Renato_Janine_Ribeiro_in_2015
PHOTO: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

There are practically no human sciences before the XNUMXth century. That is to say that sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology and even history, as sciences, are at most two hundred years old. There were precursors, but essentially what we know of human beings today is recent work. The advances in these areas have been remarkable.

It turns out that when you study the individual or society, you are involved in the study. We can be more objective when dealing with physics or chemistry, but in the case of the human being our interests or desires are involved. And that brings at least one positive result: those who study the human being, in most cases, want to improve the life of our species. There will be disagreements about what is best for us, but the will to improve will be strong. Whoever used the human sciences for racism ended up in the garbage of history.

This has led many human scientists to become militants without losing scientific rigor. Anthropologists, for example, defend the rights of indigenous peoples, blacks and minorities in general. And so it goes.

The problem is that, for some time now, this activism has led some to deny the scientific spirit itself. Look at Freud: his main battle was against morality, if you will, against moralism. He revealed the strength of sexual impulses that, for his time, were something forbidden, not talked about. (Agatha Christie, in her early novels, goes so far as to say that a girl at the beginning of the XNUMXth century would lose her reputation if they saw her coming out of a… bathroom).

It so happens that today, to speak scientifically about certain subjects, in various media, provokes a strange reaction: it is as if the mere mention of something immoral represents the defense of that immorality. I take directly from a statement by a signatory of the manifesto in defense of the flirt (not the harassment!) signed by one hundred French women, and which stated that a woman can come during a rape. She said she can cum, not that she does. However, what she said was understood as a defense of rape. (Don't confuse her with someone who said she wanted to have been raped. They are two very different statements). What she said was unfortunate, but when one goes to seriously study sexuality, what one discovers may not please good customs, neither the ancient ones of oppression and repression, nor the modern ones, of equality and respect for the other (and for other).

And here we have the abyss between militancy and science. Scientific knowledge cannot have barriers. He deals with the horror eventually. But without knowing the worst, you don't know the human being. There is no science without the willingness to suspend moral judgment in order to know. Even if our goal is to fight horror – in this case, sexual abuse – we need to understand it.

And here we have the abyss between militancy and science. Scientific knowledge cannot have barriers.

As it is precisely with regard to sex (I use this word on purpose, and not gender, because I want to emphasize the side of desire, of libido) that there is still a huge number of abuses and prejudices, what I want to emphasize is simple: knowing the causes or reasons of a process does not mean praising them. It doesn't mean taking their side.

I've seen many people criticizing those who sought to see, in our electoral system, what favors corruption. They rejected the very idea that corruption had causes; for them, it stemmed only from personal dishonesty. Therefore, paradoxically, they repudiated any reform that would make the system more honest, claiming that the person is honest or not, as if circumstances played no role. (If there is a system in which it is frankly harmful to respect the rules of the game, they will tend to be flouted. Imagine yourself in a traffic jam on the road, with drivers overtaking on the side of the road. to illegality.). Well, knowing the causes – of minor illegalities, of sexual abuse and problems, of corruption and violence – often requires dealing with what I will call, for simplicity, gradations of Evil. For without knowing it, there is no scientific advance.

Nobody asks this question when researching the causes of a disease. If a doctor discovers what causes the flu, or cancer, will anyone accuse him of defending the disease in question? But that's what many do when investigating what causes disapproved human conduct.

And that is why the law, the best law itself, the defense of “good” causes, is intruding into areas that are not its own. It applies a series of norms, correct, fair, of good, but that sometimes even deny the possibility of studying observed phenomena. Which ends up being a shot in the foot. If we don't know what's on the mind of the worst criminal, how can we tackle the causes of crime?

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