The Failed Cultures

Las culturas fracasadas

This peculiar book begins with a fable that describes the lives of ants. Anthills are perfect societies, because each member sacrifices his own interests for the common good. But, one day, the ants become free and intelligent and this ends up negatively affecting their coexistence. “We happily repeat—says the author—the misapprehension that our identity depends on our relationship to a society, a religion or a culture. What happens if this culture runs aground? What happens if this society becomes stupid? Culture resolves the the basic problems of coexistence, one of which is the relationship between the individual and the collective entity. Many solutions have been offered, ranging from shoving the individual into an ideological meat grinder and converting him into a mass that adopts the virus of tribalism or narcissistic hyper-individuality. So, how can we free ourselves of social pressures without falling for ethical autism. We must value culture, applying an ‘intelligence test’ to our societies. Ultimately, the creative capacity of our intelligence keeps us permanently at risk, and only a powerfully shared creativity can save us".»

“A brilliant study of collective intelligence, which explores the social dimensions of our our cognitive functions”  (Rafael Narbona, El Mundo).

La Voz de Galicia
El Mundo

José Antonio Marina

José Antonio Marina was born in 1939 in Toledo and currently lives in Madrid where he is professor of Philosophy. In 1992 he was awarded the Anagrama Essay Prize and the National Essay Prize for his first book Elogio y refutación del ingenio. His definition of essay-writing involves this approach: "To think like a scientist and write like a poet who is also a crime-writer.

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