Almost a year ago, the Second Manifesto of Convivialism, signed by 300 intellectuals from 33 different countries, appeared in bookstores. Among them the sociologist Alain Caillé, and also Edgar Morin, Noam Chomsky, Bruno Latour, Hartmut Rosa, and Philippe Descola. In these times of Covid where we need to reinvent spaces of conviviality, I want to talk about conviviality that develops a thought and a concern for concrete commitments in the sense of conviviality, otherwise an art of living together, taking care of others and of nature.
Is convivialism a form of humanism?
Yes, if humanism is thinking and acting in coherence with humanity as a value of values, the one that indicates what is beyond all values. Humanism has its roots in antiquity, in the Bible in particular, and it has been deployed in modernity until today, not without difficulty. It could even be out of order today (Rémi Brague, Le propre de l'homme, Flammarion, 2013).
Moreover, humanism is part of the history of ideas and sciences, which allows us to consider humanity as one man", of whom Pascal said that "he is constantly learning and remembering"; humanism thus takes on features specific to each era.
So what characterizes convivialism?
Convivialism could be one of its contemporary expressions, according to the five principles it puts forward: the interdependence of all living beings, especially humans with Nature; respect for humanity in the diversity of each of its members; the greatest richness is that which humans maintain in their relations with one another; legitimate politics which allows the development of the capacities, the power to be and to act of the human person without harming those of others, in the perspective of equal freedom.
Through its fundamentals, conviviality also echoes great wisdom and religious traditions: "Whoever kills one person is as if he had killed all humanity and whoever saves one is as if he had saved all humanity" (Declaration on Human Brotherhood for World Peace and Common Coexistence of Pope Francis and Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the great Imam of Al-Azhar, February 4, 2019).
Against the desire of any power that feeds the withdrawal of individuals and societies, convivialism would be an alterhumanism that seeks concrete proposals to fight against hubris, the excess of unbridled hypermodernity. Convivialism questions how to "encourage individuals to cooperate in order to develop and give the best of themselves while allowing them, as Mauss wrote, to "oppose without killing each other and give without sacrificing", in other words, to choose life together. Such a struggle is also that of humanistic ecology.