Commemorative Poster of Enrique Laguerre as Humanist of the Year 1984

Commemorative Poster of Enrique Laguerre as Humanist of the Year 1984

There are milestones in history that are very visible even if we do not have broad and deep knowledge of them. Here are some illustrations related to our people’s history. The Discovery of America or of Puerto Rico, the English, French, and Dutch attacks because of European conflicts in the Caribbean; the projections of the French Revolution in the 19th century; the Cádiz Parliament; the first Spanish Republic; our Autonomy of 1897; the United States invasion in 1898; U.S. citizenship in 1917; Camp Las Casas; the cultural revisions of the 1930’s, ELA’s founding in 1952; establishing the Institute of Culture in 1955, among others. Some of these milestones seem to be sold at half price in some of the great commercial ventures.

We could go further into that history, reflect on it, for whatever political, social, or cultural reasons, and we would go into even more visible, broader, and deeper levels.

Few people assess with a wealth of historical justice the roles of human, zoological, and botanical laboratory that the West Indies portrayed at the beginning of Western colonization. Suffice to read a novel such as Enriquillo by Manuel Jesús Galván to ponder those events. I have no doubt that the West Indies are the most American lands in America.

European conflict in the Caribbean is, without a doubt, very visible in our days with the presence of the French in Martinique, the English in Jamaica, and the Dutch in Curaçao. But it was Spain who took the initiative in achieving the great deeds of the times. Since then, social demonstrations of great importance such as piracy, monoculture, and crossbreeding became established here. Such peculiar realities are reflected in the first West Indian work of America’s epic cycle —Espejo de paciencia (Mirror of patience).

The projections of the 18th century French Revolution gave new political physiognomy to the nations that had formed in America. All of that was too visible to go unnoticed. Those spirits came into our home in the 19th century: autonomist or separatist spirit, the event of 1897.

The events of 1898 interrupted Puerto Rico’s historical evolution.

In his valuable book titled Idioma y Política, Alfonso L. García Martínez identifies three realities: English is used as an Americanization tool; Puerto Ricans struggle to preserve their language; failure of bilingualism at the popular level.

On October 26, 1898, we began to use English as the official language. The situation continued with the Foraker Act (1900-1917). There is still a ghost hanging around of a language law approved in 1902. But the truth is that from the people’s point of view, bilingualism does not exist among us.

The United States found in Puerto Rico what it did not find in Hawaii or Alaska: mass population in a small territory, cultural homogeneity. Forced emigration due to economic reasons began at the beginning of the century but, in general, Puerto Ricans continue to be Puerto Rican.

I believe that establishing Camp Las Casas in 1917 defined the migratory trend: first from the country to the city or the village, then to the United States. These internal migrations accented crossbreeding. We are yet to see what permanent influence migratory transit between Puerto Rico and the United States will have. And…what kind of cultural penetration Cable TV will have?

During the twelve to fourteen years after 1898, there was a great cultural silence in Puerto Rico. Zeno Gandía himself, who had promised a series of novels after publishing La Charca and Garduña, was also quiet.

I imagine that when Revista de las Antillas appeared in 1913 the silence was broken. Latin American faith guides the steps of the fourteen marvelous issues of Revista de las Antillas. This is where the revision of our cultural assets begins. We were saved because they were unable to dominate us from within.

I am not surprised by the Hispanophilia Pedreira is accused of as intellectual leader of the Generation of the 1930s. Because of the social, cultural, and political realities I mentioned before, we could understand that Hispanic culture was used as a means of stopping the progress of Americanization. The situation is very understandable and it is necessary to see it in the context of the time. It is very likely that if Pedreira, who died at an early age, had lived longer, would have calmed his judgment. Pedro Henríquez Ureña was also quite a Hispanophile, but he was, at the same time, a continental American teacher. The reviewing spirit of the intellectuals of the Generation of the 1930s, who initially had Revista lndice as their voice, is too obvious to be doubted. There was broad incentive to work on research and for artistic creation, including music and visual arts. No one can deny the generation’s genuine Puerto Rican interest. I think it was Leopardi who said that people are ridiculous only when they want to seem or be what they are not. We could differ from any or all of Pedreira’s ideological positions, but I have no doubt that he did outstanding teaching work.

From the collective cultural point of view, there could be clearly positive and also negative opinions about the surprising socio-economic changes that came after the 1940s. What doubt is there that the children of old farm workers and day laborers won: professional opportunities and jobs that were previously reserved for a handful of families were now spread among them. Public schools could be accused of many mistakes, except for not complying with the postulate of social leveling.

However, from extreme poverty we jumped to senseless consumerism and we still wanted to dump a continent into the narrow grounds of an island. I figure that liberty to ruin consumers should not be a practice of democracy.

Above all, dependency is institutionalized which, in the end, is as depressing as poverty itself. Not even the founding of the Commonwealth in 1952 canceled the detestable ambiguity of our relationship with the powerful industrial country. Since then, the metropolis deliberately closes the possible path to political growth.

The task the Institute of Culture took on since its founding in 1955 was that of making our national expression flow through multiple media outlets. We were fortunate to have the will of creative work of a humanized man of science: Ricardo Alegría. There is emphasis on finding the true origins of our population’s composition. Literary expressions —particularly theater— acquire unsuspected emphasis; craftwork, restoration of old architectural monuments, all the arts, investigation publications, museums, among many other acts of education and culture are sponsored. Above all, there was the proliferation of houses of culture. We do not only think of the capital, but of the entire island.

But the ambiguity of our political relationship with the United States does not diminish. The February 8, 1960 edition of Time Magazine recounts that in 1955 —year when the Institute of Culture was founded— Luis Muñoz Marín invited the president of Costa Rica, Mr. José Figueres, to Puerto Rico, where Rómulo Betancourt, a friend of both lived. Mr. Henry Holland, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, quickly called Luis Muñoz Marín on the telephone (and was insistent) for him to get Betancourt out of Puerto Rico while Figueres was visiting here. The future president of Venezuela had to leave. Naturally, the United States did not want to annoy Dictator Pérez Jiménez, who was then governing Venezuela.

Even if it seems that there is much emphasis on a situation like this, it is an example of the political ambiguity I have referred to before.

By the way, few works of literature in the world are as free and independent as American Literature, whose most distinguished figures —Whitman, Faulkner, Hemingway, O’Neill, Tennessee Williams— have much influenced our arts. It is not surprising that that influence reached writers of ours that have been characterized by their pro-independence convictions.

According to the statistics, in the United States, 10 percent of the population handles for themselves goods that total what the poor receive, 50 percent. The most opulent families —1.2 percent — own almost 32.5 times more goods. That explains, in great part, the decisions made by the federal government to protect sources of raw materials to benefit the large industries.

Poster of Enrique Laguerre

Poster of Enrique Laguerre

Hollywood greatly influenced Puerto Rico and the entire world. It always gave the impression that poverty does not exist in the United States and that things are acquired by just saying so. I have warned about how strong that influence is in our countries, from the Río Grande to the southern tip. For a few seconds, you should reflect on how powerful the penetration of Cable TV is in all homes.

I think the political situation in Puerto Rico has not changed much in the last hundred years. We face the same three-headed monster that began to grow after 1811: assimilation, autonomism, separatism, which means that we continue to be fragmented despite our relationship with the most democratic nation in the world. Yes, there is new make up, but in the end, it is the same thing. And if we do not think of the future seriously, we will not be able to achieve it, to paraphrase the ideas of John Galsworthy.

On October 19, 1964, Hojas Libres (Free Pages) in El Mundo newspaper, said:

…I warn that people have a moral passiveness (often cynical) that frightens… we put on a spectacular act of acrobatics on today’s tightrope.

With little efforts we expect to obtain sumptuous results. We are getting used to living superficially, without roots or projections, with no desire to understand the foundation of our reason for existing in our times, in a certain part of the world.

We empty the ghetto into a brand-new public housing project, and we are not worried by the proliferation of machines in the hands of people with mangled spirits.

On April 15, 1963, he had also said in Hojas Libres that:

They come from everywhere (in recent days we were visited by person number 20,000) to appreciate the makeup we apply on ourselves… progress is good, but it would be better if it was preceded by a well formulated educational plan… with purposes that come from our historical intimacy, enriched by the good of the present, which is full of physical progress, and projected toward our country’s future.

Since then, it is no longer about 20,000 visitors: today, there are three and a half million residents on the island, of which 21 percent are of 90 foreign nationalities. What do you think of the glass display in 1963?

And if to this we add the continuous migratory traffic between the island and the continent, the open doors to immigration without being able to direct the selection, the enormous plurality of New York Ricans (immigrants who return), the small amount of vital space, the scarce civic collaboration, the lack of conscience of the country’s physical and spiritual body, then the situation becomes even more difficult.

As a West Indian, I know that the intermigration is a historical idea in the three Hispanic West Indian islands. An Igneri, a Taíno, a Carib, the Heredias, the Delmontes, or Hostos would say that it is as old as the hills. But the country who receives immigrants should no doubt have the responsibility of selecting, especially in a country with so much responsibility.

In addition, it seems that this island’s inhabitants become a cancer for natural resources. Springs, rivers, sands, and trees are eliminated… Any contractor seems to be given the complete liberty for ecological destruction, altering sea currents, shaving the hills, the most ruthless contamination. That has happened in Isabela, Medianía, Río Grande, the mouth of Loíza and Espíritu Santo rivers, in Vaciatalega… The great English man of science, Sir Julian Huxley, said that the risk of humans becoming the planet’s cancer is imminent: the situation is too visible in Puerto Rico. What will history think —if we survive— of people responsible for that situation?

In Puerto Rico, small rural roads are better (to take advantage of the rural geography and farm the lands) instead of costly expressways that request more and more cars that contribute to the country’s collapse. We can find models in small countries such as Tenerife, Albania, or Malta. Malta is 26 times smaller than Puerto Rico; it has almost three times more inhabitants per square kilometer than we do; there is only 2 percent unemployment rate; it uses desalinated water; it has an extremely varied agriculture, for their own consumption and for export; there are great shipyards, thriving industries: textiles, footwear, etc.

Why do we insist, then, in statistically comparing ourselves to the continent? To keep a 20 percent unemployment rate, to avoid cultivating the lands, to spend as much as the continent spends, to buy and not sell, to pay salaries to the public officials that compare with those paid in the United States?

We give everything to hotels, continental companies, without planning decisions in fair proportion with our resources. Great headlines are given to projects that do not become a reality: soy sowing, reeds to produce bio-mass, forests, fishing industry, etc. Australian natives are given everything but a convenient education and then commit suicide by abusing alcohol; will we have the same luck?

In February 1965, Luis Muñoz Marín said that in Puerto Rico there is civic unemployment that added to the economic unemployment does not allow this island to be happy. Sánchez Vilella urges for the abolition of civic unemployment—more should be done with less. Because of doing more with such a small amount of money, Ricardo Alegría has been branded stingy. And improvisation, depraved disciplinary action, failure to coordinate agencies to work with each other, and the rustiest routines continue to prevail.

In October 1975, I spoke about the attempt to define Puerto Ricans that American anthropologist, Margaret Mead, had made. According to her, Puerto Ricans are immigrants in our own land; rural culture is not defined well; migratory mobility between the island and the United States is damaging to the Puerto Rican identity; we depend too much; it is unknown what weighs more: the embarrassment of being dependent or the rage generated by exploitation. We have been unable to develop the identity that all true island cultures develop. She could be right in some cases, somewhat right in others, with a clear sign of mistaken focus. It seems that she studied nomadism superficially, that she did not study the true displays of identity in Puerto Rico. She fixed her attention on periodically visible historical manifestations and did not look beyond historical recurrence.

And we all know —I assume, am I right?— the opinions of Antonio S. Pedreira, Arturo Morales Carrión, and Tomás Blanco on Puerto Rico’s historical function, each of them presents points of view that coincide or are in discrepancy with those of others.

La Llamarada (1935), Cauce sin río (1962) and Los gemelos (1992)

La Llamarada (1935), Cauce sin río (1962) and Los gemelos (1992)

The new crop of history scholars makes an effort to fight the historical criteria of the generations that preceded them. The problem in some of these cases is any attempt to shape history to ideological dogmas, because then it would have to be invented in who knows which of its phases. I figure that analysts such as Eduardo Seda Bonilla are the ones to lose the most sleep because they are genuinely objective.

Abroad, I have been able to identify my fellow countrymen because of their gestures, expressions, and attitudes, and when those fail, I identify them by their infallible subtle habits, their syntax when they speak. I do not know why the Puerto Rican woman insists on “sizing up” with her eyes anyone who comes and goes; why we give directions with our lips in addition to with our fingers; why they make their presence so notorious when traveling in a group. And look at how curious it is that in one of Puerto Rico’s most African nucleus, Loiza, is where the Spanish tradition of Santiago Matamoros is conserved. As if the “border” that existed in Spain during seven centuries would have frozen in Loíza Aldea. Something similar happens with Sebastianism in Brazil.

Long live progress! But, strictly speaking, do we plan for the people in Puerto Rico? On December 26, 1975 Luis Muñoz Marín expressed worries “because in Puerto Rico we are living at a rhythm of too much idleness and extravagance”. His words are: why don’t people worry about the ecological damages that the island suffers? To tell you the truth, I still do not know what happened to that Secretary of Natural Resources’ Decalogue (March 4, 1976), said Pedro Negrón Ramos. The uncontrolled defiance against the nature of a history amassed by the exploits of unscrupulous politicians, military men, and merchants —incapable of helping to open paths to human solidarity— sets out the situation of a possible disaster that the Western man will not be able to stop despite his inclinations toward Faust or Prometheus.

Someone has said that today’s tragedy is not the scandal of the bad people but rather the silence of the good people. What did the workers say about their union when in October of 1976, union leader Pedro Grant proposed working toward public benefit? It seems that many workers have made a dogma of some of Samuel Gompers’ ideas.

Everything is commercialized. On February 27, 1975 I denounced the commercializing attempts for Parque Las Américas, projected since 1954. Luckily, the most respected voice of the Puerto Rico of that time, Luis Munoz Marin, spoke in favor of the idea of passive parks. And it seems almost incredible that we have contributed to increasing the scarceness of land with ridiculous urban planning, making space for automobiles, compromising agricultural production, and submitting what is left of the land to erosion. And while we are on the topic of planning, have we reflected on the fact that, on equal educational terms, we should give preference of employment to the heads of family, especially mothers who are heads of family, and not to those who are employed to pay for a car or buy cosmetics?

I don’t only think about normative and school education when I talk about education. Education is a circulatory and extensive process. There cannot be education without discipline; just like there is no liberty without discipline. The university starts in kindergarten, but without a doubt there are many people who are educated beyond their capabilities, and perhaps that is one of the most notorious evils, which requires an urgent reform.

Although formal education has abandoned the teaching of geography and history, we have an essential part of that geography and history in our everyday conduct. There is “something” in the gestures and attitudes of our people that suggest an intimate rapport with our sun- and rain-soaked hills, our streams, our blue seas, the echo of the old joys of home.

Right now there is a live spirit of educational reform. On June 28, 1982, the important U.S. News and World Report magazine published an interesting article titled “End of the Permissive Society,” which without euphemisms requests a re-establishment of discipline in the educational process and a more demanding academic quality. Without a doubt, there are educators, psychiatrists, and psychologists who reject these changes, but we cannot deny that in the last two decades there have been damaging and extreme passivity and leniency. It is not strange that we have reached the extreme of suing the owner of a tree (from where the neighbor’s child fell) because he allowed the fruit to become too attractive for the child’s curiosity or that a thief asks the property owner for a reward for damages because he slipped and broke a leg while stealing.

Of course, the officials who create laws are not always models of discipline, especially those who make a separate case for their personal advantage without considering the country’s overall situation. How can someone who has their entire family on government payroll face the great evil of unemployment? Those who take advantage of their privileges to accumulate riches or those who do not consider themselves part of the community are not models of social discipline.

In the matter of discipline, however, it is necessary to be careful in order not to go into the opposite extreme of condescendence: repression. Balance is indispensable.

On May 30, 1959, with the studies completed by Dr. Ismael Rodríguez Bou and collaborators, Dr. Domingo Marrero submitted a report regarding the matter of educational philosophy:

“a repertoire of ideas that we deem essential in creating our educational philosophy, spine of a possible collective educational philosophy”.

A healthy educational philosophy should begin with an image of man that clearly exceeds the naturalistic conception regarding his intrinsic constitution. The perfect aspiration expresses itself in the physical dimension as love of beauty; in the intellectual dimension as love for the truth and adhesion to it; in the moral dimension as the desire to develop one`s personality and assume a spontaneous dynamic.

The Puerto Rican cultural modality, with its own and peculiar physiognomy, has not been a stranger to this renovating dynamic. Conserving and enriching our peculiar cultural heritage is something that belongs to our educational work.

Creating an educational philosophy for Puerto Rican schools should be located in an image of man… an individual capable of generating and defending democratic life.

…that we may be able to teach language, literature, geography, history, science, mathematics, and art well, and at the same time, help build the student’s experience in a way that he develops a habit of loving the search for knowledge, of critical and independent thought of uninterested service to do good…

A philosophy, I add, that takes us out of the interim period and allows the visible history to transcend.

Enrique Laguerre Road # 111

Enrique Laguerre Road # 111

Examining the trajectory of Hojas Libres, we should understand that the author wrote, day by day, worried not only for events much-talked-about in the media, but also for the reflection of privacy in collective conduct. Historical privacy is lived day by day in daily acts and that is where the author went to get the topics for his novels. The dramatic quality of the historical effects —perceptible to the eyes of he who wants to become immersed in national privacy, perhaps not visible to the eyes of those who only want to live in the present— is an experience that cannot be avoided. It is only necessary to surprise drama. In that sense, the author pays more attention to realities that are commonly invisible —and not less important because they are invisible— than to expressly visible events. This is the world of novels, sometimes clear, sometimes elusive, and sometimes inscrutable.

In Hojas Libres, I took the steps to discover and seize topics for my novels: El fuego y su aire (Fire and air) and Los amos benévolos (Benevolent masters).

Details incite the attention of the novelist. For example, many street vendors are, generally, a sign of a social evil: unemployment. It is clear that any notorious event calls our attention, but it is necessary to search for details when writing novels. The great headlines are for newspapers. Getting the details and allowing oneself to be incited by the effects are tasks of the narrator.

It is possible that a novelist sees a person and hasn’t heard them say a word, however, he feels attracted by their movements. Gestures, expressions, and attitudes say so much. Did you know that hands cry? The subject is facing backward, seeking protection, and tragedy goes down to their fingers.

In a sense, there is something of a detective in each novel that is written, even in the accumulation and distribution of facts. When I was mentally planning La Llamarada, a faraway scream, smoke in the sugarcane plantation, the individual conduct of the buyers at the store on the sugarcane colony, a mother’s hoarse voice, a child’s continuous crying, the bolts of rage and impotence of a multitude, were signs of incitement for the search for more expressive details. However, the visible history is in the newspaper headline: Strike Warning.

There has been talk about “open novels” and “closed novels” but when compared to the wide world outside, every novel is developed in a closed world. It can’t be any other way. Let’s say, the novelist, like the painter, looks for “models” (live people) to create his characters. People can continue living but characters must submit to the vital cycle recreated by the author in the more or less limited world of a novel. I’m afraid of disappointing you, but in real life, La Llamarada’s Delmira survived the “healthy” Pepiña. That, to a certain point, makes the author a murderer.

I don’t think that novels should be written thinking only of impersonal ideas that come to fill in characters, if we could call it that. On the contrary, it is better if the effects of those ideas make the ideological drama circulate in the blood of the characters.

If the author cannot avoid being inside the novel’s development, he should at least gracefully simulate that he is outside and allow the characters to act on their own. There cannot be a novel without an abundance of invention —novels are not articles— but the events should be credible in the world in which they take place. There has been no novelist in the world that has been able to get ahead of Cervantes in the conception of novels, much less in being able to balance invention with probability. In Don Quixote, there are rich and varied inventions, fantasies of a crazy man. The most extraordinary thing is that we forget the character’s craziness because the author’s magic has set it up that way. Certainly not a Baron Munchhausen. The novel appears so “open” —a plurality and variety of adventures give that impression— and so “closed” to be able to capture the extravagant —and at the same time, profoundly human— figure of the main character.

Honestly, I am not a fan of reading novels such as Babbit, by Sinclair Lewis, in whose world there is an average town where an average family lives and reflects the average class of the United States. Hollywood has exploited those resources to no end. On the other hand, there is such depth in the work of William Faulkner!

I figure that an ordinary writer, especially if he is influential, no matter the ideological criteria he supports, should not even think about saying what García Márquez said about drug production. Opinions of the sort are a potential boomerang. I figure it is a mistake. Even when his words have underlying intentions of censorship and mockery against traditional foundations, when the writer asserts that drug trafficking is as legitimate as writing, making movies, or being president of the republic, the majority of the people will not understand them fully and will take them literally. What could be allowed for a common agitator should not be allowed for a writer that is so exceptionally gifted. Generally, invisible crowds are the ones to suffer the consequences of opinions of the sort.

Tomb of Enrique Laguerre in Los Moreau Palace

Tomb of Enrique Laguerre in Los Moreau Palace

Through the means of expression I use, I strive to emphasize my tenacious opposition to having a large part of the country consumed in a cultural border zone: we want to get everything easily: free studies, well-paid jobs, premature command, academic knowledge in progress. It is not strange that a frivolous and superficial middle class spreads among us.

The home of a Puerto Rican reflects —or should reflect— a historical “conduct” of more than half a millennium and, visibly or invisibly, defines the Puerto Rican being. It is obvious that the novelist will be more concerned with the “hidden” historical expressions, with the intention of asserting ones and reforming others in harmony with the evolution of time, although not forgetting what makes us “Puerto Rican nationals”. Primarily, we feed on those elements that give us spiritual cohesion. We live, then, our own history of invisible young plants in the invisible salt of the great seas.

We all know about the social evils of monoculture, the difficulties that harass the poor when they want to study, the paternalism that sustained the coffee plantation’s economy, the political struggles of the last third of the 19th century, the strike activities that were the basis for the founding of the Socialist Party, nationalist rebellion, migratory waves, the heavy sea of immigrants, exiled foreigners, the return of New York Ricans, atrocious consumerism, transformation of towns through industrialization, and the presence of military bases on the island…

What sometimes goes unnoticed, by simply looking at it and making it into daily habits are the mediate or immediate effects of these situations, how they dissolve in the environment and it is necessary to rediscover them. Whether they are or have been very visible events, there comes a time when they become invisible like the invisible bitterness of the salt in the sea.

Without a doubt, in my novels there is a bitterness of the crowds that does not appear in the visible history. It becomes apparent in anonymous people who stand out in the macrocosm of the novel. It is history that becomes part of the individual in the inevitable metabolic exchange between the person and their environment.

Shortly before his death, Efraín Sánchez Hidalgo, proposed the creation of a Commission of Civil Duties, parallel to that of Civil Rights, in a paper that was read after his death. I do not know of any influential government official who has welcomed the idea with enthusiasm. And that is a shame. Educational, civic, and cultural institutions should promote the need for duties just like repeatedly, and sometimes hypocritically, rights are promoted. People go out to picket for rights, but they are reluctant to impose obligations upon themselves.

In these times of soulless technology, it is convenient to not allow our human condition, human solidarity, to go unnoticed. Shame on us if dehumanized science rules the world. The truth is that the two great powers are playing collective death. It is sad to spend time lifting pyramids of useless things and ideas in the mid-desert of an unsupportive life: unfortunate adventure of a slave civilization of the present. Colonist attitudes do not end, fallen empires have taught very little, although today prestidigitation of world power is more difficult.

Small countries who do not learn to live in community, to defend themselves, will suffer the worst consequences. He who does not know how to live in community is a man without a country. In zoology, there is a wasp that deposits its egg on the body of a certain spider. The spider goes crazy the instant prior to disappearing devoured by the larva. The terrible lack of historical grip should not make us into spider food for wasps.

There is still among us an “aura of solidarity” that I try to gather in my texts, particularly in novels. My screams of apprehension in Hojas Libres come from the fear of losing it. But I am an optimist. I believe in change —How am I not going to believe in it?— in changes to the foundation of a common collective privacy. Should we be talking in Puerto Rico about a universal culture, as an insult to our expressions as a people, who are an integral part of it?

It is just as difficult to create as it is to narrate with a wise critique that does not yield to dogmas or fashion. Trying a type of critique with excessive compliments for some, those who are with us, and with bad intentions and the censorship of silence for others, indicates the visible lack of intellectual equipment. The case is pernicious because there are plenty of “critics” of the sort with easy access to mass media, which give the opportunity to glorify articles and outrages.

As author of various novels, I am used to listening to ridiculous and excessive opinions about my work and I accept them, as they are, because repeated editions and the great amount of bibliography cards, tell me that critique, fair or unfair, always does more good than evil in promoting books.

This has made me read with great tolerance what is written about me and shrug my shoulders when in one way or another I am excluded from this or that group, this or that magazine, intellectual event or crowd.

He who considers himself acclaimed is an idiot. Writing is, fundamentally, an act of social commitment. In the circumstances of ideological siege and uneasiness and perhaps, on the other hand, of traditionalist quietism, we stop being rational and become enraged.

To go in search of innovation at all cost is a sign of shallow novels.

It is an evidently bad habit to grow old (the most horrific part of old age is that people grow older by the minute) but that is better than being precocious for an entire lifetime.

If we were to think that the heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood a day, we wouldn’t do anything just because of thinking about it. And, perhaps, unfortunately, at an advanced age those 2,000 gallons weigh as much as 2,000 barrels.

 

Author: Enrique Laguerre
Published: September 23, 2010.

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