Europe Edition

2019 Number 1


Our proverbial


Despite the prevalence of many archaisms, Chile looks more modern every day. To this confirmation is added another, less graceful: our modernity has been, from its beginnings, a factor of order and stability instead of being a critical and innovative sting. Since its inception, our intellectual and artistic work has distanced itself from Modernity in the 19th century and in the first third of the 20th. Attention and emphasis slid from the ephemeral to the inert; from spontaneous fulguration to the norm; from seductive attraction to compulsion; from radical conformism to rampant conformism.

Our ambiguous modernization is deepening, turning our country into a “consumer paradise”, in which the population delights in the faustic spectacle of the abundance of things…

“Paradise” surrounded by a vast “paramo” (1) in which the inhabitants have ceased to be subjects, that is, actors\authors of daily history, progressively transforming themselves into mere users, clients, objects of administrative, economic and political decisions , etc.

And so, without the old having just died, or the new having just been born, we have entered the third millennium of the company of countries that have reached the levels of integral development, as witnessed by an elemental comparison of our situation with that of the OECD member countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

In the “disenchanted world” of this sui generis modernity, there are many people for whom it is very difficult, if not impossible, to assign relevant ends to their existence; this strengthens the apathy, indifference and withdrawal of everyone in their niche, with the inevitable detriment of interpersonal relationships and social life as a whole.

“Enter yourself – advised Rilke – try to say, as if you were the first man, what you see, what you live, love, lose… say your sadness and your wishes, your unexpected thoughts, faith in a beauty. Say all this with an intimate, calm and humble sincerity…”. And the poet suggested: “Reach the depths, because irony reaches there” (2)

Rilke’s advice points out the prerequisite of the work that the individual has before him to achieve his dignity, sailing against the current and in the opposite direction to the movement of the masses”… Groups are almost always subject to gravity; that is, to the descending logic of the conditions of last resort. What group does not require the wealth to justice? The power of virtue? The good conscience of love? ” (3) It is that slope, which sometimes we can overcome, when little by little it was, we escaped the force of the group’s gravity. In that upstream swimming, the individual must “rise from the economics of politics, from politics to morals, from the morals of love.” (4)

We are witnessing today in Chile, something of that laborious denial that is causing new citizens to emerge, from the mass consumer report.

It is vital not to forget that, to oppose gravity and avoid ambient inertia, considerable internal force is necessary. Believers will find in grace a force that will lift them up; and for those who do not know the faith, the following testimony may be significant to them: “I know only these two forces, so febles, so fragile, so derisory: the will and love. That they can suffice for us, nothing guarantees it, but some have shown it. ” (5)


  • (1) Tomás Moulian, current Chile, anatomy of a myth …
  • (2) Reiner Maria Rilke, letter to a young poet.
  • (3) André Comte-Sponville, Valeur et Vérité, études cyniques
  • (4) Ibidem
  • (5) Ibidem

Gabriel Salinas / Sociologist. Doctor in Social Sciences from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. PhD study in philosophy at the University of Chile. Collaborator in the APCH (Chilean Association of Psychoanalysis).

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