Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My latest encounter

I rarely watch Chilean television these days. Just as I previously have said that reading the newspaper back home makes me depressed and filled with anxiety, the Chilean telly doesn't even accomplish such gran emotions. It leaves me indifferent. Because it just seems so evident that nothing they say or show has anything to do with the real life out there. It is either sports (question; have the number of football games increased lately?), farándula (celebrities mocking celebrities), farándula disguised as news, closeup on violence and crime, or telenovelas that seem to have outlived their own popularity a long time ago. It just leaves me indifferent and with a sense of wasting my time.

But yesterday, as I searched for a documentary that I never found, I came to watch the debating panelists of Tolerancia Cero. Back when I lived in this country, when Ricky Lake was the popular president who managed everything with a pointing finger, and the future of this country seemed so bright and promising, this used to be my favorite show every Sunday evening. The journalists seemed to know what they were talking about when they commented the last weeks most important news. I liked how they made their points and the smooth sound of the Chilean accent made it even more convincing. But something has changed since then. Ricky Lake lost his glory as he left the throne, and in the past year or two the Chilean shining image has received many stains. Not because of the big earthquake back in 2010, nor the 33 rescued mine workers, and I would even say not even because of the massive student protests last year. But because the joyride of this country just doesn't seem like a joyride anymore. And I would say that most people are also either consciously or sub-consciously aware of this, although the mass media is working hard on keeping up appearances (and the shopping malls continue with their attempts of distraction). Tolerancia Cero is no different. Most of the panelists have changed since I used to watch the debate. And the editorial line is no longer the same. Which one is the chicken and which is the egg is hard to tell, but this program is just not convincing anymore. Except for yesterday.

Suddenly I hear them talk about the violence in the streets, burning buildings and what is wrong with Chile and all its violent citizens. I think to myself, oh dear here we go again... I have become somewhat disappointed with the popular rejection of the social movements´ right to protest. It seems like I hit the hungover phase of last years excitement and support for the student protesters. Nobody cares anymore and many are upset that the protesters are so violent (most protesters aren't violent but the last row always is, and that is also what media usually focus on). So at first I didn't pay much attention. Then appears Humberto Maturana, the visiting panelist of the day. I hear his first phrase and instantly press "record" on my recording device. This guy is INTERESTING! He starts talking about how we should learn to listen to the protesters and what they have to say, how we shouldn't show tolerance but respect for the legitimacy of the other, and only mutual respect can lead to a long lasting conflictfree "conviviencia". Well, his words were right on, finally somebody that speaks out about something that should be obvious but isn't. The best part of his 20 minutes appearance was to see the rest of the panelists reaction, they were lost, did not know how to tackle this "free thinker", nor how to build their own arguments around his elaborated thinking. Sadly, it ended with and abrupt commercial break, in the middle of Maturana´s speech. Define irony: just as that window is unexpectedly opened up for some fresh air, it just as quickly is shut again by a commercial break.

Well, these 20 minutes served to open up my own imaginary window. Today I got my hands on one of Maturana's books (Emociones y Lenguaje) and I have to say, what a potent message, completely unexpected from a biologist researcher. In this book I found thoughts on not only why we shouldn't allow  "naughty chair"education of our children (he didn't describe it in supernanny terms), but also to why science can never be considered objective (no matter how hard they try),  and why it is so hard for us to incorporate the values of others into our understanding of the world. Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.

For those interested in the Tolerancia Cero Debate: Here is the clip from youtube, check the comments below the clip in youtube itself, they are even more interesting!

No comments: