In our perypatetik project, particularly the emblems in The Anthology of Global Instability, The Codex of Uncertainty, and now The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes, we have been collecting the work of translators and writers from diverse backgrounds on one platform without the discrimination, bias or elitism characteristic of established publications and media.
These texts give us, on the one hand, an impression of different cultural attitudes toward a given topic (instability, uncertainty, polarization, extremes), and, on the other, an understanding of how the common wo/man thinks in our (post-)modern-age.
While all contributions are welcome, we have especially hoped to receive work capable of shedding light on marginalized groups, in particular a major international, overarching type that we call romantics (as opposed to pragmatists). This is a type that is not necessarily associated with any gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, class, etc. All of these subgroups consist of both romantics and pragmatists, even if one or the other type may be more common in each of them.
The reason behind the thinking here is that we live in an age of tremendous tolerance in terms of these subgroups, but, at least judging by the media, we are seemingly intolerant about ideology and worldview. To the extent that this statement is true, it is in many cases reflective of a misunderstanding about life today due not to our own perceptual inadequacy, but rather to the one-sided representation of life dominated by the materialist agenda of pragmatists.
It is not easy to judge the time one lives in. Comparison with a generalized and – usually – idealized past is problematic since we cannot live identically in two times at once.
Nonetheless, it does seem possible to make some statements about our time.
In terms of differences, we can say, for example:
If we recall the influence of organized religion, the church, in the centuries preceding the 20th, then we can call our post-religious age of money, property and success materialist.
Relative to most of the twentieth century when attention was drawn to competing materialist systems – Soviet communism and American capitalism – the economic system in almost every country today is capitalist, i.e. companies are controlled by the private sector as opposed to the state.
Within capitalist societies, the previous balance between capital and labor has swung greatly in favor of capital.
Almost irrespective of our situation, we sense and often participate in technological development – primarily through the computer and cell phone. It is now a reality that many of us spend extensive periods of life in front of a screen.
Increasingly, various forms of intolerance (racism, sexism, discrimination) are not accepted, and all environments – from lines for clubs or concerts to staff in corporate offices – are far more diverse than fifty years ago.
Despite these differences, many aspects remain the same:
Most of us will work for almost all of our productive adult years.
All of us are easily replaceable (as partners, spouses, parents, friends, employees, managers, etc.).
Almost nobody will be extremely successful or get rich.
The world has not come to an end (nor has work).
Life is difficult, or difficulties in life continue to surface.
There will be no permanent state of happiness, despair or otherwise for any of us.
Our perception of the present day is particularly difficult due to the role of mainstream media (television and newspapers). They have a near monopoly in terms of shaping public opinion, with other institutions such as the church, the arts (mostly televised/streamed shows and film) and academia being overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of moderators, pundits, journalists, talk show hosts and op-ed writers.
Media’s primary objective as a commercial business complicates the picture even more. It must generate profits. By polarizing almost every topic to draw attention, the media business model tends to exacerbate and reinforce existing differences. This approach, coupled with our tendency to trust our preferred sources of information, is bound to increase division.
By contrast, our diverse society – with people across the archetypal spectrum constantly coming into personal contact with each other – acts as a counterweight to media divisiveness.
Our perception is also guided by social, economic and political factors. In stable countries such as America, France, Germany, the UK, Italy – to name but a few – entrenched stakeholders in the form of investors, lenders, boards, employees, association members and their associates informally exercise immense influence. The lengthy period of stability in Western countries has allowed them to consolidate their grip as senior stakeholders informally vet subordinates and prospective managers. The future generation of leaders is therefore determined by the preceding group, ensuring continuity in business, but also in the mission or orientation. In America, we see this in the material (i.e. profit) orientation of companies. Throughout the West, we have witnessed this in the hesitant and slow diversification of management. These influencers naturally weigh in on the programming, staffing, mission, etc.
In this constellation, society as a whole should not be forgotten. While its interests are primarily monitored by parties looking to take advantage of and manipulate it (usually by extracting its money through consumption), there are cases of outrage that resonate with the public and require stakeholders to react. In 2017 and 2018 we saw this dynamic in various sexual harassment scandals involving actors, entertainers, corporate officers and directors.
The distinction between romantics and pragmatists can be crudely summarized – for the time being – on the basis of rough artistic generalizations as follows:
Romantics can be said to accept fate, view life as a process, not worry about the future (but have a more pessimistic outlook), disregard education, success, achievements and money, be less open to strangers (not in the sense of immigrants/refugees, but rather people outside of their immediate circle of friends and acquaintances), have a sense of humor, relax, rest and enjoy their leisure time, have polarized minds (swinging from very active to complete lethargy), think quickly (but are erratic in terms of acting), love freedom, live existentially, produce and work.
Pragmatists shape their fate, are focused on the end of the process rather than the process itself, are optimistic about the future, consider education to be critical, success and achievements as proof of personal value, are frugal and cautious with money, network and are basically moralists with an intellectual sense of humor, work constantly, do not think quickly, but act consistently, prefer activity to breaks, like (primarily social and financial) obligations, embrace materialism, consume and manage.
As we have seen in The Anthology of Global Instability and in The Codex of Uncertainty, translators as authors not only are ideal mediators for exploring a culturally conditioned, grassroots view, but also act as a reflection of these idealized types and variations thereof.
In regard to the grassroots, a longstanding problem that intellectuals around the world have faced is that the position of mediator (author, writer, artist, etc.) entails that one is no longer a member of the folk (middle class, lower-middle class, lower-class, precariat – to adopt class terminology for the sake of clarity). The attempts to work around this by interviews or even obtaining direct accounts from the folk generally fail due to the inevitable confusion that ensues in the encounter: if you are not familiar with being interviewed, you will probably make a mistake and in all likelihood even say things you don’t mean at all. If you are given a piece of paper, you will freeze up and fail to compose much comprehensible work. Translators’ familiarity with words and text, their exposure to various fields (the ones in which they translate) and their need to work in order to survive give them a unique position that is oddly close to the vast majority of the folk.
As a result of this position, the texts of translators qua authors can and should hew to the masses (in all their diversity). This applies to both form and content in the traditional sense. But it would also be valid if we reinterpret form and content in the context of the perypatetik emblem project. Accordingly, the content would be, naturally, what the author has to say about the topic in any given year (instability, uncertainty, polarization, etc.), while form in this case would be what the texts or parts of the text say about the characteristics of romantics -> pragmatists.
In 2019 we will learn about a wide range of perspectives on polarization and extremes, just as we did on instability and uncertainty over the last two years. At the same time, however, we will also be able to see fundamental differences between the thinking of romantics and pragmatists. Both are everywhere among us and would be everywhere in the media and thus in our consciousness if only we were aware of the possibilities. We hope you enjoy the possibilities in The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes.
Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov, Henry Whittlesey
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes Transposed – Part 1 – Spain
Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Mavi Romano
Cinemblem (audio/visual) channel: https://youtu.be/imBF2MUPZvM
Of all the benefactors of mankind, my favorite is Prometheus. His audacity provoked the wrath of Zeus when he discovered that Prometheus had given fire to the human race. The latter feared that our mortal species could not defend against the attack of beasts in an inhospitable world without a basic element of survival. Thanks to fire, humans were inventing increasingly precise and sophisticated tools at the same time that their body and brain evolved and created the first cultural forms along with the appearance of language. However, Zeus seemed to know that if a mortal race could take possession of technological development, that mortal race would end up stripping the gods of Olympus of their power over the world and would take their place in the form of totalitarianism. Several centuries later, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra shouted to the crowd gathered in the market that God had died and that they should not cling to supernatural hopes. He announced the arrival of a chaotic and uncertain time that humans would have to face by changing the meaning of their own actions on earth.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 2 – Brazil
Lack of Social Trust – Joana Alencar
Cinemblem (audio/visual) channel: https://youtu.be/Y8Y30m7pF2I
The last few years in Brazil have been challenging for most of us, Brazilian citizens.
We have experienced many highs and lows in our society and its economy for a while now.
But this period, the biggest economic crisis in our history, has also come along with a devastating decrease in our standard of living as well as the widespread perception of a deeply corrupt political system. This combination looks terrible on a daily basis, but beyond that, it has also led us to a desperate desire for change, radical change.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 3 – Venezuela
Hanging by Extremes – Veronica Cordido
Cinemblem (audio/visual) channel: https://youtu.be/Jo8jBBrh9rU
There is also a marked division between the opposition and supporters of the regime. The food basket that the government gives out to the people can only be obtained by holders of a special card called: “Carnet de la Patria,” which is only given to Chavistas and Maduristas who then are forced to vote for the regime and do lots of pro-government things such as marching, protesting and wearing their symbols and apparel. If not? The government threatens, the government punishes, the government sets up and imprisons.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 4 – South America
Polarization within Ourselves – Alejandra Baccino
Cinemblem (audio/visual) channel: https://youtu.be/Ntu0CONQogw
The ever-changing circumstances and the capacity to keep questioning ourselves, even when we believe that we have the right answer, is what makes us human, and fortunately what will make us evolve into more caring societies despite those who think mostly of themselves. Sometimes though, certain extreme ideas are embedded in ourselves, without questioning and without reason, as in the first case with soccer where there is only enough place for hatred and hostility. Fortunately, something that took so long to build can be transformed quite easily, if we only learned to be more respectful of our fellow peers, and whatever principles each individual decides to defend and live by.
In summary, polarization is a part of human nature. We can either chose to analyze it and draw conclusions to make positive changes in our behavior, or take it to be a revealed truth and live by it accordingly, knowing that we will be an accomplice to hatred and retrogression.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 5 – Germany and Romania
A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Andreea Sepi
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/3WYPsiP27tI
Perhaps (hopefully!) polarization is only a moment in time, a swing of the pendulum in its inexorable movement towards a new equilibrium. People do not become polarized for nothing. “Nu iese foc fără fum,” the Romanians say. There is no smoke without a fire. Extremism is not only a rejection of the center, it is also a feeling that the center is feckless or ineffectual. It is a cry for help and a form of testing one’s power. It is an appeal for a different vision, for less taboos in the conversation. We should initiate that conversation before the camps become so hardened in conflict that the only remaining option becomes “zusammen in den Abgrund.”
We don’t want the abyss to be the only place we can still go together.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 6 – South Africa and Angola
Walls and Resettlement – Toni Wallis
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/O-smZ2Aa0XU
Apartheid polarized South Africans, and the extremities between the abundance of the rich and the poverty of the poor remain entrenched and have become a cause of conflict as the disenfranchised poor seek a share in some of the wealth, while the rich, finding themselves under siege, raise the walls that divide the two communities.
In Angola, war brought people from all walks of life together. This diversity is chaotic and unsightly to the government. So in an effort to promote a new and modern post-war country, the state has built extremity into the physical landscape. The rich elite, almost all of whom have ties to someone in government, live in the spanking new city center, while o povo, who make up the masses of the Angolan nation, have been pushed out to the extremities of the city, lamenting their demolished homes and having to get used to becoming invisible in a new kind of apartheid.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 7 – Bolivia
Progress in the Face of Polarization – Osvaldo Montano
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/3b8DBjJ6d1A
It is clear that Bolivia as a country and its population has grown in the face of adversity and has changed for the better. Our culture continues to move towards a future where technology, social networks and tradition come together, hopefully with less polarization.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 8 – Spain
Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Jonay Quintero Hernandez
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/tANHPx1M7Ro
When you surf the Internet, open a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV it really feels like we are in the 30s again. Watch out. Most people who lived during that time are long gone now, so what happened in those years has become a “not so serious” account performed by Hollywood, the History Channel and history books. Finally, as most educational systems in Western Europe have abandoned humanistic disciplines, this creates the perfect background for a new surge in these dark ideologies of the past. The effects of fascism and communism are a foreign experience for most millennials, who are at risk of repeating more than just an environment of polarization and extremes.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 9 – Indonesia
Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Rina Sitorus
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/zCQrO_foKXA
It seems logical that polarisasi politik could strengthen democracy if both sides would just stop using identity politics and negative campaigning to attack their rivals. It also seems logical that polarisasi politik would benefit democracy if people were to first check the authenticity of news or a story before sharing it on social media or in group chats. But the thing is, when you have decided to support one side no matter what, your heart has already decided that for you, and I’m afraid there’s not much room left for logic.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 10 – Mexico
Student Movements – Alejandra Gonzalez Sariñana
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/IN3i1a2p3H0
But, who wins when a student movement is ignited? Can the students win? I recently asked one of the participants in the movement if they ever question who is behind the events that lead to protests and strikes, and what their political agenda really is. He answered that he does, but only in conversations with his friends, not in the open meetings. In the end, he says, it doesn’t matter, as long as the main issue gets resolved and actions are taken to create a safe environment for the community, he doesn’t care if somebody gains political power or leverage. I guess it’s true, even if social movements are used to polarize society and push political agendas forward, the underlying issues that give rise to them should not be forgotten. Those issues are real, as they have been real every time, and, yes, they divide opinions and they are used by politicians, but they are important.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 11 – Armenia
The Era To Close – Nane Sevunts
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/xOBeuw6Csqs
I am Davit. I am 13 years old. I live in a shelter in Giumry, an Armenian town. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. They are younger than me. I need to work to feed them.
This is my mom. Her name is Shogher. She is sick. She can’t work so I have to work to take care of her.
I get up at 5 o’clock and go out to clean the yards. I work as a janitor from 5 am to 7 am. Sometimes it is cold outside, and my hands are freezing, but I am happy I can work.
Then I go to school on some days when we have food. If we don’t have food, I go to find wood in the forest to sell to my neighbors so that I can buy bread.
I want to become an astronaut. But first, I need to feed my family.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 12 – Serbia
Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax & Judicial System – Vuka [Vuka kao reka]
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/l8jxcHwgHoU
We’re kind of a nation of outliers with huge gaps in normalcy because each pole within each cohort regards the opposing pole as totally crazy, and their own self as being totally victimized. A bunch of people gone crazy for being terrorized by a bunch of crazy people, multiplied by the number of particular industries within which they would very much prefer to operate freely. Alas, they linger where they are, oppressed by a bunch of wackos and deprived of the basic human right to function normally.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 13 – Peru
Adults and Children – Monica Valenzuela
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/oJRnPWyEP-Y
Now that we are adults, we should remember the joy from our childhood and use it to enjoy our jobs, our daily life because as we grow up, it looks like we forget how to enjoy daily activities and things, and we start acting like robots doing everything automatically. And why is that? I think it is because we are so focused on competing among ourselves that we forget that living means enjoying every moment. As our grandparents said, we must enjoy the road, not just the victory at the end.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 14 – The Balkans
The Loss of Identity – Aleksandar Skobic
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/VE-LuC-tanI
Most of the kids in my class at school suddenly started to become divided, to form smaller groups, to point fingers at each other. Muslims took one corner of our classroom, Croats the other, Serbs the third. The fourth corner belonged to those kids from mixed, interethnic marriages. I was asked one day, politely, without any antagonism or “a must”: Come over here, we would like to ask you something… And that’s how I became someone else, without having an opportunity to grow up and become someone in the first place.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 15 – Argentina
A Thought about Polarized Insecurity – Julieta Spirito
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/krLR-yklWGA
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 16 – Italy
Social Polarization – Mary Ranaldo
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/dLzYBtjkN-k
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 17 – Lebanon
Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes – Amina Ahmed
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/iX7hCxln8v4
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 18 – Cuba
Balance – Marilin Guerrero Casas
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/W1pw8iz2tj4
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. 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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 19 – Ukraine
What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Evgeny Bondarenko
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/N3ZfC70ccIg
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 20 – Uruguay
The Illogic of Extremes – Andrea da Silva Escandell
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/c8dVTtHCV3o
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 social media groups, twitter, etc.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 21 – Spain
Unfinished Episodes – Jazz Carl Williams
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/D9f9pjafN_4
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 22 – Armenia
Polarized Within Ourselves – Mania Israyelyan
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/G0K5xQufLbI
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 23 – Poland
Pole-arization – Pawel Awdejuk
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/8djWnq0TlqE
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.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 24 – The Balkans
Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization – Aleksandar Protić
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/JrfgZgy-hiQ
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.Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 25 – Italy
A Past-Present Dicotomia – Daniela Cannarella
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/IpqnwYe9TjY
The clashes between Greeks and Persians in the V century BC strongly influenced the historians who, more or less unconsciously, have often projected such negative experiences into the colonial past. I realized that just as the future is influenced by the past so even past thoughts and stories about people living two or three centuries ago had been altered by today’s polarization in social identity (us vs. them).
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 26 – Serbia
The Polarizacija of Serbian Culture – Jelena Sekulić
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/YUlBo6bLWEU
Whatever the cause may be, there is the fact that Serbian society is polarized in this cultural sense and the two sides are unable to understand each other. It would be interesting to hear how those polarized sides describe our beloved Serbia and whether those portraits would have anything in common. In the meantime, we will have to accept the fact that the truth lies where the two images overlap, and only outsiders can experience both sides, unlike the people captured in the images.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 27 – Tajikistan
Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Nigina Kanunova
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/QcWtYiA01u8
Everyone chases happiness, but do we really know what it is? Sometimes it seems that we are the only creatures in the world who cannot answer this question. The number of military conflicts, wars around the world, violence, cruelty, humiliation can serve as proof of my words. Sometimes “happiness” oversteps the bounds of decency, we get greedy and want more and more in unacceptable ways and have an unbound “appetite,” a hankering for power and money leads to the destruction of the individual and society as such. We chase “happiness” and forget to be human, we hurt and stop thinking, but the first rule in every chase is to remain human. Freedom is doing what you like, but there is a huge difference between freedom and permissiveness that can turn us into monsters.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 28 – Portugal
Brandos Costumes – Sebastião Sem
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/yRB8GaehcuY
Polarização seems anathema to the Portuguese spirit. Once a nation of sailors, explorers and colonizers, we’ve since become a people of brandos costumes – that is to say, mild-mannered customs and traditions, although that oft-used tradução doesn’t quite do the original justiça. These dias, the expression is mostly used as an insulto directed by one Portuguese at all others; it’s shorthand, a quick way of saying that we’re all soft, dopes, easily taken advantage of by the powers that be, totós, sheeple, conformistas. I do agree that we are a people of brandos costumes, but am fervently against the noção that makes us dopes.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 29 – Uruguay
Difficult to Understand – Lillian Julber
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/mf24yoPf2z8
The big question is: Can you change people’s mind and prejudices by simply imposing laws and trying to force ideas on them? Or should there be educational campaigns where these matters become part of a comprehensive workshop, where people of all walks of life jointly collaborate in activities that do not specifically relate to their sexual identity but can help them understand that these others, working by their side, are similar to them, have the same good intentions and feelings, and that people are not defined by their sexual orientation but by their emotions, education and goals in life?
Our country will have to find a good answer to this question and others that have arisen and/or will arise in the future to avoid extreme polarization in this matter, which, often, is the cause of violence.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 30 – Argentina
The Canyon Inside Us – Javier Gomez
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/xl5RYnyCbvY
But I think there’s a simple explanation for this, and I believe we shouldn’t see it as an us or them situation. Or maybe we should, but at an individual level. There’s a rift in all of us, implanted as we grow up and learn about life. We are taught to perceive everything as a dual scenario and one of the sides always has to win, to conquer the other. And so, otherness becomes the enemy. As a certainly not-open-minded writer once said, the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. Violent species as we are, the human approach to overcoming that fear has usually been to destroy what causes it. And that is just one of the myriad of things we have been doing wrong throughout history.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 31 – Turkey
Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – S.A. Dastan
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/6THaPa3DmOc
I don’t know exactly when it started. Maybe it had been in us for decades and was waiting for the right time to be unveiled. Or, a new phenomenon just developed and burst out. What I do know is that things changed in the summer of 2016 – suddenly and irreversibly. It was like the instant rise of a flood that topples everything ahead of it or an avalanche that starts with a rolling snowball and then transforms each snowflake into a massively destructive whole.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 32 – India
At the Crossroads – Sanjay Kumar Ray
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/nk2rSst1Nt0
Social scientists have referred to this as identification alienation. Individuals belonging to one particular group identify with each other and are alienated from those belonging to another group. The advent of social media has enabled similar groups to connect and act on a real-time basis across different geographic locations. Various agitation programs pursued by diverse groups can easily bring thousands of people to the street at short notice thanks to Whatsapp, Facebook and other internet media. At the same time, pictures of social agitation, discontent and extremist actions are beamed through televisions into our homes as and when they happen. Individual anger is channeled into group agitation.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 33 – Russia
Feminism – Anastasiya Zakharova
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AagiyPCj2OY
Imagine a child shouting in their attempt to share their emotions, express their feelings, explain ideas, and share a vision of the world. The child wants to say something important to us, but the adults watch and laugh, saying, what a pretty child, how smart, but paying no attention to the words coming out of their mouth.
This is the situation of feminism in Russia. Progressive minds know that it is important to fight for their rights, but the majority of us stick to their view that there is nothing to talk about, that we have equal rights and that feminists are just crazy about following ghosts.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 34 – Canada
Bilingual Par Excellence – Maha Husseini
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/W9N8URpb_LU
We are witnessing increased and intensified polarization all over the world. History is full of examples of divided societies and political disparity, which contributed to shaping policies and influenced the course of peace and war. Disparity, exclusion, diversity and cultural differences may give rise to extreme standpoints.
Elements such as nationalism, identity, distribution of wealth and language are generally used for political purposes. Unfortunately, these elements create discord and division and are responsible for divergence. Society is then pulled apart and driven to conflicting extremes.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 35 – Spain
Why Live on an Edge? – Virginia Sanmartín López
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/zuPHCl_zdBs
These definitions show us two possibilities, two extremes, two poles of each case. We need to feel and know pain in order to feel and know joy (and vice versa). Have you ever been surrounded by the most peaceful and comfortable environment and wished with all your might that you were in some crowded pedestrian street on a sales day? Who has not started a strict diet based on proteins and has found themselves (suddenly) ingesting “strictly” sugar and fat? We can do our best to maintain an idea, stay in a place or follow certain rules, but a human being lives in a continuous intermediate point.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 36 – Argentina and Turkey
Needing a Sustainable Future in the Midst of Political Polarization – Peren Çakir
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/vNk4XYhkwlU
Polarized societies spend too much energy on a zero-sum game where both parties are negatively affected by the consequences. People, countries, and nature lose precious time for the establishment of a sustainable living environment in such a context. We need to become aware of our limited time and resources and start to appreciate a collaborative mindset. This applies to not just Argentina, but also Turkey, the UK, the US and the rest of the world.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 37 – Armenia
Polarization ≠ Extreme – Hayk Antonyan
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/Yj1wD_FT5fA
The habit of aligning polarization and the discourse of extremes has come a long way. We have inherited the tradition of equating polarities and extremes. We consider it to be a given and do not challenge it; we do not engage in deep reflection on the subject. It has played a bad game with us: we have been deceived by the commensurability of polarity and extreme, wrongly thinking that it entails or implies equivalence, comparability or correspondence.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 38 – Italy
The Unbearable Weight of Being a Woman – Sara Deiana
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/L2MvLOhv0BU
It is a major problem. Sadly, one spread across our whole planet. The victims are all different: they may be black, white, atheist, religious, well-educated, monogamous, sterile, libertine, married; and yet they all share the same fate – they were born a woman.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 39 – Montenegro
The Law of Silence – Nikolina Pavicevic
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/Q2ZqXDvrY-8
Sometimes patriarchal structures and a strong wish to preserve traditions seem to prevail over this area. However, there is another, less known side of Montenegro. I was born and live here, and I can, without a doubt, say that gender inequality is one of the biggest problems our society faces.
Gender inequality isn’t discussed, mentioned or even acknowledged by the majority in Montenegro. And a woman’s fight starts even before she is born.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 40 – Columbia
Between the Sky and the Earth: Looking for Love – Christian Escobar
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/EpcwCXih-Bs
In the life of every human being there are moments of rupture: situations where we experience such intense emotions that our world is turned upside down. A few months ago, I turned 31 and, during the several weeks after my birthday celebration, I wondered about a lot of things: Where will my work take me? Where am I going to live? Will my beloved ones stay by my side for a long time? But, among all those important questions, there was one that is still preoccupying my thoughts: Where can I find true love?
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 41 – Kenya
Religious Extremity And Exploitation – Kenn Mwangi
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/DDm0-vwyKOE
Since the majority of the Kenyan population identifies as Christian, Sundays hold a special place in their lives. Every Sunday without fail, millions of Christians from all walks of life throng to their favorite places of worship. We come together eager for a chance to commune with the man in the cloud. Each worshiper is driven by personal reasons often revolving around five main categories – expressing gratitude, asking for forgiveness, seeking blessings, reinforcing their faith, and reserving a place in the afterlife.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 42 – Pakistan
Shrinking Space for Dialog – Kashif Butt
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/vwoFhtA6aU0
Pakistan, a mostly Muslim country with a history of long-term military dictatorships, often appears in the news due to some cataclysmic events or incidents. After separating from British India, we enjoyed a healthy environment for dialog over the first 2-3 decades, where several movements emerged and successfully engaged the masses. However, in 1974, the first lockdown was witnessed when, under the extreme pressure of Muslim fundamentalists, a second amendment was adopted for the constitution of Pakistan, and the Ahmadiyya Muslims were declared non-Muslims. This amendment not only decreased the space for religious dialog but also opened the way for rigid Sunni Muslims to initiate a movement for declaring Shia Muslims as non-Muslim too. Hence, the previous religious dialog turned into a state of no tolerance, and a door opened for religious terror throughout the country.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 43 – Tunisia
Organizing Change – Sarah Turki
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/IfqNyI_-opc
Ever since the 2011 spring revolution, Tunisia, a small country in North Africa, has witnessed a progressive improvement in democracy, stability, safety and rights. Yet, sadly and unfortunately, these rights have been limited for some minorities, including the LGBT community.Organizing Change – Sarah Turki
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 44 – Estonia
Thoughts of Two Generations: Polar Opposites? – Mari Tammpuu
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/IT4LZRS2BXk
This is the only life I will ever have.
Klišee. But this thought haunts me night after night. Sometimes I wish I believed in god, so I could also believe in some sort of an afterworld, where I could start all over again. But as the studies say, Estonia is one of the least religious countries of all. And at least in this sense, I am a prime example of a typical Estonian, whether I like it or not.
I’m not saying I’ve had a hard life. We were poor for the first three years or so; the Soviet occupation had just ended, making for a newly independent state of theoretically infinite possibilities, but a whole lot of confusion in practice. Fresh out of university, my parents were desperate for jobs. And whatever they got, they worked hard at it. Overtime, weekend work – anything to get by.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 45 – Ghana
The Family: Bringing Us Together, Tearing Us Apart – Kwasi Amankwah Awuah
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/j03hVxv5MvA
An individual born into a family has a set of rules that are instilled in them regarding how to trace their family roots. No matter where you find yourself, even if born out of the country, you automatically become a member of your mom’s or dad’s family according to the familial system of your tribe. Ethnic groups differ in the type of familial systems practiced, with most being matrilineal or patrilineal. These systems entail complexities and bonds first to an ethnic group, then to the family of the parents and then to that of the nuclear family. In my society, the extended family system is so influential that it has more power over the body and property of a dead individual than the nuclear family. The extended family is said to own the individual.
Comparing the family unit in the West to that of my cultural setting reveals a vast difference. In the West, America in this case, the family usually consists of the nuclear one. Apart from a few minority groups, most individuals are brought up with no sense of an extended family, and systems do not help with that either. Imagine the shock I got the first time I heard that a child could come from a different state than that of their mom or dad. “Really? You do not live where you were born?” I wondered, thinking about how this gave an individual no reason to trace the roots of either of their parents. Over time, the links to these family members from other states will weaken and break off, leaving generations after that individual with no idea of who they might actually be related to in other states.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 46 – Dominican Republic
Social Polarization – Aura De Los Santos
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/XvZOmjYWpFQ
While it is true that many positive aspects of our country can be highlighted, when we dig deeper into the reality that is lived day by day, we can see that the differences and the present struggles people have are quite serious. The differences are very noticeable. Visiting one part of the country and seeing the luxury that surrounds it is impressive, but it is sad to go to one of the poorest neighborhoods and witness the little access they have to basic services that every citizen should enjoy. Here we begin to see a part that many people have little or no knowledge of.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 47 – Croatia
Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Stevan Milivojevic
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/xd_TnYVwULI
The LGBTIQ community in Croatia became visible, in an informal self-organizing sense, during the 1980s. Along with Slovenia, this made it one of the first countries with LGBTIQ activism in the Balkans region. The legal position of LGBTIQ people in Croatia changed several years before the official activist initiatives, after changes to the constitution were adopted as part of the judicial reforms and the transference of power from the federal level to the republic level. These reforms, which took place in 1974, amended the federal penal code, and by doing so, regulated the decriminalization of same sex relations.Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Stevan Milivojevic
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 48 – America
A Polarization of Family Values – Talia Stotts
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/U8sNGlkY2TE
If you were to travel back in time to the mid-20th century, you would notice a lot of key differences from the way life is lived today. You might note the lack of cellphones and computers; you might be surprised by the number of newspapers being read and friendly conversations in the streets. You might notice a distinctly segregated way of life with regards to race. Or it might even just be the clothes people wear that give you the most pause.
Whatever you might notice, the 1950s were very different from where we are currently in 2019. Even so, those years of long ago are still heralded as the “good old days” for whatever nostalgic reason people may find. However, it is the expectation of the family dynamic of those times that causes some of the greatest polarization among citizens in America today.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 49 – Philippines
There’s No Justice, Just Us – Kristin Uusitalo
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/IWo4RjJ30g8
I did not have the best childhood. I was not part of the wealthy groups. This allowed me to see things in a different light. My mom and I rented a home all our life, allowing me to experience people from all walks of life. Growing up in an area with people of limited financial means, I shared the same lot as my neighbors. I love those people, my friends. When I asked them about their dreams, it was not about going to college. Their dreams were to leave the country and make a better life for themselves. People, who don’t know the struggle say, get a job and work for college. I do not see how that is possible when the rent itself is the same amount as your minimum wage paycheck. I have met extremely intelligent people who would put graduates to shame, but could not afford to go to college. No school loans, no welfare; it’s just passion and ambition. A burning desire for success, but when push comes to shove, that friction turns to fire.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 50 – Peru
The Struggle for the Working Class – Martha Corzo
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/297aJ_CGnvs
One of the greatest extremes in Peru can be found in people’s standard of living.
We can arrive at this conclusion if we consider that many families in Lima, especially the immigrants from the highlands, live on an average of 1,000 soles (or less) a month (equivalent to less than $300), while, by contrast, there are also many families who spend that sum on a ticket for entertainment or other things as insignificant as that.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 51 – Hungary
Are You Willing To Be the Judge? – Zoltan Molnar
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/EKknr1p3x-o
Let’s jump a few years ahead.
The star parents are 35, the daughter is 4 and the boy has just started walking. Dad has succeeded at work and been promoted. Mom is thinking about looking for a part-time job because she needs some more company and a change of environment from constantly being at home.
There are garden parties every month; some old friends have reached the maturity level to be able to spend time with us again. We smile, you smile, we like you, you like us. This is a textbook case of a happy life, right? Facebook is the place where we can find millions of happy family pictures. As if there were no bad days or anxiety in the background. Many use social media to present themselves as stars. The best mother. The cutest baby, etc.
And then, the mother calls her best friend at nine in the evening. She is sobbing uncontrollably; her words can hardly be understood. It turns out the father left her and the kids.
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 52 – Montenegro
Merging the North and South? – Ana Boričić
Cinemblem (audio/visual): https://youtu.be/QtJtTMLMp3w
Despite these differences, all citizens of Montenegro share similar hopes. They would like a highway to connect all the regions of the country. This would mean connecting the north and the central part, and therefore the south of Montenegro, so a higher percentage of young people would stay in their hometowns and a richer social life would be achieved in every sense. The idyllic dream is to connect the sea with the mountains, the sunshine with the snow, the shoreline with the pasture. In this dream, Montenegro becomes a place where, regardless of our birth, cultural heritage or social environment, we have, we will be able to enjoy, the same opportunities and a somewhat harmonious lifestyle.