Living in Irrational Times: 

MilitiaA militia group stands in front of the Michigan governor’s office. Photograph: Seth Herald/Reuters

a follow up of The Age of Unrest Published April 30,

There is a broad consensus calling the time we are living in today irrational, Some analyst goes as far as to think we are also living a revolution in slow motion. Some find it resembling situations described in Kafka’s classic novels, The Trial and The Castle. Others think of an Orwellian time about the dystopian world pictured in George Orwell’s famous book 1984 where, in an imagined world, the leader of a totalitarian country enjoys an extreme form of the cult of personality and citizens are trained to uncritically accept as only “truths” the daily broadcasts‚. The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears, Winston Smith, Orwell’s leading character, says. It is a chilling remark reminiscent of the prevailing party loyalty in the USA

Turning now into relevant recent non-fiction authors that can help explain the nature of our convulsive time, I will mention to start, Tony Barber article in Financial Times of April 22, Book Review Column Machiavelli and his enduring appeal as a man for all times, The Renaissance writer’s ideas remain relevant amid today’s troubles three new books explain why.

Among the three books Barber mentions, it seems that Machiavelli The Art of Teaching People What to Fear by Patrick Boucheron, a renowned French historian, places the Florentine writer in today’s complicated time. The Introduction opens with the following quote “Real Power ,” I don’t even want to use the word ”fear” This sentence quoted by the French author, could have been written by Machiavelli, but, it was spoken by Donald Trump in March 2016 when Trump was still only a candidate for the US presidency. Boucheron tells us that this statement is also used as the epigraph to Bob Woodward’s book “Fear”: Trump in the White House.

Boucheron’s book contains a series of lectures about the works of Machiavelli teaching him to see it less as a representation of power than as a machine for producing political emotions: persuasion, in the public buildings of the republican city-states; and intimidation, in the fortified strongholds that the princes built to keep those states in line. The book was written before our current health, and the economic crisis but shows Machiavelli having the power to sharpen our understanding of the present, which is uncertain, unbalanced, and has brought so much suffering in terms of loss of lives, unemployment, and further impoverishment in the world.

In one of the essays included in Boucheron’s books, he brings back the question about Machiavelli’s motivation to write The Prince and to whom he was addressing this famous book mentioning two possibilities. One by Diderot, the famous French Eighteen Century philosopher and editor of the Encyclopedie, who believes Machiavelli was giving instruction to the powerful, teaching them a detestable sort of politics that can be captured in three words, the art of tyranny. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his Social Contract, took the other side: This man has nothing to teach tyrants, they already know perfectly well what they must do. He is instructing the people on what they have to fear. Probably based on this premise, Boucheron thinks that reading Machiavelli is so current by showing not only what tyranny is but also which actions and situations should signal the people that there are dangerous times ahead.

We turn to our current time, on the May 9 issue of The Economist as an invited guest Margaret MacMillan wrote an article with the suggestive title On covid-19 as a turning point in history. The pandemic exposes our weaknesses and strengths. How the story unfolds will depend on leaders. 

Margaret MacMillan is an acclaimed historian teacher at Oxford University and the author of several books, particularly the War that ended Peace.  This book describes the events that led to the First World War, the small conflicts and tensions between superpowers and their different allies through the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This local event leads Europe to a war that ended the European empires and caused the worst chaos, death, and misery to millions of people.

Her work and experience as a highly qualified researcher of historical situations and events that have triggered serious conflicts that changed the world make her analysis of our time particularly relevant. With compelling arguments, she considers our time as a revolutionary moment that is “challenging the old order.”

She compares some aspects of the current health and economic crisis to what happened in France in 1789, Russia in 1917, and in the Europe of the 1930s. Her analysis focuses on current leaders that are weakening democratic institutions in the US and Europe supported by popular discontent that has facilitated the ascend of extreme-right, xenophobic, and nationalists movements.

She recalls articles by a series of several journalists like Paul Krugman, who warned us about profound social and economic inequalities that fueled movements like “Occupy Wall Street” or France’s “gilets jaunes”. But what Macmillan considers to be a turning point is the chaotic responses and blame games of certain governments have exacerbated divisions in and among societies, perhaps permanently. Pointing out at the troubling fact that America has withdrawn from moral and material leadership of the world, she adds the dangerous moment that represents an evident new type of cold war between China and the US that started with tariffs and continues with a destructive blame game, which feeds growing hostilities among the two superpowers, making rogue states such as Russia gleefully make more trouble and the United Nations is increasingly marginalised. 

Margaret MacMillan also mentioned the devastation that the Second World War produced in Europe, to highlight the fact that the societies that survive and adapt best to catastrophes are already strong. Britain rose to the challenge of the Nazis because it was united; France was not and did not.

The historian sounds the alarm bells contrasting the current leader’s actions. Angela Merkel, addressing the challenges and the steep road ahead, while on the one hand, demagogues as President Jair Bolsonaro are playing to fears and fantasies of their followers. In this category, Margaret MacMillan explicitly includes among the populists, President Donald Trump, who claimed he had “total” authority, demonstrating something about his instincts if not his knowledge of the American constitution.

MacMillan ends the article questioning how this difficult time will be judged, by future historians, if there are any who can still research and speak freely, particularly the actions the leaders of individual countries and their citizens..

There are many books published before the health crisis I consider particularly relevant to understand our current situation, How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky, a Political Scientist and a Harvard University Professor and Daniel Ziblatt, the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government also at Harvard University. As the title indicate, the authors consider that in the past democratic countries fall into a dictatorship by “Coups d’ Etat”, which are easy to identify. They used the case of Chile when Salvador Allende, the Constitutional President in 1973, was assassinated and with him, also, the Chilean democracy. The military took control, subjecting the country to a brutal dictatorship that lasted for decades. The authors also present the tragic consequences of the Cold War era when coups d’ Etat accounted for nearly three out of every four democratic breakdowns. Democracies in Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, and Uruguay all died this way.

With this context, the book focuses on modern times when democracies slowly die paradoxically by democratically elected leaders, which by design grab power, bend and erode the rule of law and weaken the democratic institutions that made them possible to be chosen. The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy ”gradually, subtly, and even legally” to kill it.

What makes this book relevant in the time of Coronavirus Cov-19 is the fact that we can see an erosion of democratic values and the rule of law as a normalized situation in the US and many other democracies. Many will have difficulty passing a ‘democratic’ test, particularly Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Mexico Brazil, etc.

Gillian Tett, a renowned financial analyst of the Financial Times, published on May 8, 2020, an essay with the suggestive title Is it safe to go to the shops, see a friend or get on a plane?..on how to assess risk in the age of coronavirus. Her note opens with a widely reported situation that, many consider, to be unimaginable only recently last month. She quoted the following tweet by Michigan State Senator Dayna Polehanki, who posted it from the Capitol building: “Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us,” she texted. To provide context and show the unthinkable situation in a democratic society, the Senator posted a picture of armed protesters standing in the building, demanding an end to the Covid-19 lockdown in the name of “freedom” (see photo on top).

Gillian Tett rightly thinks it is naive to think that in today’s circumstances, the US continues to be built on the principle of individual freedom and an ideal of the individualistic management of risk, adding that, ..most individuals recognise that pandemics are a group threat. That is why the majority have accepted State’s mandatory lockdowns, travel bans and other controls,…by the high levels of compliance. 

She considers it is even more striking to see the rise of egalitarian risk management in the US including the use of masks, emulating Japan and China, and many other Asian countries following their collectivist traditions.

Following the same type of conclusions made by the authors previously reviewed regarding the revolutionary character of time we are living today, Gillian Tett ends her article with an idea which I think will be challenging to find on her past article in FT: Where might this lead? She rhetorically asks, My own best guess is that in countries such as the US and UK, we are heading towards a future with more emphasis on egalitarian risk control but within social boundaries; keeping our “tribe” safe will be the new mantra..  

There are many books directly related to past pandemics and articles with lists of classic fiction and non-fiction dealing with historical pandemics and situations similar to the one we are now living. Particularly, Albert Camus The Plague, now popular historical Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, and even Shakespeare, who was born at a time England was facing a serious pandemic.

Many books with updated visions about the current pandemic and the human, social and economic effects produced by lockouts of countries and cities will be coming soon to the bookstores, virtual libraries like Apple Books. One of the first is Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present by Frank M Snowden published by Yale University Press, in May 2020.

The human toll of the deadly decease is unprecedented for the speed it affected millions, overwhelmed hospitals and health services, tragically claimed dozens of thousands of deaths around the globe. Also, the economic situation provoked an increasing number of unemployed, reaching almost 40 million only in the US.this week. It is difficult to foresee a fast, recovery, and many sectors will take longer or will never fully recover. Airlines are not yet scheduling flights and have scrapped or indefinitely postponed orders of new airplanes. Businesses, large and small are declaring bankruptcies, delinquent mortgages and unpaid rents are rising. Most industrialized nations’ governments have approved packages to support their economies as the pandemic threatens a global recession, creating enormous deficits of trillions of dollars. Also, central banks are pumping an enormous amount of cash to the system to keep interest rates low, affecting the income of the commercial banks, which are already weakened by growing unpaid debt. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will have to pledge funds to support countries in need. to diminish the impact of a broken international economy 

.It is too soon to have a real sense of how the future will be once the pandemic is under control. There are multiple scenarios, including the optimistic presented view by Gillian Tett.As we mentioned before, she thinks that the US and UK, are heading to a future with more emphasis on egalitarian risk control. Other analysts see a revolution with millions without jobs or income, as a result of a deep recession like the one in the late 1920s, greater state intervention, reduced freedom, an increase polarization, nationalism, increase international tensions and conflicts and the end of an interdependent world as the one we know it today. Finally, a cynical view of the future, like in the famous novel The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa which is a story of the passing of feudalism with a decadent and dying aristocracy threatened by the forces of a revolution.in Italy in 1860 which ended with the following motto, Changing things so everything stays the same

Sources


The Age of Unrest

Empty airport

Last year I started writing about the political problems the world was experiencing in 2019, particularly the election and straightening of populist leaders, the rise of nationalism and xenophobia, the violent street protests in France, Hong Kong, and Chile among others. These kinds of movements are fulled by the anger and what the famous Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset describes in his classic book, “La Rebelión of the Masas.”

Many aspects of last year’s violent street protests in Europe are similar to those after the First World War in 1919, also during the financial crisis in1929 economic depression with massive unemployment, and finally, in students’ movements in 1968, to quote those that come to my mind.

 The social and political situation in some countries was so bad last year that The Economist dedicated one of its leading articles on August 1, 2019, titled “Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?”  This article refers to the problems the governments of Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, and others faced described in the following quote: “When you survey the political landscape of rich countries, you see an unusual amount of chaos and upheaval. Prague has seen the largest demonstrations since the overthrow of communism. More than a quarter of the current parliaments in Europe were elected in polls that were called early. In Britain, the mother of parliaments has been at the gin bottle, and opinion polls everywhere show increasing numbers of people losing patience with democratic niceties and hankering after a strongman…” (Source: https://www.economist.com/international/2019/08/01/are-western-democracies-becoming-ungovernable)

 Today when the Coronavirus Cov-19 has infected almost two million people and kill more than one hundred thousand, the street movements have quieted for now. No more protests in Hong Kong, calls for independence in Catalunya, violent clashes between police and demonstrators in Chile and Colombia or yellow jackets in France. Also, it is now history the political crisis in Italy, which at the start of the year threatened the Government collapse.

Emergency measures were needed to deal with the epidemic, giving governments enormous political and social power. In many countries, leaders taking advantage of the situation have born actions that have crippled primary democratic institutions, mostly in Hungary, India, and in other democracies. Beyond the logical and needed “lockouts” of cities and entire countries, the Executive Branch of some governments took advantage of the pandemic to enact extreme anti-democratic measures, including limiting constitutional powers of the other branches of government, rights of their citizens and some social organizations. In cases, censorship, surveillance, and repression is also happening in some democracies.

Not only the political landscape has changed, but the economic consequences of the pandemic are also already happening in terms of massive unemployment, bankruptcies, and economic stagnation. The Economist, cover of April 9’s issue, is represented by the economic devastation that is already happening around the globe. The main article, “the shock ripping through the business world eloquently describes a bleak future. “With countries in lockdown accounting for over 50% of global GDP, the collapse in commercial activity is far more severe than in previous recessions. Numerous indicators suggest extreme stress. Global oil demand has dropped by up to a third; the volume of new cars and parts shipped on America’s railways has dropped by 70%. Many firms have only enough inventories and cash to survive for three to six months. The exit path for those that survive will be precarious, with uneasy consumers, an efficiency-sapping stop-start rhythm, and tricky new health protocols. In the long run, companies will have to master a new environment. The crisis and the response to it are accelerating three trends: an energising adoption of new technologies, an inevitable retreat from freewheeling global supply chains, and a worrying rise in well-connected oligopolies.”

The eventual end of the health crisis probably will bring back the old political conflicts. Already in Europe, LePen in France, Salvini in Italy, and Casado and Abascal in Spain are capitalizing on the new discontent. They will benefit from the natural and justified resentment for an economic situation that will hit so many without a job or real income. There are counting on the anger that millions of people that worked in the informal economy, now without any pay in more than a month and have no idea when they will resume their work. Also, these demagogues are counting on recruiting the owners of small companies that might not survive the current slow down, and the anticipated recession. 

In anticipation of future unrest, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, warned that “the pandemic had the potential to increase social unrest and violence, which would greatly undermine the world’s ability to fight the disease.”

 


Woman Abuse in the time of Facebook

Who You Think I Am by Camille Laurens

Woman Abuse in the time of Facebook

Who You Think I Am”, the novel from the award winning French author, Camille Laurens, presents the reader with the troubling repercussions produced in personal lives by social media and the virtual world, particularly in relationships by those obsessive love-hungry individuals that fill their lives with distant little known or unknown persons.

Narrated by several characters in the first person style, reading the novel is like listening to someone directly talking to us. First, Clair, the central character is a 46 year old divorced woman who is desperate to love and to be loved. She narrated to her psychotherapist her painful relationships, including the tragic emotional Facebook virtual connection with Chris, a man twelve years younger who she never met in person. The novel also includes a notebook about this relationship written by Claire and read by her physiotherapist. Among the character the author adds a novelist who wrote and intends to publish Clair dreadful story. Each one presents a different perspective of Claire complex life, making the book a thriller which could be read as a plot made for cinema, plot, that I don’t intend to reveal.

Notwithstanding the complexity of the story, it is relatively easy to follow for the consistency and the connections of the characters, timeframes, and sequences, which, with some attention, are easy to follow.

Claire, the central character is unable to communicate with Joe, her abusive previous boyfriend with who she had a real physical painful failed relationship. She continues to be obsessively in love with him and incapable to accept the fact the relation ended badly. Looking at Joe’s Facebook page, Clair discovers that Joe is sharing his home in the countryside with Chris, a frustrated photographer. To follow Joe’s and keep some form of connection with him, she creates a fake personality on Facebook in the form of a seductive, attractive and intelligent twenty four years old woman, a girl passionate about photography. who starts to following Chis. In Clair’s own account, “It wasn’t Chris I was trying to get to at all, at first. I didn’t know him, I wasn’t interested in him. I asked him to be my friend on Facebook just to have news of Joe—Joel. I was going out.., with Joe, at the time.”

After sharing profiles, both engage in daily virtual chats and electronic intimate exchanges, making Chris to fall in love with Clair’s virtual character, Also named Clair but she change the family name to Antunes, a name taken from the famous Portuguese novelist António Lobo Antunes.

To make the virtual character more realistic, Clare uses the manners and life style of her niece Katia who is approximately the same age as the fake persona. Katia’s parents died in a car accident when she was very young and Clair adopted her as a daughter.

The intensity of these distant virtual conversations makes Clair forget Joe and obsessively became emotionally virtually engaged with Chris disregarding the fact she was an impostor and aware that a real relationship was impossible. She used photos of a pretty young women in the Internet and chose a brunette who looks like Katia. With multiple excuses Clair refuses Chris constant requests to meet the fake Claire, who is aware of the disappointment Chris will have meeting the real Clair.

The story shows the sordid world of virtual distant human connections, like those described by Camille Laurens, the author. For many, in today’s world, ”far is near and near is far.” It is relatively common to find in restaurants couples obsessively looking at their phones, reading what others are doing far away, ignoring his or her companion and the real world that surround them.

The book give relevant descriptions about the fake personalities that populate the social media sites and the illusion they create. In Clair own words, ”for people like me, the Internet is the shipwreck as well as the life raft: you drown in the tracking game, in the expectation, you can’t grieve for a relationship, however dead it may be, and at the same time you’re hovering above it in a virtual world, clinging to fake information”

It is so common and prevalent situations like those describe in the novel that there are paying sites or Apps that help to profesionaly create these kind of Avatars or invented virtual phantoms.

To enrich the vivid description of the distortions and outright lies the social media facilities, the author uses the failed and abusive relationship with Joe and the fake relation with Chris produced by Clair virtual Facebook Frankenstein, the author quotes examples of the dreadful conditions and abuses woman have to endure in the hands of predators males like Joe, who knows how to exploit the weaknesses of recently divorced victims.

According to the numbers released by Facebook, various serious studies estimate that, ”as many as 270 million of the platform’s 2.1-billion-strong user base could be fraudulent or duplicated — a population verging on the size of the United States.” (https://mashable.com/2017/11/02/facebook-phony-accounts-admission/)

As an added value to the story, the conversations are full of relevant examples of classic books and authors Clair quotes in her discussions about abusive relationships. In the final note Camille Laurens acknowledges that the “novel contains reminiscences or quotations (some of them unfaithful) from A. Artaud, H. Melville, L. Aragon, J-F. Lyotard, N. Arcan, J. Racine, D. Winnicott, J. Didion, G. Flaubert, P. Lejeune, O. Steiner, J. Joyce, W. Shakespeare, J. Renard, M. Duras, P. Quignard, J. Lacan, W. B. Yeats, H. de Balzac, H. Cixous, R. M. Rilke, L-F. Céline, R. Juarroz, M. Leiris.”

Who You Think I Am by Camille Laurens is undoubtedly a book that addresses the disturbing adverse effects of social media, amplifying the potential of abusive emotional relationships and other forms of suffering and abuse women continues to endure.

Source

https://books.apple.com/us/book/who-you-think-i-am/id1143917124


Los malos consejos del pueblo por Ian Mcewan

AntiBrexitEl famoso novelista inglés en un artículo publicado en EL País, destaca el carácter anti democrático del referendum que conduce a la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea, lesionando los intereses de millones de ciudadanos de ese país. Las mismas ideas son aplicables a los referéndum no calificados cómo fue el celebrado hace unos años en Cataluña.

Refiriéndose a Brexit se pregunta:

“.?Cómo es que un asunto de consecuencias constitucionales, económicas y culturales de tal envergadura se ha zanjado con una mayoría simple y no con una supermayoría?

¿Cómo se transmutó “consultivo” en “vinculante”? Gracias a los polvos cegadores que nos lanzaron a los ojos las manos populistas desde la derecha y la izquierda.”

El artículo presenta también otras ideas que trascienden el Brexit, particularmente los riesgo de la “democracia directa o de la calle,” el populismo y el surgimiento de movimientos políticos contrarios al mundo interdependiente de hoy. “El nacionalismo rara vez es un proyecto de paz. Tampoco le importa la lucha contra el cambio climático”.

Sin duda un artículo que contribuye a entender lo que está ocurriendo.

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Tribuna | Los malos consejos del pueblo

Author: Ian Mcewan

Source: https://elpais.com/elpais/2020/01/31/opinion/1580487788_326877.html

Ya no hay vuelta atrás. La negociación tozuda hasta decir basta de Theresa May, y después de Boris Johnson durante un breve periodo, ha logrado que se cumpla la ambición más masoquista y sin sentido jamás soñada en la historia de las islas. El resto del mundo, exceptuando a los presidentes Putin y Trump, han asistido al proceso con asombro y consternación. En diciembre, una mayoría votó a favor de los partidos que propugnaban un segundo referéndum, pero estos fueron, lamentablemente, incapaces de hacer causa común. Ahora nos toca recoger las tiendas, tal vez al son de las campanas de la iglesia,…

INICIA SESIÓN PARA SEGUIR LEYENDO https://elpais.com/elpais/2020/01/31/opinion/1580487788_326877.html

EL PAÍS

Copyright © Ian McEwan 2020

 


Celebrating Peter Handke Nobel Prize

I am surprised to see so many articles criticizing the Nobel Foundation for awarding 2019 Literature Prize to Peter Handke, the Austrian Novelist, Movies and Theater writer, and producer. 

Without getting on the merits of the critical comments made by the press about Peter Handke’s ideas about the war in Serbia and the massacres committed, the Prize is not about Mr. Handke’s ideology nor of his past political actions or speeches. The Literature Nobel Prize is about Literature, the published work, which is independent of the author or the artist.

Most of the critics recognize the merits of Handke’s work, which implicitly validates the jury’s decision to award Peter Handke with this year’s Nobel Prize.

I don’t remember where I read the wise proposition about the difference between art and artist, which should be separated and independent one from the other. Nobody can deny the value, quality, and enormous contribution of Picassos’ work independently if he was or not a womanizer. Following this principle, it is essential to celebrate Handke’s Nobel Prize.   

Book Review:
The Left Handed Woman” by Peter Handke. On Women’s Freedom from the Bondage of Undesirable Marriage

Una Historia Negra. La Violencia Machista, una Epidemia.

CoverSiguiendo el enorme éxito de las novelas de Elena Ferrante, Antonella Lattanzi.presenta en España su tercera novela, Una Historia Negra, (traducción de César Palma). La novela fue originalmente publicada en Italia por Mondadori en 2017 y reeditada en 2018, Actualmente esta disponible en español /1, portugués, en alemán y próximamente en 7 idiomas más. 

Se trata de una extraordinaria novela sobre el terrible problema de la violencia domestica y sus destructivos efectos en las mujeres que la padecen, en sus hijos y familias y finalmente en la sociedad. No obstante la publicidad que se le ha dado a este lacerarte problema, las políticas para combatirlo han tenido hasta ahora muy pocos resultados. 

Un extraordinario ‘thriller’ de la autora italiana, Antonella Lattanzi quien presenta con descarnado realismo el estado de desamparo y la escasa protección con la que cuentan las mujeres víctimas del abuso físico, emocional y sexual. En México la violencia domestica alcanza niveles de epidemia/2 y sigue presente en las naciones más desarrolladas. El Diario de España publica una nota con datos que muestran la seriedad del problema: “De los 1.000 casos de asesinatos de mujeres por parte de sus parejas o exparejas registrados en los últimos dieciséis años, solo existía denuncia previa en 209. Solo una de cada cinco mujeres denunciaron. ¿Hay desconfianza en el sistema?”/3.

En la novela de Lattanzi, los personajes nos hablan en primera persona (la protagonista; los miembros mas próximos y los mas distantes de su familia; sus amigos y amantes; los policías; los abogados; el juez; los medios; etc.) y nos hacen partícipes de sus sentimientos y pensamientos, sus relaciones, sus miedos, así como los acontecimientos y situaciones a las que se enfrentan.

Las conversaciones entre los personajes hacen que el lector participe como testigo directo de los conflictos y problemas que los aquejan. El narrador interviene para dar el contexto social y cultural en el que se desarrolla la historia, principalmente Roma y Massafra en la region de Apulia al suroeste de Italia. Asimismo, se dan fechas y temporadas (la novela se desarrolla de manera cronológica, en algunos casos haciendo referencia a una fecha determinada o a la estación del año), 

 En su prestigiada pagina de critica literaria y reseña de libros de El País, Una Historia Negra es considera como una de las mejores novelas negras publicadas en España en 2018. La columna contiene la opinión de escritores, libreros, editores y periodistas quienes eligen su libro predilecto del año. La periodista y escritora Laura Fernández considera con razón que Una Historia Negra no es otra historia de violencia de género. Es mucho más. Es casi una experiencia, vivísima, de acoso, liberación, prejuicio y derribo.”/4

Antes de escribir su primera novela, Devozione en 2010, aun no traducida al español, Lattanzi, pasó cinco años entre drogadictos, haciéndose pasar por uno de ellos. La experiencia le dio material, no solo para esa novela, sino para el guion cinematográfico del film Fiore, dirigido en 2016 por Claudio Genovese.

Una Historia Negra, por su titulo es considerada “novela negra” sin embargo desde mi punto de vista puede ser también un “thriller” por el acelerado ritmo de una historia llena de situaciones inesperadas y en muchos casos indefinidas, mismas que el lector ira descubriendo no sin ansiedad y con anticipación imaginando los desenlaces.

Una extraordinaria novela sobre la violencia machista cuyas aterradoras secuelas también producen amores enfermos y generalmente obsesivos. 

_____

Antonella Lattanzi. Nacida en Bari, Italia (1979)
Bibliografía:

Novelas

  • Devozione, Torino, Einaudi, 2010
  • Prima che tu mi tradisca, Torino, Einaudi, 2013 
  • Una storia nera, Torino, Einaudi, 2017

Guiones Cjnematograficos

Traducciones al italiano

____________
Notas: 

1. Antonella Lattanzi. Una Historia Negra. Penguin Random House, 2018.
https://books.apple.com/us/book/una-historia-negra/id1403537503

2. En México, según datos de La Encuesta Nacional sobre Dinámica de las
Relaciones en los Hogares
del INEGI, realizada en 2016, el 66.1% de las mujeres mayores de 18 años han sufrido algún tipo de agresión física, psicológica o sexual solo el 9.45% realizó una denuncia al respecto. 

3. Ángeles Carmona: “Si hay que decir treinta mil veces que la violencia machista tiene unas raíces diferentes a la intrafamiliar, lo diremos” El Diario, 19 Junio, 2019, España.
https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/treinta-violencia-machista-diferentes-intrafamiliar_0_910959480.html

4. Las mejores novelas negras de 2018. El País, Madrid, 31 de Diciembre 2018.
https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/12/11/elemental/1544529847_038711.html


Arthur Schopenhauer:  On the Experience of Life. Selection and Editor’s Note by J P

Cover12Recently Published in iBooks. Link: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1467292456

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) is an influential 19th Century philosopher whose works and ideas were followed by other important philosophers, particularly by Nietzsche, who viewed himself as  Schopenhauer’s successor. His work also influenced Freud’s ideas on psychoanalysis. 

Thomas Mann, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in his long essay Schopenhauer the Living Thoughts of Schopenhauer, says the philosopher is a “psychologist of the will” and his works to run by way of the psychological radicalism of Nietzsche, straight to Freud and the men who built up his psychology of the unconscious and applied it to the mental sciences.

Following Thomas Mann’s interpretation of Schopenhauer’s ideas, it is not surprising to see Dr. Irvin D. Yalom, a well known psychotherapist and best selling author, choose Schopenhauer as a central character of one of his novels: The Schopenhauer Cure. As in his other two novels based on prominent philosophers, Nietzsche and Spinoza, (When Nietzsche Wept: A Novel Of Obsession and The Spinoza Problem: A Novel)

I decided to include “The Stages of Life”, of Schopenhauer’s Counsels and Maxims in this volume. In this essay he considers that in our childhood we are more given to using our intellect than our will. Following that golden age or magic years of learning about the external world, Schopenhauer warns us that then … comes the great period of disillusion, a period of very gradual growth; but once it has fairly begun, a man will tell you that he has got over all his false notions “l’âge des illusions est passé”. ..

Another essay included in this anthology with the evocative title On Thinking for Oneself is written in a didactic style. There, Schopenhauer expresses his strong opinions on the importance of discovering independently what is important for the creative mind. I consider this essay to be relevant in our political environment as well as in our personal and social lives, dominated by social media. In a time of excessive information and opinions that are shared and absorbed without thinking, the ideas contained in Schopenhauer’s essay could not be more compelling and current. 

Following the same ideas, On Books and Reading, another essay included in this book, Schopenhauer can be perceived as an educator and not so much as a philosopher. Here he criticizes those who read for entertainment, as a pastime or for relaxation, consuming books without discerning what is good and what is not or, even worse, reading without assimilating the content. To make the point he uses the following example: you can ruin the stomach and impair the whole body by taking too much nourishment, so you can overfill and choke the mind by feeding it too much.

Character is another Schopenhauer essay included in this book. He uses theater to show the contrast between the personality of a narcissistic individual that looks for honor and fame to those actors who only want to perform “great parts: “..  Using acting as a metaphor to discuss the concept of “individual character” he suggests that those actors who fail to see that the important thing is not ‘what’ or ‘how much’, but ‘how’ they act.”

Following this comparison, the philosopher argues against the idea that a character predeterminates a person’s life like a role in a play that has to be performed as it is written following a script. He affirms that real life is different, is not static, changes and ..character undergoes an alteration, as a result of self-knowledge.

In his essay Property, or What a Man Has, Schopenhauer presents the idea of happiness, one of the many topics we often find in his works. Here, the philosopher presents the link between money or wealth and a happy life.

Finally, in “The Metaphysics of Art”, also included in this anthology, Schopenhauer gives an effective path to fight the “Will”, which is one of the bases of his philosophy. The “Will”, which is in conflict with the intellect, constitutes a series of needs that are an unavoidable part of the human condition and the source of unhappiness, frustration and suffering, since what the “Will” commands can never be entirely satisfied. 

 The less the “Will” is exercised, the less suffering. To avoid it, Schopenhauer considers Art and Beauty to be the answer, Therefore, contemplation of beauty in any form, including nature, will help.

 

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