In the second half of the 19th century positivism became the official state doctrine of many countries in southern America. Around , however, the authoritarian positivistic regimes were increasingly criticized due to their cultural imitation on the Anglo-Saxon world and the atheistic ideology. The contrast with Montevideo was stark, where shortly after the telegram announcing his death arrived, students gathered spontaneously. Spain lost its last colonies in the Spanish-American War.
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In the second half of the 19th century positivism became the official state doctrine of many countries in southern America. Around , however, the authoritarian positivistic regimes were increasingly criticized due to their cultural imitation on the Anglo-Saxon world and the atheistic ideology.
The contrast with Montevideo was stark, where shortly after the telegram announcing his death arrived, students gathered spontaneously. Spain lost its last colonies in the Spanish-American War. In southern America however, the victory of the United States had very different consequences. On the one hand, after decades of fighting, Cuba finally, if somewhat belatedly, gained independence; on the other hand, after defeating Spain, the United States, itself still a British colony in the eighteenth century, now suddenly emerged as a new imperial power.
The geo-political power shift in favour of the United States triggered a multifaceted and far-reaching process of cultural and political reorientation in southern America. Since the mid-nineteenth century the United States had been a civilizing role model for the young states of Latin America. The small stratum of liberal-minded bourgeois were seen as the bearers of civilisation, while barbarism was assigned to the indigenous population, but also to the creoles if they were still imprisoned in the clerical and colonial mind set.
Alberdi and Sarmiento proposed two instruments for modernising the southern American states: firstly, a radical education reform which was to replace scholastic thinking with modern science; and secondly, the launching of an offensive immigration policy, enlisting European workers to expand the industrial base.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, intellectuals adapted positivism and it rose to the status of a state doctrine in many countries of southern America.
The modernising of economies, aided by foreign capital, was accorded top priority and considered more important than liberal demands for democratic reforms. Prophet, feared by those who obstinately cling to rotting phrases and expected by the nostalgic souls […]. This fundamental error robbed the constructive work achieved by the collectives of heroes [i.
Although the conservative parties remained faithful to the Spanish heritage, for them the tradition was not the starting point for a future renewal but a sanctuary for a regressive movement. Southern America is not a tabula rasa that can be randomly inscribed with European ideologies and migrants.
By the time of the Spanish-American War at the latest, southern America was confronted with a new imperial power. In the late nineteenth century Spain was regarded to be a decrepit and rotting empire, defeated by a young emergent power, the United States, a view that also left its mark on southern America.
He is the generous zeal, the lofty and disinterested motive in action, the spirituality of civilization, and the vivacity and grace of the intelligence; — the ideal end to which human selection aspires; that superman in whom has disappeared, under the persistent chisel of life, the last stubborn trace of the Caliban , symbol of sensuality and stupidity. But of that divine game of children on the beaches of the Archipelago and in the shadow of the olives of Ionia, were born art, and philosophy, and free thought, and the curiosity of all investigation, and the consciousness of human dignity — all those God-given spurs which are yet our only inspiration and our pride.
The atheist ideologies of the nineteenth century may have radically expanded the outward realm of human influence, but they have simultaneously mutilated the spirit of man.
This twofold transcending of positivistic horizons of meaning is illustrated with the imagery of an Oriental royal palace. The king, renowned to posterity for his hospitality and immeasurable compassion, opened the palace gates for the needy and heavyhearted.
The palace was also where traders gathered and peddled fabrics, jewellery and scents, as well as offering harried pilgrims sanctuary. The recourse to early Christianity is not limited to the Jesuanic morality, i. The apprehension about the infinite secret is immortally etched in human consciousness. Our inability to explain it only serves to invigorate the irresistible temptation it holds out to us; even if the possibility exists that this temptation extinguishes itself, this will not be without sacrificing the deepest sources of idealism for life and exaltation for thought.
The hidden reason of all that surrounds us, the origin from where we come, the destination we are heading for — these will always disconcert us, and nothing can replace the religious sentiment as the way to pacify the necessity of our moral nature. For in relation to the absolute of the mystery, every positive explanation of things remains ill-fated, due to an infinite disparity which can only be filled through the absolute illumination of belief. Seen in this light, the legitimacy of religious belief is evidential.
A dialogue on religious sentiment demands a special sensibility for the limits of human reason:. We are on the way; you speak to me of your belief and the love that you hold, with earnestness and enthusiasm; I listen to you with interest. When it is my turn, I will speak of the same intimate truth, from the way in which the attractive force of this vast secret becomes imprinted on my soul, and of what I believe, and of what I doubt; and you will listen to me; and so we will both gain.
For the only thing that does not benefit the spirit is duplicity, vulgarity, the fanatic passion; on the one side, the discourse of the grand cleric, without love and without sensitivity, on the other the railings of the furious Jacobite, without edification and without culture. The appeal for an open dialogue does not mean however that the actual problem — can the questions of religion be revived and reconsidered today in an undogmatic way, and if so how — is resolved.
This means: the spheres of the good, true and beautiful, free of interest, but also mercy, can no longer be understood, as in Plato, as part of an eternal transcendental order.
But since our prehistoric beginnings, a creative principle of life is manifesting in human history, producing increasingly complex cultures and civilisations. Even Ariel the air spirit — the symbol for the aesthetic, intellectual and moral rising of the human spirit — is ultimately borne by a cosmic life force that perpetuates and expresses itself in the cultural development of humanity.
Ariel is, to nature , that crowning of its work which ends the ascending process of organic life with the call of the spirit. Instead, Caliban, symbol of the uneducated mass, initiates a revolt against his mentor Prospero. The originality of the work of Jesus lies not indeed in the literal acceptation of his doctrine — since that might be found entirely without leaving the teachings of the Synagogue, searching for it from the book of Deuteronomy to the Talmud — but in having, by his preaching, made felt the poetry of his precept, that is, its inner beauty.
Liberal and positivist circles had demanded that crucifixes be removed from state hospitals. It is only Christians who see a crucifix as a religious symbol for redemption from sinfulness. In contrast to Kant, who, had he even lived a thousand years like the Brahman deities, would have moved scarcely a single person to practice a moral life, with their simple words or conduct of life Jesus, Buddha, Francis of Assisi and Luther succeeded in touching the hearts of not just individuals but entire peoples.
Conversely, Greek antiquity, which had never appreciated and proclaimed selfless love in its overwhelming power, is dependent on Christianity.
The work of Greece is the cult of plastic and serene perfection: the formation of noble, strong, harmonious human creatures, rich in abilities and potencies to expand […] In executing this work the weak remains forgotten, the sad remains excluded […].
Wherever freedom is not accompanied by a vital feeling of human solidarity, then egoism will always be the unavoidable shadow of the image. Compassion, never very tender nor selfless, not even between those united by the bonds of citizenship, encounters its limit in this shadow, where the slave and barbarian dwelled. Morality is not intrinsically dependent on the aesthetic.
It was when the word of new-born Christianity came to Greek colonies in Macedonia with Saint Paul; to Thessaly and Philippi the Evangel, still pure, informed the soul of those refined and spiritual communities, in whom the seal of Hellenic culture maintained an enchanting native distinction. One might have hoped then that the two ideals most lofty that the world had known were going now to be united for all time.
In the epistolary style of Saint Paul lingers a trace of that moment when charity was being Hellenized. But that sweet union did not last.
A short time later and the paths diverge, Greek aesthetics and Biblical charity go their separate ways. Monastic asceticism banished aesthetics from Christian life; a narrow-minded dogmatism suppressed freedom of thought. The fatal separation between Greek antiquity and Christian religion continued on into the modern age. While the Renaissance in its impetuous rehabilitation of antiquity neglected Christian morality, the Christian banishment of beauty continued in puritanism.
The work of North American positivism will also at the end serve the cause of Ariel. That which this people of Cyclops have achieved for the direct purpose of material advantage, with all their sense for what is useful and their admirable faculty of mechanical invention, will be converted by other peoples, or later, even by themselves, to a wealth of material for the higher selection.
A look at history, in particular the Renaissance, suffices to show that economic prosperity and cultural awakening are not mutually exclusive, but indeed can reciprocally stimulate and enrichen one another.
As already noted and criticised by contemporaries, his synthesis of Christian morality and the spirit of classical Greece completely passes over the indigenous peoples of America. These scoundrels who disown their sick mother and leave her alone in her sickbed! In short: America can only save itself together with its indigenous peoples, not by ignoring them. No firm training of the intelligence can be based on simple-minded isolation or on voluntary ignorance.
Every problem proposed to human thought by the spirit of Doubt […] has a right to reach our consciousness and there be considered and faced. The strength of our heart must show itself in accepting the riddle of the Sphinx; not in evading its awesome question. Ensayo sobre la esencia del cristianismo According to him, Marxism must therefore absorb the religious dimension while simultaneously respecting the religious traditions of the indigenous peoples if it is to reach the hearts of the people as a social movement.
According to Fernando Retamar, there is no conflict between Ariel and Caliban, for both are slaves of Prospero, the colonizer. Thus, Caliban becomes a symbol of resistance to Western hegemony and has to rely on its own sources. He made his habilitation at the department of philosophy of the University of Vienna in His main research fields are ethics, philosophy of religion, political philosophy, intercultural philosophy with a focus on Latin American philosophy, and theories of modernity.
Ardao , Arturo : La inteligencia latinoamericana. Bilbao : Universidad de Deusto Volume 2. Charleston : Nabu Press reprint of the edition Buenos Aires , pp. Ensayo sobre la esencia del cristianismo Obras completas vol.
Dussel , Enrique : El humanismo semita. Estructuras intencionales del pueblo Israel y otros semitas. Buenos Aires : Eudeba Frankfurt am Main : Materialis , pp. Zur karibischen Literatur, Kultur und Gesellschaft. Losurdo , Domenico : Nietzsche, der aristokratische Rebell. Intellektuelle Biographie und kritische Bilanz.
Hamburg : Argument-Verlag Retamar , Fernando : Caliban and Other Essays. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press Madrid : Aguilar Translated with an introductory essay by F.
Schelkshorn , Hans : Ethik der Befreiung. Szygalski, Daria A. Botas 2 Botas The pan-Latin ideology was essentially developed by Michel Chevalier, a French economist. Bilbao , p. See Dussel ; Author: Hans Schelkshorn 1. Keywords: philosophy of religion ; Latin American philosophy ; positivism. Open Access.
José Enrique Rodó
Ariel belongs to the movement known as modernismo , characterized by its elegance, artistic prose, and worldly references and allusions. Even though it is an essay, its ideas are expressed through Prospero's narrative voice. In Ariel , Prospero's seminar includes both famous and lesser-known European authors. Francis of Assisi , Schiller , and Guyau. Prospero also focuses on locations such as Ancient Greece, and he emphasizes Hellenic beauty as the only ideal worthy of imitation.
José Enrique Rodó: The Birth of Latin America Out of Spiritual Revolt
Rodó, José Enrique 1871-1917