think and discuss the problems of everyday life. Interview with Josu Landa
think and discuss the problems of everyday life
Interview with Josu Landa *
Ariel Ruiz Mondragón
the publishing scene in the country, the philosophy seems to be doomed to strictly academic environment, which often seems to have enough contact and due attention to the problems of everyday life of citizens in general. Sometimes it seems there is a divorce between the discipline and the pursuit of the good life.
However, there are also efforts to get to the philosophy of classrooms and cubicles to recover the best of their tradition through the use of language and dialogue, but without falling into mere disclosure tasks, or worse, of vulgarization. So, oblivious to academicism and traps of the major media, was born late last year the quarterly magazine Ingrimar , which is led by Josu Landa, who held a conversation about this publishing project.
Among the topics addressed in the talk are the following: the reasons for the new magazine, the construction of a new and distinct editorial choice, the contributions of philosophy to the good life, the importance of language and dialogue and the relationship of philosophy to poetry and journalism.
Landa is a poet and philosopher, holds a Masters in Philosophy at the UNAM, whose Faculty of Arts is a teacher. He is the author of seven poems and a novel. His most recent book is a collection of essays entitled Scores . He won the Carlos Pellicer Poetry Prize in 1996.
Ariel Ruiz (AR): Why Ingrimar ?, What is the reason for this new journal of philosophy?
Josu Landa (JL): The magazine is a project somewhat old-I already had a lot of time thinking about it, "and not the concrete by reason known to all: lack of money.
Finally, a group of my former students and good friends, and colleagues decided to take an independent publisher of books on philosophy, which is Afínita, which have been published Eduardo Nicol unpublished books, for example. When it appeared that project, established a sort of alliance with them. Although Ingrimar is an independent magazine, we must recognize that it has the support, if not actual financial, yes Afínita infrastructure. When that condition was materially to call it, was when I decided to do it.
Why? Basically trying to make is this philosophy as praxis, as the possibility of discourse and as an existential choice in society. The Western philosophical tradition, which has about 2 000 500 years of existence, and for historical reasons are not to tell at this point, been confined to academia, and that has meant a kind of separation from real life problems.
I do not mean that there are no colleagues who are working hard and seriously, trying to respond to problems that are often called practical ethics, for example, euthanasia, freedom of expression, abortion or gay marriage. But I do not agree with that simply dedicate ourselves to reflect on a subject in an environment that, however serious or important it is, is largely divorced from society.
wanted to go out, our ambition is to reach people within our modest means. The resource limits are not inventive, we would have many things to do, but we have no resources.
So the idea is to compete with other discourses that are trying to conquer the soul of the people, expertise in philosophy has been quite absent. We think it's time for that to change, and you have to do is go slowly open spaces.
That is the main motivation.
AR: In the statement of principles that are in the first issue, and I think in the second, much emphasis is that this is a review of the academic as far as the logic of mass media communication. How to build this option?
JL: Is that in fact these are two extremes, and neither satisfies. Is not the same academy that the academic-do this boundary, because the academy is an area where, again, is a serious and have to admit, nay, I belong to the academy, I will not deny it.
But the academic and means about tics, gestures, some requirements and values \u200b\u200bthat, at heart and in my view, are not you really have to do with a genuine philosophy. For me, philosophy is a possibility of address to respond to the problem of the sense of being in the world with the idea of \u200b\u200bliving well, and even the idea of \u200b\u200bredeeming the human being. In other words, a practice of thinking that is not directed at improving the lives and provide options for existence, for me it's an option truncated. In the academic world is a little bit, going on that.
Then, on that side, you have to exceed that limit.
At the other extreme we have the media, have even autorepresentado themselves in a manner that is disturbing me, I, for example, concerns the idea that the medium is the message, as McLuhan said. For me, the middle is medium, and as such should be the bridge, the vehicle that allows it to flow a speech which, in my view, will flow much better in terms a dialogue that is, for us the model of praxis philosophy of this is the Socratic dialectic.
We are very far from it, but it is our model, our desideratum, which we want to achieve. It will be a long process.
Thus, between these two extremes, in which the average itself is a power, and then try to set their rules and laws on the lives of people, we are placing the dialog.
What does this mean? We take into account issues concerning human existence directly, and what we do is offer people the chance to join us in thinking, do not offer recipes, we are not disclosure review because we are not disclosing anything that is done and you have to be disclosed. What we offer is simply to show that there are issues that are unique to our existence, our daily lives, our being in the world, to be assumed in a thoughtful, and that there are different ways to do so, as they converge in dialogue. While we can not offer solutions, the very fact of thinking and join us in this thinking opens up new perspectives that should aim to build our ethos, and thus a more meaningful existence in this world.
That's our offer. So it's not really a magazine, much less of Disclosure; is a compendium of texts where the articles, even if on a given topic, virtually no dialogue, and we are not disclosing anything. We are simply offering a theoretical approach to problems that concern us.
AR: In the early numbers put special emphasis on the relationship of the philosophy of good living. What philosophy can bring us to the construction of the good life?
JL: I think the philosophy has been cornered, partly because of media pressure, partly because of commercial pressure, what the major powers that is trying to achieve their interests, and between them is that people think and be released by way of thought.
We also have the pressure of religions, and pressure on the other side connected with these matters of personal growth and self-help, which generally tend to be pure crap, without denying that there are some more or less passable efforts. Also, I think personal responsibility of philosophers, who have not been able to be consistent with the philosophical tradition, which is not confined to the management of theses or theorems, but has to be the use of reflection, interpretation and dialogue, but always with an ethical commitment, and therefore congruent with an ethic. Against such
difficulties, I believe that philosophy has the duty to consider as an option. The only way is to attend the media area, could become a cult, for example, and have a French influence reduced. But, to paraphrase Calderon, media, media are, therefore, even if the media have a capacity to deny freedom, imposed on it, also the true philosopher must have the strength to assert their independence, ethical autarky and freedom, and thus play in the quicksand that is the media.
In that sense, we are trying to open a field and to offer something different religions, ideologies and sales personal enrichment.
AR: The central part of the magazine is the "Seed" which is an extended dialogue between three or four people. What is the role of dialogue in philosophical reflection today proposed Ingrimar ?
JL: This is to rescue, as far as we can, an ancient remedy that has been forgotten and neglected even by the philosophers themselves. We tend to think that the Platonic dialogues, which are a great model, are a thing of history, past, and that what remains is scratching their heads trying to interpret them and see what they say, and painstakingly look up Where is Socrates, Plato, where, in short. Such
philological and historical work is important, but if it is ethically committed to life, because I think it does not fulfill its genuine function.
From this model, which was obviously not only in the case of Plato and the Greeks, but also occurred in other moments, we are just trying to show a path of philosophical practice. I repeat: do not offer answers or solutions. Here we can say that the medium is the message dialogue in the sense that to the extent that the path of dialogue is taking shape, something happens in the soul the dialogue partners who not only are those three or four people who appear in our magazine, but we hope that readers who are approaching.
There is another thing: you may have noticed that there are three or four contemporaries, but also present are the great thinkers of the past, they are not there like dummies and give us a reason or a boost, but are invited to the same table, as if partners live, because then I understand my relationship with the philosophical past. This is not an object taxonomy, philological treatment cold, like an exquisite corpse, but it works where it is condensed far as we can, an experience of relationship with the truth and your search. The most vital to approach it is to put the classics in our same table to talk with us to learn from them, give them a voice again and join our ongoing dialogue.
So not only are the ones who are there, but all the past. In each case there is a cascade of events that have that effect.
AR: The magazine is also highlighting the relationship between philosophy and literature, especially poetry, appearing, for example, Eduardo Milan, Elsa Cross and Armando Rojas Guardia. What is your idea of \u200b\u200bthe relationship between the two disciplines?
JL: First, try to make room for poetry, because it is the least commercial revenues gives and then someone has to be always trying to support. Also, I am a poet, and if I can give that little boost to poetry, I will always be ready. Apart from that
, which I do not think it is most important, is the subject of the old tension between art, poetry, the poiesis in general, and poetry written, specifically, and philosophy. I think that this is exaggerated a little, there are good ideas that have been decisive for my own thinking about it, as in the case of María Zambrano, Eduardo Nicol, Adolfo Sánchez and Ramón Vázquez Xirau to say which are right here, or Heidegger and many others who have pondered the issue, as Plato himself.
I think that generally has been somewhat limited reading of those moments of strong tension, which are those of the great Socratic dialogues, basically Republic - where many say that Plato expelled poetry. Not so: some poetry combat an ideal city-state, and is often forgotten that Socrates and Plato themselves actually had, if not suspicion, at least a critical attitude the uses of the word, not only against poetry. There is also wary of rhetoric and to other types of language resources such as heuristic, which were also typical of the sophistry, to which the dialectic itself acquires, Plato, another bias.
So what I have seen there is always that tension with the poetry is not as extreme as has been seen many times, but rather, both Socrates and Plato have a sense of the ambivalence of language: it serves to name, to make an excellent poetry, even to the gods and muses same expression, but not only in what we call epic poetry, the tragedy, but also express themselves as muses in philosophy. In Republic or Phaedo, Plato notes that there is music in the sense of art, of the Muses, that is philosophy.
This allows me to see that the problem of the ambivalence of language is what is present there: the language used to name, to dominate, to great poetry, to connect with the gods, to bond with others, and even trying to access absolute reality, the logos, which is word and thought. Used to all that, and therefore can not dispense lightly with guiding domains as strongly demarcated in one case and one-poetry, literature and art on the one hand, and on the other philosophy.
also appears that there are many points of convergence there, and actually what Zambrano said that violence has a rational thought on poetic intuition is only partially true. But it is also true that in ancient times had a conscience is much more open to those links, which are given by the ambivalent status of language, which is the phenomenon where concrete is just what Heraclitus said: the absolute reality plays into hiding and manifest.
The land is best expressed This problem gambling, which is the case and justify the philosophy, is the language itself. So poetry is presented as a possibility of discourse, and philosophy is presented as another possibility, both have a commitment to life, which is what we have forgotten the part of both poets as by philosophers.
is forgotten, for example, that Aristotle end all doubt: breaks the Platonic dubiously about language and especially poetry, and rescues the heuristic and theoretical value is also of great poetry, especially tragic, through phenomena such allegedly non-reason as catharsis. For Aristotle, catharsis is a path to reality, even in the case of rhetoric establishes a strong link with the word truth, and Plato's doubts vanish there: the rhetoric does have a possible compromise with the truth, and also There is a kind of discourse and reasoning of the rhetoric itself is a kind of syllogism or trick. With that Aristotle resolves those doubts, that at one point led to the constant reflection of Socrates and all schools, including the Academy.
I look at it: the fact that the philosophers of antiquity were always very knowledgeable people and closely linked to poetry, some of them worked as poetry, and can not be so tremendous that divorce philosophy.
AR: Both expressions are hard numbers, and largely justified, about journalism. The first mention of Nietzsche and Karl Krauss, for example. In your opinion, how should communicate the philosophy of journalism?
JL: It's actually an old problem. I think both Nietzsche and Krauss, among others, updated an old concern, and that, in my view, is the same concern of Socrates against sophistic procedures. He and Plato also have a question about it: there are quite infumables sophists who, as is the case of Hippias; but there Sophists who respect a lot, as in the case of Protagoras and Gorgias. That is, there's Sophists Sophists. This shows once again this openness that has the Socratic-Platonic sphere: not pronounced so unilaterally against things. In the other are very high is in the commitment to virtue, with good and truth, the good life, with the salvation of mankind, and all that converge in this direction is welcome.
What happens? When we talk about sophistry, rhetoric, poetry and others, the only problem is the relationship with language and its use, the language can become a mere means or may be the big key to the representation of the world, truth, absolute reality. Between these two extremes are the language and its uses. No one can deny that they can make a demagogic use of language. Sophists were truly demagogues, and had to win huge sums of money, who acquired great power by training the Greek political and economic elite, just teaching utilitarian and pragmatic use of language, not committed to the ethos nor human fulfillment .
The key is a radical and profound commitment to the word. At bottom the problem is similar: journalism may be in large measure, a new sophistry. Has own rules and codes. What are they? In focusing attention at some point, in favor momentary and ephemeral, etc., could make a list of characteristics of journalistic discourse. I ask, where is the commitment to the realization of man? Well, a journalism that could undertake this responsibility is one that could be opening a channel to a new option.
Unfortunately, this has an easy solution. All this is always resolved in practice: it must appear a kind of journalism that socratizante by moving to the fact that there is a medium that is just that, making possible so that people can realize other options for their own human fulfillment.
Finally, if we are to problems or emergency needs radical human, what the hell cares if people in that part so and so killed or robbed a bank? From these things it is okay that we learn, we know they do, but can not be the center of the floor and can not be the center of people's relationship with the word. Then, the media could play a role only human achievements, educational, political in the sense of a life in the polis, "if actually exceed those requirements that effectively function as demagogic ways: going to the lowest passions to get results very quickly, to meet as interest only conceive of a person or a very small group, and are not intended for the common good.
I could not give a recipe, but I have hope that one day someone in this field appears you decide to invest their money in competition with other media. Not because it is an effective solution and end of anything, but because we have to offer people something other than the garbage that is being done. It really is impressive, do not say that within that there is a pearl dunghill, but are pearls in a dunghill.
AR: Let me conclude with an explanation of the name of the magazine. What does ngrima Í?
JL: There is no mystery: Ingrimar means "alone." To pour a little on the Mexican slang of the moment, is "single and its soul." Ingrimar is the only magazine that has these commitments. I say this not to brag or arrogantly, but also to realize that almost nobody in the media field is committed to respect. We take this commitment: trying to build, to open the channels of a rational justification of our existence, to compete with other religions, ideologies, personal growth, and in that sense we are alone.
Other than that I have to admit that there is a bias poetizante from me: I am a connoisseur of the word. But I also want to note that I am not digging up a corpse, because while in Mexico the word is lost in ordinary language, "here the poets cultivated very important, and in other regions of English-speaking world uses and is very much alive.
For these reasons I tried to enter the word, and to see that there is indeed something different from the others, so the word I served. I do not know if you like it or not.
AR: Finally, the magazine is a means, paradoxically.
JL: The only thing I would add is that finally we will not be with the idea that everything in the media is wrong, it would be a bit too one-sided and reductive. If you do not have a hope that there were opportunities in the field of media, it would not come with the magazine. Cifro Where I my hope? As in sensitive people are also in the media.
is very difficult to trace determinations alienating logic of the media, but I also know that there are people with great discretion and sense of freedom, with a sensitivity very open, and most likely these things we are saying here, sometimes in a tone somewhat provocative, will fall on fertile ground. Find people who will support us with their solidarity, responsiveness, and that will give us a hug in the media.
* A shorter version of this interview appeared in Replicante , no. 19, Spring 2009. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.