03 December 2012

A Quote with little Commentary

A quote from Jose Ortega y Gasset's work titled Meditations on Hunting. Jose was Spain's leading philosopher of the 20th century. Born in Madrid in 1883 and died there in 1955.

I present the quote here with minimal commentary other than to say it applies beyond the context to hunting. Indeed, it applies to all, that are disingenuous of their intent.

"In the preoccupation with doing things as they should be done -which is morality- there is a line past which we begin to think that what is purely our whim or mania is necessary.  We fall, therefore, into a new immorality, into the worst of all, which is a matter of not knowing those conditions without which things cannot be. This is man's supreme and devastating pride, which tends not to accept limits on his desires and supposes that reality lacks any structure of its own which may be opposed to his will.  This sin is the worst of all, so much so that the question of whether the content of the will is good or bad completely loses importance in the face of it."

What Jose said bears considering and understanding, sometimes ulterior motives drive people with good intent to do things they know are dishonest.

A duplicitous spirit never notices how foolish the actions are, to those engaged in the truth who perceive the nature of malcontent and dishonesty.  To those ignorant of the truth the matter seems cloudy, to those possessing the truth the dishonesty could not be clearer.

Apply judiciously to everything.


  1. "To those ignorant of the truth the matter seems cloudy, to those possessing the truth the dishonesty could not be clearer."

    You said it, bud.

    Your blog is like a one-stop-shop for both bushcraft and philosophical/moral insight. :)

  2. In my ethics class we called this "blinded by purpose" and historically has done more damage than those who just didn't care.

    Good post, its important to think about these things from time to time.

    Unrelated, looking forward to a review on the HPG serape.

    1. Right on. It might be my imagination but I think this "blinded by purpose" is actually becoming more pervasive in our society. I chain that to the reality that as a society I believe we are becoming more permissive and less concerned with what is and isn't acceptable, with the difference between right and wrong. When all standards are torn down we enter the abyss of no standards.

      With today's communications capabilities, the web and so on, we're trading information at hyper speed, sometimes without the benefit of due diligence, facts, or scientific process. In essence there's is little to no societal or communal accountability. In times past educated people, circles of science, and the moral and ethical standards held to them as important often prevented the rogue from indiscretion or blatant false behavior and actions. While they still existed they were ostracized or ridiculed to the point of silence in many cases. Because this doesn't exist anymore for the most part, there's much more misinformation, disinformation, and flat out lies out there than ever before.

      As a civilization we've let accountability slip, established a society of lower standards in a lot of ways. Detrimental beyond what we see, as we are sliding down the slope if you will, and the full realization of how bad it is won't be seen or felt until impact at the bottom.

      Unintended consequences of a politically correct society incapable of calling a spade a spade.

      Hope to have that serape write up done before the end of January, I've been using it since early fall. Once the temps dropped below freezing I had to modify the use.

  3. Here is another quote from Ortega, which, I think, speaks to the way that we ought to conduct ourselves as hunters.

    "Every authentic refinement must leave intact the authenticity of the hunt, its essential structure, which is a matter of a confrontation between two unequal species. The real care that man must exercise is not in pretending to make the beast equal to him, because that is a stupid utopian, beatific farce, but rather in avoiding more and more the excess of his superiority. Hunting is the free play of an inferior species in the face of a superior species. That is where one must make some refinement. Man must give the animal a "handicap," in order to place him as close as possible to his own level. The essence of sportive hunting is not raising the animal to the level of man, but something much more spiritual than that: a conscious and almost religious humbling of man which limits his superiority and lowers him toward the animal."

    1. Top end, I've always agreed with that philosophy within the arena of 'sportive' hunting. The clarity with which he wrote on the subject is exceptional.

  4. A book that I would recommend to you is Wilderness Ethics: preserving the spirit of wilderness by Laura and Guy Waterman. This was actually one of many my text book for why wilderness ethics class this fall and is a very good read. I don't agree with everything in it but it offers solutions to problems I wasn't even aware about. It is geared more to a outdoor recreation management theme rather than bushcraft or hunting.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll keep an eye out for that.