segunda-feira, 9 de maio de 2011


The very word "philosophy" is to me suspicious at this moment of my thinking, because it points to the specific type of thought that was imposed in "America" during the cultural invasion, and which continues today being imposed. I prefer to talk on thinking and acting, better than "philosophy", which is the specific form that thinking and acting took at the European tradition. Thinking and acting from this particular and peculiar place that Europeans called "America", this is my main present concern, instead of trying to improve my knowledge and erudition in the official "history of philosophy".

If "philosophy is Greek by essence", it is not philosophy that we need in our colonized countries, but something like a resistant and insurgent type of thinking and acting, or thinking-acting all together. On the contrary, the exclusive study of European "philosophy" keeps us dependent.

That "philosophy is Greek by essence" is something that teachers repeat without remorse; they dare not say so loudly that religion is by nature Christian, as they might wish to say. But just as "Americans" have nothing to do with Greece in our origins (although we can study Greek thinkers among others if we like), we have nothing to do with Christianity either. (Although we can choose to be Christians if we want to). Our ancients are not the pre-Socratic or Christ, but ancient Indian antiquity, much older than Greece and Christ, one antiquity that we can hardly recover because it was almost totally destroyed; and it is a curious ongoing antiquity because Indian knowledge continues to be destroyed before our eyes.

Of course we can continue reading and using European philosophy, not as a guide or mandatory intellectual training but as a simple and valuable intellectual instrument among others, as a source among others, not as an orienting culture. We are not obliged to be interested in the philosophical problems that come from Europe, nor to see them as universal problems that everyone has an obligation to deal with or solve.

Following in the footsteps of the Brazilian philosopher Oswald de Andrade, European thinkers and others must be devoured anthropophagically and used for our own benefit, without any kind of worship or veneration, as is currently the case in our subaltern universities.

Universities manufacture "professional philosophy" within a modern Cultural Industry of thoughts, through the uniform production of papers subject to more and more rules. But in Latin America universities still fulfill an additional normalizing task in a rigid Eurocentric direction, nullifying and discouraging any attempt to construct  thinking and acting from our own perspective, with no right to follow an agenda that may be very different from the official "philosophical" agenda.

(See my paper, "European does not mean universal, Brazilian does not mean national").

Professional philosophy in general banned the existential motives of thinking and acting, even when studying "Existentialist" schools of thought. The philosophical activity is now an institutionalized task more than one way of existing, of transforming the world and of dying with dignity. Professional philosophy invigorated the means of questioning and, in some way, led them to a great improvement from the point of view of their instrumental technicality, but it also turned them into a powerful mechanism of cultural and political domination.

But the professional philosophy has just processed and interpreted human fragility in a particular way. Human helplessness and life's absurdity are hidden or camouflaged beneath the professionalized forms of European philosophizing, both in the "analytical philosophy" as in the studies of the “experts in Nietzsche”. The weakness inherent to all philosophizing (and to all living and dying) is disguised in an apparently strong, safe and technical way of “mastering the subjects” and “constructing arguments”. Philosophy became powerful, the worst of its possible destinies.

Professionalized philosophy is lost in the charms of the commentary, exegesis, quotation, authority and learning, where thinking becomes a job like any other, being exerted by all kinds of people, even those without a high sensitivity, fine obsession or existential involvement in radical questions. Philosophy represents for the lives of most of its practitioners just an institutional insertion, along with the family, the workplaces and the state.

Making philosophy in the professional sense became a kind of productivity as any other. Philosophy becomes a “sector of the real” as odontology or gardening, and a professional philosopher is someone who devotes part of his/her forces to the functional and succesful study of this specific sector of the real. And worst of all, the academic philosopher will answer: "Yes, yes, that's right, that's what philosophy should be, a profession like any other".

In my view, thinking is not reduced to information and its multiple forms of ellaboration in "researches". On the contrary, thinking is for me a way to misinform, to discard information, to manage with what we have in hands, to make minimum and contundent reflections without stunning with the excess of data. Not “knowing more” but “being more” through thinking, and thinking always as a form of acting.

But thinking and acting following the rithms of life and death is seen by professional philosophy as not serious; and, in fact, living and dying are not serious things to do; they are not academic subjects to be thought of, but what constitutes us as thinking beings.

Of course, nothing prevents a philosopher from being also a professor of philosophy in universities, like Heidegger or Enrique Dussel. In the past, many good European thinkers have not been teachers, like Spinoza, Hume and Schopenhauer, and in America the Colombian Fernando Gonzalez and the Peruvian Jose Carlos Mariátegui never worked at universities. Today nothing prevents a philosopher from infiltrating into the ranks of professors; but it is increasingly difficult to construct a thought within the universities, even more difficult than in the time of Schopenhauer.

Philosophical thinking will have to be clandestine, underground, made against academic bureaucratic regular working; and even the philosopher will be obliged to do this unpleasant work, keeping in his drawer, perhaps for a long time, his/her best writings.

Especially in dependent countries such as ours, it is convenient to assume a very broad notion of philosophy; because the professionalizing academic tendency is exactly the opposite: philosophy is defined in a very restricted way, very few things are considered as being philosophy. To the contrary, my idea is that philosophy has a multiple nature and that many types of texts come from it (oral or written) that may be regarded as philosophical: from texts of logical analysis to existential and autobiographical texts, and also narratives, poems, aphorisms and panflets.

I never spent my time trying to show that some thinkers “do not make genuine philosophy” or that someone in particular "is not a philosopher”. I do not take any attitude of scandal and chaos before the multiplicity of the term “philosophy”, or an anxious exasperation before its “lack of a clear definition”, permitting that philosophy be "everything", because I see the multiplicity of  thinking as a natural development of its very nature, not as an unfortunate mistake or accident to be regretted and resolved.

Thinking (and European "philosophy" is just part of this) is part of life and death, not something higher or sublime. Thinking is dirty. Thinking, like life itself, develops within a flow of thoughts, since the maximum logical-analytical articulation up to the existential diving into fluid life. Analysis and existence are polarities and philosophies develop a rich and varied range of activities within these extremes. In all countries, there were fluctuations from one extreme to another, and each part always had the temptation to mark the place of “genuine philosophy” in one of them excluding all others.

I myself made a philosophy of logic that tends to the articulated (see PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE AND LOGIC), and a fluid and existential philosophy of ethics (see NEGATIVE ETHICS). Nevertheless, in the internal dynamic of my work, both tend to their opposites: my negative ethics tends to sink into the arena of stricter argumentation, and my philosophy of logic has Nietzschean grounds.


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