Commitment to the Present
Borges defended the idea that reality, understood as the present, is always anachronistic, posthumous, that we are what previous generations thought and dreamed. In literature, we can find countless examples, like the works of Shelley, Wells and Kafka. In art, we can see it in the ideals of movements like Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism. In architecture, the projects of Adolf Loos, Bauhaus and Le Corbusier were meant to be more than an idea of how to live together as urbanites. All of them are just a few but significant examples of envisions of our world. However, in the history of ideas, there are also conceptions of how a society should be, as the philosophical and political ones from Plato and Aristotle, ideas that shaped, for better or worse, our life.
Schopenhauer and Spengler deemed that we tend to see the past better when our present is declining, to see it with melancholy and nostalgia. Although the past is something fixed in time, with its horrible images too, it still affects us; it still plays a determining role. In this order of ideas, it is essential to have in mind that, on one side, in the relation we have with the past we are only spectators. On the other side, what tied us to the present is the fact that we are still spectators, but also actors, and this is where the importance of our relationship with the present lies: we are responsible for our time; we have a role in our society that can be actively played.
By addressing in this issue the delicate notion of ‘The Body,' we are committed to the present and to the challenges we are sharing as a society and individuals. We are living in times of precariousness, and we are still fighting for essential matters like freedom and civil rights, for a society beyond its traditional and patriarchal determinism, for a plural conception of the body and its sex, gender, and identity, for an idea of humanity more inclusive.
History and its devenir, following Goethe’s idea of progress: can be traced, seen and understood as a spiral, with rhythms of retrogression, evolution and dissolution. Therefore, this statement should not be understood as a reactionary attitude in times of accelerationism or disenchantment, no. It is a way of reminding us that we didn't arrive at this moment in history by chance, that the historical processes we are facing are not something new but a continuum, a longue durée structure we must comprehend in order to shape a better future.