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60 sentences of José Ortega y Gasset to understand his philosophy

60 sentences of José Ortega y Gasset to understand his philosophy

January 1, 2023

José Ortega y Gasset was a well-known intellectual, writer and philosopher linked to Noucentisme (movement of cultural renewal that sought to break with the forms of the past), perspectivism (there is no single truth but we each have our own vision of life) and raciovitalismo at a time between the moments before establishment of the Second Republic and the Franco dictatorship.

This author left deep reflections in his work regarding various themes that would contribute and inspire many other intellectuals later.

In this article we will see a series of phrases by José Ortega y Gasset that allow us to understand part of his thoughts .


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Phrases of José Ortega y Gasset

These are phrases by José Ortega y Gasset that tell us about his philosophy and serve to reflect on the various themes that the author touches throughout his life.

1. Love, whom they paint blind, is seer and insightful because the lover sees things that the indifferent does not see and therefore loves

Loving someone (who does not idealize it) allows us to see the positive aspects of that person that people are usually unable to perceive. It is not about being blind but about knowing how to see.

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2. Loyalty is the shortest path between two hearts

The establishment of a bond of loyalty between two people allows mutual trust and esteem to arise between both subjects.


3. I am myself and my circumstance, and if I do not save her I do not save myself

This well-known phrase by Ortega y Gasset makes reference to the fact that the environment that surrounds us is part and influences at the same time that it is influenced by us. We do not exist separately, but we are part of the world and the world part of us.

4. Some people focus their life so they live with hors d'oeuvres and side dishes. The main dish is never known

The author states that some people are content with the crumbs of their dreams, without ever seeking to achieve what they wanted to live.

5. With morality we correct the errors of our instincts, and with love the errors of our morals

This phrase tells us that through love we can correct our way of thinking when it is distorted or is not able to face reality in an adaptive way. Love is placed above morality, as the force that can overcome its limitations and modify it for the better.


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6. Being on the left is, like being on the right, one of the infinite ways that man can choose to be an imbecile: both, in effect, are forms of moral hemiplegia

The author criticizes that to be placed on the extremes in such a way that one way of thinking is contrary to the other prevents observing and learning the good points and the positive values ​​of the other supposed side.

7. Life is a series of collisions with the future: it is not a sum of what we have been, but of what we long to be

We rule our lives not because of what we were in the past, but based on what we want to achieve and how we want to become.

8. The beauty that attracts rarely coincides with the beauty that falls in love

Although many people find it difficult to make the distinction, attraction and love are not the same. What allows us to feel attracted to someone differs from what allows us to fall in love.

9. Man is different from the animal in which he drinks without thirst and loves without time

This phrase expresses some of the differences between human nature and that of other animals.

10. Whenever you teach, teach to doubt what you teach

The acquisition of knowledge is important, but we must be able to be critical of what has been taught to us if we want to evolve and really grow.

11. While the tiger can not stop being a tiger, it can not be dismantled, the man lives in permanent risk of being dehumanized

Cruelty, misery and hatred can make the human being commit acts against his own nature, becoming inhuman. We must watch our actions.

12. I can promise to be honest; but do not demand me to commit to being impartial

We all have our own perspective on things, our preferences and beliefs, not being likely that we can be really impartial in most cases

13. Who in the name of freedom renounces being who has to be, has already killed himself in life: he is a suicidal person. Its existence will consist in a perpetual flight of the only reality that could be

Denying ourselves what we want and how we are only leads us to suffering and to be permanently vigilant not to get close to what our nature dictates.

14. Being an emperor of oneself is the first condition for reigning others

He who wants to hold the command first must be able to address himself.

15. Nothing that man has been, is or will be has been, is nor will be once and for all, but has become one good day and another good day will cease to be

Everything starts and ends: there is nothing eternal or that remains forever unalterable .

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16. Everyone who has known some great man has been surprised to find that his soul possessed a halo of puerility

Although people tend to think that great people are solemn and serious beings, the truth is that they are still people who still hold the spark of illusion and joy.

17. Many men, like children, want one thing but not its consequences

This phrase drives us to be responsible for our actions.

18. What is better in man is his capacity for dissatisfaction

With this phrase, Ortega y Gasset makes reference to the need not to remain stagnant and to not settle for the one already established. This allows us to develop and grow.

19. Avoid supplanting our world with that of others

Ortega y Gasset tells us that our freedom and our world must not interfere in a way that cancels that of others. Each person must be able to be free without others trying to cohart them so that their world is adapted to what others expect.

20. Every word says something more than it should and also less than what it should express

When we relate to others We do not usually say everything we think, feel or believe , limiting ourselves to express only a part of what we would like to express. Or letting you see much more than we would like.

21. Eternal human life would be unbearable. It gains value precisely because its brevity tightens, densifies and makes it compact

What gives value to everything we do is the fact that one day we will die, because it makes every moment and every act a valuable moment that has been chosen to take advantage of it.

22. From wanting to be to believe that one is already, the distance from the tragic to the comic goes

We must be aware of the point at which we are, without believing what we are not and accepting that we must strive to achieve what we want.

23. Knowing that you do not know is perhaps the most difficult and delicate to know

Recognizing our limits is sometimes more complicated than it seems, not being easy to be able to visualize one's own ignorance.

24. Life has been given to us, but it has not been given to us

We must build our own life through effort and dedication. We must create our own destiny and be responsible for our decisions.

25. There are as many realities as there are points of view. The point of view creates the panorama

This phrase explains to some extent the basic idea of ​​perspectivism. There is no one absolute truth but each one of us elaborates his own.

26. In each step we take in life we ​​walk a hundred different paths

Each step we take is a decision we make, having been able to decide many other options. Our life is formed from our decisions , creating our own way.

27. Love consists in pushing a being to the perfection of itself

Love makes us want and help the loved one to develop and perfect himself, to be happy and to achieve his goals.

28. We are not shot into existence like a rifle bullet whose trajectory is absolutely determined. It is false to say that what determines us are the circumstances. On the contrary, the circumstances are the dilemma before which we have to decide. But the one who decides is our character

We are not pre-determined, but we are responsible for the decisions we make and for creating our own path in life.

29. Civilization does not last because men are only interested in the results of it: anesthetics, cars, radio. But nothing that civilization gives is the natural fruit of an endemic tree. Everything is the result of an effort. Only one civilization can endure if many contribute their collaboration to the effort. If everyone prefers to enjoy the fruit, civilization sinks

These phrases tell us that we must contribute to cultural development if we want to maintain progress and development, without focusing only on taking advantage of what has already been achieved.

30. It is important to emphasize the role that love plays on physiognomy and gestures such as kissing. They reveal the authentic being of the person we love

Small gestures, more than words, are able to make us see the way to be and what they are silent and do not express the people we love.

31. The greatest crime is now not in those who kill, but in those who do not kill but let kill

Critical to the role of the silent witness who does nothing and allows misfortunes to occur.

32. Desire automatically dies when it is achieved; it finishes when satisfied. Love, on the other hand, is an eternal unsatisfied desire

The author emphasizes the difference between love and attraction or desire. Love is not, because it is not something that has an end or goal but is still valid.

33. The vain one needs others, seeks in them the confirmation of the idea that he wants to have of himself

The ego and its unwanted consequences.

34. The true treasure of man is the treasure of his errors

To err allows us to learn and grow, being a symptom besides that we have dared to experiment and live.

35. As long as there is someone who believes in an idea, the idea lives

As much as it can be censored, a perspective or idea will last as long as there is someone who can and wants to keep it.

36. Thought is the only thing in the Universe that can not be denied its existence: to deny is to think

While you can doubt almost everything, we can not doubt or deny that we think because the doubt itself is already thought.

37. Everyone is strange and wonderful for well-opened pupils

Those who allow themselves to be curious and explore the world with an open mind they are able to observe the wonders that each little thing hides with the questing ones.

38. Progress does not consist in annihilating yesterday yesterday but in reverse, in conserving that essence of yesterday that had the virtue of creating that better today

The fact of wanting to progress does not imply ignoring or rejecting what has led us to the point where we are, but in recognizing it and maintaining its base in order to develop further.

39. Live is more live, eager to increase your own heartbeat. When it is not like that, life is sick and, in its measure, it is not life

This phrase pushes us to get excited, to live in search of what excites us and according to our own desires.

40. A good part of men has no inner life other than their words, and their feelings are reduced to an oral existence

Many people focus solely on talking, not daring to experiment or act or feel. We must allow ourselves to express and develop not only knowledge but also emotion and experience.

41. To be surprised, to be surprised, is to begin to understand

Being able to be surprised with something is what makes us able to understand it since we stop taking what we know for granted and we can begin to understand reality.

42. In art, every repetition is null

Art is one of the ways of the human being to express what he feels and what comes to mind at a certain time, as it comes to us. Repeating or correcting a work of another is impossible since one would be trying to modify what it supposes: it would have ceased to be valid as art.

43. Youth need to believe, a priori, superior. Of course he is wrong, but this is precisely the great right of youth

Being young implies believing yourself capable of everything and trying to eat the world. We feel capable of anything and we tend to believe that we are right.

44. The command must be an annex to the exemplariness

The positions of power must be gained from being an example for those around us.

45. On the painful hump that is usually life, sprout and bloom not a few joys

Life is not easy and it is full of pain, but despite this we can find great moments of happiness and joy that we should appreciate and take advantage of. Even in moments of maximum pain we can find something positive.

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46. ​​Culture is labor, production of human things; is to do science, to do moral, to make art

Culture is one of the aspects that makes us human and it allows us to evolve as a species.

47. Men who are most capable of thinking about love are the ones who have lived the least, and those who have lived it are usually unable to think about it.

Those who live love do not usually devote themselves to thinking or reflecting on it, but to experience it.

48. The one who can not what he wants, who wants what he can

This phrase pushes us to be able to adjust our desires to our possibilities. It is not that we stop dreaming, but that we are able to visualize how to reach them little by little based on our possibilities.

49. Life makes sense when it is made an aspiration not to give up anything

Do not give up when fighting for what we want is what this phrase proposes as the main meaning of life.

50. Tell me how you have fun and I will tell you who you are

The aspects that cause us joy, that excite us and that are interesting give us a lot of information about how we are.

51. Our most deeply rooted, most indubitable convictions are the most suspicious. They form our limit, our borders, our prison

The beliefs that we consider more certain give us a way of understanding life, but at the same time they suppose a limit that prevents us from seeing or accepting other perspectives that contradict them.

52. Slow down, do not rush, the only place you have to go is yourself

This phrase tells us that the only thing we really need to achieve is to be ourselves .

53. Without love, we would be like children lost in the immensity of the cosmos

Love is a force that guides us towards what we want and makes us capable of directing ourselves and fighting for it.

54. Man is the being who absolutely needs the truth and vice versa, truth is the only thing that man essentially needs, his only unconditional need

This phrase tells us that what the human being seeks is to know the truth, even if each one of us has his own.

55. Men do not live together because they do, but to undertake large companies together

This phrase tells us that the strength of the group as a whole can help us achieve growth and achieve great goals.

56. Everything that exists is a virgin that has to be loved to become fertile

Marveling and loving things is what makes us able to understand them, and develop them and generate new things from it.

57. There is about the passive to see an active passive, which interprets seeing and seeing interpreting, a seeing that is looking

Ortega y Gasset indicates that seeing is not really passive, but through observation we interpret reality (interpretation that in turn causes us to see things differently).

58. It is only possible to move forward when you look away. One can only progress when you think big

Progress is only possible if we set great goals to reach little by little. If our goals are small, so will your results.

59. Science consists of substituting knowledge that seemed certain by a theory, that is, by something problematic

Science allows us to doubt the established and generate hypotheses and theories about how the world works, without trying to establish dogmatisms and accepting the possibility of erring.

60. Pure reason has to yield its imperative to the vital reason: life must be vital

The author considers that the reason is not the establishment of an absolute truth separated from us, but is linked to life and what we live. There is no reality that is superior to us or we are superior to reality: we are part of reality. It pushes us to live our lives based on our decisions and appreciating life.


Gustavo Bueno. La vuelta a la caverna - Documental COMPLETO (Eng. Subs) (January 2023).


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