Mrio Ferreira occupies in Brazil a position similar to that of Giambattista Vico in the culture of 18th century Naples or Gottfried von Leibniz in Germany in the same century: a universal genius lost in a provincial environment that was not only unable to understand him, but could not even see him. Leibniz, however, could write in French and Latin, and thus could have some dialogue with foreign intellectuals. Mrio is closer to Vico in his absolute isolation, making him a sort of monster. In an intellectual environment prisoner to the meaner imediatism and to the most depressing materialism – a materialism understood not as a philosophical stance, but as the vice of thought, believing only in what has corporeal expression –, who could suspect that in a modest office in Vila Olympia, actually a simple hall, full of books, between the kitchen and the living room, a stranger discussed on equal footing with the great philosophers of all times, and demolished with cruel thoroughness the fashionable schools of thought, and on their ruins erected a new standard of universal intelligibility?
The problems Mrio faced were the highest and most complex of philosophy, but for that reason they are so far above the trivial musings of our intelligentsia, that our little intellectuals could not cope with them without going through a metanoia, a conversion of spirit, the discovery of an unknown and infinite dimension. It was perhaps the unconscious premonition of terror and amazement - the Aristotelian thambos Aristotelian – that impelled them to run away from this experience, seeking shelter in their usual minuti and waste away gradually until complete nothingness, certainly the biggest phenomenon of intellectual self-annihilation intellectual that happened in such a short time in any age or country. The disproportion between our philosopher and his contemporaries – which were much better, however, than the current generation - is measured by an episode that happened in an anarchist center, whose date now escapes me: when were confronted in a debate Mario and the more eminent intellectual of the Brazilian Communist Party, Caio Prado Jnior. Caio spoke first, answering, from the Marxist point of view, the question proposed as the Leitmotiv of the debate. When he finished, Mario stood up and said more or less the following: “– I’m sorry to tell you, but the Marxist point of view about these topics is not that which you said. I will, thus, do your conference again, and then I will do mine.”
– Olavo de Carvalho, Mrio Ferreira dos Santos and Our Future (my translation)