Olavo de Carvalho

Philosophy and Self-Awareness

Philosophy, with Socrates, emerged as a critical analysis of collective knowledge in the light of the unity, integrity and self-transparency of individual consciousness. Not, therefore, of any individual conscience, but of one that fought for that unity, integrity and self-transparency and that, with a great deal of hardship, was at the same time digging up and erecting them until lifting them above the murky confusion of passions and self-deceptions; confusion that, in part at least, arises from the passive, disorderly and uncritical absorption of collective beliefs.

It is this struggle that gives the philosopher, together and inseparably, the authority and the cognitive tools to analyze, judge and, if necessary, condemn the established beliefs. And it becomes possible and necessary only because of the double and self-conflicting constitution of the individual conscience itself. On one hand, this awareness is formed following various currents of influence, genetic and environmental, which pull it in every direction and awaken multiple mutually contradictory demands. On the other hand, it tends to the unity due to the continuity of the bodily existence, as well as the need for decisions and choices that call for the unity of an active subject equipped with self-remembering, perseverance in actions and the ability to respond towards other players around it.

A second layer of conflicting demands arises from the fact that the individual does not only have to develop as an activesubject, but must find or accept a place in society, almost always sacrificing part of his sense of internal unity to the demands of the social role and to the feeling of group identity that sustains and protects, but also limits and distorts their individuality.

No human being would be able to rise to the status of a critic independent of collective beliefs if the only forces at play in the process of self-discovery – or self-constitution – of his individual conscience were his own individuating impulse and the demands and pressures of the social environment. On one hand, that impulse is not a causa sui but depends on stimuli and cognitive means – including language – that come from the social environment itself. On the other hand, this environment is based, in part, on inherent needs to the very biological constitution of the individual being. Any evolutionary conflict that may arise between these two forces therefore takes place within the framework of an inseparable symbiotic unity. In the very act of asserting his sovereignty, the individual relies on the social context and implicitly confesses his dependence on it. This is clearlyrevealed in cases of congenital or acquired maladaptation, in which the individual, when turning against the human environment around him, is expelled to a lower social level where he enjoys even less freedom of movement than that granted to his better adapted peers.

This, evidently, is not the case with Socrates. His inner independence is real and, instead of restricting, it expands his freedom of movement, opening up the space for him to exercise a sui generis social role, in many ways superior to that of other members of society, of which some admire him to the extent of veneration, others envy and fear him to the point of wanting to kill him.

The achievement of this inner independence – and even to a certain extent an outside one – would not be possible in a framework delimited exclusively by the biological and social factors of the symbiotic competition between individual and society, a competition that unfolds within the existing social standards and, ultimately, reaffirms the primacy of society.

The independence that Socrates achieves, exercises and demonstrates is clearly supported by the interference of a third element, superior and independent both of himself and of the social environment, irreducible, therefore, be it to the natural constitution of individuality, or to the set of availablesocio-cultural data.

It is this element that Socrates calls his daimon, the spirit that guides him through the demands of life, imposing choices and behaviors that transcend both the impulses of his mere individuality and the rules and precepts of the society around him.

Therefore, what bases and defines the philosopher’s activity is not the mere criticism of society, nor the use of the faculty as an instrument of this criticism at a natural and social time of “reason”, but rather the appeal to a higher authority qualified to guide and judge both the individual and the society.

By submitting consciously and voluntarily to the dictates of this superior instance, the philosopher becomes an emissary of it, but not the perfect and unique incarnation of its authority, which he recognizes is also spread at the bottom of the current social order, as degraded and confused that thisorder is. Hence the apparent paradox that the most independent of Athenian citizens bow obediently to the sentence of the court that condemns him, thus refusing to assert in the field of empirical social reality an independence equivalent to that which he had demonstrated in the field of personal thought and ethics.

Socrates is a spokesman for “unwritten laws” that transcend the existing social order, but not a prophet-legislator charged with changing that order to the standard set by those laws. His function is to remind men of the existence of the transcendent order, not to implement it in the world by the force of authority.

This will remain, over the centuries, the mission of philosophers and the very definition of their way of being.


Olavo de Carvalho
Preparatory text for the class of the 30th of June, 2012.
Translation by Daniel Bertorelli

Dr. Steve Turley

Dr. Steve Sturley interviews Mr. Olavo de Carvalho
Embassy of Brazil, Washington D.C.
August, 2019


“Steve Turley (PhD, Durham University) is an internationally recognized scholar, speaker, and author who is widely considered one of the most exciting voices in today’s Intellectual Dark Web. Dr. Steve’s popular YouTube channel showcases daily his expertise in the rise of nationalism, populism, and traditionalism throughout the world, and his podcasts and writings on civilization, society, culture, education, and the arts are widely accessed at TurleyTalks.com. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Return of Christendom: Demography, Politics, and the Coming Christian MajorityThe New Nationalism: How the Populist Right is Defeating Globalism and Awakening a New Political Orderand Classical vs. Modern Education: A Vision from C.S. Lewis. A frequent guest on numerous talk radio shows, Dr. Steve is best known for his optimistic and upbeat analysis of current events in light of conservative trends which never fails to excite and inspire audiences at venues such as the World Congress of Families in Verona, Italy and the Association of Classical and Christian Schools nationwide. His research and writings have appeared in such journals as Christianity and Literature, Calvin Theological Journal, First ThingsTouchstone, and The Chesterton Review. He and his wife, Akiko, have four children and live in Newark, DE, where they together enjoy fishing, gardening, and watching Duck Dynasty marathons.” [https://www.turleytalks.com/]



Making Essential Information Available Again

One of the essential items of the Gramscian menu that now regulates the Brazilian mental diet is information control, which entails the suppression of all facts that could bring harm to the Communist revolutionary project. It took forty years of “occupation of spaces” (a Gramscian technical term) in newspapers editorial departments, publishing houses, and cultural institutions in general to produce this effect, which today can be considered satisfactorily achieved. Inconvenient news, books, and ideas were so effectively removed from the market that the simple possibility that they may actually exist has already disappeared from popular imagination.

If we mention, for example, the Communist aggression that triggered the conflict in Vietnam, nobody knows what we are talking about, because the silly lie that the United States started the war has taken root in public opinion as an unshakable dogma. If we speak of a “revolutionary strategy,” everyone’s eyes fly open, because they are sure that such a thing does not exist. If we allude to plans, already in full swing, to restore in Latin America the empire that has been lost in Communist Eastern Europe, we are immediately labeled as fantasists and paranoids, even though that goal was proclaimed to the four winds by Fidel Castro in the São Paulo Forum.

Of course, all information that could give credibility to our words has been suppressed from the media, bookstores, and ultimately from national memory. Courses on “Revolutionary War”— a subject whose study used to make the Brazilian Army the last stronghold of an alert consciousness against Communist advance—have been abolished even in staff colleges.

Dozens and dozens of books published in the last decade about the new strategies of the Communist revolution have been placed out of reach of the population by an effective cordon sanitaire around the publishing market and cultural media, which today have been almost completely reduced to the status of auxiliary instruments of the leftist strategy of domination. Acting with stealth, getting around direct confrontation, avoiding explicit preaching, that strategy succeeded so completely in dominating people’s minds that many in the news media and cultural milieux repeat slogans without having the slightest idea that they are actually using Communist watchwords.

There are, of course, conscious collaborators. More than conscious: professional collaborators. The Brazilian Central Workers’ Union, the Workers’ Party, the Landless Movement have on their payroll thousands of media communications professionals. It is an army of reporters and editors larger than that of Globo network, Abril publishing house, and of the newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Estado de São Paulo taken together. They suffice to make those leftist organizations the largest journalistic and editorial industries in the country. But the fact is that they do not get paid to write: they get paid not to write. They are paid to “occupy spaces” in newspapers, book, and magazine publishing companies, blocking, by their mere presence, inconvenient words, and spreading, by their everyday conversation alone, convenient ones. Even in this activist elite, few are aware that their function is that of censors and manipulators. Such is the subtlety of Gramscism, which always relies on the effect of that which is implicit and unstated. It is not even necessary to tell these professionals what to do: imbued with the desired beliefs, placed in decisive positions, they will always go in the expected direction, like water down the drain. And all people who simply repeat what they say have no idea of ​​the overall project with which they are collaborating. So automatic and thoughtless is this mechanism that one of the leading experts in manipulation of intellectuals in the Soviet world, Willi Münzenberg, called it “rabbit breeding:” to get it started, you just need to have a couple. The rest comes by virtue of nature. But what has been planted in the newsrooms, with money received from abroad, by the way, was not a couple of rabbits, but rather some thousands of couples. The multiplier effect is irresistible.

Today, it is in the assuredness, in the pompous and arrogant ease with which people who do not know anything about the subject assure us that Communism is a thing of the past while slavishly repeating Communist slogans (being unaware that they are Communist slogans) lies the best guarantee that the plans announced by Fidel Castro in the São Paulo Forum will be conducted with the foolish complicity of millions of quiet and self-satisfied fools.

There is nothing more urgent than making available information that has been suppressed. Only that can restore the possibility of a realistic debate on issues that are now left to be dealt with by the banal imagination of uneducated dilettanti and the consensual engineering of those strategists who manipulate them.

This book is destined to become a memorable milestone in the recovery of this possibility. Here, for the first time, broad enough documentation has been gathered to demonstrate the inescapably conspiratorial, revolutionary, and Communist character of an organization that, in the eyes of the uninformed, still passes off as the embodiment par excellence of a left that is renewed, democratic, and purified of all contamination with the totalitarian past.

The courage, patience, and determination with which its author, Adolpho J. Paula Couto, gathered and arranged all these fulminating pieces of evidence of the leftist perfidy will make him forever target of hatred of the current masters of morals. I think anything more honorable could be said of a good man.

Olavo de Carvalho
Translation by Alessandro Cota