Towards a sense of belonging in the planning of a better world
“If you want to take advantage of the benefits of civilization, but you have no concern in sustaining civilization… you have annoyed yourself. (…) It isn’t that we are lacking means for a solution. We are lacking minds.” – José Ortega y Gasset (1927)
Almost 90 years after these words were written, an idealist cyclist wrote and got out to manifest that “freedom, after all, in not more than the capacity of living with the consequences of our own decisions. Be happy. Once there is no one else to blame, there will be nothing more to change, do you dare?”
Certainly it’s on us to make the mental change… but, do we know that we have the potential to change reality? We are born immersed in this, we had no other choice but accepting the reality from day one. Civilization, the technology that surrounds us, the dominant cultures that loom over our way of thinking and of feeling, the capitalist economic system and that social pact, that little has to do with a “pact”… Everything, fallen from above, elaborated from outside, imposed. We never questioned it, ever, until today.
We are born and it seems like this is our reality, we can’t change it… In our free time: a movie, a book, a restaurant, a sports game, a concert, an eclipse, brief moments, but then we have to get back… but get back to what? Getting back to maintain something which we never considered if we wanted to maintain?
As we get older, we start discovering holes in the system, things that don’t make sense, leaks, faults, immoralities, injustices, a little bit of everything. There are even some people who think that a credit card is what makes us argentine… so, we did something wrong throughout our vain civilization.
Dog walkers everywhere, but…independently of the fact that they can have a job – and besides they are doing a huge favor to the dogs-, honestly, I don’t understand up to what extent having pets makes sense…unless dogs are so domesticated that they also feel the mechanism of the human’s routine, but I honestly don’t believe so…really, why would someone buy a dog if they don’t have time to walk him?, why do some people prefer a fixed bicycle inside four walls, instead of feeling the topography under the wheels, feeling you will fly away, with the sun on your face and the wind passing by?
And afterwards, I was walking by the street Gurruchaga looking downwards, thinking, until a guy, with a horrible silvery shirt, dark red, but silvery – one of those shirts that when you roll up your sleeves, has another color on the other side- came walking towards me speaking loudly as if he had a potato in his mouth… He looked like a bad guy. I admit it, at first it has prejudice (who doesn’t have them) and then one sentence and that was it… the suspected one says, on his cell phone, remember: shouting: “that’s a piece of cake, we file a labor lawsuit and we win it, do this: look for a guy which looks needy for money, and we solve it…”
And it scares me to think how will guys like that change…It scares me, I get angry, frustrated, I think about it, chew it and, for the time being, I can only trust that this catharsis will encourage a little bit the questioning of our reality…
“I get excited all the way, I don’t get exited halfway. I preoccupy, I occupy about until what point we can change. Apathy, indifference. Therapy helped me to realize that there is nothing that is alien, that we are all part of a whole and, if we are not in harmony with that, we have a rough time. In my case, and with this I hope not to offend any of my loved ones, I’m only left with the hope of having sporadic, specific moments of happiness. I’m disabled to feel a total happiness, even though I am a very lucky guy. I cannot divorce myself from my surroundings; make the reverse journey, towards the center of the ego. That is the hardest fight that I’ve been having against myself for a long time: immunize myself against arrogance, narcissism (…) that’s the fight: “Don´t be cocky, be calm, don’t get crazy”. I feel my flesh and that destabilizes those who surround you. My daughter told my wife: “Mom, don’t let dad watch the news because he cries.” It’s not nice for those who love you because they realize that something strange is happening to you. But there is so much injustice, so much stupidity filtering themselves through the same membrane as the little happiness’s come by.”
You don’t need to be a great philosopher to get to this conclusion about life. The former was said by Ricardo Darín, a great actor and a great person, real Argentine Industry.
As time goes by, I am getting closer to the mountain than to the city. I miss the human species a lot, but I miss it awaken, because only an awaken humanity can get us out of the lethargy which we are living in…A lethargy, a “comfortable numbness” as Pink Floyd sings in The Wall, that can be seen in people’s faces in a state of dormancy in our public transport, reason why I choose the bicycle every time that I can. The proliferation of feelings over the reduction of the soul.
This is a call for solidarity, for the ones that are in conditions of informing ourselves and re-thinking society, that we start doing so as soon as possible. This is what Josep Vincent Marques was talking about when he said: “Ah! Some distance regarding their surroundings wouldn’t do any harm to the reader”. A distance that removes us from the numbness, that allows us to see things the way they really are, and change them. “Achieving control over change, in respect to lifestyle, demands an engagement with the outer social world rather than a retreat from it.” says Anthony Giddens, one of the most profound Sociologists of our time. And that’s when I feel that I don’t gain anything isolating myself in the mountain… we have to stay, and change this reality.
Feel change as our responsibility. Gain control. Take some distance. See the messages that are there if we look forward. Be different. Make the difference…
“Is it normal not to be normal?”
“To me, nobility is a synonym of life of effort, always willing to overcome itself, to transcend from what it already is towards what it intends to as duty and demand. In this way, the noble life is opposed to the vulgar and inert life, which, statically, imprisons itself, condemned to a perpetual imminence unless an exterior force forces her out of herself. This is why we call mass to this way of being of man – not so much because he is multitudinous, but because he is inert.” – José Ortega y Gasset (1927)
I leave you with a video to remind you what we are defending. Our Earth, so vast in landscapes, as in biodiversity, cultures, stories, sunsets… I believe that it’s really worth protecting her.
Until next week,
Translated by Lucila Masera
Ps. Video South America from Vimeo
Pics taken by myself.
Ortega y Gasset, Jose (1927), The revolt of the Masses. Hyspamerica Ediciones Argentina S.A.
Vincent Marques, Josep (1982), Para una sociología de la vida cotidiana. No es natural. Ed. Anaprama.
Giddens, Anthony (1991), Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge (Polity Press).