Boris Cyrulnik

The Farmer and the Hot Air-Eaters Publication date : March 16, 2022

Boris Cyrulnik is a neuropsychiatrist. He is the author of many best-selling books, notably Un merveilleux malheur [A Wonderful Misfortune] (1999); Les Vilains Petits Canards [The Ugly Ducklings] (2001); and the recent Sauve-toi, la vie t’appelle [Go On, Life is Calling You] (2012); Psychothérapie de Dieu [God’s Psychotherapy] (2017); La nuit, j’écrirai des soleils [At Night I Will Write About Suns] (2019); and Des âmes et des saisons [Souls and Seasons] (2021).

“How can we willingly obey, abandon ourselves to rote statements, accepting them as truth, without ever examining them? This is the triumph of the doxa – a common belief or popular opinion -- when a social group accepts a mass of obvious opinions, believing they go without saying, without the need to question them.

When knowledge is reduced to reciting the doxa of the group, it encloses the subject in a comfortable cage in which he is master, but which distances him from those who live in other worlds. This is how delusions -- logical, coherent, and cut off from others -- are formed, this is how we prepare ourselves to hate those who see the world in other ways.

Farmers who have their feet on the ground construct a different reality. But their knowledge is laborious, slow, taken from reality, like the experience of the horse trader who is the only one to see that his horse is limping, or like a scientist with a strict methodology. These bits of knowledge change with the context, they live with criticism, which induces a feeling of insecure uncertainty, of temporary truth. Those who in the past had acquired a peaceful self-confidence by accepting the nuances of reality, enjoy arguing. But those who have acquired a bitter view of the world are only appeased by certainties provided by logical delusions. They love clinging onto baseless claims.” B. C.

How can we resist the discourse of hatred? How can we refuse the language of totalitarianism? In his new book, Boris Cyrulnik pursues his exploration of the human soul and invites us to discover our “inner freedom.”