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Towards the end of part eight of this chapter, the author described history being a system, “the system of human experience linked in a single, inexorable chain” (Gasset). It is a systematic science of reality, that presents in the most rigorous and actual sense of the world. The author’s position of history is quite different from the general definition of history many people used to as something to do with past activities. The author argued that, there is a causal link between history and human life. Moreover, man’s life is the product of what he or other people did as he said “people should know that past is past not because it happened to others, but because it forms part of our present of what we are in the form of having been, because in short it is our past” (Gasset 212). However, the beginning of this eponymous derived my attention especially in the concept of human life.
The author stresses that, there is no choice for human being to exist but to insure his existence, is obliged to do something in order to keep himself in existence. This concept reminds me of a sage who claim that, “If I stop reading I will die, because my mind which keeps me alive through reading will no longer be functioning”. Therefore, to make life (existence) meaningful should do something. What am I doing to make my life meaningful now and at the future? Do we choose to exist? Gasset argue that, life is given to us not as a readymade, we should make life for ourselves (165). However, risk taking is advised by the author since everyone has a duty to make his own life, therefore before doing anything, a person should decide for himself whatever is going to do at his own risk. Life also, should be built with some beliefs but not negative beliefs. Negative in sense that, you don’t trust yourself you can do something. For instance, there are people who believes that everything is tough for themselves and so they can’t do it.
Successes always begins with positive belief. The writer of this book viewed belief not as merely idea or a thought, rather it is an idea in which a person believes (Gasset 167). He insisted that, believing is not an operation or work of intellectual mechanism but it is the function of the living being as such, the function of guiding conduct and performance of his work. This is what brings successes. Man is the entity that makes itself, an entity which traditional ontology only stumbled upon precisely as its course was drawing to a closer and which it is the consequence gave up the attempt to understand. For Gasset, a person should not only make himself the weightiest thing, but what he has to do is to determine what he is going to be. Moreover, man is nothing without imagination, without the capacity to invent for himself a conception of life to ideate the character he is going to be (203). Also, human life, is not an entity that changes accidentally rather the reverse.
However, the author argues that, if the reality of my life at the moment is what it is, what is going to be depends on what is commonly called ‘experience of life’. This experience of life is not composed of my past I personally experienced, but it is also of the past of my forebears handed down to me by the society (Gasset 210). Prediction of what society is going to be at a certain time of period depends a lot on what it has been. Meaning that, the past will determine or will build the future. The best or poor future depends on what the society has done or is doing in the past and present respectively. The author continues to insist that, everyone should take not of what is happening to him when faced with the great political problems of the day he desired to take up an attitude, he should take up an attitude (211). However, man remains to be what has happened to him or what he has done and the experiments made with life, narrow man’s future. This is to say, if we may not know what he or she is going to be, we know what he is not going to be because man lives basing on the past (Gasset 217).
Another concept I find of important in this chapter is man being lacking nature but has history. History gives progress to the person as the author affirms “progress is only possible to one who is not linked today to what he was yesterday, who is not caught for ever in that being which is already, but can migrate from it into another” (219). Even though it is not sufficient that man should be able to free himself from what he is already and take on a new form as the serpent sloughs its skin and is left with another. To progress is to accumulate being to store up reality. Man has no nature but history, it is because history is the systematic science of reality which is life itself. It is the science of the present in the most rigorous and actual sense of the world.
About truth, Gasset would say every individual should know the truth about everything (170). Truth contributes a lot in the life of human being. In describing what truth is, the author stressed that, ‘truth is what it is now and not what remains to be discovered in an undetermined future’ (1820. In other words, truth is what we see and experience at the present, it is eternal. However, people should not loose hope when they face different challenges. They should also not allow passion to cloud their minds. Many tend to lose hope because of different challenges, troubles and problems they are in. the author is reminding us, it is not the time to lose hope but to take courage and move ahead. Basing on my own views, this chapter has nothing to do rather than reminding us that, we are product of our own history. History can be bad or good and both can be well recalled depending on how useful it is or how tragedy it is. What should focus on, is in building good history of which as the result we contribute to a good ending or future. Since the author speaks about history being the system, I would like to add that, it is the system of life. What we live today becomes the system tomorrow. In part eight of this chapter, the author tells us that, before us there are diverse possibilities of being, but behind us lies what we have been and what we have been acting negatively on what we can be.
For example, when I was a child, I was a Christian, now I am no longer, but does this mean that, I cannot go on being a Christian? The theme remains, our lives are product of our own history. In concluding, the author is challenging his readers to understand that, life is made upon some systems which are the result of the history. Therefore, life of an individual is built under a certain history. However, risk taking is the point made by the author at the beginning of his essay as he has trapped my mind as he said “each person before doing anything must decide for himself and at his own risk what he is going to do” (Gasset 166). This will help him or her to become who he wants to be.
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