José Ortega y Gasset citations

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José Ortega y Gasset

Date de naissance: 9. mai 1883
Date de décès: 18. octobre 1955
Autres noms:Y Gasset José Ortega

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José Ortega y Gasset, né le 9 mai 1883 à Madrid et mort dans la même ville le 18 octobre 1955 , est un philosophe, sociologue, essayiste, homme de presse et homme politique espagnol. Il est le chef de file du mouvement littéraire et artistique appelé « Génération de 14 ».

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Citations José Ortega y Gasset

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„We feel that we actual men have suddenly been left alone on the earth; that the dead did not die in appearance only but effectively; that they can no longer help us.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: This grave dissociation of past and present is the generic fact of our time and the cause of the suspicion, more or less vague, which gives rise to the confusion characteristic of our present-day existence. We feel that we actual men have suddenly been left alone on the earth; that the dead did not die in appearance only but effectively; that they can no longer help us. Any remains of the traditional spirit have evaporated. Models, norms, standards are no use to us. We have to solve our problems without any active collaboration of the past, in full actuality, be they problems of art, science, or politics. The European stands alone, without any living ghosts by his side; like Peter Schlehmil he has lost his shadow. This is what always happens when midday comes. "The Dehumanisation of Art"; Ortega y Gasset later used this passage in The Revolt of the Masses (1929), quoting it in Ch. III: The Height Of The Times

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„I am free by compulsion, whether I wish to be or not.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: Be it well understood, I am free by compulsion, whether I wish to be or not. Freedom is not an activity pursued by an entity that, apart from and previous to such pursuit, is already possessed of a fixed being. To be free means to be lacking in constitutive identity, not to have subscribed to a determined being, to be able to be other than what one was, to be unable to install oneself once and for all in any given being. The only attribute of the fixed, stable being in the free being is this constitutive instability. “Man has no nature”

„The State is always, whatever be its form — primitive, ancient, medieval, modern — an invitation issued by one group of men to other human groups to carry out some enterprise in common.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: The State is always, whatever be its form — primitive, ancient, medieval, modern — an invitation issued by one group of men to other human groups to carry out some enterprise in common. That enterprise, be its intermediate processes what they may, consists in the long run in the organisation of a certain type of common life. … [As Renan says, ] "To have common glories in the past, a common will in the present; to have done great things together; to wish to do greater; these are the essential conditions which make up a people.… In the past, an inheritance of glories and regrets; in the future, one and the same programme to carry out.… The existence of a nation is a daily plebiscite." Chapter XIV: Who Rules The World?

„These traits together make up the well-known psychology of the spoilt child.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: Even to-day, in spite of some signs which are making a tiny breach in that sturdy faith, even to-day, there are few men who doubt that motorcars will in five years' time be more comfortable and cheaper than to-day. They believe in this as they believe that the sun will rise in the morning. The metaphor is an exact one. For, in fact, the common man, finding himself in a world so excellent, technically and socially, believes that it has been produced by nature, and never thinks of the personal efforts of highly-endowed individuals which the creation of this new world presupposed. Still less will he admit the notion that all these facilities still require the support of certain difficult human virtues, the least failure of which would cause the rapid disappearance of the whole magnificent edifice.… These traits together make up the well-known psychology of the spoilt child. Chap. VI: The Dissection Of The Mass-Man Begins

„All modern art begins to appear comprehensible and in a way great when it is interpreted as an attempt to instill youthfulness into an ancient world.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness. The symbol of art is seen again in the magic flute of the Great God Pan which makes the young goats frisk at the edge of the grove. All modern art begins to appear comprehensible and in a way great when it is interpreted as an attempt to instill youthfulness into an ancient world. "Art a Thing of No Consequence"

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„The metaphor alone furnishes an escape; between the real things, it lets emerge imaginary reefs, a crop of floating islands.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: The metaphor is perhaps one of man's most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him. All our other faculties keep us within the realm of the real, of what is already there. The most we can do is to combine things or to break them up. The metaphor alone furnishes an escape; between the real things, it lets emerge imaginary reefs, a crop of floating islands. A strange thing, indeed, the existence in man of this mental activity which substitutes one thing for another — from an urge not so much to get at the first as to get rid of the second. "Taboo and Metaphor"

„Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness. The symbol of art is seen again in the magic flute of the Great God Pan which makes the young goats frisk at the edge of the grove. All modern art begins to appear comprehensible and in a way great when it is interpreted as an attempt to instill youthfulness into an ancient world. "Art a Thing of No Consequence"

„Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence, and not the common man who lives in essential servitude. Life has no savour for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: The mass-man would never have accepted authority external to himself had not his surroundings violently forced him to do so. As to-day, his surroundings do not so force him, the everlasting mass-man, true to his character, ceases to appeal to other authority and feels himself lord of his own existence. On the contrary the select man, the excellent man is urged, by interior necessity, to appeal from himself to some standard beyond himself, superior to himself, whose service he freely accepts.… Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence, and not the common man who lives in essential servitude. Life has no savour for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental. Hence he does not look upon the necessity of serving as an oppression. When, by chance, such necessity is lacking, he grows restless and invents some new standard, more difficult, more exigent, with which to coerce himself. This is life lived as a discipline — the noble life. Chap. VII: Noble Life And Common Life, Or Effort And Inertia

„No one knows toward what center human things are going to gravitate in the near future, and hence the life of the world has become scandalously provisional.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset
Context: No one knows toward what center human things are going to gravitate in the near future, and hence the life of the world has become scandalously provisional. Everything that today is done in public and in private — even in one's inner conscience — is provisional, the only exception being certain portions of certain sciences. He will be a wise man who puts no trust in all that is proclaimed, upheld, essayed, and lauded at the present day. All that will disappear as quickly as it came. All of it, from the mania for physical sports (the mania, not the sports themselves) to political violence; from "new art" to sun-baths at idiotic fashionable watering-places. Nothing of all that has any roots; it is all pure invention, in the bad sense of the word, which makes it equivalent to fickle caprice. It is not a creation based on the solid substratum of life; it is not a genuine impulse or need. In a word, from the point of view of life it is false. We are in presence of the contradiction of a style of living which cultivates sincerity and is at the same time a fraud. There is truth only in an existence which feels its acts as irrevocably necessary. There exists today no politician who feels the inevitableness of his policy, and the more extreme his attitudes, the more frivolous, the less inspired by destiny they are. The only life with its roots fixed in earth, the only autochthonous life, is that which is made of inevitable acts. All the rest, all that it is in our power to take or to leave or to exchange for something else, is mere falsification of life. Life today is the fruit of an interregnum, of an empty space between two organizations of historical rule — that which was, that which is to be. For this reason it is essentially provisional. Men do not know what institutions to serve in truth; women do not know what type of men they in truth prefer. The European cannot live unless embarked upon some great unifying enterprise. When this is lacking, he becomes degraded, grows slack, his soul is paralyzed. We have a commencement of this before our eyes today. The groups which up to today have been known as nations arrived about a century ago at their highest point of expansion. Nothing more can be done with them except lead them to a higher evolution. They are now mere past accumulating all around Europe, weighing it down, imprisoning it. With more vital freedom than ever, we feel that we cannot breathe the air within our nations, because it is confined air. What was before a nation open to all the winds of heaven, has turned into something provincial, an enclosing space. Chapter XIV: Who Rules The World?

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