‘ve just arrived as the FAPESP Visiting Professor in the State of Sao Paolo, FAPESP being Brazil’s largest academic and scientific funding agency, and my remit is to lecture in all the state’s universities and meet its representatives. So I’m looking for clues. Clues everywhere, clues to anything. I can already gather how shockingly uneven the income distribution is among rich and poor, and I know that Brazil does not rank comparatively well in this category.
But all else on first impression adds up well, especially the extreme respect for the human being, personal resilience even among beggars, and a broadly based national vitality. Human rights in this place appears to be in a very much better state than in other BRIC countries. The Brazilians are immensely proud of their country, even of their Portuguese language, and already buoyed by the prospect of the forthcoming Olympics, which cannot be said for many rich Western nations.
My interest in neurocultures will necessarily be submerged for a few weeks. But who knows … perhaps surprises will be forthcoming here.