All societies have their rules

por Miguel Alejandro Hayes

All societies have their rules. Their space for interaction defines the relationships which appear in them. In parallel, there’s a system of theoretical and cultural elements which contribute to completing their structuring.

One of those elements is the liberal individual. It is not too important to have a theory about it –which would expand and adapt to the very development of political science and its different languages–; what is more relevant is the social practice which is legally and morally upheld by accepting and reproducing the structures which generate such a subject. The liberal individual is none other than the one which subordinates himself to the logic of a type of proprietary property, and for which corresponding civic norms are written.

In order to measure this man of modernity –a question which occupied the thought of Immanuel Kant–, there’s the criterion of ‘age of majority’. With it we differentiate the child –and his or her corresponding subjectivity– from the adult and the ‘maturity’ which is attributed to him or her. This maturity is nothing else than adapting to a set of abstract norms dictated by not-at-all spontaneous morals. And the figure of the adult is defined –especially in popular culture– by responsibility, acceptance and compliance to the above-mentioned norms. Therefore, the liberal individual in adulthood is none other than the normalized individual. It’s worth asking whether this constitutes true age of majority.

The critique of liberalism is a critique of any projection which attempts to incarcerate human capacity as the users of a social order for the unequal appropriation of the social product. Adulthood is marked by a boosting of the creative forces possessed since childhood; a maturing of the capacities one is born with, and which are developed in the early years of life.

True age of majority is exercising the capacities to problematize, incorporate, decide, reflect.

Man as a rational being reaches adulthood with his reflections, not in becoming that normalized adult. These aspects do not mean chaos or renouncing affective traditions, as may be caring for the young or the elderly, but they do imply rethinking a set of rules of social order regarding the political side of society and its legal, moral and ideological implications, among others. The problem isn’t either that there may be a ‘mold’ which is used to normalize, since this is an inevitable conditioning. The problem is rather in the fact that it may act as a structure to delimit the subject, and not as a mechanism to promote thought as an act of creation.

On the other hand, in every society in which the reproductive and repetitive mentality of the normalized man is encouraged as a way to ensure the continuity of the dominant ideas –political ideology is its most visible face, which uses the apparatus of the state–, those who are rewarded are the ones able to show in their actions that they multiply those routines and forms established by the system.

Real socialisms, the bearers of a freakish Marxism which was nothing more than a type of liberalism, obviously could not escape applying the notion of the normalized liberal adult, obedient of the political system headed by the Party.

Cuban society, state-centered by tradition, is not too far from tripping over the same stone. And so we see that the young who have been rewarded by the old tradition of dogmatic communism –ever since the time of Mella–, have been those able to bear obedience. But the mechanism of social incentives determines the type of person the system will stimulate as a general rule.

Today, the obedient adult is still stimulated, rather than the reflective one able to develop teachings and to conceive them for society. Not being part of obedience –which always supports social hierarchies–, is true adulthood, and not the liberal kind. It will turn out to be true that rebelliousness is an expression of maturity.

Those responsible shall decide which one to bet on.

(Translated from the original)