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Argentines, to things

80 years ago, the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset used to tell us a phrase that preserves a disturbing
As we are
¡Argentinos, a las cosas!
| 05 January, 2020 |

The Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset had a very special bond with our country. He also had the wisdom to look from the outside and detect those things in which we failed, repeated mistakes and incorrigible attitudes. 80 yearsago, he uttered a phrase that still rattles in our ears, a mixture of challenge and encouragement: “Argentinos, to things!”.

In 1939, Ortega y Gasset visited Argentina for the second time. During that visit, among other things, he gave a lecture in the city of La Plata (Buenos Aires). There he spoke for the first time the phrase that would become famous and that speaks of something that still inhabits us: the famous crack.

He

would later include it in his book Meditation of the young people:

Argentines, to things, to things! Stop personal preconceptions, suspicions, narcissism. You do not presume the magnificent leap that this country will give on the day that your men resolve at once, bravely, to open their breasts to things, to take care of and worry about them, directly and without further ado, instead of living on the defensive, to have stuck and paralyzed their spiritual powers, which are egregious, their curiosity, their insight, their mental clarity kidnapped by the complexes of the personal.

Only that fragment is so topical that it scares. Ortega y Gassetknew how to perceive what would prevent us from growing, what was blocking us, that characteristic inherent in our being that did not allow us to move forward. And here we are, 80 years later, fighting against our very limitations.

José Ortega y Gasset
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