An Optimistic Weather Forecast

for the next four days

After having listened to the talks of the first session and having looked at the titles of the talks to come I feel inclined to predict that – on the whole – the Conference “Encontros Internacionais” will be White, Civilized and Reasonable.
  1. White might be substituted as well by European or Rooted in Mediterrean Tradition. In other words: all the Participants share pretty good knowledge of the Bible, Greek Mythology and Communist Manifesto. The consequence of this community of intelectual and moral background is the probable general acceptance (with modicum of dissident interpretations) of statements on How/Why to Exist as put forward in Declaration of Independence or Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    They (we) also share the sense of responsibility for the future of the world. The whole world. This is the traditional White Man's Burden which the other cultures have been unable to take up (what is clearly manifested by their non-existent or negligible nuclear outfit).

    So, no wonder that there are no Maori sages or Japanese monks among us: by non-verbalized, mutual agreement we shall take care of their future. This spares us the troubles of translations from strange languages and even stranger mentalities. The absence of Druids or Incas is also justified as we have determined once and for all any chances of their alternative thinking 2000 years ago and 400 years ago, respectively.

    Besides, outside of our culture there are not so many specialists in social sciences (i.e. the art of proving that our social concepts are superior to the ones of other cultures).

    Remark: White describes rather a mental state than the colour of skin. E.g. OPEC cartel decisions are white all along while Jewish general lack of resistance during the Holocaust was not.

  2. Our culture has grown up enough to admit unabashedly that the Contemporary Man is the mixture of Civilization and Biology. However, in examining social behaviour of influential societies the first voice is left to Economists while Ethnographers et al. are mildly pushed to deal with smaller and isolated social groups (of course, a methodological restriction for the sake of quality of researches). So, we shall not be incommoded here by perplexing statements of any neo-Freudians – or any findings of the school of Konrad Lorenz which are hard to interpret as clear-cut social indications.

    The economical overtones of the discussion on Political, Economical and Social Alternatives will make it sound quite a bit like a meeting of a Marxist study group. It is conceivable even that a society's health will be expressed – via GNP – in dollars or DM's per capita, which would not contradict by any means the old joke that the extremes meet.

  3. The approximations, interpolations and forecasts will be well-balanced and justifiable on the grounds of the history of the human development; shortly speaking: Reasonable. There will be no place for wild exaggerations of Alvin Toffler's type. The fresh story of post-Shah Iran will be reminded of in this or that context but always with some reasonable explanations. It will be cast into oblivion that under right (or rather: wrong) circumstances not only individuals but masses as well may go crazy. One will let it pass unnoticed that in the interplay with the other factors the factor of pure stupidity (idiocy, instinct of self-destruction) of large human groups is indispensable for explanation of numerous phenomena radically changing the course of otherwise fereseeable history (e.g. inter-bolshevik purges, Nazi rule, Khmer Rouges rule, Biafra massacre, IRA activities). And so, we shall not be prevented by anything from drawing neat, logical designs for the rest of this century.

Will you say: “these are easy prophecies”? I will agree. However, sometimes one has to repeat obvious things. For example “good day” or “thank you”. I hope it does no harm.

Andrzej Solecki

UnB, Matemática
Brasília, Sept. 11th, '79

On leaving its military dictatorship period, Brazil needed an international projection and recognition. TV show of Queen Elisabeth II parading jointly with Gen.Ernesto Geisel, Brazil's President, was a good start. His apointee for the next president, Gen.João Batista Figueiredo, gave some smart steps to neutralize the university community that might considered supporting the Left and complicate a smooth passage to “business as usual” in civilian clothes. Putting it in a plain way, ha made a wholesale purchase; several thousands of university professors got substantial salary hikes and laws that gave them tenure and automatic rise in hierarchy. So, the stage was set for an international show of freedom of speech and thought.

Social scientists may be quite an influential group in Western democracies, so a 5 day conference was organized for them, all expenses paid by organizers. The bet was that the easy-going way of Brazilian man in a street together with lack of strong response to freely disseminated leftist views would make an impact on famous guests, and consequently help in dealing with economical agencies of rich countries when social and industrial projects were concerned.

I do not believe that one would be able to estimate how much money came to Brazil due to a change of the way it was seen abroad but certainly Brazilian government made a wise investment organizing this “International Encounter – Political, Economical and Social Alternatives Till the End of the Century”.

The list of participants was impressive. But what I saw and heard on the first day left me a bit uneasy: the guys seemed to be too happy with themselves. I had attended only one great class meeting of social scientists before and I was not able to tell whether the atmosphere was just showing how things were done in their fields or it was due to 800 meter elevation of Brasília but I felt that a bit of wet blanket would not go wrong at that moment. So I tried to say some words suggesting that perhaps the sentiment of self-satisisfaction was a bit undue. I could not count on an official distribution of my leaflet; first of all I was not a social scientist; besides, my long hair guaranteed that I would not be treated very seriously. So I recurred to Samizdat.

In case you forgot or didn't know, Samizdat (which might be rendered as MySelfPublicationHouse in English) was reasonably well known name and concept at that time. So I photocopied the page and distributed it at the entrance. Therefore you may take it for an article that was published, if you wish to see it this way.