The name of Estanislao Zuleta is little known outside of Colombia, even if this philosopher and psychoanalystworked as an advisor to the UN and had a considerable impact on culture. He left a set of writings and lectures that continue to be studied by the new generations.
One of the most interesting aspectsEstanislao Zuleta's trajectory is that he was self-taught. He rejected formal education. He also made orality his main means of communicating knowledge. Therefore, more than writing, most of his work consists of lectures, many of which were transcribed.
” Poverty and the impotence of the imagination never manifest themselves so clearly as when it comes to imagining happiness. We begin to invent paradises, wealthy islands, countries of Cocagne. A life without risks, without struggle, without seeking improvement and without death. And, therefore, without deficiencies or desire. “
Estanislao Zuleta mainly analyzed politics, education and relations ofpower in Latin America. His approach was fundamentally ethical. He followed the theses of Freud and Lacan but proposed his own interpretation of their postulates. Here is a characteristic of psychoanalysis: there are as many psychoanalyses as there are psychoanalysts.
The beginnings of Estanislao Zuleta
Estanislao Zuleta was born in Medellín (Colombia) in 1935. Her family was clearly oriented towards literature and culture. His father died in a plane crash when the boy was only five months old.This accident was very famous and left a markvery strong because Carlos Gardel, the idol of tango, was on the same plane.
Estanislao Zuleta decided to leave school as a youth because he considered it an instrument that stagnated rather than empowered. He then began a self-taught training process that he would never end.He was seduced by the postulates of the classical Greeks, Nietzsche, d Marx and Freud. He combined in a very particular way these great slopes of thought.
His great mentor, however, was Fernando González, says "the philosopher of Autrepart"It was about a Colombian thinker characterized by his acute reflections, scandalizing the conservative society of his time. He also encouraged free thought and free expression. Stanislaus Zuleta was perhaps his most notable disciple.
The fullness of the philosopher and psychoanalyst
Despite not having received formal academic instruction, Estanislao Zuleta was still a university professor almost all his life. The Universidad del Valle awarded him an honorary doctorate in psychology in 1980. After receiving this award, Zuleta made one of his most famous speeches. This speech was calledPraise the difficulty. It became a famous text that illuminated entire generations.
His personal life was not exactly a monument of order and moderation. On the contrary. His excesses with alcohol were famous. He spent whole nights in the company of poets, writers and intellectuals.
One of his great virtues, however, was his systematic rigor in reading. This gave him a place of choice in education, politics and thought. One of his best-known and most appreciated works is precisely the essaySobre la lectura (On reading). He extols not only the fact of reading, but also the fundamental importance of digesting what is read.
The daily life of a dynamic work
Estanislao Zuleta frequented bars and cafes. He settled there and never pushed anyone who wanted to accompany him to discuss. Another of his essays is an apology for the conversation. He was an excellent representative of this art. According to him, in the case of an exchange of ideas with someone who thinks differently, the only ethical thing to do is to look for all the arguments making it possible to give the reason to the interlocutor, not to oppose it. We can quietly continue with our thinking if these arguments can not be found.
He thought that we could change the world through psychoanalysis. He risked various psychoanalytic reflections applied to society.One of his most interesting works isOn the idealization of individual and collective life. Estanislao Zuleta shows that trying to build "social paradises" only leads to the creation of authoritarian societies, in the name of perfection.
One of his great friends, Jorge Vallejo, made a biography of Estanislao Zuleta, a few years after his death. It's calledThe rebellion of a bourgeois. We arefind a man filled with contradictions, but with boundless lucidity and generosity. There is currently a think tank devoted exclusively to the study of his work. It is therefore one of those thinkers, not very famous, but nevertheless worth knowing and analyzing.