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ON STEP BEYOND FOUCAULT AND SUVEILLER ET PUNIR (1975):

July 1, 2013

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WHY SPAIN WAS TRULY DIFFERENT

Because Enlightenment-or the Age of Reason-never thoroughly and finally pushed aside the Catholic Church and a mythical-religious understanding a life from the standpoint of the individual.

And what do I base this statement on (because this is pretty much a cliché idea within Spanish-and Hispanic-academics)?

I base it on some of the ideas of Octavio Paz* and his affirmation that the Spanish-Hispanic period know as Modernismo was really the Romantic period that Spain never truly experienced, either.

Because as you all should understand by now, within our current systemic understanding as conceptual models and the study of academic fields, Romanticism was a reaction in itself to what had preceded it, that is, Enlightenment and the Age of Reason.

And particularly, Romanticism could also be understood as a necessary counter reaction to Foucault’s Disciplinary Society and it’s basing of social organization also on reason as man’s rational psychological drive to observe, classify, organize and homogenize-even social reality and the individual herself.

And in such a context-and in the confluence of historical events of the mid to late 18 century, the spirit of Romanticism spread like wild fire, socially, politically and ignited all of Europe, in opposition-it is assumed-to all the excessively rational.

Except Spain.

And in this logic, Spain and its culture would not have been particularly sensitive, in its essence, to the taste of freedom as Romanticism as flight, for there had yet appeared anything to really fly from.

And Romanticism was imitated in Spain, in art and literature, but never outside of the underlying parameters of Catholic thought-this would not really appear until the very end of the 19 century and el Modernismo.

And from an historical and anthropological standpoint, this was-I argue-a positive thing, if you can put aside for a moment your pangs for industrial development and your deep-seated sense of historical inferiority (if you are Spanish, I mean).

And here is the gist of this:

I follow the arguments of Spengler and affirm that Spain never lost its religiously-based, cultural wholesomeness as a society; it never reconfigured itself following the dictates of the Disciplinary Society and the will to rationally subjugate human society that is both the eminence as well as the darkness of the Enlightenment itself.

And other European societies had to find their way back from the Enlightenment as an excessive subjugation of the individual.

This is, anthropologically, the darkness itself of the Enlightenment.

And throughout the rest of the history of Spain, a catholic narrative as life mode lived on-cryptically for the most part-as a kind of silent partner that in a Spenglerian sense, kept Spanish culture from careening into his Western Decadence dive of return, once again, to the flatness of man as plant.

And the anthropological grounding of culture in the country and agriculture, never left entirely the cities of Spain.

And historically it would become, unawares explicitly to Spanish intellectuals, a comparative advantage-not in an economic sense, but of the soul and of collective society overall.

And the particular Spanish sense of individual dignity-and the respect one owes in essence to your fellow man, took much longer to die out as a pillar itself of collective existence.

And it seems it still lives on today, to some extent-but I hear its gotten pretty damn bad, after 2008 (or maybe 2010/11).

And freedom today, even in Spain it would seem, means having an MBA, just like in the United States of Disney.

Even most Spanish people today actually believe this!

And the others are probably watching a lot of TV, at this point.

EXEMPLUM

Be wary of Americans preaching the grandeur of The Enlightenment.

________________

*Los Hijos Del Limo (1974)

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