The Meaning of the Brazilian Cultural Experience

1. The people of Brazil are used to «facing life» and to getting everything in «the struggle», that is, to overcoming difficulties and with lots of hard work. Why then could they not also «face» the latest challenge, of making the necessary changes to create more equalitarian relationships and end corruption?

2. The Brazilian nation has not yet finished being born. What we inherited was the Brazil-Enterprise, with an enslaving elite and masses of dispossessed. But from the womb of these masses were born leaders and social movements, with conscience and organization. Their dream? To reinvent Brazil. The process began from below and it cannot be stopped.

3. In spite of poverty and exclusion, the poor invented paths of survival. To overcome a negative reality, the State and the politicians need to listen to and evaluate what the people already know, and what they have invented. Only then will the division between the elites and the people be overcome, and we will become a complex but unified nation.

4. The Brazilian is committed to hope. Hope is the last thing to die. That is why the Brazilian is certain that God writes with crooked lines. Hope is the secret of a Brazilian’s optimism, it lets him put the dramas in perspective, dance at his carnival, be a fan of his soccer team, and keep alive the utopian vision that life is beautiful and that tomorrow can be better.

5. Fear is inherent in life because «to live is dangerous» and always carries risks. They force us to change and strengthen hope. What the people, not the elites, desire more is change, so that happiness and love are not so difficult.

6. Courage is the opposite of fear. It is the faith that things can be different and that, organized, we can move ahead. Brazil has proven to be good not only at carnival and soccer, Brazil is also good at agriculture, architecture, music and her inexhaustible joy of living.

7. The Brazilian people are religious and mystical. More than thinking about God, Brazilians feel God in their daily life, which is revealed in the expressions: «thanks be to God», «may God pay you», «be with God». God is not a problem for Brazilians, but the solution to their problems. The Brazilian feels protected by the saints, female and male, and by the good spirits and by orixás that anchor their life in the middle of suffering.

8. Among the characteristics of Brazilian culture are happiness and a sense of humor, that help alleviate social contradictions. That happiness is born from the conviction that life is worth more than anything else. This is why life is to be celebrated with feasts; and failure must be faced with humor. The effect is the lightness and enthusiasm that is so admired in us.

9. A unification that we have not completed in Brazil is that of academic and popular knowledge. Popular knowledge is born from the experience of suffering, from the thousands of ways to survive with such scarce resources. Academic knowledge is born of study, of drinking from many fountains. When those two forms of knowledge unite, we will be invincible.

10. Caring belongs to the essence of all of life. Without caring, life gets sick, and dies. With caring, life is protected and lasts longer. The challenge now is to understand politics as the caring for Brazil, for her people, her nature, education, health, of justice. That caring is proof that we love our country.

11. One of the trademarks of the Brazilian people is their capacity to relate to the whole world, of adding, joining together, syncretizing and summarizing. This is why Brazilians are neither intolerant nor dogmatic. They like and welcome foreigners. These are fundamental values for globalization with a human face. We are showing that it is possible and we are building it.

12. Brazil is the principal new-Latin nation of the world. We have everything needed to also be the main civilization of the tropics, non-imperial, but in solidarity with all nations, because Brazil incorporated into herself representatives of the 60 peoples who have come here. Our challenge is to show that Brazil can be, in fact, a part of the paradise that was not lost.

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