Ethics Sleeping/ Claudia Cadelo

Photo: Lia Villares

Photo: Lia Villares

I am arguing with a friend about ethics and the intellectuals and he reproaches me, “If that’s what you think you should tell those people.”

And I respond: How am I going to tell someone so intelligent, so wise, something so obvious? Don’t you know? How am I going to say to a curator that I think he should suspend his show because the artists participating in it are being threatened by State Security? How am I going to advise a musician that I think it would be ethically correct to suspend his concert because there are people outside who can’t enter because the venue has been taken over by the political police? How am I going to suggest to a theoretician that I don’t think his conference should take place because some of those interested in the topic cannot be heard, as they are considered “counterrevolutionaries”? What right, indeed, do I have to say all these things when I’m usually among the threatened, those denied entry, and the counterrevolutionaries? I feel that my position, clearly anything but neutral, obliges me to keep some of my opinions to myself. But I know that were he in any other circumstance, he would surely think the same.

My friend tells me my answer is cowardly, and he’s probably right. I don’t like to tell people what I consider ethical, I know perfectly well that they agree with me on these issues and for reasons having nothing to do with ethics they take other positions.

I guess I’m turning into a radical. When I studied history in school they told me that was good. Will they be right?

December 17, 2010