By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Hero

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You will see from my translation of this passage from the writings of Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, why I like reading him. You may, too:

I am I and my circumstance, and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself. Benefac loco illi quo natus es ["Do good in that place where you have been born"], we read in the Bible. And in the Platonic School this is given as the project of all culture: "save the appearances," the phenomena. That is to say, search for the meaning of what surrounds us.  . . .

There is nothing on the globe through which there does not pass some divine nerve: the difficulty lies in getting to it and in our allowing it to penetrate us. . . .
Nothing impedes heroism--which is the activity of the spirit--as much as to consider it limited to certain specific spheres of life. It is certain that there exists, everywhere-- underground--the possibility of heroism  and that every man, if he strikes with vigor the earth on which he strides, should expect a fountain to erupt. For Moses the Hero, every rock is a spring.
José Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Quixote (1914), pp. 43-45 passim (Spanish edition 1957; published Madrid, Revista de Occidente).

Note: I am not sure what Bible verse Ortega is referring to in the excerpt. My guess is that it may be Genesis 32:9: "dixitque Iacob Deus patris mei Abraham et Deus patris mei Isaac Domine qui dixisti mihi revertere in terram tuam et in locum nativitatis tuae et benefaciam tibi." 

So, maybe, the sense of what Ortega quotes should possibly be more like this: "I will do good for you in the place of your birth," a sense that is also consistent with Ortega's point.

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