The new order in the floating of chaos


Há de ser assim
Há de ser sempre pedra sobre pedra
Há de ser tijolo sobre tijolo
E o consolo é saber que não tem fim

(Serafim, Gilberto Gil)

it must be like this
there must always be stone on stone
there must be brick on brick
and the consolation is knowing that there is no end.

(Serafim, Gilberto Gil)

Singer, songwriter, former Brazilian Minister of Culture and quondam UN Ambassador for Agriculture and Food, UIA2021RIO Honour Committee Member Gilberto Gil celebrates his 78th birthday this June, with a serene and somewhat singular vision of the current situation and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world: “it is just a sequence through which we are living”. In a video conference organised by the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, journalist Cristina Aragão asked him how we were going to “get out of this”. He replied that “we will not be getting out”, then explaining that the pandemic and the post-pandemic are the “continuity of life, with all the pitfalls that constantly occur during its course. … The only way out is death,” he notes.

He admits that COVID-19 was a “great shock”, while recalling that “we are used to coping with shocks the whole time, in our private lives as well as throughout the history of humankind.”

For this baiano, who conquered the world with his songs and deep reflections on people and their relationship with the planet, “human life is a cordillera, full of peaks and troughs.” Right now, he says “we are barrelling down the slope without brakes. But we are building the brakes during this downslide, with science, with solidarity, with politics, with the tools that we have, and we can reach a new valley.”

He stresses that scientific research is a transforming factor that "opens up new panoramas." For him, bioscience, biotechnology, and nanotechnology highlight a human need to expand our survival time and even to attain eternity. "The way that the world is today is very dense, but everything continues like the floating of chaos. And we are witnessing these transformations – this is what consciousness offers to human beings: witnessing all forms of life being discarded and the adoption of new forms of life.”

The collective outweighs the individual

For Gilberto Gil, the current time underscores the idea of aggregation, integration and solidarity. This performer stresses that societies – "human agglomerations" – are outweighing the importance of individuals. "To an increasing extent, we are steered more by the social aspect; we are in cities, we are in countries, we are in the entire world. We are almost eight billion people moving towards the situation of increasing interdependence, needing to shed things like racism in order to steer towards a possibility of prosperity that can be enjoyed by all.”

Speaking to the UOL portal, he said that he believes in a shift in the relationship between the State and society, wagering on a return of a State focused on social well-being. “The State should try to provide more aid, to offset the losses in the production sector with its own funds and resources. We will have a State that is a little more focused on wellbeing, running counter to the tenets of neoliberalism, which have been growing stronger all over the world."

He also spotlighted the drive underpinned by new technologies, which are now vital for cultural links, while warning about the risk of tighter social oversight systems that "will certainly leave negative traces in terms of freedoms and privacy."

In the opinion of this songwriter, the challenges are and will remain constant: “stone on stone, brick on brick, endlessly.”



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