31
Oct

Julián Montaño

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Cuando ya tenía en mente escribir algo sobre la Caída del hombre (cosa tan recóndita y tan cotidiana) he visto el post de Fernando y de Arantza, así que Felicia, escribo sobre todo junto. En visperas de los días en que se celebran las postrimerías y la Última Hora de aquellos que han sufrido la Caída (el viernes) y de aquellos que se reunen todos juntos al final del proceso que empieza con la Caída (el jueves) termino yo reuniendo en mi post sobre postrimerías a Fernando, a Arantza, a Miguel y a ti.

Felicia, a mi me gusta distinguir dos relatos de la Caída que tienen que ver con los dos relatos fundamentales que se dan sobre la redención (el alzamiento tras la caída). Uno que cuenta que la Caída consiste fundamentalmente en la pérdida de un vínculo exterior del hombre, el vínculo que lo une con el Creador, fundamentalmente la ruptura de un pacto o el incumplimiento de una prescripción. El otro es el relato que cuenta que es la pérdida de un vínculo interior del hombre, el desencuentro o la desconexión con una fuente interna. El primer relato tiene una vigencia milenaria, el segundo es la versión que de éste empezó en el S. XVI con Lutero: la caída es la consecuencia del alma sin fe que no acepta la acción interior de la Gracia debido al pecado. Esta versión del relato de la Caída sigue una historia que va desde Rousseau (el hombre alejado de la Naturaleza inocente debido al prejuicio de la cultura), las Luces (el hombre apartado de su justo estado de Razón debido a la impostura), los Románticos (el hombre sacado del estado de inmersión en la Naturaleza primigenia debido al ejercicio impío de la razón) o los poetas simbolistas y las vanguardias (el hombre apartado de su poder Creador debido a su empecatado aburguesamiento) o Marx y Freud (el hombre apartado de su estado de justicia original debido a la enajenación del trabajo o al imperio del super-yo).

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30
Oct

Bolonia

Written on October 30, 2007 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies

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Miguel Herrero

Cuando la razón no es guía, me gusta seguir las señales que la intuición distingue sin saber por qué, y aunque así no duraría media hora en los casinos de Las Vegas, no es éste un mal sistema para elegir temas de blog. Y la interpelación de Julián el miércoles pasado (¿Qué hay en el norte de Italia?) es una de estas señales que se agradecen con ganas, porque hace tiempo que quería rendir homenaje a la ciudad en la que he encontrado todo lo que la vida pueda ofrecer y aún mucho más. Pero me resisto a caer en el feo vicio de la autobiografía no solicitada, y cuento algunas de las glorias de Bolonia.

Las historias superficiales del arte con que la mayoría estudiamos en la escuela citan de pasada a Guido Re ni, los Carracci o al Guercino, porque saltan, como si fuera una carrera de obstáculos que llega hasta Picasso, de los maestros de Toscana y Roma a los de Venecia sin parar mientes en la Emilia. Y de repente uno descubre el gran fresco de Reni sobre la tumba de Santo Domingo (labrada por Arnolfo di Cambio y Miguel Ángel) y tiene la impresión de que ha encontrado por fin la conjunción absoluta de la belleza, la fuerza y la armonía. Y al primer impulso de indignación porque el mundo no lo admire a la altura de los más grandes artistas, sucede el alivio de que su obra no esté siempre rodeada de muchedumbres con la cámara de vídeo que sin duda son la causa por la que sonríe la Gioconda asediada en el Louvre.

Lo que sucede con sus artistas es símbolo de lo que le ocurre a una ciudad. Emparedada entre Venecia y Florencia, hace tiempo que pasa inadvertida para los grandes grupos de turistas, porque no es tan fotogénica como sus vecinas para retratarse con el gran monumento y presumir después. Pero el encanto de sus kilómetros de soportales, sus palacios de piedra y ladrillo, decorados con terracotta fuera y frescos dentro, sus patios y plazas, es inigualable. Y la ausencia del turismo de masas la deja por fortuna en manos de los estudiantes y los boloñeses, orgullosos como nadie de su histórica ciudad. Porque no sólo es la capital de la pasta fresca, los tortellini y tortelloni (para la pasta seca, vaya Vd. a Nápoles), y de la dolce vita, sino que es lugar de grandes gestas, donde la historia de Italia se refleja como en un tubo de ensayo.

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29
Oct

Private Vices, Public Virtues

Written on October 29, 2007 by Arantza de Areilza in Arts & Cultures & Societies, Literature, Philosophy

(Click here for this post in Spanish)

Arantza de Areilza

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In these shadowy days of national and international politics, the memory comes to me of the figure Bernard de Mandeville, doctor and philosopher, of Dutch origins and his great work “The Fable of the Bees” situated in the England at the beginning of the 18th century. 

This context of historic upheaval, marked by the dethroning of James II of England by William of Orange-Nasseau in the revolution of 1688, the stir caused by the death of Ann Stuart, daughter of James II, the ascension to the throne of the House of Hanover in 1714, the continuing strength acquired by the Jacobites which seemed to threaten the stability of England, and the bankruptcy of religious legitimacies since the 17th century, the insistence of conservative and moralistic strength of the age, in which the importance of virtue and the civic spirit to conserve the cohesion of society was renewed.  A society in the midst of drastic change, with accelerated growth of the urban centers and precarious living conditions of the humble classes.  In this instability, political as well as economic, he considered the public necessity to morally instruct to the society taking steps to what was called Civic Humanism, based in the belief of the public necessity to control private immorality. 

Mandeville resisted this course and, and therefore, the idea of necessity to repress private vice to the benefit of the well being of the Nation.  He rejected the moral interpretation of public life, attributing it to those who did not understand Man, and that the true force which controls is nothing other than personal interest or selfishness.  He expanded on a theory of progress and of the functioning of society based upon acts of individual interest in which virtue and civility are substituted for selfishness and commercial wealth.  For Mandeville, the things that the moralists of the 18th century considered vices were precisely the passions which contributed material prosperity.  Therefore, man should accept his natural selfishness and make adequate use of it converting vice into virtue.  The social cohesion was based in a mutual necessity and not in religious virtue.  The social progress arose from the passions and vices of men, and their passions, were compensated by the interest, allowing them to live in peace. 

This remind us that the demands of moral reform are often aroused by selfishness, hypocrisy or pride and insist that, in every complex society, vice mixes with virtue, which is never a nexus for social unity. 

“The Fable of the Bees” speaks about the complex relations between good and evil, or between virtues and vices, or of the certainty of the difficult transformation of personal interests in economic life in the function of a collective well being.  The formula, “private vices, public virtues” is this “force that wants to create evil and always creates good” as Goethe’s Mephistopheles would say.  It is the idea of Kantian “unsociable sociability” or Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.”  It is the liberal idea, according to which, the common good or the collective interest, is only possible through the individual search of their own interest or benefit.  It is the desire of all men by obtaining more and the eternal feeling of dissatisfaction which leads them to do whatever they can to obtain the desired.  It is, as Max Weber said, the step of the search of the daemon to the pact with the Devil: my next theme. 

28
Oct

Mozart – The Arduous Life of Freelancers

Written on October 28, 2007 by Santiago Iñiguez in Philosophy

Santiago Iñiguez

H.C. Robbins Landon: “1791: Mozart’s Last Year

Many careers can be run on a freelance basis. Being self-employed has many advantages, basically the freedom to choose work assignments, independency and more room for creativity. It has also serious drawbacks, such as its potentially precarity and that working hours normally extend far beyond the standard working schedule of employed people. Traditionally, freelancing has been common in professions such as journalism, writing or consultancy, and according to Wikipedia’s "Freelancing on the Internet", the Internet has brought many opportunities for would-be freelancers.

Mozart W.A. Mozart, whose 250th birth anniversary is commemorated this year, worked basically as a freelance composer, a fact that forced him to accept almost any order received from friends or strangers. He was once approached by Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia, and offered the position of conductor of his court’s orchestra, an offer that he declined since he felt very close to Joseph II, the Emperor: “I enjoy living in Vienna, the Emperor loves me and I don’t care about money”, he is supposed to have told a friend. Later, the Emperor heard about this and asked Mozart to become his Chamber Composer, although the retribution was not substantial -800 florins. When he was asked about his honoraries at the court he responded that they were “too much for what I do; too little for what I could do”.

A major risk of freelancers is that they must handle contracts, negotiations, accountancy and other management functions by themselves. Here, Mozart did not prove to be very skilled, according to his letters and to different biographies. He seemed to have always lived on the edge of his economic possibilities. However, his endless capacity for work –he even composed in the presence of friends and at social gatherings-, his music knowledge and experience, as well as his geniality allowed him to sustain his family decently and pay the expensive health bills of his wife Constance at different spas during her recovery from illnesses, although he only left his own wardrobe as inheritance. He is attributed to have said: “People make a mistake who think my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over”.

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28
Oct

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