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“My death occupies little to me”: Fernando Savater

Savater assured that one can prepare, but not escape death. Photo: Eduardo Jiménez / Archive


For Fernando Savater (San Sebastián, 1947), death is a fundamental event in the life of all human beings, which has not had a specific philosophical treatment, although it has traditionally been said that philosophy is a kind of preparation for death, he said yesterday during the talk he held in the framework of the 40th Oaxaca International Book Fair (FILO) that closes today.

There was a seventeenth-century French lady, a friend of Voltaire, a very cynical and a wonderful writer who said to the French: ‘Prepare for death? But I’ve seen everyone do it perfectly the first time.’ The problem with death is that there is nothing to say, it is the end of the reflection ”.

Savater recalled that in his book the questions of life It started with the theme of death, but being a book for young people, “many made me ugly (and asked) not to start with that, but with love, beauty. However, one begins to think why he is going to die ”.

The problem is when one faces the death of the other, the death of the loved one. My death occupies me little because I believe that I will not be there, but when the death of another happens, of whom you love and of whom you care more than yourself, that does reveal the disappearance to you as something tremendous, which gives seriousness to the life, which makes life serious ”, as happened when writing Worst part, where he portrays the pain of death and the celebration of the life of his wife Sara Torres.

Death is always present, Savater added, and in the case of the epidemic “death is constant… no one leaves this world alive with pandemics or wars. That is evident now for us, but it has been evident throughout history for all ”.

There is something you cannot escape from. You can prepare or try to forget, but not escape. Sometimes death is done
show. Today we see sick people, hospitals full of people and death creates a social problem, because in this case it is a disease and in other cases it is a war or criminal gangs, but that is the spectacularization of death. Death is still there. As Michel de Montaigne used to say, “we don’t die because we are sick, we die because we are alive”.

Does reading help you ease the absence? “For someone like me, who reading has been so important in his life, it is the most constant pleasure, perhaps the first pleasure that I discovered and the last that I am going to stop having. I have always been reading and books have been a kind of private garden. I would get out of reality and go to my garden and there I was alone with my flowers and characters ”.

But reading is not a comfort. “For me there has been no consolation. Now, it is true that daily I take refuge in reading and now, that I practically no longer have great occupations in life, in the morning I wonder what I am going to read, what book for the afternoon or what movie I will watch at night ”.

They are those things that in these moments of pain and even in times of epidemic, you realize how important culture is. Culture gives you a kind of intimate theme park where you can take refuge and you can find things, but the person who lacks culture has nowhere to take refuge, he is in the open ”, said the author of Ethics for Amador, Without contemplations Y The will excused.

And he concluded: “Love survives death and whatever it takes. Until I die I will remain in love and that is what causes you pain because you are in love with someone you cannot reach. Love continues and in this way love triumphs over death at the cost of our own pain ”.