepting everyone who would like to take refuge in our country. But when asked: “Ok, will you take one of them under your roof? Will you donate some money to this cause? Will you spare some clothes or food?” they say: “No.” In some circles it is trendy to promote such an attitude, but such a “paper supporter” is more a part of the problem than the solution. Because people allowed blindly into a country, with no resources to help them and no idea how to integrate, will end up on the street and in ghettos.

Krakow, Poland – Festival of Street Theaters – De Visu

So what is the final answer? What should we do? Should we welcome newcomers with open arms, or forbid them entry to our country? Both of these extremes are wrong. Of course, we should let them in. We basically need them. But the process of admission should be well-planned and properly executed.

Accepting immigrants, and especially refugees, is a serious logistical and psychological challenge. It is not enough to just let them into the country, give them a bag of clothes, some money and a bunk bed. These people need serious help, the assistance of psychologists and social workers, proper integration programs, etc. And there needs to be a solid exclusion process upon entry to discourage terrorists and criminals from entering. It should be done wisely and in cooperation with other European countries. Only then can it work for the benefit of both sides.

Pawel Awdejuk

Credits

Snapshot 1: Poznan, Poland – Silhouettes – Erik Witsoe (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Poznań, Poland – Autumn morning – Erik Witsoe (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Wroclaw, Poland – Multicultural – Maciej Ostrowski (Unsplash)

Snapshot 4: Wroclaw, Poland – Incinerating – Pawel Czerwinski (Unsplash)

Snapshot 5: Poznan, Poland – Urban reflections – Erik Witsoe (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Warsaw, Poland – Down under – Karol Kaczorek (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Niedzica, Poland – Falling into the Dunajec – Mariusz Switulski (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 8: Krakow, Poland – Festival of Street Theaters – De Visu (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Oleksiy Zolotukhin

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies. May 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Forthcoming

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
CW 31 – Turkey – Seyit Ali Dastan
CW 32 – India – Sanjay Ray
CW 33 – Russia – Anastasiya Zakharova
CW 34 – Canada – Maha Husseini
CW 35 – Spain – Virginia Sanmartin Lopez
CW 38 – Turkey – Peren Cakir
CW 37 – Armenia – Hayk Antonyan
CW 38 – Italy – Sara Deiana
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Mania Israyelyan

“My mum won’t accept me because she is ashamed,” says Nare, a 19-year-old, who identifies as a lesbian. If she had a chance to change something in society she would wipe away the feeling of shame that comes with sexual orientation. That is one of the reasons people get labelled as being “like that,” thus polarizing and isolating them amongst us.

What lies behind that shame? Is it groundless? Can there be a reason? And what is the price they pay for being “like that”? Nare asks. Polarizing the LGBT community is quite logical for our society that has cherished its traditional values throughout history. Preserving our national identity, our religion, the “privilege” of being the first nation to accept Christianity as a state religion has been a challenge, a drive, a goal to pursue for centuries. In this struggle, our national consciousness would polarize and exterminate anything that posed a threat.

Vanadzor, Armenia – Sunset – Karen Faljyan

The reasons that make homosexuality so “abominable” can be different. Some are afraid of the unknown, others are guided by their traditional values. And some of them would even recall Bible verses condemning the phenomenon. But is it the only thing that the Bible condemns? What about idolatry, greed, covetousness, gluttony and the rest of the deadly sins that thrive in modern society? Shouldn’t they be condemned and eliminated from amongst us?

Times change, values transform. For example, in biblical times, women did not carry the same social status as men did. Women in fact were men’s property. In the 21st century, women are no longer inferior to men; marriages are not transactions. Feelings and emotions are involved, the quality of the relationship is what matters. It is possible to cite innumerable examples that are outdated, diminished or have vanished since biblical times. We fight for women’s rights, that they have their place and say in the government, but with the same zest we fight against all kinds of minorities.

Yerevan, Armenia – Local store – Elena Diego

Intolerance is at its peak among the less informed members of society and in religious circles. The former ones consider LGBT people to be sick and thus fight to exclude them to the greatest degree possible. They do it with exactly the same vigor as they fight against the so-called sectarians, the religious minority. If you ask what it is that makes them reject a group, you will not get a coherent answer. The rationale behind such choices is vague. What makes us reject a phenomenon and blindly deprive people of their natural rights? We can’t say that we live in a free democratic country when we keep ostracizing minorities living among us. As the saying goes, my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. It seems that my fists are enormous or you just don’t need a nose.

Yerevan, Armenia – The Cascade – Serkant Hekimci

An incident that had an indelible impact on Nare was when her brother dragged her to a psychologist to figure out her “disorder” and “treat” it. The psychologist relentlessly told Nare that she will not make it as a physicist because of her sexual orientation. Nare studies physics and wants to be a scientist. She is planning to pursue a master’s degree at a foreign university. If we believe this psychologist, then we must at least assume that there is a connection between a person’s sexual orientation and cognitive abilities. No matter how hard I tried, I could not find any material supporting this statement. Moreover, human history is full of records of diversely talented successful men and women with a non-traditional sexual orientation.

“The degree of polarization is most intense in the street,” Nare says. She recalls an incident when she was walking down the street and a group of boys started chasing her and shouting “Hey, bro!” She does not rule out the possibility of a clash if she turned back and retaliated.

Yerevan, Armenia – Contrasts – umut rosa

“Time after time a little boy or a girl would ask their mother, “Mummy, is that a boy or a girl?” The answer would come, “Not your business” or “It’s a girl, do not stare like that,” – answers in the form of a rebuke. Yes, a rebuke. When kids are rebuked, they know they did something wrong. In this case they feel there is something wrong. There is something they should not speak about out loud.

As they grow up, they carry that feeling of shame. It could be the other way around. Parents could take the time to explain to their children, to raise their awareness of matters like that, educate them and carefully lead them. In a situation like this, we actually have two polarized parties. And one can’t say which one is in a worse or more unfavorable situation. The polarizers are not at rest, they have to constantly keep vigil, “be careful with their behavior and words, keep at a distance” (at best) and fight to exterminate (at worst). The ostracized have to be bugged and bothered, bear it or burst.

Geghard, Armenia – Vardavar celebration – Vahan N.

“We must start a dialogue,” Nare concludes. “Only as a result of a dialog will they accept us.” Nare’s family is divided now, only one of her brothers and her aunt accept her. Her mother won’t. “They do not tell my father about my sexual orientation in order not to shock him,” she says. It is unclear how many families we have where the members are divided into polarized camps. And no one has a clue. A mother who is desperately hoping that her daughter will change, but doing nothing but rejecting her, and a daughter who is eager to see her mother accept her. “I do need her support,” Nare says referring to her mother. “But it is not there, and a big part of my life is kept away from her. This creates additional tension.” Tense are the relationships with some of her friends, too. A few have doubts about Nare’s orientation, but they won’t discuss the subject with her. “They are about to reject me. They are waiting for me to confess it so they can say goodbye to me. But I am not ready to do that. I am not ready for them to kick me out of their lives…”

Is polarizing minorities the solution? Does kicking them out end the discussion? Maybe there is a missing component. Perhaps, love? Simple as it may sound. Does not God say, “Love each other as I have loved you.” Nare looks at her mum and wonders what it would be like if she obeyed the commandment, if they were not in polar opposite camps. There would be change. Positive change. For her and society.

Mania Israyelyan

Credits

Snapshot 1: Yerevan, Armenia – The boulevard green – Andrey Shevchenko (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Vanadzor, Armenia – Sunset – Karen Faljyan (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Yerevan, Armenia – Local store – Elena Diego (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Yerevan, Armenia – The Cascade – Serkant Hekimci (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Yerevan, Armenia – Contrasts – umut rosa (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Geghard, Armenia – Vardavar celebration – Vahan N. (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Polina Karpova

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies. May 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Forthcoming

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
CW 31 – Turkey – Seyit Ali Dastan
CW 32 – India – Sanjay Ray
CW 33 – Russia – Anastasiya Zakharova
CW 34 – Canada – Maha Husseini
CW 35 – Spain – Virginia Sanmartin Lopez
CW 38 – Turkey – Peren Cakir
CW 37 – Armenia – Hayk Antonyan
CW 38 – Italy – Sara Deiana
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Jazz Carl Williams
PRÓLOGO

I am the exhumación de Franco. I’ve never been to the Valle de los Caídos before, una parte simbología de la época franquista. But here I am, looking down at his tomb. His grave simply engraved: FRANCISCO FRANCO.

Standing opposite me, ‘La señora más franquista de España’, 2018’s most unpalatable television “personalidad” of the summer. I avoid making eye contact. But I think she’s too preoccupied listening to what she thinks are the angels crying for El Caudillo.

In my head, voices try to tell their stories…en castellano…en català. They form a meta-narrative of lived historical events, naming what I assume, for some reason, to be books: Ley de la Memoria Histórica… Ghost of Franco Haunting Spain… Franco encara embruixa Catalunya… The voices repeat themselves, a melancholy chorus without a conductor: la Rambla de Santa Mónica, Ley de la Memoria Histórica, la calle Arco del Teatro, Franco encara embruixa Catalunya

Toledo, Spain – People – Munimara

Someone is standing behind me. A man’s voice cuts through the soundscape in my head: “They shouldn’t have buried me. I’m not dead.”

I turn. I am suffocated by a raw, metallic smell of carmine, crimson and mahogany blood. I edge away. Reaching the open mouth of the grave, I fall backwards. And continue to fall. Through the endless darkness, I fall.

I am existing between España and Catalunya, between castellano, català and anglès.

Barcelona, Spain – Mirror shadows – Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
I

With a sickening jolt that jarred every bone in my body, I wake up (living that cliché so often appearing in films and literatura). The craving for café and cigarillos compels me to leave my bed. With the first sips of a café con leche and deep drags on a cigarillo, I start to focus on the work ahead: the translation of an artículo del arte mexicano – the depiction of casta: a hierarchical system of race classification developed by the European elite of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries.

I stare at the words on the screen, letting my mind turn back time to the Summer of 2017.

Malaga, Spain – Illuminated – berni
II

If you stand on Plaza del Castillo in Pamplona, facing the emblematic Avenida de Carlos III el Noble, you will notice an imposing and ominous presence: a building with a dome-roof with three crosses reaching towards the sky. It is el tres de agosto and I have barely lived in the city for a week after moving from Manchester, England if I recall correctly.

I walked towards it under an angry sun, determined to raise the temperature beyond the low thirties. One of my ways of exploring the cities of Spain and Italy was to simply walk towards whatever caught my attention. The square in front of this building was empty, devoid of the European and American tourists I had left behind on the Avenida. The monument, Sala de Exposiciones, was closed; coupled with the absence of any advertising for the exhibitions being held there. Those who walked by flashed disapproving looks at me as I struggled against the sunlight to find a way of photographing the structure. Not long after, I spoke with a local: “I went to the Sala de Exposiciones, but I couldn’t see when it was open or what is being exhibited,” I explained.

“It’s not open. It’s one of Franco’s buildings; it’s just called the Sala de Exposiciones. Si fuera tú, yo no diría nada sobre el momento a la gente de aquí,” my twenty-something companion warned me.

Toledo, Spain – My friend and I – Munimara

In fact, my visit had been to what is El Monumento a los Caídos (Monument to the Fallen): a censored ejemplo de la simbología de la época franquista and the Civil War. I had stood in the shadow of Franco without even realising it. Someone once told me that the Monumento didn’t appear on any tourist maps of the city. I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

This was not the only time I was silenced. I remember the evening of el cuatro de octubre, a bar in lo Viejo (the Old Town) of Pamplona. Small talk between myself and another man.

“Do you like living in Pamplona?” he inquired.

“Yeah,” I lied (longing for life in a much larger city had started the day I sat on Plaza del Castillo in the rain). “I like living in Spain.”

The bartender made his way over to us and fixed his eyes on me, leaning in towards me.

“Tú no vives en España. Tú vives en el País Vasco, ¿Vale? Ten cuidado con lo que digas, chicho.”

Warnings delivered with a slight smile are always the most threatening. There I was, pushed to the point of silence and self-censorship by the shadows of history.

Madrid, Spain – Downward or upward? – Esnal Julen
III

I arrived in Barcelona at the end of May 2018, escaping the dark-gray clouds of Pamplona. In making the decision to move, I admit to feeling a sense of trepidation. The Catalan Independence Referendum had occurred on 1 October 2017 (known by the acronym 1-O) with press coverage either emphasising the authorities’ use of violence against voters or the Spanish government’s position on the legality of 1-O.

Madrid, Spain – Searching for angles – Chris Nguyen
IV

That recurring dream: I am at the exhumación de Franco. This time, I focus on the street names in a chorus of voices: la calle Arco del Teatro and la Rambla de Santa Mónica. As I fall, I hold on to the words in my mind.

With a sickening jolt that jarred every bone in my body, I wake up (once again living that cliché so often appearing in films and literatura). In a kind of somnambulism, I take to the streets of Barcelona. On La Rambla de Prim, I notice a crude attempt to erase the spray-painted yellow lazos (bows): a statement against el movimiento de los independentistas catalanes. I vaguely recall hearing on the news talk of ensuring “neutrality” in public spaces.

Toledo, Spain – On the street – Munimara

As I pass through Poblenou, a wind hurries premature autumnal leaves away to reveal some socio-political mathematics:

Quickening my pace, I eventually arrive somewhere around la calle Arco del Teatro and la Rambla de Santa Mónica. There is a door in front of me. I recognize it. El Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados: a laberinto of corridors and book shelves behind it, a place where lost, used and protected editions of all books and all of all genres have been consigned. I slip inside the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I am alone in the vast space, but not lonely. There are millions upon millions of words in which I can gain solace all around me. I could lose myself here for a thousand lifetimes.

Bilbao, Spain – Losing it – Ismael Juan

Not long after going inside, the spines of three books called to me. The original version – SOM TOT EPISODIS INACABATS – and the translated texts: WE ARE ALL UNFINISHED EPISODES / SOMOS TODOS EPISODIOS INACABADOS. I take all three, hold them against my chest and sit down at a small table. I begin reading:

The Festa Nacional de Catalunya or La Diada of 2018 saw about a million people take to the streets to call for independència, continuing an endless march. I saw a river flooding the streets, a fiery flow of the red-and-yellow Catalan flag and the flash of white stars: La Senyera Estelada. That day, the brooding gray clouds of the last week or so had been incinerated by the sun which had found its aggression once more.

As I walked through El Born and around the Parc de la Ciutadella, the absence of castellà in written protests was striking: català and anglès. On a street between the Parc de la Ciutadella and El Born, a line of bollards alternated between stickers in català and anglès.

I hardly speak any català and become filled with anxiety and a sense of urgency to learn. Reproaching myself for not making more of an effort, I try to rationalize with myself: I have only been here for three months. That’s no time at all. But right now, I cannot escape the feeling: I am existing between España and Catalunya, between castellano, català and anglès.

I stare at the words on the wall: Sense desobediéncia no hi ha independència (Without disobedience, there is no independence).

Bilbao, Spain – Guggenheim – Vitor Pinto
V

I have no idea how long I spent in El Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados. It was dark when I left. The night could have belonged to the same day I went in or that of uncountable days later. Exhausted, I return home. I’m so tired that I think I’ll manage to fall asleep with a handful of lorazepam. And I’m right.

Calp, Spain – Mralia roja blue – beasty
EPÍLEG

I am the exhumació de Franco. I’ve never been to the Valle de los Caídos before, una parteix simbologia de l’època franquista. But here I am, looking down at his tomb. His grave simply engraved: FRANCISCO FRANCO.

In my head, voices trying to tell their stories…en català. I am existing between Espanya and Catalunya, between català and anglès.

Someone is standing behind me. It’s

You turn and walk outside. I follow you. You’re standing at the end of a street, by an old lamp post decorated with a single llaço groc. I run to you.

I left after nearly ten years. And a year later, you’re the only one that I want.

The only one that these tears are for.

The only one I want to walk with in the shadow of the wind.

Works Cited

Ruiz Zafón, C. (2001) The Shadow of the Wind. New York: The Penguin Press. Originally published in Spanish as La sombra del viento by Editorial Planeta S.A., Barcelona.

Credits

Snapshot 1: Valencia, Spain – L’Hemisferic – Tim de Groot (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Toledo, Spain – People – Munimara (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Barcelona, Spain – Mirror shadows – Vidar Nordli-Mathisen (Unsplash)

Snapshot 4: Malaga, Spain – Illuminated – berni (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Toledo, Spain – My friend and I – Munimara (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Madrid, Spain – Downward or upward? – Esnal Julen (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Madrid, Spain – Searching for angles – Chris Nguyen (Unsplash)

Snapshot 8: Toledo, Spain – On the street – Munimara (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 9: Bilbao, Spain – Losing it – Ismael Juan (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 10: Bilbao, Spain – Guggenheim – Vitor Pinto (Unsplash)

Snapshot 11: Calp, Spain – Mralia roja blue – beasty (Unsplash)

Cinemblem voiceover: Nathan Jackson

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies. May 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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
CW 31 – Turkey – Seyit Ali Dastan
CW 32 – India – Sanjay Ray
CW 33 – Russia – Anastasiya Zakharova
CW 34 – Canada – Maha Husseini
CW 35 – Spain – Virginia Sanmartin Lopez
CW 38 – Turkey – Peren Cakir
CW 37 – Armenia – Hayk Antonyan
CW 38 – Italy – Sara Deiana
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Andrea da Silva Escandell

I live in my little Uruguay, a small country between two giants: Argentina and Brazil. It may seem like we are just an extension of Argentina (like another province) as we share the same language and the same “lenguaje rioplatense”, which means a special intonation, pronunciation and lexical meaning of words. We also share historical roots – as both countries were colonized by Spain in the XV century, But, nonetheless, the cultures of Uruguay and Argentina as well as “idiosyncrasies” in particular have given rise to substantial differences.

Argentinians are known to be proud, self-assured, self-centered people, while Uruguayans are more humble. We usually speak in a low tone of voice, while Argentinians tend to shout. In a way, our neighbors are known to be somewhat violent and warriors: they fight in the street, they have strong arguments about politics or sports and like being noticed by the rest. On the other hand, we, Uruguayans, prefer discussion to argument, prefer talking to shouting, like exchanging ideas.

Montevideo, Uruguay – Plaza independencia – DFLC Prints

In recent years, we have seen a wave of violence sweep over our neighbors. As a reaction to this increase in violent crime in Argentina, the majority of the population chose a more traditional political option, which promised to put the country in order, giving more security to ordinary people who were complaining. This old-fashioned political option brought exactly the opposite of what they had promised: High taxes were imposed on labor, basic goods, and the average price of goods quadrupled; workers lost important rights, while minorities completely lost their voice. And child labor was even approved in some provinces! But, still, hunger has spread, along with discontent, despair and rage.

The consequence of this is general discontent in the population, as salaries did not rise commensurately and food became more expensive. The gap between the rich and poor grew, dividing society, although for now, not between violent and peaceful people, but owners of companies and employees.

Piriapolis, Uruguay – At the beach – Nick Albi

In Uruguay, violent crime has also increased. Most people are discontent as they feel that the atmosphere of the quiet peaceful country has changed, and we are not able to walk freely in the street as we did some years ago. Authorities are expected to take stricter measures and to approve laws that protect the community in a better way. Furthermore, high prices, especially for basic needs such as food, services and transport, give people reason to complain.

On the other hand, Uruguay is one of the first countries to have legalized the use of marihuana and has approved same-sex marriage, laws that give women the option to have an abortion covered by their health insurance, free health services for workers and their families, public hospitals that have the best doctors and high-quality service, laws that protect minorities (blacks, trans and others) and allow them to find public sector jobs and receive good public education.

Colonia, Uruguay – Playing music – Nick Albi

The question is, why are people in so many countries around the globe, like America or Brazil, and in this case Argentina, attracted to such extreme ideas? What are people really thinking when they vote? Are they really using their rational minds? Are they analyzing the different options? What goes on in the mind of a person who prefers a speaker that shouts lies and has no respect for human beings and shows no moral values? Are people listening and analyzing the speech?

What is the reason that a common laborer chooses a person who is against their rights? It seems strange. Do voters not see that the aim of this new wave of moral rulers is to earn more money only to be distributed among the rich? Have they thought for a while about the minorities that are being left unprotected, unsafe? I’m talking about the black community, the homosexuals and trans, small indigenous groups, etc.

Montevideo, Uruguay – Downtown – Elijah Lovkoff

Instead of seeing an evolution in rights, humanity is walking backwards, losing the rights we had won after many years and years of fighting for them. Voters are not using their logical mind, or humanity is going back 60 years. I am shocked by the lack of tolerance, by the rise of polarization and extreme ways of thinking that generate more and more violence.

I am 47, in my teens, I used to participate in street demonstrations supporting more rights for workers, for women having equal access to a job and studies, for minorities to be accepted and respected, and for environmental protection. I wished the world would become a better place.

Punta del Este, Uruguay – The Mermaids – Danilovieira

Today, apparently people have lost their ability to think independently and are being pulled and pushed by the media, especially social media, which manage their feelings without analyzing concepts or ideas, without seeing that they are being driven by political and economic interests that are behind them, and unaware that millions are invested in fake profiles that participate in facebook groups, twitter, etc.

Sadly, I am witnessing regression in people’s mentality, in moral and human values. And apparently in a vast majority of the population that supports these polarized, extreme ideas, because they are the ones raising more votes. Hopefully, my people, when they come to vote next time, will be able to use their rational minds and not get caught up in this extended wave of extreme political thinking. Hopefully, they will choose an option that will take the country one step forward, creating an environment in which everyone has more and better rights.

Andrea da Silva Escandell

Credits

Snapshot 1: Punta del Este, Uruguay – The Fingers – Daniel Zappe (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Montevideo, Uruguay – Plaza independencia – DFLC Prints (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Piriapolis, Uruguay – At the beach – Nick Albi (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Colonia, Uruguay – Playing music – Nick Albi (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Montevideo, Uruguay – Downtown – Elijah Lovkoff (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Punta del Este, Uruguay – The Mermaids – Danilovieira (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Carmen Fernandez

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies. May 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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
CW 31 – Turkey – Seyit Ali Dastan
CW 32 – India – Sanjay Ray
CW 33 – Russia – Anastasiya Zakharova
CW 34 – Canada – Maha Husseini
CW 35 – Spain – Virginia Sanmartin Lopez
CW 38 – Turkey – Peren Cakir
CW 37 – Armenia – Hayk Antonyan
CW 38 – Italy – Sara Deiana
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Evgeny Bondarenko

“When the white smoke is seen in the Vatican, it means that Catholics are about to have a new Pope. When black smoke belches from Moscow, it’s a sure sign that Ukrainians are about to establish their new Ukrainian church.” This ironical joke is now popular in Ukraine. The irony is that the newly formed Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not to expect a brotherly Christian embrace; instead it has become a target of bitterness and acrimony for those who watch the process from the eastern porebrik. Or, as one cleric of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church put it in a shrewd remark:

Kyiv, Ukraine – Pokrovsky Monastery – Lals Stock

When I read those comments on the First Council of the Ukrainian Autocephalous (de facto) Church, which are written by members of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as some of the “churches of the Russian tradition” in Europe: bishops, clerics and laymen, I cannot help but recall the exorcism sessions that I was personally present at when I lived in the monastery. While reading exorcisms, the demons dwelling in the possessed began to brawl and shout with different voices, imitating animals. So, now, it seems to me that if those demons spoke, their speech would not be any different from that abusive language that comes from the lips of members of the “Russian church” mentioned above. Everything is forgotten: respect for the brethren of the hierarchy and clergy, their own Christian dignity, elementary propriety. It seems that these people have no relation to the Church with its history, traditions, canons, culture of relations between its members and everything else related to its “inner world.”

Kyiv, Ukraine – Christmas at St. Sophia Cathedral – paparazzza

Such rejection, seen from the purely bureaucratic – or call it canonical – viewpoint may be understandable: the leaders of the so-called Russkiy Mir (Russian world) are indignant because the Ukrainian church received autocephaly not from the “mother church” that is located, in their opinion, in Moscow (or, again, as some like to joke on the Western side of the Russian-Ukrainian border, from the church-mother turned into the church-stepmother). Still, going into detail on who is actually a “mother” won’t add any clarity to understanding the reasons and sources of such heated emotions (fortunately, establishing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is proceeding without turmoil, let alone bloodshed, which is half-threatened, half-encouraged, by some parts of the Moscow Church hierarchy).

Kyiv, Ukraine – Saint Sophia Cathedral – Larisa Dmitrieva

While writing this short essay, by virtue of some curious synchronicity, the media kept on reminding me of the timeless importance of this theme: whether the oppositions and polarities should be embraced or avoided. The following quote comes from a respected master of the Eastern martial arts:

Although the more extreme elements of cultivated practice are advised against by masters of the ancient traditions, it is true that many who are seriously engaged in the pursuit of a path have nevertheless experimented with such extremes. It is like a pendulum swinging from side to side until it eventually finds the equilibrium. But the big question remains: Are the extremes indeed useless or did the extremes contribute to the expert’s current place? A conundrum indeed…

Kyiv, Ukraine – Bridging – Bogdan Kupriets

To a certain extent, every human endeavor involving progress can be compared to the swing of a pendulum. Probably everything we as humans put our hands on evolve along the same line (or rather curve). It may well be true that swinging from one extreme to another helps us establish this very “royal path” which would bring us the fruit of our efforts, at least as far as human pursuits are concerned. The pendulum moves from one extreme point to another, from one peak – or polarity – to another peak. In its essence, such swinging seems to be the characteristic of a real progression that is only found in nature – and because of its practicality it is widely imitated by technology. Such a mode of movement from one minor extremity to another, for example, is typical – and even necessary – for aviation in flight to reach its destination point: yes, a plane flies from point A to point B, but the progression itself is not direct. The plane goes not so much “on” the course, as “along” the course, regularly deviating in one direction and then making the necessary corrections and turning to another. Periodically the autopilot aligns its movement in the way it needs to end up in the right place.

Lviv, Ukraine – Downtown – Tsvirko Valiantsina

However, this is technology. Unfortunately, such alignment is not always present in relations between people, groups, communities or even larger societies. We strive for dialogue but find monologues and blind aversion; we want our views and our values to be respected, at the same time showing zero tolerance for those of others. The pendulum of nature often swings to extremes that are characterized by intolerance and enmity, which some see as the natural order of things.

This dissimilarity – or let’s call it asymmetry in everything that otherwise seems alike – is indeed present in our lives and is found everywhere, on any level, and even more so on the deepest ones. The author of the book “Even or Odd: The Asymmetry of the Brain and of Sign Systems,” published in 1978, became an intellectual bestseller in the Soviet era, arguing that the hemispheres of the human brain are similar and at the same time asymmetric. According to the author, the reason is that our brains seem to seek and anticipate discrepancy and dislike in everything that is perceived by human consciousness as its “antipode.” Welcome to the omnipresent, though notorious, “same but different” effect.

Kyiv, Ukraine – It was nice – Tania Alieksanenko

Asymmetry is indeed encoded in our body – it suffices to look at our two palms, which are alike but fully asymmetrical. Those DNA strands also come to mind, twisted into one, but each being an exact mirror copy of the other. Everything looks as if we are doomed to live in a world of opposites. Is it any wonder then that we are prone to identify ourselves, seeing the world as us and them. In real life it is not uncommon to perceive of something “in contrast” – or even (and sadly more common) to negate the opposite pole based on what you see: I am Russian, Orthodox… good, and in order for me/my Orthodoxy to be good, you/yours must be non-canonical, schismatic, abominable… bad?

So can it be the core issue of rejection, enmity and hatred? For me to be me, you must be you, the diametrical opposite of me? If I am to be good, then you must be bad? However…what happens if we dare to acknowledge that both polarities can be bad – or, even more promising, to admit that both can be acceptable and good? What if we dare to “turn the other cheek also”?

Kyiv, Ukraine – Maidan Nezalezhnosti – joyfull

That’s when the paradox of the pendulum of humanity comes into play. As long as it keeps oscillating, from one pole to another, as long as our nature lurches from one extremity to the other, we are truly alive. When its amplitude shortens, this leads not to a certain “happy medium” but to a complete stop when the pendulum stands still and, hence, is void of any pulsation of life.

“You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Therefore let us rejoice that our pendulum is in motion, even if it is from hatred to fear to intolerance … because in this is found the promise that we, as well as our more Orthodox brethren with their wounded sensibilities are not yet embracing apathy, lethargy and death.

Evgeny Bondarenko

Credits

Snapshot 1: Falysh, Ukraine – Eyed – Andrii Podilnyk (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Kyiv, Ukraine – Pokrovsky Monastery – Lals Stock (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Kyiv, Ukraine – Christmas at St. Sophia Cathedral – paparazzza (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Kyiv, Ukraine – Saint Sophia Cathedral – Larisa Dmitrieva (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Kyiv, Ukraine – Bridging – Bogdan Kupriets (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Lviv, Ukraine – Downtown – Tsvirko Valiantsina (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Kyiv, Ukraine – It was nice – Tania Alieksanenko (Unsplash)

Snapshot 8: Kyiv, Ukraine – Maidan Nezalezhnosti – joyfull (Shutterstock)

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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

Transposing emblem by Marilin Guerrero Casas

Every single persona has a different perspective on the world. Some people see it in black, others in white. Thus, as humans, we are always trying to label our life experiencias. We tend to define momentos and people with a simple good or bad. The reason we do it is because we live in a polarizado world, where there is always someone who’s right and another one who’s wrong. Sometimes we don’t realize that life is much more complicada and challenging than just saying a word or taking a side. Fortunately, it is not just black or white for everyone. There are still a few people who see colores in between. There are more layers when we look at a situation, when we face a problema or make a hard choice.

Havana, Cuba – Stumbled upon… – Richardo L. Tamayo

So, there’s no need to lock ourselves in a box by putting a limit on our thoughts and actions. There’s no need to have an extremo point of view. It’s not all or nothing like most people are prone to think. There’s actually room for all kinds of analyses and opinions. A person’s mind is always in constant change, it is a never-ending thinking machine. Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid to open ourselves up to exploring new options and considering new ideas.

Santa Clara, Cuba – A beauty salon – Kako Escalona

Plenty of times, I have found myself in situaciones where sticking to a polarized point of view has made me fail in my professional and personal life. When we argue with our friends or our partner, sometimes we are so focused on being right that we actually forget about what we are arguing over in the first place and we are unable to listen to the other person’s side of the story. We are unlikely to think clearly and we fail to communicate with each other; which is so important in any kind of relationship, especially if we are seeking a solución to the problem, a way through.

Cienfuegos, Cuba – Downtown – Vlad Ispas

The same happens in the professional área, with our boss or co-workers. It is important to express our opinions in front of the people we work with and let them know what we think about certain matters. That is one thing we should always be clear about. We shouldn’t change our character, thoughts, and actions to please someone. But all extremos are indeed bad, even the good ones. Being too smart sometimes makes us arrogant; being too nice sometimes makes it easier for other people to take advantage of us. The key is to find a balance in everything we do: in the way we behave; in the way we think; in the way we communicate with people. It is necessary to have the courage to give in and admit that we can’t always be right.

Havana, Cuba – Look – Antoine Lequeux

Yet, humans are designed to take things to extremos. It is in our nature to take risk and try everything we can to attain our goals. We want the best job, house, car, computer, clothes… We want fama and fortune. We want money and we are willing to do everything in our power to get it. But can all these things bring the happiness we are desperately pursuing? Perhaps… It’s just a matter of percepción. For some happiness is comfort, for others reputation and ambition, and few think it has everything to do with love. It’s just up to what is gratifying for us. Either way, we can’t manage to break this ciclo because we all want the same. We are all deeply involved in this nonstop search for happiness. Though most of the time we are not aware that it’s very likely to harm us in our attempt to pursue it. That’s why it is so crucial to find emotional estabilidad in our lives. It helps us face our hardships successfully and makes us realize that we don’t actually need too much to be happy. We should only enjoy every momento of our lives to the full because we will never be free of obstáculos along the way and there’s no specific path we should follow to achieve happiness. Alfred D’Souza said once that “happiness is a journey, not a destination” and I’ve never agreed more.

Havana, Cuba – Before the onrush – Emanuel Haas

However, it’s been proven that experiencing extreme and overwhelming levels of happiness is something bad. When we get used to feeling happy all the time, we become careless about the risks we are taking because we believe we are strong enough to do anything. We are living in a bubble where everything we see is positive and tend to overlook any potential danger that may arise. Or sometimes it is the other way around; it makes us incapable of adapting to new circunstancias and responding to new challenges. That’s why the world has to be simétrico and polarizado, but there must also be layers in each extreme.

Trinidad, Cuba – Craft – Sandra Foyt

The truth is that we need a little of everything; even negative emotions like fear and anger are necessary in certain contexts of our lives. The key is to have the right amount of each. No more, no less. So, how can we achieve a moderate, healthy happiness? How can we avoid extremes? I believe we should reach a state of equilibrio when the péndulo swings from side to side. Don’t choose an opposite; exploring the middle can actually be a good way out. Turn expectations into a wide range of possibilities. Be open-minded. Don’t think in extremes; in this way we are not limitando by our thoughts and acciones. Don’t polarize ideas and points of view. Finding moderation can be quite helpful. It’s not all about a contest we must win or lose; it’s about learning to live and making good use of our knowledge. It’s about admitting there are more colores than black and white. There’s actually a broad spectrum of shades we can paint our life with.

Marilin Guerrero Casas

Credits

Snapshot 1: Havana, Cuba – Downtown – Sevde Sevan (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Havana, Cuba – Stumbled upon… – Richardo L. Tamayo (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Santa Clara, Cuba – A beauty salon – Kako Escalona (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Cienfuegos, Cuba – Downtown – Vlad Ispas (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Havana, Cuba – Look – Antoine Lequeux (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Havana, Cuba – Before the onrush – Emanuel Haas (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Trinidad, Cuba – Craft – Sandra Foyt (Shutterstock)

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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

Transposing emblem by Amina Ahmed

When I was about nine years old, my little sister and I would always go out with my father when he went to shop at the supermarket. On one of those days, my shoelaces came untied. I didn’t know how to retie them. Growing up, almost everything I needed was done by someone else.

A few days before that, the same thing had happened. We were out on a visit with my mother, and my father insisted that I was old enough to tie my shoelaces by myself. I didn’t know how, so I went to my mother (without him seeing it) and she tied them for me. Learning how to do it by myself seemed like a hard task, and my mother didn’t insist on teaching me.

Beirut, Lebanon – Relax – Yulia Grigoryeva

However, in the supermarket, my mother was not around. I had to ask him to tie them for me. He became furious. He insisted that I knew how, and in his usual offensive manner, he told me I was lying. He ordered me to sit in one of the corners and retie my shoelaces – he was going to continue shopping with my sister and would then come back to make sure I had tied them.

I started crying. He came back a few times, found I hadn’t tied them yet, and insulted me. He even held me by the ear. Even though my father was mentally abusive, he never physically harmed us. I felt extremely humiliated.

Tripoli, Lebanon – Common – Sun Shine

Other customers passing by my corner may have wondered why there is a girl crying on the ground. But I was an insecure child and would think that the customers were mocking me inside their heads – that they thought I deserved this. Eventually I bound my shoelaces in something that resembled a tie, and my father – maybe out of frustration – accepted it.

Growing up with a mentally ill parent brought me a life full of extremes. It didn’t help that my father was a “religious” man. He understood his role in the family to be very patriarchal, and this only accentuated his controlling personality disorder.

Tyre, Lebanon – Ride – Loes Kieboom

My father was drawn into religion as a young man – the school of religion that was popular back in his day. He travelled to a western country carrying that limited worldview, and as ways of practicing changed and progressed back home, he kept clinging to what he thought was the “right” Islam. It was a shock for me, after I moved to my homeland, to see kids having birthdays. This was supposed to be “Haram” – but people here would nowadays find this label to be backward.

Back where I grew up, the slightest mixing with others was frowned upon. “They” had a different lifestyle and I was supposed to stick to my Islamic identity. The Islamic identity often meant that I couldn’t do what most of the other kids were doing. It meant I couldn’t be girly, or have lipstick or nail polish or Barbies.

Sidon, Lebanon – Alive – Diego Fiore

I was living in a world of extremes. I had to try and find a balance between what I wanted to do and what my father wanted me to do (but I often only did the latter). I had to try to be as submissive as I could to avoid trouble, while at the same time trying to make sense of my father’s illogical treatment. I had to learn to make sense of my feelings when my father would be very proud and encouraging, only to insult me a while later for the smallest mistake.

I had to learn to live with a continuous feeling of worry – for my slightest actions and words could be held against me.

Harissa, Lebanon – Possible – Alexel

He did have his nice moments though. He played with us – his children – a lot. He would tell us stories he invented and he would put in our additions as he went along. His controlling behavior was present all the time, but he could be kind and encouraging. It depended very much on his mood swings. He definitely loved us, though he never learned how to be a good parent (or a good person overall), and was mostly not aware of the damage he was causing.

My mother on the other hand was a very submissive person. Having a weak personality, she was quickly defeated by my father, and lived a life of silent suffering. She was around all the time, but her presence didn’t mean much. Even in the few instances where she would try to stand up for us when we were being verbally abused, she would be quickly shushed and told it is none of her business.

Beit ed-Din, Lebanon – Passing – Loes Kieboom

I grew up to be religious myself, but certainly in a different manner. I can sometimes see myself holding contradictory ideas, or trying to make sense of theories that seem to lie on extremes. Is being Muslim the very opposite of being a feminist? Do I even agree with most of what feminism has to say? What about Islam’s position?

What about the sacred Islamic rule of respecting and obeying one’s parents no matter what – how do I practice it when I find myself struggling to find a shred of respect for my father? How do I live by these rules when I can’t do daily tasks without lying about something to avoid unwanted trouble?

Lebanon – An idea – Mansoreh

I often find the reality of my life at one extreme, and the teachings of my religion at another.

As an adult, I still live with my parents – like all other unmarried sons and daughters in my community. I wouldn’t mind this cultural rule if I had better parents – but it is not like I have much choice in the first place. With our third world economy, it’s almost impossible for someone to be financially independent by themselves over here.

My father’s behavior has partially improved, but it’s still hard to live with him. He still tries to control major aspects of our lives (but I am at least emotionally shielded from him now). As I make big career plans and decisions regarding my future life, I still have to try to hold back and look reserved in front of him – for that has always been my life: a life of extremes.

Amina Ahmed

Credits

Snapshot 1: Beirut, Lebanon – The coast is not clear – Bassem Zein (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Beirut, Lebanon – Relax – Yulia Grigoryeva (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Tripoli, Lebanon – Common – Sun Shine (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Tyre, Lebanon – Ride – Loes Kieboom (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Sidon, Lebanon – Alive – Diego Fiore (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Harissa, Lebanon – Possible – Alexel (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 7: Beit ed-Din, Lebanon – Passing – Loes Kieboom (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 8: Lebanon – An idea – Mansoreh (Shutterstock)

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization. April 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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

Transposing emblem by Mary Ranaldo

Social polarization is a very popular topic at the moment. The term social polarization or polarizzazione is a word borrowed from physics to explain a process that determines a concentration of normally opposing forces. The term social polarization was introduced by a British sociologist, Peter Townsend, according to whom “wealth and poverty are increasingly polarized”. In simple words, the gap between the rich and poor is widening more and more, creating profound social inequality. To be fair, this phenomenon is occurring throughout Europe, but Italy is particularly vulnerable because of its political and economic fragility.

Roma, Italy – Downward – Michele Bitetto

In 2016 a survey by Bankitalia showed that one out of four people is subject to poverty and social exclusion. By contrast, 5% of the population holds 30% of the total wealth. It would be logical to think that technological progress will lead us to a more equitable distribution of wealth, bringing enormous advantages for all of society. It’s true that technology has changed our way of living and made life easier. Since everyone more or less has access to new technologies: increasingly sophisticated cars, smarter phones, multifunctional appliances, it seems that everyone is better off now than in the past. But it is all an illusion: the official data, issued by a serious institution in the country, tell us another story, put simply: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Florence, Italy – Festival of Lights – Dan

Extensive polarization has consequences for the social fabric, including high levels of unemployment, widespread crime and greater health problems among the population. A society in which this polarization is less profound is a more cohesive society, with a more dynamic population, a high level of trust and less violence, because all of society benefits from the fairest distribution of wealth. The principle is that if everyone is better, you live happily.

Milan, Italy – On top of Duomo – Jilbert Ebrahimi

In Italy, the concept of polarization has a long history and is rooted in society, between the wealthier and more dynamic north and the poorer and laissez-faire attitude in the south. It also persists in new generations. The negative remnants left by the economic crisis have affected income in sections of the population that were usually considered well off – the middle-income families. This development is to be found not only on the national level, but also between the individual regions and within the same region. The impoverishment of a large part of the Italian population is one of the causes of social polarization.

Cannaregio, Italy – In the rain – Martino Pietropoli

But the economic factor is not the only one. Italian society is in the midst of a full identity crisis. Capitalism is no longer the answer to the needs of the nation, and its foundations represented by labor, the welfare state and pensions, are weakening more and more. Faced with this crisis, political forces appear to be far from providing drastic and concrete solutions. The Italian political world is crumbling, historical parties are losing popularity because they are no longer able to identify with real and practical problems. The result is an extremely fragmented and therefore weaker political landscape. To the full advantage of populist and extremist movements. The elections in March 2018 rewarded two camps, completely different from each other, but able to find common ground and govern. They clearly reflect the polarization of society, divided between those who claim to be the true representatives of the people and declare that they want to change the way of governing in order to be closer to the folk on the one hand, and those who interpret the most radical needs of a part of society on the other. Rather than representing the citizens, what has come out of the elections is the desperate cry of a polarized society that no longer has confidence in its future.

Venice, Italy – On the bank – Ashwin Vaswani

Populists and extremist forces take advantage of the vulnerability caused by social divisions. A major divisive force in Italy is the issue of immigrants. It is one of the most urgent problems to be addressed. It has not been helped by the media coverage of immigrants arriving in the Bel Paese, which has encouraged a climate of nervousness. Although in reality their numbers have dropped compared to previous years, we have the perception that our borders are more fragile. The most extreme critics believe that the arrival of migrants increases crime rates, terrorism and disease in the country. The crimes committed by immigrants are amplified by the media, thus encouraging the binomial immigration-crime in Italian public opinion. The strategy adopted seems to be to target migrants, consolidating the juxtaposition/polarization between group membership and outsiders.

Grossetto, Italy – Bathing – Melinda Nagy

Today, the media amplify social polarization. Social media in particular have led to a change in the way we find information. At the moment, the most common way to get information is to search the internet. According to recent studies, users tend to look for information that is closer to their way of thinking, which supports their opinions. Meaning that, what pushes us to select some news is the so-called confirmation bias, which is not necessarily the search for the truth, but for the news that confirms our opinions of reality. In short, we look for news that tends to confirm our prejudices – the famous Echo Chambers by Cass R. Sunstein, according to whom the “internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization and even extremism”.1 These Echo Chambers are bubbles or comfort zones in which people hear over and over again versions of opinions they are already convinced of. The dangerous consequence of this is that you remain stuck to your position without being open to dialogue with those who think differently – a form of polarization that is detrimental to society.

Mary Ranaldo

Works Cited

1. Sunstein, Cass R. Republic, Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. 2017

Credits

Snapshot 1: Milan, Italy, Zeroing in – Frida Aguilar Estrada (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Roma, Italy – Downward – Michele Bitetto (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Florence, Italy – Festival of Lights – Dan (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Milan, Italy – On top of Duomo – Jilbert Ebrahimi (Unsplash)

Snapshot 5: Cannaregio, Italy – In the rain – Martino Pietropoli (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Venice, Italy – On the bank – Ashwin Vaswani (Unsplash)

Snapshot 7: Grossetto, Italy – Bathing – Melinda Nagy (Shutterstock)

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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

Transposing emblem by Julieta Spirito
 

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

The Kybalion

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Graffiti silhouette – Nicolas Lobos

In the past few years, insecurity has grown to be a topic of discussion, worry and concern in Buenos Aires. It has entered the list of “ongoing problems to be solved”, together with inflation, tax increases, lack of resources for hospitals and schools, and low pensions. Every day, we read or hear news about how insecure living in Buenos Aires is. Insecurity is part of our conversations, our daily worries and, most importantly, our claims and complaints.

We read the news regarding crime rates and a huge amount of energy moves in the direction of worrying and complaining. We worry so much that we spend lots of money improving the security of our houses and we complain that the city is not safe enough. But can this really make a difference? Will this really make the feeling of uneasiness disappear?

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Back alley – Jaay dev Singh

All this has made me think about the nature of insecurity. What do we really mean when we talk about it and what we fear?

“There are two sides to everything”, says the old Hermetic axiom, so insecurity and security are two parts of one particular state of mind.

We think that our life should be secure. We believe a secure life is the natural order of things. Everything has to be fixed and in place, work has to be stable, our days have to be organized, traffic has to be smooth, no electricity cuts, no transport strikes, no unexpected events are desired in our lives. We want all this, we demand it and if it does not work this way, we complain.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Dog walking – Aleksandar Todorovic

But can we ever really feel secure? And if we do, if we finally get to feel secure, is this something that can last over time?

At the bottom of our claim to security we find fear. We complain because we don’t really want to see, to feel, that our life is very insecure, very uncertain, but not because of something that is now here threatening our life, but because life itself is uncertain. We cannot be sure that all is going to turn out as planned, we cannot know what will happen in the future, but we act as if insecurity or uncertainty should not exist. So we demand security.

We are afraid of losing things, of unexpected changes, of feeling confused and not knowing what to do. We are afraid of feeling unprotected and in danger; ultimately, we are afraid of death. Mass media understands this underlying fear and exploits it by feeding us a constant flow of terrifying news that confirms our worst nightmares.

Pinamar, Argentina – To the beach – Juan Cruz Mountford

But we can take a moment to reflect calmly on this issue: Death is an inexorable fact in our existence even though we avoid thinking about it. Can we avoid it by creating a secure life around us? And what is more, are we really creating security or is it an illusion? We rarely stop to think that we might die any minute or that our loved ones might. Our life is indeed fragile. Also, we don’t think very often about how we would like to pass away: In fear or in peace? In anger or reconciled? And also, what kind of life do we need to lead in order to enjoy a peaceful end?

These are profound questions about our existence, and we don’t often give them much thought because in order to do so, we should first accept death as a natural part of our existence. Instead, we spend our lives worrying about the little things in life. It becomes very important if I can buy this or that, if I can go on vacation to this or that place, if the car broke down, little conflicts with other people, if this or that person was rude to me, etc.. Caught in these endless pursuits, we not only become blind to the fragility of our lives, we also prevent real concerns from participating in our mentations. What is the meaning of my life in this world? What traces will I leave in the world when I am gone? What is the meaning of my suffering? We don’t understand what the meaning of this feeling of insecurity and the urge to create security really is.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – City mood – Marc Schadegg

Danger is an inescapable condition of our existence, a feeling that keeps us alert and attentive to potential unexpected events and prevents us from falling asleep in illusory security and comfort. When things do not work or do not go as planned, when people do not react as we expected they would, there is a conflict inside us and this very conflict makes us grow, adapt, readjust our ideas and admit new worldviews. Conflict forces us to find new resources and different means to deal with a situation. Contradictions, uncertainty and insecurity make us feel helpless and impotent and this produces suffering. But this is the truth. A truth that is more profound than our daily worries: that we have no control over many things, we cannot avoid accidents or a rise in inflation, but we can be alert and marvel, trying to understand what this is all about.

By admitting this, we come to accept that our existence is frail, and for that, it can be considered a gift, that having a secure life is an illusion and that the feeling of insecurity and uncertainty can be our ally, keeping us alert and attentive to what is necessary at this moment, keeping our mind active to figure what our options are at the present moment.

When we no longer reject insecurity, we begin to accept life.

Julieta Spirito

Works Cited

The Kybalion. A Study of The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece, 1908, Three Inititates (1862-1932), YOGeBooks: Hollister, MO, page 12.

Credits

Snapshot 1: Luis Guillon, Argentina – Into the night – Esteban Bernal (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Buenos Aires, Argentina – Graffiti silhouette – Nicolas Lobos (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Buenos Aires, Argentina – Back alley – Jaay dev Singh (Unsplash)

Snapshot 4: Buenos Aires, Argentina – Dog walking – Aleksandar Todorovic (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Pinamar, Argentina – To the beach – Juan Cruz Mountford (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Buenos Aires, Argentina – City mood – Marc Schadegg (Unsplash)

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Forthcoming

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