Axel Kahn: We have no genetic capacity for happiness

You refer to a very Kantian idea: to be human is to be moral ...

Axel Kahn: I notice the opposite. To build a human psyche, the other is indispensable. Take two incandescent logs, glowing and distant. They only blaze if they ignite each other. This conflagration is that of the common humanity. I deduce from this that we all have the capacity to recognize the deep reciprocity between the other and us. I make of it the universal character of the aptitude for moral thought. To be moral is to be human, and to be human is to be moral. However, I am not naive, and I notice that this dependence on the gaze of the other also creates what is most specific in the human evil: indeed, if in the eyes of the Another, which I need to know myself, I read only disgust, contempt, I will perhaps hate it. This is the reason why contempt is criminogenic and criminal. If I take the example of our exchange, I lend you mental representations, just as you lend me. It is a fundamental element of intersubjectivity. Then I can tell you that your thoughts are bad, dangerous, perverse. Perhaps I would like to kill you, not because you would be in rivalry with me, but because of what you think. Finally, imagine that, fascinated by my power over you, I attack you, that I read in your eyes an incredible terror, for me delectable: I would be a perverse abject. But there is no more human than the evil. Only man can be inhuman. These are the two sides of the coin.

Inextricable ...

Axel Kahn: Yes. The principle of reciprocity can lead me not to be benevolent, to be unfair, to deny the autonomy of the other. Yet, if the first man, as soon as he saw another, had killed him, humanity would not have emerged. Therefore, being human fully introduces the other as one of the ends of existence, we can even say its only end incontestable. This is why I am so hostile to the fashion of personal development, the worst of modern egotism. If we enrich ourselves but do not want to do anything with these riches, we fall into what is denied by a magnificent gypsy proverb: "All wealth that is not shared or given is lost." An inner richness that is not shared, it is useless!

Except for the one who owns it?

Axel Kahn: Yes, but he can not take full advantage of it. It's total nonsense. Moreover, what explains this mode of personal development is that we live in a society that focuses everything on the injunction to flourish on our own.Each becomes master of his destiny, is bound to the other only by the contracts that he can be brought to pass with him, nothing more. But even the anchorite in his desert thinks of the other. He only thinks about that, in fact, since he has withdrawn from the world to think intensely! The injunction to lead an individual destiny leads to a compulsory failure, to a frustration. Moreover, since the dawn of time, there is not a single poet, a novelist, a single philosopher, a single psychologist, to consider that happiness is accessible without the other, and Psychologies is a good example.

This is not the case for all personal development approaches, which can be turned towards others, nor that of authors engaged in spiritual research ...

Axel Kahn: Indeed, the other is at the heart of most spiritual endeavors of writers who intend to develop in different ways, for example through meditation or spirituality, to have more to bring to others. Moreover, God is the Other as He transcends all others. In almost all religions, we find this maxim: "Do not do to the other what you do not want to be done to you."

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