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Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal

Mini Review Volume 11 Issue 3

Complex ethics according to Edgar Morin: on hope and redemption

Maria Soledad Speranza

Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR), Maipu, Argentina

Correspondence: Maria Soledad Speranza, Lic. in Psychology Ma Soledad Speranza MP 2954 ME 534, member of EMAF, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CEI), Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR), Maipu, Córdoba, Argentina

Received: August 01, 2023 | Published: August 16, 2023

Citation: Speranza MS. Complex ethics according to Edgar Morin: on hope and redemption. Forensic Res Criminol Int J. 2023;11(2):82-86. DOI: 10.15406/frcij.2023.11.00373

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The present work consists of a bibliographic study carried out around the work of Edgar Morin and his developments referred to by him called complex ethics. It is fundamentally based on the contributions of volume VI of The Method (2016), with the aim of highlighting the ideas and relationships that were most disruptive and innovative precisely because they are the closest to the Human Condition. In his writing, the author distinguishes ethics from moral and begins with the strength of the idea that indicates that tolerance, by refusing intimidation, prohibition, anathema, gives primacy and opens the way to argument, reasoning, already the demonstration. And this is how Morin initially positions himself in this writing. While non-complex morality obeys a good-bad, fair-unfair binary code; complex ethics conceives that the good can contain an evil, the evil a good, the just the unjust and vice versa, and in recursion. It is an ethic that integrates contradictions and antagonisms and is never univocal. It moves away from the categorical Kantian imperatives and opens the possibility of a human ethics of uncertainty and of what it calls "ethical bet" to demonstrate how sometimes there must be a decision-making between ethical imperatives that enter into contradiction. It refers then to an objective understanding, a subjective one, and a complex one that integrates the previous ones.

Keywords: multi-reform, ecology of action, multiplex units, religion, ethical stakes


We begin our reflections by positioning ourselves on what for Morin implies assuming the human condition. It is an assumption that allows us to contemplate the egocentric-altruistic dialogic, opening us to understanding; incorporating the indissolubility of sapiens-demens, safeguarding rationality in the ardor of passion, and passion in the heart of rationality, as well as wisdom in madness. It implies civilizing our relationship with our Rector Ideas, monsters of possessiveness, authoritarianism and violence; living as much as possible of love and poetry in a more prosaic world; recognizing in the other at the same time the identity and the difference with oneself, maintaining the conscience that allows us to self-criticize and understand ourselves; allowing us to unite in our minds the secrets of childhood (wonder and curiosity), those of adolescence (aspiration for a different life), the secrets of maturity (responsibility), and those of old age (experience and serenity). Aiming to live, think and act according to the maxim that what is not regenerated, degenerates; with the awareness that in ethics there is no automatic pilot, but that it implies choice, bet and strategy, but above all, that it is always exercised, articulated and read in context.


We begin by distinguishing ethics from morality Ethics refers to a supra- or meta-individual point of view; whereas morals place us at the level of individual decision and action. But individual morality depends implicitly or explicitly on ethics, since ethics is dissected or empty without individual morals. The two terms are inseparable and sometimes overlap, which is why Morin uses one and the other interchangeably. We understand complex ethics as a meta-point of view that implies a reflection on the foundations and principles of morality.1 The thought of ethics leads us to the idea that it is impossible to speak of ethics. It manifests itself to us as an imperative that arises from a source within the individual, who feels in his mind the compulsion of a duty. And it also comes from the culture, beliefs or norms of a community, which are its external sources. There is also a previous source, arising from the living organization, transmitted genetically; thus we have three correlated sources that form a common subway layer. Three sources, three instances: individual-species-societies inseparably united in a trinity. The human individual is the point of a hologram that contains the whole (of the species, of society) while being irreducibly singular. It is genetic inheritance and at the same time Imprinting marked by culture.1 Thus, to be an individual is to assert oneself at the center of one's own world, a self-affirmation that involves a principle of inclusion and a principle of exclusion. In an antagonistic and complementary way there are egocentric forces that express our self. But at the same time we include the "we" in the center of our world according to the principle of inclusion, which is manifested from birth by the drive for attachment to the loved one. It is an originary principle, since the neighbor is an internal vital need. One is the principle of selfishness, the other is that of altruism, both are in concurrent, complementary and antagonistic relationships with each other: "Each one lives for himself and for the other in a dialogical, complementary and antagonistic way. To be a subject is to conjugate egoism and altruism."; "And any look at ethics must conjugate the vital character of egocentrism, as well as the fundamental potentiality of the development of altruism."1

We thus arrive at what he calls ethical religation, which implies that any view of ethics must perceive that the moral act is an individual act of religation: with the neighbor, with the community, with society, and with the human species. The feeling of community is and will be a source of responsibility, the very source of ethics. Moral conscience is a historical emergence from the complexifying developments of the trinitarian relation individual-species-society (in complementary and antagonistic relations). The great dislocations of modern times, the ethical ruptures in the trinitarian relationship individual-society-species, gave rise to the development of an autonomous politics, an autonomous economy, an autonomous science, an autonomous art, which dislocate the global ethics imposed by medieval theology. Hyper-specializations and bureaucratic partitions, competition, dilute responsibility and solidarity, so that moral conscience fails in the face of the parcelled reality of capitalism, bureaucracy, and the state. This leads to ethical individualism, linked to an autonomization and privatization of ethics, individualism that is also increased egocentrism. Altruistic and solidary potentialities are inhibited, contributing to the disintegration of communities.

The primacy of pleasure or interest over the collective interest coexists with the increase of the individual need for love and the pursuit of happiness at any price. The word is eroded, the sacred sense of hospitality is lost. The crisis of the foundations in the Western world refers us to an absent God, a law that has been desacralized, and that produces a generalized crisis of the foundations of certainty: Not to be God. The impossibility of referring us to a guarantor recognized by all: nature, reason, God or history places us before a "normative self-service" in which we can choose our values and norms; and the great challenge seems to be to found an ethics without foundations. This crisis of the ethical foundations produces: the deterioration of the social fabric, the weakening of the communitarian imperative and the collective law within the minds, the degradation of traditional solidarities, the division, partitioning and bureaucratization that dissolve responsibilities, the overdevelopment of the egocentric principle to the detriment of the altruistic principle, as well as the disarticulation of the individual, species and society link. The individual source is suffocated by egocentrism; the community source is dehydrated by the degradation of solidarities; the social source is altered by compartmentalizations, bureaucratizations, atomizations of the social reality; and it is also afflicted by various corruptions; the bioanthropological source is weakened by the primacy of the individual over the species.1

Individualism leads to nihilism and this gives rise to affliction, because of the nostalgia for the disappeared community and the loss of the foundations, of the meaning of life, of the fallen ethical certainties, emerging ethical restorations of regressive character. A new ethics is needed to counteract the omnipresence of incivilities, taking into account that all ethics is an emergency that depends on the socio-historical conditions that give it space, but also that the ethical decision is ultimately in the individual; and that all ethics has no other foundation than itself. In a recursive loop ethics-vitality of the individual, species, society-ethics loop and so on recursively. This is the so-called loop of religation. We must then regenerate the sources of ethics: responsibility and solidarity, based on the fact that "the moral act is an act of religation: with the neighbor, with the community, with society, and in the limit, with the human species"1 and seated in "a world that cannot supervene but by separation and cannot exist but in the relation between what is separated."1

To speak of context is to refer to our cosmic sources: The forces of separation, dispersion, annihilation were unleashed and continue to be unleashed. But, almost simultaneously, in the initial upheaval, the forces of religation, very weak at the beginning, appeared. Dialogical tetragram in which they combine in an antagonistic and at the same time concurrent and complementary way: order, disorder, interactions, organization. It is true that the forces of religation are in the minority in relation to those that separate and disperse, but life itself appears as an unprecedented victory of the virtues of religation. Life is born of a whirlwind that would have created the self-regulating self-eco-organization that is the biosphere. The cycle of death is at the same time the cycle of life, reflected in the union of concord and discord in human societies. We live in the creative-destructive dialogic, and religations can only develop in their complexity by integrating destruction and death. When Heraclitus says that we live by death, we die by life, he means that life resists death by using death. Eros and Thanatos copulate, in an eternal bond between death and regeneration.

Organization founds the unity of the multiple and ensures the multiplicity of the one, it engenders metamorphosis. Its first virtue is to integrate religation within an autonomy that safeguards it, and to unite its autonomy to its environment from which it needs to survive. Self-eco-organization operates the union of religation and autonomy: life is the union of union and separation. This is what we call dependent autonomy. We are integrated in the cosmic game between the forces of religation and unbinding, subjected to the cunning of the diabolus (separator), which is used to religate through separation, using death to regenerate us. "The universe organizes itself by disintegrating. It disintegrates by organizing itself" (Morin, 2016: Pp. 42). "Will we ever be able to comprehend the mystery of hidden religation? The mystery of invisible disengagement?"1 Thus, the Ethics of Religation is, for autonomous and responsible individuals, the expression of the imperative of religation. Every ethical act is an act of religation with others, with the community, with humanity, with the cosmos, and the more autonomous we are, the more we must assume uncertainty and restlessness, the more we need religation.

The more conscious we are that we are lost in the universe, and involved in an unknown adventure, the more need we have to be religiously connected to our brothers and sisters in humanity. The most complex entails the greatest diversity, the greatest autonomy, the greatest freedom and the greatest risk of dispersion, solid arity, friendship and love are the vital foundations of human complexity. Love is the highest expression of ethics and the fundamental binding experience of human beings. Tagore says: "True love excludes tyranny as well as hierarchy."1 But he also refers to The Ethical Uncertainty. "I have sought perfection and destroyed what was going well," says Claude Monet. For Heraclitus, good and evil are all one. The best is the enemy of the good, and hell is full of good intentions. This is why the moral act cannot be taken in isolation, but in function of its insertion and consequences in the world, and this in turn makes us discriminate intention from action by focusing on the principle of ecology of action.

The ecology of action implies that action not only runs the risk of failure, but also that its meaning may be diverted or perverted. The effects of the action depend not only on the intentions of the actor, but also on the conditions of the environment in which it takes place. It is the context of the act, which introduces uncertainty and contradiction in ethics, and which sets limits to predictability. In the face of concrete difficulties in achieving ethical goals, should we not sacrifice the former for an ethics of the lesser evil, when it is impossible to succeed or when there is no solution to an ethical problem? He speaks of drifts to refer to the multiple drifts of an ethical action. And of the long-term unpredictability, of the absolute uncertainty of ethical action, in the sense that no action is guaranteed to act in the sense of its intention.

Ethical contradictions, where it is a matter of obeying a simple and evident duty, the problem is not ethical, it is having the courage, the strength, the will to fulfill the duty. But the ethical problem arises when two antagonistic or contrary ethical imperatives are imposed, and a conflict arises between them in the manner of a Double Bind, as Bateson called it. There is an inherent and very deep conflict at the heart of the ethical purpose itself, since human reality involves three instances: individual, society, species, and the ethical purpose is itself trinitarian. These duties are complementary, but, if they arise at the same time, they can also be antagonistic. Ethical stakes. "By dint of sacrificing the essential for the sake of urgency, one ends up forgetting the urgency of the essential".1 The antagonism between audacity and prudence appears, audacity at the risk of losing everything, and prudence at the risk of gaining nothing. This is the point on which one must gamble says Morin. "In multiple domains and multiple cases, one cannot overcome the ethical aporia; one must live with it and know, whether to make commitments to wait, whether to decide, or whether to gamble".1 There are responses to the uncertainties of action: the examination of the context where the action must take place, the knowledge of the ecology of action, the recognition of uncertainties and ethical illusions, the practice of self-examination, the thoughtful choice of a decision, the awareness of the gamble it entails. Since the consequences of a just action are uncertain, the ethical wager, far from renouncing the action for fear of its consequences, assumes this uncertainty, recognizes its risks, elaborates a strategy.1 He refers to three consciousnesses: the consciousness of the wager, the consciousness of the uncertainty of the decision and of the need for a strategy, which feed each other.

The illusion of a finished ethics implies ignoring that ethics is a permanent creation, a balance always ready to break, a tremor that invites us at every moment to the restlessness of questioning and the search for the right answer. In his reference to the trifinality of ethics he speaks of Liberty, equality, and fraternity. Recursive loop in which each element contributes to regenerate the whole, since "everything that does not regenerate, degenerates".1 Despite the gamble, despite the strategy, there remains an irreducible uncertainty linked to the ecology of action, to the limits of the calculable, to the imperative antagonisms, to the ethical contradictions, to the illusions of the human mind. Ethical complexity involves problems, uncertainty, internal antagonisms, as well as pluralities. It is always a contextualized ethics, neither mutilated nor mutilating. To work for the good of thinking is, according to Pascal, to think in a complex way. The only morality that survives lucidity is that where there is conflict or incompatibility of its demands, that is to say a morality always unfinished, unfinished like the human being, imperfect, and a morality with problems, in combat, in movement like the human being. In each of our intentions, in each of our acts, our ethics is subject to uncertainty, to opacity, to tearing, to confrontation.1

The ethics of thought understands thinking as the highest virtue but which must be guarded by the passion of the heart, and kept in the heart of darkness, that is why Pascal speaks of good thinking, in which the link between duty and knowledge must be safeguarded without ceasing. The ethics of knowledge fights against blindness and illusion, including the uncertainty and contradictions of ethics itself, and the principle of intellectual conscience must clarify the principle of moral conscience. It is an ethics that must mobilize intelligence to confront the complexity of life, rather than being conceived as an insular ethics. From this perspective, wrong thinking parcels out and tabulates knowledge, ignores contexts and complexities, sees only unity or diversity, but not unity in diversity and diversity in unity, focuses only on the immediate and ignores the recursive relationship past, present, future, loses the essential for the urgent and forgets the urgency of the essential, privileges the quantifiable and eliminates what calculation ignores: life, emotion, passion, misfortune, and happiness, eliminates what escapes a closed rationality, rejects ambiguities and contradictions as errors of thought, obeys the paradigm of simplification, principle of disjunction and reduction, decontextualizes. It also mutilates human understanding and hinders diagnoses, atrophies the knowledge of the solidarities between things and the consciousness of solidarity. The incapacity to see the whole, to be linked to the whole, desolidarizes and irresponsibilizes.

While thinking well religions, uncovers knowledge, abandons the mutilated point of view and seeks a transdisciplinary or polydisciplinary knowledge, distinguishes and religions, recognizes multiplicity in unity, unity in multiplicity, overcomes reductionism and holism, uniting the parts and the whole, recognizes contexts and includes moral action in the ecology of action, does not forget the urgency of the essential. It integrates calculation and quantification among its means of knowledge, conceives open rationality, recognizes and faces uncertainties and contradictions, opts for dialogic rather than classical logic, contextualizes in global local relation, tends to generate an awareness of solidarity, also among phenomena, as well as an awareness of responsibility. It recognizes the blindness potentialities of the human mind, thus leading to fight against memory deformations, selective forgetfulness, self-deception, self-justification, and self-blindness. This is how solely objective knowledge dehumanizes, it does not include the understanding of the subject-to-subject relationship.

And how working for the Well-Thinking recognizes the human social and historical complexity, without dissociating individual-society-species, as complementary and antagonistic instances. This leads to the three branches of ethics: autoethics, socioethics and anthropoethics. The individual is sapiens, demens, mythologicus, economicus, ludens, prosaic, poetic, one and multiple. He understands the deviations, drifts, possessions, ethical degradations that produce collective hysterias when the diabolization of the enemy unleashes moralism. This is why Morin speaks so much of ethical vigilance so as not to sink into Manichaeism or suppress the enemy of the human species. It does not paralyze the human being and knows that the worst (degradation) and the best (regeneration) can happen to him. It recognizes the imprintings and normalizations that culture imprints in the minds, thus making a diagnosis of civilization and history to understand behaviors.

The planetary era goes hand in hand with the idea of homeland to regenerate humanism. Complex thinking leads to an ethics of solidarity and non-coercion. By religiousizing knowledge, it orients towards religation among humans. It recognizes the mystery of all things, and with its principle of non-separation, it orients towards solidarity. Always based on the recognition of the irremediable uncertainties of becoming. We arrive at an ethic of understanding which is an ethic of pacification of human relations, an ethic of magnanimity, compassion and forgiveness. We refer to a lucid morality, sometimes extra lucid, to resist mental barbarism. With respect to science, Morin speaks of dominating the domain and the dominator. And he says that we are in the course of complex, random, antagonistic processes, in which circulate at the same time possibilities of degradation of humanity, and of improvement of humanity. He emphasizes how we are tributaries of ethical uncertainty, and constantly run the risk of errors and illusions, hence our uncertainty about the future, but also about the ecology of action that can divert the ethical sense of our actions due to the unpredictability of their results. As we said, ethical contradictions imply a gamble and a strategy, in the face of antagonistic imperatives, and in the face of contradictions between the individual good and the collective, between understanding and the need for combat, between realism and utopia, banal utopianism that ignores impossibilities, and banal realism that ignores possibilities. Every metamorphosis seems impossible until it happens, that is why we must be realists and utopists in the complex sense. "The ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility complement each other and together, they constitute the authentic man".1

Crises encourage questioning, stimulate awareness, the search for new solutions, the emergence of generative or creative forces; but also in the ambiguity of the crisis there is both degeneration and regeneration of ethics. The question is, how can we get out of the prehistory of the human mind, out of our civilized barbarism? What he calls the good society would be a complex society that embraces diversity, while not eliminating antagonisms and the difficulties of living, but rather bringing about more religiosity, more understanding, more awareness, solidarity, responsibility. He refers to what he calls autoethics, to say that it is always a socio-historical emergency. It is related to the passion of being oneself, of having responsibility for oneself, but at the same time with the weakening of the superegos, with the loss of the certainties imposed by higher instances, with the weakening of the inner voice that marks what is right and wrong. It is the awareness of ethical contradictions and uncertainties and of the unpredictable destiny of action.

It implies individual autonomy to examine and decide, to make bets and build strategies. The ethical problem for each individual is that of his own inner barbarism. Self-examination, self-criticism, honor, tolerance, the practice of ethical recursion (putting oneself in the explanation-understanding loop), the struggle against moralism, resistance to talion and to the sacrifice of one's neighbor, all this leads to a responsible taking charge. An ethics of understanding, with awareness of complexity and human drifts, with openness to magnanimity and forgiveness; an ethics of courtesy and civility, cordiality and friendship requires working for good thinking (reflexivity) and for good thinking oneself, the permanent exercise of self-observation to recognize our egocentrism. This work of introspection or "psychic culture" fights against mechanisms of self-justification, against self-deception, selective memory and forgetfulness, the belief in pseudo-memories. It is what we have come to call Self-hetero examination or waking state about oneself, in recognition of the traps of self-deception and self-justification. It implies taking a stand against egocentric illusion and openness to others, and resisting blindness, closure, and petrification. It reminds us that interpretation is always present in what seems to us objective or evident, it helps us to distrust our eyes, what we trust, and also to distrust our distrust, knowing that trust is a necessary bet for a good relationship with others. The proposal is to return to the sources of the altruistic principle included in human subjectivity and to the principle of solidarity implied by the community.

The Ethics of Religation demands not to reject the neighbor outside of humanity. That is, the exclusion of exclusion and the recognition of the other. Politeness or civility. Tolerance which is opposed to ethical purification. It always gives primacy to argument, demonstration, and reasoning. It entails the suffering of tolerating the expression of outrageous ideas without becoming indignant. Von Foerster urges us to act in such a way that our neighbor can always increase the possible number of choices. The ethics of love excludes tyranny as well as hierarchy. It is centrally an ethics of understanding. It is a matter of understanding what it is to understand, as Von Foerster teaches us. So that to belittle the other is to renounce understanding. But to achieve this, we must recognize the incomprehension, the existence of what he calls psychic murders or reductions of the other to the unclean, to what remains outside the human world. Complex understanding encompasses explanation, objective understanding and subjective understanding. It is multidimensional and contextualized. It is to grasp together, to embrace. Understanding the other in its multidimensionality or multipersonality unfailingly implies understanding the contexts, the conditions that shape mentalities and actions. Egocentrism and self-centeredness generate all psychic blindness. But, continuing with the distinctions, we say that to understand is not to justify. It is neither accusing nor excusing.

It favors intellectual judgment, but does not prevent moral condemnation. It does not lead to the impossibility of judging, but to the need to complexify our judgment. It avoids sociological reductionism, as well as implacable moralism. It takes into account the imprintings, the bifurcations, the gears, the drifts, it constantly affronts the paradox of human irresponsibility-responsibility. It is about an understanding with the capacity of judgment. In the same way it leads us to understand ourselves in our inadequacies. It asks us, in the conflict of ideas, to argue or substantiate, instead of excommunicating or anathematizing, and the association of rationality and affectivity. To understand is to understand the inner motivations, it is to situate in the context and in the complex. It is not to explain everything, but to recognize always an inexplicable residue. To understand is not to understand everything, but to recognize that the incomprehensible exists.

It speaks of an ethic of the planetary era. Of the exit of the planetary iron age in a process of Fraternization to recognize ourselves as children of the homeland. Cultivating clemency, mercy, magnanimity, meekness, redemption and Forgiveness. The deep sense of forgiveness is a bet on the human, a great act of trust. Otherwise, our inner barbarism progresses, which we always resist through the exercise of self-examination. We must always conceive the possibility of regeneration. He also refers to the art of living, to say that: only the wise man has the whole constantly in his head, in a permanent dialogue between reason-passion. This is why Morin speaks of reasoning our passions and impassioning our reason, of civilizing passions and emotions so that they do not become barbaric, but not destroying them in order to make them reasonable. This is what he calls a crazy wisdom. We refer at all times to the Homo complexus. Everything that does not regenerate, degenerates, since regeneration revives the living sources, always finds the virtue of the nascent states, in love, as well as in all passions, even in the passion to know. The spirit of fraternization implies fighting against the barbarism of our souls and minds, as well as considering the daily hells to discipline egocentrism, and cultivating altruism as an autoethical act. It refers to the living forces of responsibility and solidarity. It is also a religation with our universe. Community reform passes through redemption.

We aim at a Universalist ethic, implying a democratic complexity. A broad community, the homeland that is the community of fraternity not yet realized a community of destiny of planetary humanity. The triumph of the ethics of community would be in its universal extension, to capture the links, interactions and mutual implications, the multidimensional phenomena, being impossible to know the whole without knowing the parts, and to know the parts without embracing the whole. For a planetary humanism, we need an ethics of the human community that respects national ethics while integrating them, recognizing the anthropological consciousness of unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Universalist ethics is the anthropoetics of the planetary era in a community of destiny of the human species. Morin also points out that we are in a chaos that we do not know if it is chaotic or genesic; and he speaks of the commandments of Planetary Ethics, and capital awareness:

  1. Awareness of the human identity common to all diversities.
  2. Awareness of the community of destiny that unites us to the planet.
  3. Awareness of the lack of understanding in human relationships and that we must educate ourselves in understanding not only towards those close to us but also towards those who are different and far away.
  4. Awareness of our human finitude in the cosmos.
  5. Ecological awareness of our earthly condition, which includes our vital relationship with the biosphere. Humanity is a planetary and biospheric entity.
  6. Awareness of planetary civic responsibility, solidarity and responsibility towards the children of the earth.
  7. The awareness of the homeland as a community of destiny, origin, perdition. The anthropo-ethical-political mission of the millennium is to realize planetary unity in diversity. To civilize the earth.
  8. An ethics of solidarity, of planetary understanding, and of hospitality are imposed. Planetary ethics can only be symbiotic (instead of parasitic).
  9. The emergence of a world society to emerge from the planetary iron age.

This leads us to speak of regenerative ways. How to get out of the prehistory of the human mind? How to get out of our civilized barbarism? Through a reform of the mind, of education, of life, of soul and body. Moral regeneration implies avoiding rages, controlling aggressiveness, stimulating altruism, and favoring understanding. The man who modifies man is contained in man. Cognitive democracy and cultural regeneration could help us to slowly emerge from the prehistory of the human mind. Ethical reform then goes hand in hand with a poly-reform of humanity. In history, everything begins with movements that are marginal, deviant, misunderstood, ridiculed and even excommunicated. But when they take root, spread and become religious, they become a true moral, political and social force.

Ethical hope is placed in the possible metamorphosis. The overcoming of the absolute powers of the states in a confederative formula from which a world society would emerge. Any metamorphosis seems impossible before it happens, and this realization entails a principle of hope. The goal is the impossible possible. Metamorphosis implies a process of self-destruction that at the same time is a process of reconstruction or self-construction of a new complexity that makes new qualities emerge, new properties, like flying in the case of the chrysalis that becomes a butterfly. The closer we get to a catastrophe, the more metamorphosis is possible. Then hope can come from despair. Hölderlin says that where danger grows, so does that which can save us. Metamorphosis can occur when there is both lack and excess, and for Morin this is called aurora. For him, we perceive everything that is self-destruction and not so much the creative processes, the forces of regeneration around a possible meta-humanity, the possible awakening and action of regenerative powers that become creative powers. Thus, ethical and political hope is in metamorphosis.

Complex ethics recognizes the complexity of good and evil, that which unites and that which separates are born at the same time, with which the religation is inseparable from the separation. If evil is separation, and good religation, evil enables good. The principle of religation is dependent on its antagonist, in a relationship of complementarity and concurrence. The world organizes itself by disintegrating, and disintegrates by organizing itself. That is, life collaborates with its mortal enemy in order to regenerate itself. The evil of death is used for the good of life, without ceasing to be the evil of death, there being a properly human continuation of the cruel forces of nature. But there is also a new and original human cruelty in relation to the cruelty of nature and of life.

There is thus a properly human evil. Cruelty, indifference and blindness, it is evil as a result of deficiencies and excesses. One of the major causes of evil is the conviction of possessing the good, resulting from a lack of rationality and an excess of faith which is fanaticism. From this perspective, evil exists as an emergence, it is a type of reality that is produced by a set of conditions, but once formed, and it acquires its own existence. That is the contradiction of evil: although it is an emergent, it depends on its components. Evil exists, but there is no principle of evil, it exists and does not exist. The satanic aptitude exists in the human mind. This is the complex evil. It is an emergent being, it is real but it cannot be reduced to a principle of evil. It involves uncertainty and contradiction. In the limit, evil becomes good, and vice versa, there is not an empire of good and an empire of evil. God and Satan appear as the two figures of the same thing that are in us. The worst cruelty of the world and the best goodness of the world are in the human being, hence the need for an ethic of resistance to world and human cruelty. The good implies dedicating ourselves to what provokes passion and compassion. Complex ethics is the ethics of religation, which includes separation. Only the separate can be religiousized. The union of union and separation. It is at once one and multiple, unifies and diversifies, in this unity that is plurality. Complex ethics is fragile, uncertain and unfinished it is an ethics of the wager. It is vulnerable to fear, anger, contempt, incomprehension and must resist them unceasingly. It must permanently regenerate itself in the face of hardening, sclerosis, and degradation. The mind must remain vigilant against simplifications.2–7


In conclusion, we highlight the definition that refers to a modest ethics, emphasizing the wonderful idea that ethical modesty means that it is not triumphant, but resistant (always linked to acceptance). Forbearance and understanding towards the other is self-produced from individual self-consciousness, and has no sovereignty. They arise in self-elucidation and understanding. This entails the abandonment of all dreams of domination, even one's own. We speak of an ethics without salvation, without promise, which integrates the unknown. It is not an arrogant norm, but one that is resistant to hatred, cruelty, misunderstanding, lies and barbarism. It is never acquired, it is not a good of which one is the owner, but one that must be endlessly regenerated in the religation-comprehension-compassion loop. It is an ethic of hope united to despair. It bets on the generic, creative, regenerative potentialities in the human, it goes for metamorphosis. As our author says, there are multiple islets of goodness in us from which everything must start - the weak forces of religion. That is why Morin teaches us to love the fragile, the perishable, for the idea is that the most precious, including consciousness, including beauty and the soul, is fragile and perishable.



Conflicts of interest

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.


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