Monday, July 7, 2014

“España Invertebrada” by José Ortega y Gasset

José Ortega y Gasset was a Spanish philosopher and essayist. He was born in a wealthy bourgeois family. His grandfather, Eduardo Gasset y Artime, started the newspaper called “El Imparcial”, which was a very important newspaper in Spain at the time. José Ortega y Gasset’s father was the writer and journalist José Ortega Munilla. My point is that Ortega y Gasset was raised in a very well educated family. I believe that it explains why “España Invertebrada” is such an elitist book.
This book is not my favorite at all, but I recommend it because I think it is crucial to understand his mentality. José Ortega y Gasset had an impressive influence on the intellectual community.
This book attacks local nationalisms or regionalisms based on what he calls “particularism”. This concept is explained as the state of spirit in which the individual believes that he/she doesn’t need anyone else. A nation is for Ortega a community of individuals that support each other. This support becomes humiliating when a nation is infected by “particularism”. Individuals don’t want to receive help from anyone. They want to be a unit and not a collectivity. That is the reason why Spain breaking. But the problem comes from Castile. Castile has been the place where the idea of Spain was born. Spain brought Iberia together because it was a project for the future. But Spain started to break down when Castile stopped thinking on the future, and started living in the past. It is necessary a common project for the future.
In the second half of the book José Ortega y Gasset explains that any society needs two things: a mass of people, and an intellectual elite to rule them. Chaos starts when people don’t want to be ruled by a selected minority. A society without aristocracy is impossible. 

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