Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ganivet, Idearium Essay Example

Ganivet, Idearium Essay Example Ganivet, Idearium Paper Ganivet, Idearium Paper Angel Ganivets suicide at the age of 32 brought to an abrupt close the development of an innovative writer and thinker. Although necessarily limited in number, his publications had a significant impact on his contemporaries and on the development of the essay in Spain. His writings challenge the established generic borders in keeping with turn-of-the-century experimentation with limits and traditional definitions. He combines the essay and the epistolary form in Cartas finlandesas (1898; Letters from Finland) and in the posthumous El porvenir de Espana (1912; The future of Spain), and takes the hybrid form of travel essay and social commentary in a second posthumous work, Hombres del norte (1905; Men from the north). Ganivet writes from the stance of an outsider, analyzing Spain from his diplomatic residences in Finland and Belgium and critiquing European culture from his vantage point as a Spaniard with ties to Africa and Latin America. In his bestknown essay, Idearium espanol (1897; Spain: An Interpretation ), Ganivet breaks with the prevailing rationalist, scientific perspective to analyze the history and future of Spain by means of a new multivoiced, contradictory, and subjective discourse. Spain: An Interpretation and Ganivets other essays incorporate a multitude of competing voices and discourses that represent the tensions marking Spain and the rest of the world in the transition from traditional to modern society. : His texts introduce terms and arguments drawn from 19th-century debates over Catholicism, positivism, imperialism, and rationalism and interweave them in a complex discursive play that undermines and redefines tradition while suggesting new forms of thinking and writing. The text speaker in Spain: An Interpretation appropriates a positivist, determinist characterization of nations according to their geographic identification as island, peninsula, or continent, but then deconstructs the stability of these classifications by pointing out that Spain, a peninsula, has erroneously adopted behaviors appropriate to an island nation. In a similar vein, the speaker continuously invokes history and the 19th-century notion of historical determinism, only to subvert it by suggesting that Spains past was an error, a deviation from its true nature. The present does not mirror the past or develop naturally from it, but rather confronts it as an alien other. Ganivets texts display a disjunctive vision of history, as a process marked by violent shifts and discontinuity. This view coincides with repudiation of rationalism and the adoption of a style that eschews a logical development of ideas and a clear exposition of thought. Ganivets essays privilege a nonlinear exposition, with no clear declaration of purpose and constant changes in topic without prior explanation. The various sections of Idearium espanol have no titles and no clear section or subsection divisions. The narrator repeatedly verbalizes a lack of concern with consistency and logic and expresses a preference for ideas redondas (round ideas) over ideas pic udas (sharp, pointed ideas). The latter are defined as categorical, with no contradictions and no shading, and consequently lead to conflict and disagreement, while round ideas allow for the fusion of opposites and welcome paradoxical overlappings and irregularities, creating possibilities for love and union. The acceptance and even cultivation of contradiction produces texts that defy definition and force the reader to suspend judgment and adopt an open and flexible position. Attempts to define a clearly delineated ideological posture in Ganivets essays fail in the face of a purposeful irrationalism and consistent shifts in position. For some readers, the repudiation of positivism, capitalism, and Kantian pure reason reflects the failure of the Enlightenment to take root in Spain and leads to an antirational stance bordering on fascism. However, Ganivets redefinitions of history and his insistent rejection of a logic that justifies injustice and of a capitalism that promotes war can also be read as an answer to the crisis of modernity that continues to find voice in contemporary thought. Furthermore, his unrelenting attack on imperialism and respect for different cultures and values anticipate late 20th-century views. During the height of the Cuban struggle to win independence from Spain and during the years when European imperialist dominance over Africa and Asia were viewed as proof of Western superiority over the rest of the world, Ganivets writings proposed new, nonimperialist forms of leadership. Idearium espanol argues that the greatness of a nation does not depend on territorial extension, and calls on Spain to initiate a new postcolonial order that is without precedent in world history. The text speaker makes use of nationalistic discourse in order to combat it, calling on national pride but toward a new end. The essays of Angel Ganivet offer new modalities of thinking and writing. His texts evade clear categorization in keeping with his rejection of 19th-century rationalist and scientific discourse and thought. The organization of ideas follows a circular pattern, with the reintroduction of previously mentioned ideas, but with significant (albeit subtle) variations. Through a complex interweaving of inherited discourse and modern variations, Ganivets essays seek to rewrite the pas and create new forms of cultural coexistence. y Mark P. Del Mastro The Citadel Es el caso que al hablar de Ganivet algunos le han llamado precursor, lo digo redondamente y sin ambajes, que si entre Ganivet y yo hubo influencia mutua, fue mucho mayor la mia sobre el que la de el sobre mi [sic]. (Unamuno, Obras completas 4: 955-56, from Salamanca, February 1912) The question of precursors of literary movements is complicated by the impossibilityand perhaps absurdityof identifying a sole figure. Over the years, the Generation of 98 has also suffered the same problems of definition. Of the possible precursorsgenerally designated by their ideological influence over the movement or generationAngel Ganivets name began to surface predominantly at the beginning of the 20th century as a result of two events: 1) the commemoration in the Ateneo de Madrid on 29 November 1903 of the 5th anniversary of Ganivets death and 2) the publication of his Idearium espanol in August of 1897, which initiated critical interest in his works. Unamuno, however, protested this new focus on Ganivet, especially the position of Carlos Malagarriga who claimed that Ganivet was the true spiritual source of contemporaryearly 20th centurySpanish intellects. Perhaps partially due to his own written protests, Unamunos reputation as ideological father of the noventayochistas remained. But certainly reinforcing this distinction was En torno al casticismo (first published as separate essays in the journal La Espana Moderna in 1895, two years prior to the Idearium),2 one of the first recognized works of the Generation that systematically and philosophically proposed solutions for the social and ideological crises of fin de siglo Spain. Because the Idearium and ETC share similar 98 principles, the appearance of numerous comparative studies was logical. 3 Unfortunately, few recognized he importance of Ganivets doctoral dissertation, Espana filosofica contemporanea, a work that also presented 98 concepts but was written in 1889, six years prior to the circulation of ETC. The only study that approaches a comparison of EFC and ETC is Donald Shaws book La Generacion del 98, although Shaw seems to leave the door open intentionally for others to undertake the task. The following analysis will attempt to enter this open door and revindicate Ganivet as one of the important pre cursors of La generacion del 98. The primary reason for scant comparative studies is EFC was not published until 1930 in Ganivets Obras completas; consequently, for critics it has been unjustified to consider EFC influential in contemporary Spanish thought, including Unamunos. Then why and how can one claim the contrary? In Madrid in May and June of 1891, during the competitive examinations for the chairs of Greek at the Universities of Granada and Salamanca respectively, Ganivet and Unamuno were introduced and, as Unamuno himself explains, they met and conversed daily for about 6 weeks (Unamuno, Obras completas 4: 954). Although he observes that Ganivet was silencioso de nino y de mozo (Obras completas 10: 175) during these cordial meetings, Unamuno admits that his friend did make observaciones de cuando en cuando (175). Despite Unamunos denial, mutual influence was certainly possible, and as will be demonstrated in this analysis, a strong argument exists for Ganivets impact on Unamunos thinking, thereby reinforcing the claim that Ganivet represents a precursor of both Unamunos ideas and those of the Generation of 1898. As the title suggests, EFC addresses the philosophical problem of Spain with applications to the countrys society of the period. According to Ganivet, Spain is in decay because a fragmented and inappropriate philosophical base has prevented the proliferation of beneficial ideas. This fragmentation is due to the Spanish adoption of multiple foreign ideologiesthe medios puramente externos (EFC 591)such as Krausism, positivism, materialism and social Darwinism of Haeckel, all of which f ail to share a collective and uniquely Spanish mission. For Ganivet, the possibility of social reform is found in a collective ideological mission that begins with a system of philosophical education focused on the directive ideas (592), or mother ideas (598), and a combination of common philosophy, or filosofia vulgar, and scientific philosophy, or filosofia cientifica (592). Common philosophy, Ganivet explains, is distinct from scientific philosophylos medios externos or the sistemas contradictorios (EFC 609)by forming part of the Spanish essencethe common cultural trait of Spainthat corresponds to all Spaniards. According to the author, it is: la que carece de un fondo sistematico u ordenado y una organizacion completa; †¦la que es patrimonio de todos los hombres, la que inspira la vida de la sociedad y forma lo que generalmente se denomina medio ambiente, es decir, la idea que flota en todos los espiritus e imprime cierto sello de unidad a cada epoca historica. (593) This is akin to the notion of tradition: customs and ideas that originate from the psychological union of people with the land that surrounds them; ideas and customs already founded and passed along to their predecessors. For Ganivet, it is critical to initiate educational reform with both special consideration to and the implementation of this collective ideology. Nevertheless, the author believes that people ignore this ideology when learning scientific philosophy, the contradictory systems. Isolated from common philosophy, the scientific is: contenida en explicaciones que no traspasan las paredes de las aulas universi tarias, o en volumenes que rara vez son sacados del estante de la biblioteca, no puede ser utilizada con otra representacion que con la suya propia omo expresion de un nucleo mas o menos numeroso de individuos. (EFC 593) Ganivet claims that all philosophical frameworks not originating from Spanish society, or common philosophy, pertain exclusively to the scientific. Individuals that adopt the scientific ignore their common philosophy and consequently fail to achieve results that will benefit collective society; in this case, it is egotism that motivates them. Each social institution in Spain, as around the globe, is motivated by the groups special interests, which Ganivet labels as las ideas particulares (592) and the interes particular (612). However, the ideas particulares are not related to the ideas madres mentioned previously. While the mother ideas serve to benefit all Spaniards and represent the harmonic union of common and scientific philosophies, the ideas particulares benefit exclusively distinct groups and are the result of the divorce of these two philosophies. The complementing presence of selfishness naturally leads to the particular ideas and prevents the achievement of the mother ideas or the grandes ideales (608). Motivated solely by their individual interests, Spaniards are incapable of identifying their common philosophy, thereby missing the critically important mother ideas. Because of the false promise of utopia, Spanish society seeks purely external mechanisms or ideas. The resulting condition of this fruitless quest is indeterminacion (EFC 611), la apatia (602) and letargo mental (608), and Spain is rendered an enfermo debil y postrado (653). The author claims that the conflict among the numerous external ideasideologies originating outside of Spaininevitably confuse the Spaniards, ultimately creating indifference, apathy and a mentally hampered state. Ganivet identifies this condition later as la abulia in a letter dated 18 February 1893 to his friend Francisco Navarro y Ledesma: El temor de perder las ideas es un signo mortal; no es que las ideas se van a perder, es que se va a escapar de nuestro dominio la inteligencia, que no podremos tener ideas cuando queramos porque la inteligencia no quiera fijarse en los objetos. Esta aversion es muy frecuente en los tontos, porque en ellos la inteligencia no tiene posibilidad de apropiarse sinnumero de cosas; es tambien sintoma de la abulia o debilitacion de la voluntad, porque en este padecimiento la vida retrograda, no pudiendo vencer la pereza, que le impide continuar asimilandose elementos nuevos para renovar la vida al compas del tiempo. †¦La causa de la enfermedad es la falta de atencion (sic). (Epistolario 26-27) The origin of this clinical metaphor is the reference adopted by the French psychologist Theodule Armand Ribot in the late 19th century. Nevertheless, Ganivets use of la abulia to diagnose metaphorically the condition of his country echoes within the works of several Generation of 98 writers and contemporaries such as Azorin, Baroja, Maeztu, Cajal and Machado. 7 As previously noted, Ganivets envisioned remedy for the abulia is achieved by the reconciliation of the common and scientific philosophies. When the scientific establishes roots in Spanish tradition and its realidad, or common philosophy, this union will reflect the ideas directivas, the only solution for successful social reform in Spain. To initiate this process, however, a Ganivetian maestro (EFC 668) must determine the appropriate combination of common and scientific philosophies for each individual of society. The maestro is responsible for presenting the mother ideas to each person or student and, at the same time, the student must trust in the good will of the maestro in order to adopt without reservations these new ideals. Also, the maestro must act with a pure lovefree of self interestand be indifferent with the pupil. This indifference, however, is not of the abulic sense. Ganivet refers to an indifference that connotes unselfishness: ones de-emphasis of the material, the rejection of surpassing fellow man, and not taking advantage of him. Ganivetian indifference and love are the qualities of assuring that the maestro does not intervene with selfish and negative motives. The process of obtaining new directive ideas should be realized individually and not collectively because the inappropriate acquisition of generic ideas by all members of society will again lead to the periods problem with scientific philosophy. All citizens are unique and, consequently, their intellectual needsthe individual aptitudes of EFC (673)vary. These distinct aptitudes should be recognized and cultivated by the maestro in harmony and conjunction with Spanish history, tradition and reality; in other words, with common philosophy. In this manner, the maestro will not commit the same egotistical error reflected in special interests because the mother ideas although containing some unique characteristics will be founded upon Spains history, tradition and contemporary reality. Parallel to EFC is Unamunos ETC. Of the concepts most widely recognized from this work, perhaps the most notable is la intrahistoria (56). 8 Within this notion, which Unamuno also terms eterna esencia and la tradicion eterna, is the remedy for Spains abulic condition. Unamuno writes: Esa vida intrahistorica, silenciosa y continua como el fondo mismo del mar, es la sustancia del progreso, la verdadera tradicion, la tradicion eterna, no la tradicion mentira que se suele ir a buscar al pasado enterrado en libros y papeles, y monumentos, y piedras (28). Further ahead in the same series of articles, Unamuno elaborates his definition: La tradicion eterna es lo que deben buscar los videntes de todo pueblo para elevarse a la luz, haciendo conciente en ellos lo que en el pueblo es inconciente, para guiarle asi mejor [sic] (29). Here are clear echoes of Ganivets common philosophy in the vida intrahistorica and the tradicion eterna, concepts that for both authors are essential for societys guidance by the directive ideas explained by Ganivet. Without these guides, society is misdirected and without possibilities for progress. According to Unamuno, La tradicion eterna es el fondo del ser del hombre mismo. El hombre, esto es lo que hemos de buscar en nuestra alma (ETC 30)†¦ Hay que ir a la tradicion eterna, madre del ideal, que no es otra cosa que ella misma reflejada en el futuro (34). Like Ganivet, Unamuno emphasizes the need to discover the madre del ideal or idea directiva to progress, and he explains this with the complicated notion he labels el nimbo, un fondo de continuidad que envuelve a lo precedente con lo subsiguiente (ETC 60), like an eternal sea of knowledge that unites past, present and future of societys ideas. With this concept, Unamuno alludes to the Spaniards individual efforts of turning inward to discover the la tradicion eterna/la intrahistoria to unite this with surrounding/contemporary reality. In the authors time, people do not achieve the nimbo or directive idea because their lives are isolated in a presente momento historico (ETC 27)or Ganivets scientific philosophywhich is not associated or linked to the eternal traditionGanivets common philosophyin a continuum. This presente momento historico is la superficie del mar, una superficie que se hiela y cristaliza en los libros y registros (27); like Ganivets scientific philosophy it is found separated on library shelves (EFC 593). Similar to Ganivet, Unamuno describes the treatment of this history, of los libros y registros, as disassociated from mans eternal tradition, or common philosophy; in other words, that which forms part of the Spaniards essence. Explaining this problem in Spain, Ganivet refers to scientific philosophy, which is parallel to Unamunos tradicion mentira, the symbolic seas surface. As noted previously, Ganivet states that the divorce or separation of scientific and common philosophies is the main cause of Spains demise. This common philosophy, or Unamunos tradicion eterna, is distinct from scientific philosophy. When both ideologies are linked is when the mother idea or Unamunian nimbo will come forth. The intrahistoria is progressive, like the directive idea, when it is associated with present reality. For Unamuno, a sound example of disassociation is that which exists between literature (corresponding to quo ;intrahistoria) and science (corresponding to reality or the presente momento historico). Both Unamuno and Ganivet recognize the same result of this ideological separation: egotism and the subsequent abulia. The Unamunian ideas of egotism and love also align with Ganivets. For both authors, selfishness completely inhibits personal and social reforms by preventing the indispensable component of love. In the views of Ganivet and Unamuno, love is a pure and noble sentiment manifested in the help of others and the control of egotistical tendencies. The person who adopts this ideal love will prove a formidable collaborator in the utopian missions postulated by the two authors. For Unamuno, El fuerte, el radicalmente fuerte, no puede ser egoista: el que tiene fuerza de sobra, la saca para darla (ETC 46). The ideas of force and power go hand-in-hand with love, and not egoism. By exhibiting this same quality, the Ganivetian maestro is essentially the same radicalmente fuerte of Unamuno: a selfless individual whose pure love results in his/her pupils attainment of the mother ideas, as explained previously in terms of Ganivetian indifference. In Unamunos eyes, love itself makes possible the true success of ideal reform and the collective, individual benefits of the Spanish people: A traves del amor llegamos a las cosas con nuestro ser propio (24). These cosas are the ideas or the superficial history found in the libros y registros but that are achieved and understood appropriately by means of nuestro ser propio, in other words, by means of the intrahistoria and the eternal tradition of the people. Unamuno believes love establishes the union between intrahistoria and science, while Ganivet sees love as the first step to reconciling common and scientific philosophies. Nevertheless, the actual separation of these two ideologies results in the Spanish condition that Ganivet labels as letargo mental (EFC 608) and abulia (Epistolario 26), and that Unamuno calls el marasmo (ETC 125) and la abulia (138). With these akin clinical metaphors, both authors view Spain as ill. In the case of the abulia, Ganivet selects a medical term from a French psychologistas previously notedto describe the hampered mental state of the afflicted Spaniards. With marasmus, Unamuno refers to a physical condition: the chronic illness of semi-starvation typical in children suffering reduced growth. In advanced stages, marasmus is exhibited as muscle deterioration and the absence of subcutaneous fat. For Unamuno, it is a problem of a Spain malnourished by scarce new ideas: No hay corrientes vivas internas en nuestra vida intelectual y moral; esto es un pantano de agua estancada, no corriente de manantial (ETC 132). In Ganivets view, Spains condition is perpetuated by the overabundance of inappropriate, non-Spanish ideals. Contemporary ideology, for both authors, is insufficient to rehabilitate the country. Both Unamuno and Ganivet believe that ideological rehabilitation has its key step in the association between reality, the presente momento historico/la filosofia cientifica and la intrahistoria/la filosofia vulgar. However, in contrast to Ganivet, Unamuno does not propose that this reform be achieved through a maestro, but rather by the Spaniards themselves. For Unamuno, the europeizacion of Spain is critical for initiating this social and intellectual process since Spanish ideas are stagnated. Together with the attempt of each citizen to discover their tradiciones eternas, Spaniards should Europeanize themselves. They must join the process of internal discovery with contemporary European ideas in order to stimulate and enhance the immobile intellectual current of the present: Con el aire de fuera regenero mi sangre, no respirando el que exhalo (ETC 145). Ganivet views Spains crisis as caused precisely by the invasion of foreign ideologies. What must be done, therefore, is reduce external influences in favor of the dominance of Spanish ideals. Foreign philosophies can only be implanted in Spain if they conform to the countrys contemporary common philosophy. Of all the similarities noted in this study, it is this point that most distinguishes the proposed reforms of the authors. Typical of Unamunos proud demeanor is his insistence that his ideological influence on Ganivet was greater than Ganivets on him during their tertulias in Madrid in 1891. However, Unamunos assertion is challenged by the fact that two years earlierin 1889Ganivet

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