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Like the Fireflies Generating Light

It is currently common to use expressions such as "polarization" or "crack" to describe the attitudes with which the inhabitants, politicians and governments in different countries raise or debate their problems. It is a difficult situation that we are going through worldwide, because discussing from closed and antagonistic positions does not contribute to finding solutions that should be common to all. And that situation transforms into even more difficult by the fact that behind those political or ideological divisions, other deeper ones are hidden and related with lines of fracture in society.

And this is a concern legitimated by world history and if we look at the crucial events that happened during the 20th century, we will see that polarization and antagonism are not novel phenomena in the history of humanity

Different social and political analysts have expressed a legitimate concern about the way in which different conflicting events that occur in different countries are interpreted, reported and debated. Attitudes towards problems appear marked by the adherence to a predetermined group position, closed to listen to other arguments and predisposed to an early disqualification.

Society appears divided into biases, each of which believes itself to be the owner of the truth and rejects, "on a matter of principle", any opinion that comes from "outside" the own group

Groups cling to their beliefs and defend them as an unquestionable dogma nucleated around a leadership, developing a behavior similar to the clans acting in a contrary manner to the guidelines of the democratic systems of government. When a society works in this way, it affects profoundly the healthy political coexistence, because any form of exchange of ideas is eliminated. In this way the exercise of debate disappears, nor the search for opinions in order to find common solutions.

The world presents today a scenario in which all these problems are evident in different countries. We take briefly by way of example the following cases:

In Argentina polarization was accentuated since the change of government and political sign in 2015; in Brazil, after the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff; in the US from the beginning of the administration of President Donald Trump and his position in front of the Hispanic and Islamic communities; In Spain, a struggle has been brewing in recent years between the groups that defend the monarchy and the groups that prefer the republic, with the aggravation of the autonomous communities such as Catalonia that want to separate themselves from the rest of the country; in Europe, after the famous "Brexit" raised by the United Kingdom, more and more nationalist ideas are affirmed in the different countries, members of the community, which are affecting all the achievements obtained since the last years of the 20th century when the "Union" of countries provided so many benefits.

Given this scenario, we wonder what happened to modern societies … Clearly they forgot the learning that the ancient Greeks left us, when in the agora or public square of the polis, they discovered the politics and logic to overcome the clashes between different groups, building a community capable of integrating them. In the agora, citizens expressed their own thoughts, as free men, and from all of them emerged the collective synthesis, from those who were capable of leading, giving rise to the platform of democracy.

In the mid-70s, Pier Paolo Pasolini made an assessment on the disappearance of the popular spirit in a controversial article[2] in which he recalled an image of his youth in which, in the fields surrounding the city of Rome, the fireflies were a luminous community that emitted signals to communicate among themselves. Pasolini reflected on how pollution had made fireflies disappear. Similarly, he thought that the industrialization that occurred in the 70s in Italy was ending with the diversity of particular cultures, and therefore erasing all traces of humanity, of community, of solidarity. Due to the mutation of capitalism, the "community of fireflies" disappeared, that is to say the ability of people to emit signals at night to communicate with each other had finished.

Faced with this situation of fractured societies, we must ask ourselves what can be done by conflict operators. The contribution we can make from our areas of influence in the educational field is very important. We need to understand that we must inspire people to sustain a healthy way of communicating. Assertive communication, learning to express opinions and listening to the other.

Maybe it is time to start generating a community of fireflies again, that learn to generate the light of communication by sending clear signals to each other to repair cracks and divisions little by little.


[2] The article of the fireflies- («Il vuoto del potere» o «L’articolo delle lucciole»- Corriere della Sera, 1 de febrero de 1975.); Russo, Sebastián and Héctor Kohen. (Original title: Las luciérnagas y la noche: reflexiones en torno a Pier Paolo Pasolini / Sebastián Russo y Héctor Kohen. – 1a ed. – Buenos Aires: Ediciones Godot Argentina, 2013. 148 p; 20×13 cm. ISBN 978-987-1489-69-5 1. Filosofía. 2. Cine. 3. Ensayos. I. Kohen, Héctor II. Título CDD 701)


Maria Eugenia Sole

Maria Eugenia Sole is an attorney mediator. She has a Holborn College Diploma in Law of Tort and Law of Contract. University degree in conflict resolution and mediation. Pre-trial mediator with registration granted by the Provincial Direction of Alternative Means of Conflict Resolution of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.… MORE >


Maria Victoria Marun

Attorney Mediator and Senior Lecturer in Law. University Teaching Specialist. Director at Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Bar and Solicitors of the 3rd Legal Circumscription Mendoza. Argentina. University Teaching. Trainer in School Law and Conflict Resolution in Educational Institutions. Investigator ad hoc at Social Conflict Observatory of the National… MORE >

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