Many philosophers, historians and writers have 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 find countless examples, like the works of Shelley, Wells and Kafka. In art, we can see it in the ideals of movements such as 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. These are just a few but significant examples of envisions of our world. 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—along with its horrible images—it is still affecting us; it plays a determining role in our everyday life.
In this order of ideas, it is essential to have in mind that in the relationship we have with the past, we are only spectators. However, we still can question our history. Furthermore, what tied us to the present is the fact that we can be actors and not mere spectators, and this is where the importance of our relationship with the present lies: we are responsible for our time, and we have a role in our society to be played actively.
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, as part of a community and as individuals. We are living in times of precariousness, and we are still fighting for essential 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 that respects the difference while being inclusive.
History and its becoming, 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 interpreted as a conservative attitude in times of accelerationism or disenchantment, no. It is a way of reminding us that we did not 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 to deal better with the present and the forthcoming challenges.