After reading Filosofia ante el desanimo, the new book by the University of Cordoba professor Jose Carlos Ruiz , makes you want to raid the bookstores in search of works by Nietzsche, Ortega Gasset, Epicurus or Bauman to counteract with their ideas some of the evils that afflict contemporary society. Ruiz, a Cordoban philosopher born in 1978 and a collaborator of La Ventana of the Ser chain with the Mas Platon space and less whatsapp, addresses in his latest essay, published by Destino, that few drugs are more effective than critical thinking to strengthen our personality and our responses to vital crossroads.
-Whoever hopes to find a self-help book here can soon give up reading.
-This book is not positioned “against” discouragement but “before” it; addresses how philosophy faces discouragement and proposes a compass, but it is not a self-help book. My obsession is that the reader raises his own questions. We perceive ourselves as failures, as useless that we do not do what is necessary to fit into successful personalities, and in many of these sufferings what I detect is that there is a lack of reflection on how we have built our identity and where we have taken the elements to do so. Sometimes the construction of identity is a simple matter of attention. We have to know how to interpret the contexts and pay attention to each of the opportunities that are presented to us. And this implies carrying out an analysis that, starting from what is real and concrete, is directed towards identity and not the other way around.
-What was the origin of this work that I began to write before confinement but is permeated by the health crisis
-Perceiving that my students, both before high school and now at university, suffered from a lack of realism and let a idealized and digitized life project. Young people tended to fit into standardized personalities that caused them increasingly serious anguish, distress, and identity problems. And the best tool I have at hand to deal with this is philosophy. I was two-thirds of the way through the book when we were confined.
-Internet and social networks have exacerbated these identity problems. To what extent are we more concerned about taking care of our avatar than our real self
-The dictatorship of the avatar demands more and more and to fit into the virtual standards the personality must comply with a huge number of precepts. And on top of that they ask you to stand out despite the fact that you are in a ceremony that uniforms everything. Hence the concept of “hell of the same” coined by the philosopher Byung-Chul Han, which has to do with the loss of personality on the Internet. At first it seemed that the digital world was going to put your signs of identity everywhere but it has not been like that because everything is uniform. Despite this, you see the need to stand out and pursue your dream because they tell you that you are unique in the world -digital narcissism- and the “hell of the same” is presented as a pit from which they exhort us to get out, but they let you act within a very specific ceremony,
-It is appreciated the clarity with which it addresses a wide variety of topics, such as identity, friendship, love or entertainment, which detail the reality in which we are immersed.
Philosophy is an instrument for life. I was very impressed by Ortega, who said that clarity is the courtesy of philosophers. In this book he polished the style over and over again so that the essence of the idea would remain but be close to anyone who wants to approach these issues without having to be a specialist.
“Confinement has triggered divorces because we live love from extroversion instead of recollection”
-In his work radiographs “the increase of light personal connections against the commitment of relationships”. How has the concept of love changed in the times of the internet
-Love is perceived as a loss rather than as a lack. Before love was that you were missing something and your life was incomplete without it, but now it is perceived as a loss, if you find it right and if not, nothing happens. In addition, we have transferred the illusion of falling in love with a person to other things: to leisure, to work… I am talking about how we experience couple relationships from dispersion instead of recollection. We live more and more in an extroverted way, which is something that enhances the system because it is profitable: you go out and come in, you focus on activities but not on your partner. And when the extroversion ends, because you are confined, the divorce rate skyrockets, as it has. Because recollection and tranquility were part of the love relationship and now it seems that the repetition of habit is something limiting, that slows down development. Perhaps what has changed the most is the hedonistic conception of love: the connection with the other is focused on from the pleasure principle, and if it does not fit the pleasure principle, I move on to the next, and if there is no connection, I move on to the next, to another. coupling way. Dating applications facilitate connection by sacrificing the discovery of new things because if the two profiles fit, there is no discovery of something that was hidden, only connection. Dating apps seek to confirm what you already had ahead of you, and that drives you to want the relationship to suit you and if it doesn’t, you move on to the next one. and if there is no connection, I go to the next one, to another way of coupling. Dating applications facilitate connection by sacrificing the discovery of new things because if the two profiles fit, there is no discovery of something that was hidden, only connection. Dating apps seek to confirm what you already had ahead of you, and that drives you to want the relationship to suit you and if it doesn’t, you move on to the next one. and if there is no connection, I go to the next one, to another way of coupling. Dating applications facilitate connection by sacrificing the discovery of new things because if the two profiles fit, there is no discovery of something that was hidden, only connection. Dating apps seek to confirm what you already had ahead of you, and that drives you to want the relationship to suit you and if it doesn’t, you move on to the next one.
-It also urges us to review our concept of friendship in times of followers and followers.
-In order not to fall into discouragement, the first thing is to think about what concept of friendship we are going to use. Putting technology in the middle has sacrificed something fundamental to friendship: experience. Facebook or Whatsapp connect you with others but do not encourage the experience. And as you do, you find that you have wasted your time within a virtual concept of connection. Live is being replaced by direct. The live was the essence in the construction of an experience, you were with the other and you lived things, and the story of the experience was told over and over again, it settled the friendship, it ran through the common history. Now it has passed to the digital actors, something that is even sowing mistrust.
-In those frenetic lives we lead, he proposes to rethink boredom. Why

-Because boredom implies an act of rebellion in the 21st century. Today boredom agitates you more than entertainment itself because by demanding maximum performance from entertainment it has become a tyrannical act of personality building, and you will never have the pleasure of dolce farniente or dead calm. In such an egotistical society, the ideal would be to forget about the self. I defend vindicating patience, which is now a virtue. The impatient becomes intolerant with the passage of time. Patient people have a virtue: they don’t interrupt anyone’s time, and that’s a wonderful thing.
-It also leads to discouragement, according to your thesis, our relationship with work. What are we looking for in the one who will never give us
-The contemporary outcast is the one who resigns himself to work without enthusiasm as Remedios Zafra analyzed, the one who has focused his pleasure on free time, family or something that has nothing to do with projection labor. And we have done it unconsciously. We have hybridized the home with the workplace and vice versa, it is about breaking the separation between your personal life and your work life. And that is a cause for discouragement. People think that if your job doesn’t make you happy you have to find another one. The concept of duty has been demonized, it seems like a hindrance that has to be dragged along, and it is normal for discouragement to spread because a high percentage of life has to do with homework.
“Breaking unconsciously the separation between personal and work life has robbed us of the illusion”
-It is stimulating to see him vigorously defend some of Epicurus’ proposals, such as friendship as a source of pleasure and life on the periphery.
-In the book I remember that Epicurus looked for an equidistance between the hubbub of the city and the solitude of the countryside and placed his school on the outskirts, which is not bustle but neither is loneliness and isolation, it is that right mean where you can build yourself with others , because for him the concept of friendship is very broad, as is that of self-sufficiency. Epicurus had a garden because his concept of pleasure began with not suffering, and much of our suffering is self-inflicted and is due to ideals and values ​​that we have assumed as our own without filtering. Epicurus proposes to have enough to cover needs, not the best, and also for him company and friendship were sources of immense pleasure.
What role does intellectual pleasure play in this scenario
-It is the exit of oneself and the recognition of the other, the astonishment comes to you because you have found greatness in another work or person and that is why I claim to recover the process of admiration for the talent and intellectual achievement of the other. But the problem is that intellectual pleasure, which implies elevation, gratitude, recognition of the greatness of the other, is being replaced by envy.
“Putting technology in between has sacrificed something fundamental for friendship: experience”
– He also attends, provided with a copious bibliography, our relationship with the walk.
-I find it very curious that walking has become an act of rebellion against the system. Many philosophers used the process of walking as a disconnection from a way of understanding life, to detach themselves from a consuming and productive perspective. The bad thing is that now we wear helmets and the rides are technological but recovering that concept of thought through the road is very inspiring. I am also interested in Thoreau’s curious model of life, who goes to the woods and proposes having an economy where what you produce is valued based on the life time you lose doing it. Thoreau said that producing what is necessary to live does not require so much time and the rest of the time you can dedicate to whatever you want: walking, talking with friends who -in his case- come to visit him…
-The book sheds light on how we are harassed in social networks with models of social triumph but the resignations and the work that success entails are hidden.
-It is a consubstantial violence to the process of successful labor identity. In general, any process that involves pain or suffering is hidden. The pain has been privatized, don’t tell us your sorrow because then you are toxic, you must take it alone… Instead, everything encourages you to advertise your success, your happiness, but they don’t tell you about the restlessness of the winner or the millions of people that they did not succeed. And you have to be very realistic.
“The pain has been privatized. Instead, everything encourages you to advertise your success, your happiness”
-What has happened in some nursing homes during the pandemic paints a very cruel portrait of our society. What reflections does this abandonment of the elderly provoke in you

-The elderly are in this concept of value: or people are a springboard for you to ascend or a hindrance. And we have wasted their experience of the real, before the grandparents gave you advice but now we consider that the life of the elderly does not fit into the new digital experiences so they go into the background or third plane, and that is excessively cruel. And perhaps we are the idiots because those people, by being in contact with reality, have extracted wisdom from the experience.
-We are invited to enhance the ego but we need the other.
-The need for the other is always there and in the book I bet on recovering the biographical account that implies creating signs of identity in a small community, a family or a group of friends, because that is sedimenting the identity. I also propose recovering the oral story, recovering live and direct those signs of collective identity that have nothing to do with the timeline of social networks where everything revolves around the self.
-The book starts in ancient Greece and reaches our days with philosophers like Javier Goma, whose concept of public exemplarity is very present.
-Rubber tells us about life valued as something worth living. Exemplarity implies the other, that is why I speak of legacy. We have lost the ability to realize that whatever we do we build a process for what comes after. Unfortunately we have lost the figure of the master and the disciple, it seems that acknowledging ourselves as someone’s disciples is a contempt for your person in a world where self-sufficiency is the motto. And that is why exemplarity always implies that social process where you are aware that you are an inevitable example for the generations behind and ahead of you.
-What is your final proposal to get us excited again
-Put the focus on the richness of reality is to get excited again. If we embrace the richness of the real we will find more satisfaction than in the virtual and this happens by returning to the everyday, to the experiential occupation of space, to that way in which we recounted and recreated something that had happened to us. The recovery of oral biography and gratitude, an essential element because it implies recognizing the greatness of the other and generating a bond with the person to whom you must thank something, summarizes well all the proposals that I make at the end of the book to avoid discouragement. .

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