Nicolás Gómez Dávila

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In general, "historical necessity" turns out to be merely a name for human stupidity.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (18 May 191317 May 1994) was a Colombian writer and thinker considered one of the most intransigent political theoreticians of the twentieth century. He became known during the last few years of his life, particularly through German translations of his works. Gómez Dávila was one of the most radical critics of modernity; his work consists almost entirely of aphorisms he called escolios (that is, glosses or annotations).


Sucesivos Escolios a un Texto Implícito (1992)[edit]

Translations from Sucesivos Escolios a un Texto Implícito (1992)
  • "Dying societies accumulate laws like dying men accumulate remedies."
  • "Taste is relative" is the excuse adopted by those eras that have bad taste.
  • The modernist object does not possess inner life; only internal conflicts.
  • Whoever says that he "belongs to his time" is only saying that he agrees with the largest number of fools at that moment.
  • The criterion of "progress" between two cultures or two eras consists of a greater capacity to kill.
  • The word "modern" no longer has an automatic prestige except among fools.
  • Individualism is the cradle of vulgarity.
  • The modernist thirst for originality makes the mediocre artist believe that the secret of originality consists simply in being different.
  • In general, "historical necessity" turns out to be merely a name for human stupidity.
  • Clarity of text is the sole incontrovertible sign of the maturity of an idea.
  • If philosophy does not resolve any scientific problem, science, in its turn, does not resolve any philosophical problem.
  • Truths are not relative. What is relative are opinions about truth.
  • To tolerate does not mean to forget that what we tolerate does not deserve anything more.
  • The difference between "organic" and "mechanical" in social matters is a moral one: the "organic" is the result of innumerable humble acts; the "mechanical" is the result of one decisive act of arrogance.
  • The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own.

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