Mi maestro y amigo Josu Landa / Dolores Dorantes

My teacher and friend Josu Landa (teacher in life, and during my time with a fellowship from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes), has come to live in this marvelous and splendid border. For me it’s a gift to be living close to someone who shares, not only my birthday and The Diva’s cares, but also survival. Of Basque origins, Venezuelan by birth, professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México who published a book about Marxism during his literary beginnings. Political prisoner during the dictatorship before Chávez. Not only does Josu know Marx, but he also lived an opposition’s organization and struggle in his country: Venezuela, from which he barely survived, thanks to a priest who intervened on his behalf so they wouldn’t blow his head off. I enjoy being a witness to the passion with which Josu cooks and lives: hederra. This Friday his seminar “Crísis y frontera” began. Josu is a philosopher by blood, one who after having lived in the cavern perceives that something else exists beyond that “underground” and he goes out to meet it: the clarity of consciousness, of knowledge, of astuteness and of coherence. But not just that, Josu makes a commitment to go back to the cavern and try to show that other reality to those who are still living confused amid the shadows of a place that seems to have no exit. At the start of the seminar, Josu made the comparison between a burrito vendor in downtown Juárez and one of the ancient Greek philosophers, “as far as their human experience they’re exactly the same.” The purpose of this seminar, which I’m enjoying enormously, is the production of a social transformation based on philosophical theories such as Stoicism, Epicureanism and Cynicism; to integrate them into the daily life of those of us who attend the seminar, in other words, not just to acquire information. To have knowledge only at an intellectual level is like being an anticapitalist who drinks Coca Cola or someone who goes to marches demanding justice for the city while dedicating himself to robbing homes. The purpose is to apply these philosophical theories to the life of a world in decadence. Decadence, not crisis, we concluded in the most recent session: a crisis can’t prolong itself from the 1970s up until today. It would be like the holocaust, which some think was only lived by Jews, when in reality all over the world we have been moving from one holocaust to another. To assume the responsibility that we live in a moment of decadence, not just in Juárez: a global decadence. To put aside the drama for the next life and take responsibility for the part that corresponds to us, that’s a good start. Because as Josu said: “If capitalism is sooo good, then why are we always living so unsatisfied all the time?” On another note, nobly and simply, Josu is teaching me a bit of Eutskera... I feel so good that, literally, I think that finally ni etxera noa, that might be my next tattoo.

{ Dolores Dorantes, Tabla sin asidero, February 2011 }

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