JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET
A brilliant philosopher, a thinker and an essayist of the first half of the twentieth century, the Spaniard José Ortega y Gasset is one of the leading representatives of the Novecentismo movement. He studied at the universities of Deusto in Bilbao, and the Central of Madrid, in addition to several German institutions.
A Doctor in Philosophy, Ortega y Gasset was interested in the reason for living (ratiovitalism) and helped develop the theory of perspectivism. Part of it is the idea of ’I am myself and my circumstance and if I am not to save it, I am not to save myself’ can be found on his ‘Meditations of Quixote’. Broadly speaking, life is the reality in which we can make decisions and create what is happening, we can see this reality through this vital reason. This is because each person can shape their world depending on how they see it –from their point of view. The reality is thus subjective, and society is the sum of all these individual perspectives.
Always linked to journalism and politics, he was a prolific writer; one of his sons, José, from his marriage to Rosa Spottorno, founded the newspaper El País. The couple had two more children.
Along with his job as a teacher, we can mention his activity in publications such as El Sol, in which his works ‘Invertebrate Spain’ and ‘The Revolt of the Masses’ were published as serials. He contributed also to the creation of other key philosophical publications such as Revista de Occidente, the School of Madrid and the Institute of Humanities, being already in exile, where he shared his thinking and lessons.
In fact, the Spanish Civil War forced him into exile and he lived in several countries, to settle in Lisbon, Portugal. Despite his strong influence in the Spanish philosophy of the last century, not until his death in 1955 that he was given the recognition he deserved due to the political background in Spain. Let’s remember his thoughts:
Surprise, wonder, is to begin to understand.
We are not fired into existence as a rifle bullet whose trajectory is absolutely certain. It is false to say that we are conditioned by our circumstances. Rather, the circumstances are the dilemma that we have to decide. But who decides is our character.
One can only progress when they think big, we can only move forward when we look further on.
Life makes sense when it is not an aspiration to compromise.
Whenever you teach, teach at a time to doubt what you teach.
I am myself and my circumstance.
Civilization does not last because men only care about the results of it: anesthetics, automobiles, radio. But anything that is given by civilization is the natural result of an endemic tree. Everything is a result of effort. Only a civilization endures if many bring their collaboration to the effort. If all of us prefer to enjoy the fruit, civilization collapses.
As long as there is someone who believes in an idea, the idea lives on.
The world is the total sum of our life chances.
Men do not live together just so, but for important goals to be undertaken together.
I wish you all a very nice week,
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