Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘José Ortega y Gasset

The technique of happiness

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Man, we said the other day, is perennially unadapted and inadaptable. Hence he collides with the world, and therefore he has a world. Because the world does not exist except as it is an obstacle. Therefore man’s conduct would be inverse to that of the other animals: they adapt themselves to the medium; what he does is to adapt the medium to his person. In these circumstances, man’s destiny implies energetic and continual force—having to adapt the world to his constrictive essential needs which are precisely those for which he is an unadapted one. He has, then, to force himself to transform this world which does not coincide with him, which is strange to him, which therefore is not his. He must transform it into another world in which his desires will be fulfilled. Because man is a system of desires which in this world are impossible.

So to create another world of which it can be said it is his world, the idea of a world that coincides with desire, is what is called happiness. Man feels himself unhappy, and for that very reason his destiny is happiness. Well now, for transforming this world into the world which can be his and with which he can coincide, he has no other instrument than technique, and physics is the possibility of an unlimited technique. From this we come to recognize that physics is the organ of human happiness and that the renewal of this science has, in human affairs, been the most important event in universal history.

José Ortega y Gasset, An Interpretation of Universal History

Written by nevalalee

April 15, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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I am going to say another thing which may seem strange to you at the moment, but which I have been taught by long experience, something that has value not only for philosophy but for all the sciences, for everything which in the strict sense of the term is theoretic. It is this: when anyone approaches science for the first time, the best way of easing him into it and of making clear to him what he is undertaking would be to say, “Do not seek to be convinced by what you are going to hear and what you are told to think; do not take this so seriously, but treat it like a game in which you are invited to observe the rules.”

José Ortega y Gasset, What is Philosophy?

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April 24, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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June 8, 2016 at 7:30 am

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How is a novelist like a naturalist?

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Edward O. Wilson

A naturalist is a civilized hunter. He goes alone into a field or woodland and closes his mind to everything but that time and place, so that life around him presses in on all the senses and small details grow in significance. He begins the scanning search for which cognition was engineered. His mind becomes unfocused, it focuses on everything, no longer directed toward any ordinary task or social pleasantry…From time to time he translates his running impressions of the smell of soil and vegetation into rational thought: the ancient olfactory brain speaks to the modern cortex. The hunter-in-naturalist knows that he does not know what is going to happen. He is required, as Ortega y Gasset expressed it, to prepare an attention of a different and superior kind, “an attention that does not consist in riveting itself to the presumed but consists precisely in not presuming anything and avoiding inattentiveness.”

Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia

Written by nevalalee

September 21, 2013 at 9:50 am

Quote of the Day

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August 9, 2013 at 7:30 am

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Quote of the Day

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July 19, 2012 at 7:30 am

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