Draft of an Introduction to a future lecture series–Michoacan 2015

My aim here is to talk about an encounter with an event. The event is the brief, yet intense, emergence of el grupo Hiperión that, between 1948 and 1952, embraced a rigorous philosophical project meant to unconceal, bring to light, expose, and respond to, the hidden and present aspects that make up that complex reality which is Mexico. By “encounter” here I refer to my encounter with this event, with my reading of their texts, and my writing about their readings. Thus my interpretations are conditioned by whatever baggage is attached to myself and my circumstance, as Ortega reminds us.

By baggage, of course, I refer to my historical, social, economic, and political context—to my conscious and unconscious attachment to ideologies and prejudices. I say this not in an effort to distance myself from any interpretative faults contained in what follows, but because I am painfully aware, at this moment, of my limitations as reader and author. For instance, these lectures are written in English, but delivered in Spanish (I was asked to deliver 5 lectures at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Michoacan San Nicolas Hidalgo). Knowing that translation is inevitable forces me to hesitate before each word, as I think of its meaning and its Spanish equivalent, of its sound and its accent. I experience the limbo of uncertainty with each sentence. This is not an unfamiliar experience: my reality as a Mexican-American has always consisted in hanging on the dash that separates my family, traditions, and my last name from the culture and ideology which has nurtured me from birth. Similarly, the pauses in writing brought about by my worry over a future translation, as both languages compete for attention, reflect that double-consciousness constitutive of my identity as a Mexico-Americano.

My encounter with the event of Hiperión is, therefore, conditioned by that double consciousness and the baggage of experience that brings with it expectations, desires, and hopes. Thus, my reading of Emilio Uranga’s reading of Martin Heidegger, for instance, will involve a certain degree of violence, as I encroach upon Uranga’s interpretation of Heidegger looking for clues to Uranga’s own prejudices and interests and not to how closely he came to the standard Heideggerian reading. This does not interest me. What does? [I suppose I should get back to Imperial Passion now]

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