George Freire (Madrid, 1985) has one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, which I think belongs to me. Since, in terms of simplicity and humility, she is the antithesis Sword of Arkadi, my pulse will not falter when I write that this philosopher, professor and writer is a real genius. For his wisdom and for his humanity. He hit him with Agitation (Páginas de Espuma, 2020), essay awarded with the XI Malaga Essay Prize; his latest work make yourself who you are (Deusto, 2022) – a code of good manners not suited to the presumptuous, moral Taliban or Meapil. cool. He becomes the eleventh apostle of this series, which is already dying, on the terrace of Madrid’s Plaza de las Comendadoras.
Question: Mr. Freire, do you believe in God?
BUT: There is no God, there is a God. Garcia Calvo said that to exist is to be measurable and quantifiable. But what shall we do if quality is not commensurable, if it is not weighed, if it slips through the fingers of those who hold the scales. And the transcendent does not exist, but it does exist. Of course, this is not understood by those who prefer a butterfly impaled on a pin, easily analyzed, but devoid of life. There are people who, if they found the Canterville Ghost, would pull out a box of lube, like Mr. Otis, to degrease their chains. This breaks the spell. These are the ones who reduce the religious experience to a kind of ecstasy, a rapture that is like saying that the Taj Mahal is a building or that Las Meninas This is a 3 by 4 fabric. They don’t know anything.
Q: What is the God you believe in?
BUT: I cannot answer this question. As José Mateos says in his Contract I don’t know what, God is a radiance that shines with its absence, a noun that eludes any type of predicate. It is important to act as if God exists, whether he exists or not: live life to the fullest, always live up to your ideal, never go astray, never lie, never knowingly do evil, never let your gifts run dry , never forget the meaning of things, never confuse it with its usefulness.
Q: After I get slapped, should I turn the other cheek or fight back?
BUT: I think that turning the other cheek is not as well understood in the Beatitudes as it is in the Passion, where it is taken to an extreme. Why endure flogging, nailing to a tree, bullying? This unsolvable question consists, among other things, ahimsa, and this Buddhist idea that he who punishes the innocent ten times harms himself.
Q: Will the last be first?
BUT: Maybe in the Kingdom of Heaven, but not on earth, and even more so in Spain. The social elevator has broken, mobility has stopped. As the meritocracy wanes, the latter no longer believe they are to blame. As Sandel pointed out, it is as childish to believe that poverty is solely due to idleness, as it is to believe that the ship was told in Jonah book, which was subjected to a storm due to one of the crew members uttering profanity. And the latter, apparently, begin to rage.
Q: Should we love our neighbor as ourselves?
BUT: We must love our neighbor as ourselves, but as Zarathustra Nietzsche, you must also be one of those who love themselves. Rousseau correctly distinguished love de soywhat is self love own love, which is closer to what we understand by vanity. The bad thing is that both are confused, hence so much headache. I would answer with this phrase from Cordobes: love yourself, love yourself very much, and everything really comes out of the sport (laughs).
Q: Do you ever feel like you jumped over your shadow?
BUT: Well, look, I think I never fell into the delusion that I was full and stayed, that I am for myself and do not owe anything to anyone. I hate ingratitude. Adamism, which is almost always the product of ignorance, is quite another matter. Who hasn’t invented gunpowder at least once? Pascal himself thought that he had put forward a series of geometrical statements, and then, resting his elbows, saw that Euclid had discovered them almost twenty centuries ago. I believe that we were all Adamists in our teenage years. What is happening is that today adolescence lasts until the first examination of the prostate. I was thinking about this the other day, and the truth is, I’m glad I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my thirties, because that way I saved readers a lot of nonsense.
Q: In your latest book you write: “Apply Pindar’s rule to yourself: become who you are. Gradually build yourself into the social fabric.” First, if a person does not make himself what he is, what happens to him? What does it become?
BUT: In a boulder, stony, uniform, worn. If you don’t make yourself who you are, life will take care of it. Keep in mind that creating oneself involves, among other things, chiselling the character, polishing its edges, and removing stubborn matter, which is obviously a sculptural task. And those who shied away from him seem to be smoothed, polished, indistinguishable pebbles …
Q: Second, aren’t there too many people who don’t fit into the social fabric to their advantage?
BUT: While almost half of the youth. What kind of nonsense about “the most prepared generation in history”? Be prepared is a function that requires a parameter as an input value in order to be ready for something. You cannot be absolutely ready. How can you talk about this with 38 percent youth unemployment, when there are thousands of children without education and over-qualified students who go to the reserve battalion? Fitting into the social fabric does not require preparation. Without going further, look at our elites: among them there are people who would not have gone through psychotechnics.
Q: Is cultural meapilism the plague?
BUT: The slightly silly fashion of turning books into soteriological talismans, as if reading the latest nonsense from Carl Uwe Knausgaard, Sally Rooney or Haruki Murakami not only made you smarter, prettier and taller, but also saved your soul. I’d rather be a round sunny illiterate than a book fetishist.
Q: You also write to make yourself who you are: “Hyper-politicization leads to the degeneration of democracy: behind every scale of Leviathan is the proud face of an activist.” Is Spain a hyperpoliticized country?
BUT: I think so. I like this anecdote with Jardiel Poncela, when, while accompanying his father, who was a parliamentary correspondent, to the Congress, he heard some conversations between the ramps, which he did not like very much, and then, not lazy and not lazy, he decided with great solemnly resign. from politics. And he’s only ten years old! There are very “conscientious” people who forget that the politicization of the afternoon table and the fuss over the grandmother is, first of all, lack of education.
Q: You advise not to envy, because by doing so you admit to submission: “Envy is a vicious form of imitation.” The cliche says that the main sin of our country is envy. Spain – a country of junior officers?
BUT: subordinates? If Spain is a country of gentlemen! This is the country of soup-fed people who didn’t leave the house without spraying their jackets on so that everyone could see that they were full of soups. Today, of course, I would upload a photo to Instagram. But the sins of the hartosopas are excusable sins. Reflecting on this, I think that it is not envy that is our evil, but melancholy, which can become a very poisonous disease. Our country has been looking at itself through a microscope for decades, and this is how it is, obsessed with its existence. The legacy of the 90s, of course, from which we never got rid of. I don’t quite understand why. I love Spain, but the existence of Spain means little to me.
Question: Do you believe in yourself?
BUT: I trust without trusting, as Aristotle said. Missing is a matter for the faint of heart, although for some reason it is clearly visible. I say that if arrogance, which consists in estimating oneself higher than just, is bad, then the opposite will also be bad under compulsion, estimating oneself below what is just, which Spinoza calls disgust. But today there are plenty of vile friends. His argument is that if I cannot fall lower, I cannot cut my neck; that if I crawl like a worm, I won’t be able to kiss the canvas. It is not for nothing that abomination, etymologically, refers to what is thrown on the ground, and there are many people who want not only to splash in the mud, but also that we all drown with them. They will know. So yes, I believe in myself. And I think that the Marquis de Vauvenargues was right when he said that the security of our forces increases them. There are pygmies growing giants; also vice versa.
Question: Have you ever stopped doing it?
BUT: I feel helpless when I have to work with a computer. Did you have any problems with the digital certificate? Few things are more demoralizing than working with computers when you don’t understand them. Something similar happened to me in confinement with Zoom conferences, and I think not only with me. Before David Jimenez Torres accompanied me on a telematics presentation Agitation, I remember talking to him about what we would do without a typewriter, he got stuck. He replied, “I don’t know, but we won’t even avenge the beer after this.”
Question: Do you believe in man?
BUT: I do not know what it is. I have a good idea about many people and I can say that I believe in them. But man as such is a faceless phantasmagoria. Enjoy the Kantians. It is already known that Kant places at the service of the laws not the citizen, but the transcendental subject. That is why its laws are abstract, like the laws of nature. What happens is that people are not mechanics, but biology. It’s like when you talk about “people”. But why are people here? Invention of sociologists. I know only singular objects surrounded by their context. The rest is metaphysics.
Question: What have you never believed in?
BUT: The so-called “new politics” always smelled of burning. The very name brought misfortune. Remember the NEP and how Bukharin ended… Jokes aside, but of those who came to regenerate our democracy, almost no one is left. These were parties that knew little about the voters and in many cases looked down on them. Bipartisanship is better for this country.
Q: What did you believe in and at some point you stopped believing in?
BUT: In the transitional period as a coherent myth. He’s out of glue. Either we find another, or the seams will come apart.
Q: Finally, what do you disbelieve and would like to believe?
BUT: I would like to believe in angels. I read that a third of Britons do this. I do not know how things will go with the Spaniards. But I don’t think about Bruno Ganz in sky over berlinHow much it touches me. I think of the archangel Michael, who for Christians is the commander of God’s army; I think of the angel Ridwan, who for Muslims guards the golden gate through which only righteous souls pass; I think of the angel Yeyazel who, for the Jews, holds the relay of the heavenly choirs… Who can deny that angels are magnificent figures? Word splendorwhich Dante uses so often in Comedy, which means light spirits, and these three are doing like a glove. What do you want me to say to you, cherubs that cry in mourning Giotto and I like putty fascinated by Raphael meat. But, well, there are a lot of things that have disappeared with the Cartesian mechanism, which is the point where our culture reaches maturity, that have been missed.