Ortega on Resistance
By Ortega I mean Ortega y Gasset and to by Resistance I refer to the quote below, taken from page 93 of Ortega’s “The Revolt of the Masses” and the Triumph of the New Man, by Pedro Blas Gonzalez. This text has not been proof- read very well, and I have made some minor changes to it – and I have broken the text into shorter paragraphs. Roll up you pants, because we are going to wade right in:
An even greater problem that Ortega points out in the cyclical nature of human history is our our lack of understanding or failure to recognize human existence as always offering resistance to our individual lives. He tells us, “all life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. “
Human life, then, is best understood as resistance. This resistance is present in every one of our endeavors, trivial as they may seem at times. But resistance in itself, Ortega argues, is the manifestation of life in its human form.
This forces us to discover the self and our place in the scheme of things: my destiny or vocation. The struggle to become how my intuition informs me that I am part of the struggle to be. To live, then, is to confront and develop ourselves.
This is very much in keeping with the existential notion of life as project. Hence in Ortega’s view, to posit life as resistance, as other thinkers like Dilthey and Heidegger have also argued, brings about two central realizations: humility and a sense of awe.
These two conditions, when maintained throughout the course of one’s life become the fundamental ingredients in not following the somnambulist sub-existence of the mass man.
I only need add that Ortega, like most original thinkers, has been ignored in our time – a time which has been characterized as the Great Regression.