March 1, 2021

Vico, the Sevillian philosopher idol of Mexican university students

The philosopher David Pastor Vico gets up every morning missing the muffins with ham that he had breakfast in his beloved Seville and missing his land while waiting in the infinite queues of cars in Mexico City, but when entering the UNAM, where it is a whole institution, feels like another Mexican.

Vico is a philosopher and "migrant by inheritance": he was born in Belgium in 1976, where his parents lived, he lived his childhood in Seville and now he lives in Mexico for almost seven years, where he works for the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he gives the welcome speech to the more than 35,000 new students each year.

In these conferences, and in many others that he has given in the Latin American country, he tries, in a casual manner and through informal language, to encourage critical thinking in young people who watch him from the seats.

The key to its success is precisely to remove iron to an issue that is often "inaccessible" or "very high": philosophy.

The philosopher and writer, who captured the content of these conferences in the book "Philosophy for distrustful people", arrived in Mexico in a process that he described as "strange" in an interview with Efe.

"I start organizing congresses in philosophy at the University of Seville and when I want to realize I'm teaching, then they called me from the UNAM and I started doing administrative functions because my specialty is the ethics of communication," he explained.

Currently teaching pedagogical advice to teachers, classes to young people and also works with parents, through which he has managed to "know the reality of the students of this house of studies," he explained.

For him, whose progression has been so natural, it is still "incredible that a 'gachupin' or 'Galician' is the one who welcomes students from the most important university in the country."

For a philosopher who tried to find a place in Spain but ended up developing as a professional in Mexico, where he enjoys great recognition, the importance of traveling is evident.

Vico is right Galician writer Valle Inclán in that the remedy for nationalism is travel and added that moving opens people to other ways of seeing the world and, more specifically, forces philosophers to rethink their own reality.

The teaching vocation comes from Vico's interest in dissemination, work that began in a program on philosophy, treated from a more humoristic point of view, in Seville.

From there, began to have a more direct relationship with teaching, situation that occurred, he said, in an "organic" way, since the Andalusian believes that "the philosopher is always discovering things to people who ignore (… ) and to bring this closer to the young person is the role of the philosopher ".

In the UNAM, the largest study house in Latin America, Vico has found a home, a house in which no distinction is made between Mexicans and foreigners.

And where especially the Spanish have a great relevance for the intellectuals who arrived during the exile after the Spanish Civil War.

"The university environment does not understand borders, we do not feel neither rejection nor estrangement. (…) When I arrive at the university the last thing I think is that I am not from here," he said.

"Philosophy for distrustful people" owes its name mainly to the author's interest in the interpersonal trust index data, which in Mexico only reaches 14%.

This means that "86% of the population is deeply distrustful, I mean knowing the name of your neighbor's children … if you are a parent and you do not know what they are called, your children do not play with them. There is no confidence or that your children develop in their own neighborhood, "he explained.

Vico also related distrust to the fact that currently humans are locked in their home and as they are isolated "the screens grow", devices that do not give a real perception of the world.

The book is sold in Spain with the title "The loneliness of birds" and was published by a small publishing house in Huelva that issued only 200 copies.

However, the philosopher said he is not worried about the repercussion of his publication in Spain because he knows that the life of a book there is "short and hard", while Mexico is the door for Latin America and for the United States.

"I think of Spain every morning but I prefer to think of it as the place to live and be quiet and in Mexico as a place to expand," he concluded.

(tagsToTranslate) Vico (t) filosofo (t) sevillano (t) university students (t) mexicanos

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