Argentina to come | Profile

As in the stanza that closes Fiesta, Serrat’s famous song, we are going down the slope of what has been the celebration unleashed by the triumph of the National Team in the World Cup in Qatar. Just as each of the players returns to his club, the poor also returns to his poverty, the rich to his wealth and the priest to his masses. They are left behind the nerves and euphoria, the satisfaction for the just and definitive consecration of Messi, and the series of images –virtually infinite– of the celebration of the millions of people who filled streets and squares, climbed traffic lights, overflowed highways.

The inattentive viewer could assume that, deep down, nothing has changed in us. However, if you look more carefully, it is possible to find some vestiges that indicate that we are not exactly the same. It happens that, in times of extreme individualism where the desiring and consuming “I” delimits the field of all our experiences and functions as a starting point for all our judgments, verifying the existence of something that can only be understood in a plural code is a surprise and an interpellation. Surprise, because this collective sensation involved a very different quality with respect to the groupings that usually occur from the simple and sporadic coincidence of particular interests. Interpellation, since we are faced with the presence of two Argentine identities that exclude each other: the World Cup Argentine ethos that, fired up by victory, coagulates us into a powerful group that seems to share the same identity, and the other Argentine ethos, structured on the basis of the much talked about crack, the one that doesn’t know, can’t or doesn’t want to process its internal differences, the one that hoists the flag of every man for himself and continually divides.

The first of these argentinities is omnipresent when the Argentine soccer team participates in important competitions. But its rapt exceptionality gives it a mysterious character. Paraphrasing the opening stanza of Muchachos…, it is not possible to explain precisely how it is configured; If you are not Argentine, you will not understand it.

The second of these argentinities, on the contrary, is well known to us. To give an account of it, it will suffice here to refer to the way in which our population again and again becomes entwined in sterile controversies driven by hate, the way in which our media prioritize boxing scenes over the debate on ideas, the scavenging miserability that spreads through all the powers of the State rendering the public administration as a whole inoperative.

Which of these two “we” are actually us? In which of these polarities do we recognize ourselves more easily? Who would we rather be closer to?

The Argentineanity of the crack is more common and for this reason it is easier for us to describe. It will therefore be convenient to focus on the Argentine identity that emerges in World Cup contexts, an exercise that is particularly relevant in times when the echoes of the triumph in Qatar 2022 have not yet completely faded.

As already said, this Argentine identity preserves a condition that is quite complex to explain. Indeed, we know that, apart from the 26 players in the squad, none of us have scored a goal in the World Cup or saved a penalty. However, we do not stop feeling for a moment that it is “us” who have won the World Cup. It happens that, as Kant teaches, the relationship between the event and what it means is not found in the event itself, but in the way in which it becomes public. What is transcendent is not in the event but in how the spectators receive it, who do not have a direct participation, but who are inevitably traversed by it; what goes through the minds and souls of those who, without being protagonists, manage to appropriate it and replicate it. In the words of the Prussian philosopher, the fundamental thing resides in “an aspirational sympathy that borders on enthusiasm”: the exaltation that makes it possible to verify how much the event was desired.

Read in a Kantian key, this Argentinean identity that manifested itself in an ungovernable ecstasy that went through each and every one of them, that made itself present in bodies and souls, revealing a collective disposition that could not have been generated by any planned course of action. , will maintain a prolonged influence that will allow its evocation in different circumstances: the echoes of this victory will continue to function in the future as a reminder of the plural dimension of our existence.

It is possible to admit that this use of the predicates adjudicable to the Argentine mundialista reflects optimism, but it is certainly a measured optimism. The triumph of the National Team in Qatar does not enable us to expect any kind of refounding of Argentina that would allow reversing the painful spirals of inequality and suffering that demarcate our history, as some excessively candid discourses try to envision. Still, perhaps we can claim the right to leave open the possibility that this collective experience ends up having unexpected positive effects on the way we think of ourselves.

Now, back to the level of diagnosis, it should be noted that the two Argentines that were referred to above do not cancel or counterbalance each other; rather, they coexist in marked ambivalence. But our most pressing problem does not happen in the first instance because of that tension, but rather because of the impossibility of generating a more pedestrian, more everyday Argentine identity, one that is positive and purposeful without the need to be exacerbated from sports, one that is capable of transmitting tensions without this inevitably implies feedback polarities. In short, the problem is not our schizophrenia but our inability to ensure that the enthusiasm shared by Argentina’s triumph stops being something exceptional and inexplicable and instead becomes something daily and strategic.

It may seem that there is nothing urgent in this reflection. However, our current situation and our possible futures will give it a particular relevance. The events that have been taking place herald extremely complex times for democracy at a global level. Argentina will not be exempt from going through these turbulences that will force us to rethink what we want to be, what we can do and how we should act. There will be no place for apathy or indifference.

Recovering Serrat’s stanza quoted at the beginning of this writing, after the end of the World Cup party, good and evil woke up. Hopefully we know how to take advantage of this experience of ourselves that we have had in order to better face the challenges to come.

*Professor in Philosophy and PhD in Social Sciences.

You may also like