BOLIVAR ECHEVERRIA ETHOS BARROCO PDF

Since his decease on June 5th, , many testimonies have appeared to commemorate his memory as well as to distinguish his important work as a philosopher and a thinker on issues of public interest; nonetheless in this eulogy I essentially wish to honor this Mexican university professor of Ecuadorian origin as a specialist on the question of the Baroque. His singular approach to the Baroque was original in many respects. First of all, he did not relegate it to be a pre-modern or reactionary phenomenon of cultural history, but endeavored to place it within the parameters of modernity. As a Marxist thinker, he conceived modernity as linked to the course and evolution of capitalism, to the extent that the syntagm "capitalist modernity" he quite often employed tended to become a pleonasm in his writings. This focus on the "Guarani Republics" as fostered by the Jesuits, made it possible for him to demonstrate that the Latin American Baroque, in one of its most important political manifestations, was essentially a modern undertaking and that it thus carried the most authentic impetus of European modernity, in terms of the reorganization of social, cultural as well as of political life and cultural forms, in the New World. Calling them "socialist theocratic republics" he posits that the Baroque does not represent a form of culture subjected to the reactionary program which followed the Council of Trent also called the "Tridentinum," and places it as an important manifestation of progressive modernity in Latin America.

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Since his decease on June 5th, , many testimonies have appeared to commemorate his memory as well as to distinguish his important work as a philosopher and a thinker on issues of public interest; nonetheless in this eulogy I essentially wish to honor this Mexican university professor of Ecuadorian origin as a specialist on the question of the Baroque.

His singular approach to the Baroque was original in many respects. First of all, he did not relegate it to be a pre-modern or reactionary phenomenon of cultural history, but endeavored to place it within the parameters of modernity.

As a Marxist thinker, he conceived modernity as linked to the course and evolution of capitalism, to the extent that the syntagm "capitalist modernity" he quite often employed tended to become a pleonasm in his writings. This focus on the "Guarani Republics" as fostered by the Jesuits, made it possible for him to demonstrate that the Latin American Baroque, in one of its most important political manifestations, was essentially a modern undertaking and that it thus carried the most authentic impetus of European modernity, in terms of the reorganization of social, cultural as well as of political life and cultural forms, in the New World.

Calling them "socialist theocratic republics" he posits that the Baroque does not represent a form of culture subjected to the reactionary program which followed the Council of Trent also called the "Tridentinum," and places it as an important manifestation of progressive modernity in Latin America.

Nevertheless, he did not view the annulment of the modern project of the Misiones within the Iberian colonial empire as the end of a Latin American constellation that encouraged the conceptualization of the Baroque within an encompassing paradigm of modernity. Quite the contrary, he developed a concept tied to capitalist modernity that included what he termed the "Baroque ethos.

He begins by criticizing a doxa he identifies as having its origin in the writings of Max Weber, at the same time as he observes that it reduces capitalist modernity and the modernization of the world to a single and uniform execution. Furthermore, he places "modernity" in the plural and rejects the exclusivity of this Euro-American version of North-European origin. For him, the historical entry into modernity takes place within the transition from use value Gebrauchswertt to exchange value Tauschwert , when an accumulation of capital becomes possible as the consequence of the establishment of such an abstract value.

The result of this historical transition is an un-resolvable conflict between these two values and principles, a conflict which is so profound that it would, in principle, make life unbearable within the new social configuration.

In order to override this systemic impossibility, four different behavioral attitudes have been developed throughout the history of modernity to serve as survival strategies. They share the common objective that translates this impossibility into a practical way of life within capitalism. This ethos aims to make the contradiction within the system disappear, or at least to neutralize it.

Its strategy consists in naturalizing the logic that derives from the exchange value by presenting it as the only possible reality. This ethos emerged within the context of USA hegemony, where it is still dominant and in the Empire that is the result of this hegemony.

It too, aims to abolish the contradictions. But in opposition to the realist ethos, it pursues this aim differently: beyond the negative consequences of the capitalist system, it projects a revolutionary future. In the perspective of this utopian projection, the negative aspects of the system appear as a transitory sacrifice that will make for a better future.

In this distant future the concrete logic of the use value should be reestablished in its validity. This specific ethos can be narrativized in the modern meta-narrative of the coming revolution. The procedure of this ethos is quite different from the previous ones.

This expectation is then made bearable by means of the advocacy of a pragmatic ethic with, at its core, altruism as a virtue. This ethos, likewise, seeks to recognize the systemic contradictions and to make them bearable.

Though, in opposition to the classical ethos, it does not renounce its claim to a natural social praxis and in which the logic of the use value would maintain its validity. This claim is reaffirmed amidst its adaptation to the concrete consequences of the logic of exchange value.

It appears, then, that this ethos manifests itself as a heterogeneous strategy that in itself might seem paradoxical. I can surmise two reasons, the first being political, the second related to identity. In his conceptualization, the Baroque ethos can be easily interpreted and translated to political terms. It becomes a strategy of resistance against capitalist modernity, and within the negative form of life, it is conditioned by this very same modernity.

And with this hope, opens the likelihood of finding a way out of the capitalist system of modernity. Not only as a romantic utopian projection that will never be attained, but as a concrete social praxis whose radicalization contains a real revolutionary potential. It is evident that this no-more-capitalist or post-capitalist modernity, as a revolutionary projection, remains quite vague in his texts.

But what is relevant is the fact that his concept "Baroque ethos" not only reintegrates the Baroque into modernity as one of its strategies of survival, but also presents a manifest attitude of resistance towards capitalist modernity, with the promise of a concrete access to another kind of modernity.

His theory of the Baroque ethos is indeed linked to the Americanist discourse. With Alejo Carpentier, the essayist, for instance it shares its roots in a typological approach, such as proposed by Eugenio D' Ors.

One of these possible chronotopes is Latin America, for which he sets the terminus post quem within the inception of the Iberian colonial enterprise. Bringing his re-conceptualization of the Baroque "home" to Latin America and articulating its bearing on the ongoing discourse of Latin American constructions of identity.

His intervention in this discourse is quite original in so far as he rejects any essentialist position, at the outset. Cultural, social as well as political collective identities are not pre-given substances, permanent and stable contents, and cannot be derived from instances that are not products of human processes. Thus, the Baroque does not constitute a Latin American identity per se, as he states quite clearly when he writes:. Baroque ethos can be nothing other than the beginning of an ordering of the life world [ To substantiate Latin Americans' uniqueness, happily folklorizing them as "Baroque," "magical realists," etc.

Insofar as the Baroque ethos has to do with Latin American identity, it is not substance but process. As we have seen, ethos refers to an attitude, to a behavior, to a strategy and brings about the "ordering of the life world. And the Baroque ethos develops a very particular dynamic in Latin America, because it is tied into the process of miscegenation.

Within the process of colonization, the dominant European culture destroys the indigenous culture, but the descendants of the colonizers, in order to survive far from their respective metropolis, have to integrate the ruins of the very same indigenous cultures into their behavior, thus transforming their own European identity.

Viewed from the perspective of the colonized: in order to survive in the hostile context of cultural destruction and domination, indigenous people are obliged to adopt and reproduce European codes of behavior, they devour the identity of the dominating other, thus transforming it decisively.

Miscegenation [ The singular and concrete sub codifications or configurations of that which is the code of human kind seem to have no other way to coexist in themselves other than devouring one another; that of destructively striking at the core of the constitutive symbolization they have before them, appropriating and integrating, submitting themselves to an essential alteration, the surviving living remnants of itself.

Thus, miscegenation is a double survival strategy in which both, colonizer and colonized, view their respective identity as different cultures radically transformed. In 17th century Spanish America it is the dominated who first instigate and execute the codephagic process, a means by which the dominators' code transforms itself in the assimilation of the ruins in which the destroyed code survives.

The strategy of cultural miscegenation specific to the Iberian American tradition is a Baroque strategy, that perfectly coincides with the characteristic behavior of European modernity's Baroque ethos. The result is the solid configuration of Latin American identity with modernity, miscegenation and Baroque ethos. And in view of this alignment, one is entitled to wonder whether a Latin American collective subject would be particularly called upon to perform the revolutionary defeat of capitalist modernity.

While O'Gorman ascribes the origin of Baroque miscegenation to the criollos, descendants of Spanish colonizers, he insists on locating it within the defeated and uprooted indigenous peoples. Instead of building their States in the reducciones under the guidance of the Jesuits, they were obliged to settle in new colonial cities, where their only chance of survival and resistance resided in the Baroque ethos:. It is difficult to find a clearer example of the Baroque behavior that would spread through Latin American societies beginning in the 17 th century than that found in this alteration of Christian religiosity as conducted by the Guadalupan Indians of Mexico in the 16th century.

His concept of Baroque ethos can easily be carried over from the historical Baroque to the contemporary period and applied to the Neobaroque phenomena in contemporary culture and society. This is just one more example of the scope, the originality and the importance of his intervention in the debate on the Baroque. Throughout it I have also tried to show the relevance of his thoughts and the magnitude of the loss suffered by his demise, though, concurrently, I am convinced that his work on the Baroque holds the potential of being applied in the future to generate future research.

His work will live on, and we can best honor his memory by activating it in our own research. II, pp. Servicios Personalizados Revista. Similares en SciELO. The romantic ethos It too, aims to abolish the contradictions. The classical ethos The procedure of this ethos is quite different from the previous ones. The Baroque ethos This ethos, likewise, seeks to recognize the systemic contradictions and to make them bearable. Thus, the Baroque does not constitute a Latin American identity per se, as he states quite clearly when he writes: Baroque ethos can be nothing other than the beginning of an ordering of the life world [

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He participated on the German student movement in the late s, establishing friendship and long-lasting collaboration with its leaders, including Rudi Dutschke. Later on, he developed a seminar on Marx's Das Kapital , which lasted six years and included intensive systematic readings of the book. He was also part of the Editorial Board of magazines like Theoria Theory since ; and Contrahistorias. His investigations where mainly and broadly concerned on: the ontological problems of existentialism , especially in Sartre and Heidegger ; Marxian critique of political economy, focusing on the contradiction between Use value and Exchange value ; and a contemporary development of critical theory and the Frankfurt School , including cultural and historical phenomena of Latin America.

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