The book ‘In his words’, by Darío Klein and Enrique J. Morás bring together the ideas, opinions and dreams of former Uruguayan president José ‘Pepe’ Mujica, one of the most charismatic world leaders and politicians of the moment.
This is a sample of his thinking published a few months before his resignation from the Senate of Uruguay, in which he moved thousands this Tuesday by pointing out in one sentence that “succeeding in life is not winning, it is getting up and starting over every time one falls.”
“My generation had to live for many decades under the fear of the nuclear umbrella, eventually a war, and these generations have to live before the threat of an ecological imbalance that is frankly unaffordable. Until when so much irresponsibility of this stupidly intelligent animal?
“The most important issue at the global level is to make sure that we are going to stay alive as a species, that we are going to continue to exist. For that we would have to start taking more care of the life of the planet. This cannot be done by a single country, the whole of humanity has to do it ”.
“The petulance of the man is brutal. There is an anthropomorphic vision that places man in the middle. If life is prioritized and analyzed throughout the planet, man is very tiny and insignificant ”.
“In societies like this, man runs the risk of living his life as a buying agent and nothing more. This does not mean that you do not have to buy anything, you cannot live off air; it means that you have to free yourself from that slavery. You buy what you need to live, but you also do other activities. Happiness is not a material issue. Needing little is the shortest way to have freedom, to have time available to spend on what one likes or is passionate about. Sometimes it can be affection, the relationship with the family, with the children … Sometimes, dedicating time to an art, a craft, a sport ”.
“Give content to existence, because if you do not do it consciously, the content will be the fee you have to pay every end of the month for the new gadget you have to buy, and so on, chronically, until the end of your days, Until one day the bones won’t get up and goodbye Neither the memory nor the breath remains of you ”.
“One thing is the poverty that you measure with the numbers and another is the one that is in the head. If you don’t bet on cultural change, material change is of little use ”.
“We rulers should be forced to fill out pages every morning, as in school, writing a hundred times: ‘I must take care of education.’ Because there the face of the society to come is anticipated. A large part of the productive potential of a country depends on education, but also the future aptitude of our people for daily coexistence ”.
“The world is changing all the time and, what is worse, the theory of how to build a better world is changing all the time.”
“The destiny of humanity has a lot to do with what humanity itself does. We are an animal that can simply self-destruct ”.
“We have to live in a time when being born is a business, at least for some. Dying is also business, because there are companies that bury us. Living is business, because we are subjects that consume. So on. Even smiles can be business ”.
“We need a margin of utopia, because I believe that the human being is anthropologically utopian. I do not use the word ‘utopia’ in the sense in which people on the left habitually use it. I am referring to the possibility of believing in something that gives us hope for the future and enlightens us. Believe in something that allows us to dream ”.
“There are utopias and there are roads; what is in crisis more than anything are the roads. The signs that the stars gave us are still there, but apparently we have quite erred the paths, we are wrong in the interpretation of those signs ”.
“Actually we have to live, not an era, but an accelerated change of era, with a brutal technological explosion, with things of wonder (…) but if I had to represent humanity today in a monument, I would choose the monument of a monkey with a gigantic machine gun. Because in reality this humanity seems to have the resources it never had, but it does not know how to use them, it cannot use them, because from a political point of view it is not up to the needs of the time. It would give the impression that this knowledge-rich humanity is not, politically conscious, up to the challenges that lie ahead. Hopefully I’m wrong ”.
“Globalization is a rough sea and our little boat has to sail there; But it is one thing to float, for the waves to take you anywhere, and quite another to have a course, even if we go zigzag ”.
“Those of us who live better have responsibility for those who live badly. We are going to live much better if those who live badly improve ”.
“With that, friends, that this time in which we live is one of those in which one wants to put the heart under a shoe, as Hernández said, because of the phenomenal contradictions of a civilization that has resources like never before; like a scientific and capital explosion such as past humanity could not even dream of. However, it seems, until the news of the feeling of piety, has lost that phenomenal humanistic construction of the Athenian civilization that Christianity gathered, which is the capacity to feel pain, solidarity with the one who suffers, with the one who is postponed, with the which is precisely left on the side of life ”.
“When I was released I was sure I was going to work the land again. Besides my wish, it was my dream. The whole long period during which I was imprisoned was like going back to my roots. The prison is not zero, it is much more than that. There is a lot of rumination, a lot of decisions are made. And I came out with the determination to have a farm ”.
“Freedom as a definition has several planes. Individual freedom goes hand in hand with having free time to live. If you go crazy and want to change cars every so often, and have a house and another and another and another, you have to worry a lot and work a lot, and you never have time. Then you have to spend a lot of time worrying that they don’t steal from you, because they are going to rob you, because they are going to be envious of you. Meanwhile life is leaving you. Because I have not seen any man who has a lot of money and can go to a counter and buy years of life. So, I am free when I have time and in that margin I spend it on the things that I like ”.
“I mean, all human civilization is full of nonsense. Then the problem of freedom acquires another dimension, because we define freedom as an abstract thing. Freedom is having time to do the things that motivate you. There is an individual freedom that must be resolved, which for you may be fishing, for another to play soccer, for another to sit under a tree, each with that time. Now, the more margin you have, the greater that time, the freer you are (…). If not, life is fatigue, life is obligation. Nerd”.
“Austerity is comfort. Anyone who believes that austerity is a sacrifice is a turnip. Austerity is getting rid of a lot of problems ”.
“The democracy of classical Greece, so bold, capable of ruling by lot and electing judges by lot, probably produced the most explosive 150 to 200 years of history in the development of human skills and culture. Never has a society so small that it generated so much. It is impressive to see the names that are grouped in those one hundred and fifty years. Da to wonder what happened there. I am not making mysticism of Greek history, but you cannot ignore what this form of participation produced ”.
“For me politics is the art of extracting collective wisdom by putting one’s ear”.
“Men go behind ideas, like the cart goes behind oxen, because ideas are the instruments we have to fight to perceive reality, and whoever wants to change reality will have ideas that try to get closer to interpreting that reality” .
“Nature has shown its greatness. If he eliminated the dinosaurs, why isn’t he going to eliminate us?
“We live in a wonderful world but we don’t necessarily see the wonders. The alarm clocks are fundamental, because sometimes it gives the sensation that the human being passes by the side of beauty and does not see it ”.
“My religion is life. Life is a miracle and as it is so everyday, as we are alive, we do not value it; but there is nothing more important than the miracle of being alive. This is a fixed term and it goes away ”.
“And to young people: if you want to live happily, raise an idea to believe in, live to serve that idea, do not let yourself be enslaved by the market.”
“Don’t let the youth be stolen from within. The one outside, inevitably, takes time. But there is a fightable youth, inside territory, looking at ourselves, and it is linked to a very simple and very small word: solidarity with the human condition ”.
“Nothing is worth more than life, fight for happiness! And happiness is giving content to life and a path to life, and not letting it be stolen from you. There is no recipe for that, it is here, in the conscience ”.
“I don’t know if politics is governed by very mature people and they forget their youth, or if there is a kind of modesty. But happiness doesn’t seem to be part of the discourse. There is no concern that people have time to cultivate affections, time to live … It does not exist! And it is not disputed that we have a lonely life and that we are leaving! ”.
What is the legacy of a guy in the universe? We are less than a louse. The legacy is having lived with the handle, with successes and errors. Succeeding is not having money, it is getting up every time one falls ”.
*Cortesía Penguin Random House