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TONY DAGRADI, Aristotle, 2017, hardcover book, acrylic varnish, 9h x 6w x 1d in

by Pablo Romo Cedano

images by Tony Dagradi

“The way in which Western philosophy has understood the idea of destination undoubtedly has a direct impact in the ways we have developed to do policy. And although thinkers like Aristotle and Plato They propose different conceptions of destiny, based on of both, modern thought establishes ideas in the current politics such as freedom, responsibility individual and causality.”


The concept of destiny has been a perennial question in the history of Western philosophy. Both Aristotle and Plato explored this topic from different perspectives. Their conceptions, although differentiated, influenced the development of subsequent philosophical thought.


For Aristotle, destiny is linked to the concept of teleology and his eudaimonic ethics. He maintains that each being has an intrinsic purpose, a purpose that defines it. The destiny of an individual is not imposed from outside but is the result of his own actions and choices. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle highlights that achieving virtue and happiness, understood as eudemonia, is the ultimate destiny of human beings. Here a connection opens between individual destiny and morality. Virtue and happiness are not the result of whim or chance, but rather arise from conscious action and the choice to live an ethical life.


On the other hand, Plato, in The Phaedo, presents a more transcendental vision of destiny. For him, the soul is immortal and eternal, and travels through different cycles of reincarnation. The knowledge and wisdom acquired in past lives determine the destiny of the soul. Philosophy and the search for truth are essential to free the soul from the cycles of reincarnation and achieve supreme wisdom. Therefore, the destiny of each soul is to seek truth and beauty, moving away from the material and ephemeral to approach the eternal and transcendental.


Although the conceptions Aristotle's and Plato's conceptions of destiny seem divergent, both offer valuable perspectives for modern philosophical thought. Existentialist philosophy, for example, emphasizes individual freedom and responsibility. Philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre have argued that there is no pre-established destiny, and that we are free to choose our paths, as well as create our own meaning in life. Existence precedes essence and it is our responsibility to give meaning to our existence through our choices.


On the other hand, determinism is based on the idea that all events, including our actions and decisions, are predetermined by prior causes. Philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza or Friedrich Nietzsche have explored different forms of determinism, each with its own nuances. While determinism seems to deny individual freedom, some philosophers such as David Hume suggest that every action and event has a chain of causes preceding it. This can be interpreted as a kind of natural destiny: each event is the necessary result of what precedes it.

“Although the conceptions Aristotle's and Plato's conceptions of destiny seem divergent, both offer valuable perspectives for modern philosophical thought.”

In short, the theme of destiny has been a constant concern in philosophy. Aristotle and Plato, with different approaches, laid the foundations for subsequent philosophical reflection on this topic. Aristotle's freedom and responsibility and Plato's transcendental vision have been revised and reinterpreted by modern philosophers. The political use of destiny as a fatality has been used throughout history by authoritarianism to justify outrages. Facing uncertainty generates challenges that call for responsibility and acting with defined and unjustified ethical principles “because that's how things are.”


Aristotle presented a vision of destiny related to the purpose and self-realization of each being. On the social level, destiny in Aristotle is an aspiration for freedom and development. Plato, from a more transcendental and metaphysical perspective, recognizes a destiny that goes beyond this material world, but he does not define it as a fatal determinism either. Social determinists against this approach of eudemonia and the immortal soul called to truth and wisdom, will maintain that the results are already pre-established, they are wills of gods, of racial superiorities or of social luck and fatal whims. These determinisms generate ideologies, such as that of “Manifest Destiny,” placing nations and ethnic groups called to dominate. For this reason, John L. O'Sullivan calls for invading Mexico and annexing Texas to the United States or the ideologies of patriarchy that in the name of “calls of nature” justify the oppression of women.


Hence the fundamental point of approaching ideas, ancient and modern, that will never reduce freedom, will and the future to predetermined plans. Rather, they will always problematize the future based on the deliberate actions of people called to be increasingly actors and actresses of their own decisions. Contexts will condition actions, but they will not determine the future, truth and freedom. With Sartre we say that we are free to create our own meaning in life and are not subject to an immutable destiny.


“The contexts will condition the actions, but they  will not determine the future, the truth and freedom”


In conclusion, through these diverse perspectives, destiny remains a philosophical enigma that invites to reflect on freedom, responsibility, transcendence and causality in the determination
of our lives. Each human being, then, finds himself facing the crossroads of forging his own destiny or let yourself be carried away by circumstances and cause those that surround him. Likewise, societies and human groups can choose or can be left carried by dominant or deterministic ideologies fatal. Ultimately, we ask ourselves visually and collectively, can we decide or are we simply inexorable fruits of past events do and the circumstances that surround us? 


Pablo Romo has a Doctorate in Human Rights from the University National Distance Education Program in Madrid, in addition to studies in philosophy and theology. He has actively participated as a defender of the human rights, he is a professor on peace issues and writes about life.


Tony Dagradi is an American musician, actor, artist, composer and author. In addition to playing the saxophone, for almost a decade Dagradi has been exploring the visual possibilities of modified books. His method consists of Carefully tar pages from old posts using images existing to create collages or sculptures that encourage us to analyze the mechanics of history and to rethink our own understanding of the past and present in order to imagine new possibilities for the future.


Capitel is a non-profit publishing project, it is a quarterly printed and digital magazine belonging to Universidad Humanitas that began to be published in Mexico City in 2015. Its mission is to consolidate itself as a platform open to the exchange of significant knowledge around diverse disciplines of our academic institution and the cultural and artistic horizon at a national and international level. Each edition of Capitel addresses a specific central theme linked directly or indirectly to values ​​or principles of a human, ethical, philosophical or conceptual nature.


Through its six editorial sections, it seeks to promote education in Mexico and generate debate or opinion on current issues in these sectors. An attempt is also made to build bridges of collaboration with other university, cultural, public institutions and regional communities.


The sections that make it up are: Capitular , a business, reviews and current affairs section; It has an interview with a leader from the public and/or private sector, as well as specialized editorial content. The Spiralis section addresses the central theme of the magazine from the various disciplines of our academic institution. Mandala is an artistic section with a philosophical and spiritual approach that seeks to open a contemplative parenthesis through its editorial content.


Campus is a tour of the various headquarters of the University nationwide, which shows all the educational, cultural, artistic, social responsibility and environmental care activities carried out at Humanitas University. Other views , other areas is the editorial section in which all the artistic and cultural work at a national and international level is exposed. Columnsgives voice to the opinions of various external specialists and seeks to build bridges of bilateral collaboration with other institutions .