Teresa – Linear thinking on the complexity of the phenomena founded theories such as the positivism of Augusto Comte who did not value subjectivity and human imagination. How do you see the relationship of linear thinking with the production of violence?
João Roberto– Subjectivity and imagination are the basis of everything. From subjectivity and imagination are born the action that creates experience and from this normalization, values and, finally, culture. Experience and knowledge are the heirs of these energies that activate us for creation. Positivism is anchored in the linear paradigm, and the linear thinking has two fundamental characteristics: disjunction and reduction. In the process of disjunction, it separates parts of a whole and, at the same time, reduces or minimizes the comprehension of phenomena – forgetting the foundation of the interdependence and of the power that the parties exercise on the whole. It is a narrow viewpoint. Take the tree-forest dichotomy as an example. The expert is the person who understands the tree but does not comprehend the forest. He is focused only on the one part and, therefore, ignores the influence of the whole over it. And the generalist is the person who is focused only on the whole – the forest – and ignores the part of it – the tree.
The paradigm of complexity, unlike the linear and positivist viewpoint, embraces the whole and the part and their interactions. This means it highlights the singularity and also the plurality of the phenomena. It is a dynamic and dialectic process. It is dialectic as it transitions from one perception to another. Whole and part, part and whole. The foundations of the paradigm of complexity promote an immense advance in the direction of expanding the human comprehension of reality. The reform of the way of thinking is the largest challenge of the intellectuality, which is so well systematized by the intelligence of Edgar Morin. The linear paradigm, with the disjunction and reduction that characterize it, is for the production of violence, just as the paradigm of complexity is for the construction of peace. The comprehension of the complexity is a safe path in the pacifist edification. The positivist certainty is a source of violence. Killing and dying for mistaken certainties. In this scenario, I highlight my attraction to mythology, its opening to the imagination, its atemporality and polysemy that favor plurality and diversity.
Every week you will find an interview here. To begin this series, we have invited the thinker and writer João Roberto de Araújo. In his seventies, this daring visionary is seeking the global expansion of his experience as a social emotional educator. He is the founder of “50-50 SEL SOLUTIONS” which has the ambitious objective of reaching at least 50% of the world population with the foundations of Social Emotional Learning by 2050. This will only be possible with the participation of a network of complementary agents, with the intention of “being the bridge” between the many needs and possible responses.
Teresa Magalhães, a writer and literature professor, was invited to interview him.