Listen to Juan de Mairena

In Spain —let us not forget— political action with a progressive tendency is often weak, because it lacks originality; it is pure mimicry, which is no more than a mere stimulant of reaction. One could say that only reactive impulses work with some precision and energy in our social machine. Politicians who intend to govern into the future must bear in mind the underlying reaction that follows any superficial advance in Spain. Our left-wing politicians, somewhat frivolous, rarely take into account, when they fire their futuristic rhetoric rifles, the recoil of the butts, which is usually, although it may seem strange, more violent than the shot.

Antonio Machado: Juan de Mairena. Sentencias, donaires, apuntes y recuerdos de un profesor apócrifo (Juan de Mairena. Sentences, Jokes, Notes, Memories of an Apocryphal Professor;  Madrid, 1936)

We have copied here this text from Machado’s Juan de Mairena because we were thinking of including it as the introduction of our next book.

‘These political ideas, in a book for children?’

‘It is not exactly for children, but why not? We need children who end up becoming ‘progressive’ adults. As well as adults with the desire to explain things.’

Drawing by Manuel Flores.