Ortega y Gasset: A Visionary Philosopher?

By Helene Cristini.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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In our current world according to Ortega y Gasset the "mass man" or "woman" is sovereign. His or her claims have no ends. The mass men or women are us, we are its caricature. He is defined as the individual who refuses all kinds of superiority and feels he has the right to order or require all kinds of commodities from a world he feels he owes nothing to. He is spoiled, as he feels no obligation to anyone. Such is the contemporary materialist man or woman. He or she is ungrateful as he or she feels not bound by obligations. He is left to believe that he exists on his own, so much so, that he is getting used to not counting or relying on the others, and above all not admitting that someone may be superior to him. Two human types oppose one another: the mass man and the elite, that is, the exemplary elite. The life of the exemplary minority or elite is one that is disciplined and noble, contrary to what we usually believe. It is the creature or the elite person and not the masses that live under constrains or under servitude, as his life is at the service of a higher order, since his responsibility is to serve. If, as some philosophers have reckoned, the consumerist ethos has come to an end with its utilitarian model of society, could the model of Ortega y Gasset in his book the Revolt of the Masses be the one that advocates the solutions to the interdependent crisis that we are currently witnessing?

Keywords: Consumerism, Exemplary Elites, Mass Men, Sense of Duties

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.73-79. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 164.895KB).

Dr. Helene Cristini

Professor, International Relations Theory, International University of Monaco, Monaco

Dr. Helene Cristini has a Master in political science. She worked on her Ph.D. in India at the University of Bombay.