Whenever I write something related to Felipe Neto, the reactions that come to me vary between the indignant “I don’t know why you give this insignificant creature space” and the pretended “I don’t know who he is and I don’t care”. So a few months ago I decided to include the influencer in the list of uninteresting subjects, alongside Anitta’s sexual statements, the heretical jokes of the Porta dos Fundos group and the Covid pandemic.
But you read Felipe Neto there in the title, you read Felipe Neto in the first sentence of this text and you are already reading Felipe Neto for the third time in this paragraph alone. And, therefore, you must be wondering what Felipe Neto did that was so important, so relevant, so interesting for me to take him off my list. Before answering this legitimate question, however, I ask you to try to keep in mind that this is not a text about Felipe Neto. I swear it!
Or at least not about Felipe Neto Rodrigues Vieira, the pedro pan (!) Brazilian who has been apologizing to Lula and Dilma for its anti-PT stance. “This is the love that will win,” he said. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he repeated what some party marketer told him to do. No, this text is not about that specific Felipe Neto. Not even about that specific episode. Although it is too. It’s about Felipe Neto as a representative of a generation obsessed with exhibition and that only finds reason to live if it is part of what CS Lewis called the “inner ring”, much to our dismay, translators.
(I come directly from the penultimate paragraph to ask my more immature readers that, please, contain their 5th grade side when reading this, which is a very serious text. Something that, I confess, I was not able to write – and delete – the sentence “we all have a vacuum that needs to be filled” This is after mentioning the “inner circle” several times. As you will still take a while to get there, I thought it best to warn you. Then don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Because of the much-vaunted apology, I even reread the essay by CS Lewis, included in the collection “The Weight of Glory”. But before I talk about it, let me explore the synthetic absolute superlative a little bit that you certainly remember. (Oh, how I miss teacher Olinda’s classes!). Everything that the Philipenetian generation does is vaunted as if it were historical, as if it were a milestone for Humanity and as if it were a clear and unequivocal sign that we are facing a virtuous being, whose example should be followed by all.
And yet, this is precisely what the Bible defines as hypocrisy: giving alms and making the trumpet sound so that everyone around is aware of the your good deed. The purpose of this goes back to the original sin of wanting to be equated with God and is also found in the Gospel of Matthew: to be glorified by men. And here it is necessary to repeat that this text is not about Felipe Neto, but about what he symbolizes: a generation of semi-men obsessed with the opinion that others have of them, determined to do what seems good and fair not because it is good and fair, but to feel worshiped as gods.
This is a mentality that, unfortunately, is not restricted to the physical person who , desperate for acceptance, slowly transforms into a monster shaped by those around her. After all, not a single day goes by without me receiving an email from some company saying that it donated this and that to some political cause, please publish our name there in the newspaper so that people know that we are good, that we defend fat people and trans people and if you are fat and trans even better.
But there is something even more deplorable than wanting to be worshiped as a god: wanting to be worshiped by other gods. Or rather, by other people who live to be worshiped as gods who, of course, are not. That’s where CS Lewis’ “Inner Circle” comes in (remember to contain your 5th grade side). In the essay, the Christian apologist speaks of this diabolical need to feel among the chosen. Because, once a person sees himself accepted in this macabre Olympus, he immediately starts to see others with the typical arrogance of someone who considers himself superior. From there to evil is a leap.
“May Intimate Circles be inevitable and even an innocent fact of life, although certainly not beautiful: but what about our desire to be part of them , our anguish when we feel excluded and the pleasure we feel in being accepted?”, asks CS Lewis in his sometimes too far-fetched style. In translation: it is permissible to want to associate with people with whom one shares certain elective affinities – and, if I remember the novel by Goethe that I read when I still had a large head of hair, I did not quote the book by chance. But it is not beautiful to seek happiness in this way.
We are surrounded by felipenetos. Worse, because we routinely confuse acceptance with love, to some extent we are all happy. Even under the influence of social networks (to which the character in question is a slave), we all want to be accepted and admired by those we admire.
Because we all have a vacuum that needs to be filled and, in the materialistic world we live in, Grace is not enough for us. Thus, we all give up something in order to feel accepted in the family, at work, in the community and even on social networks. The problem is that there are Intimate Circles that demand that we abdicate our virtues – which seems to me to be the case with the PT and the progressive beautiful people that so seduces the felipesnetos out there.
The difference between the sinner and the righteous, therefore, lies in what we are willing to give up in order to be invited to that Inner Circle. And also in the kind of Inner Circle that attracts us. After all, it’s one thing to want to be part of, I don’t know, my poker wheel; and another completely different is wanting to join the PT. Because, to quote CS Lewis again, who did not deserve to be in this text full of so many vulgar and childishly dubious terms, “of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Circle is the most skillful in convincing a man who is not yet very bad to do very bad things.”