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20 / 07 / 2004
JosÚ Antonio Marina, philosopher and writer: We educate children to be good people not to become professionals

The Forum┤s "141 Questions" (72), "Can you teach people how to live?" JosÚ Antonio Marina, one of most well known Spanish professors today, stated that education can help people gain access to happiness, a decisive element for understanding what "living well" is. He called for "a giant mobilization for education" so that those who are children today can contribute to improve a world that "spends crazy amounts of money on arms." Marina, who showed his opposition to the fact that mothers read too many books about childhood, argued that children need "compact networks of affection." In this sense, he acknowledged that "the wisest thing that I have heard in respect to this is from an African proverb: you need an entire tribe to educate a child."

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JosÚ Antonio Marina, professor of Philosophy, who has been devoted for more than twenty five years to the study of phenomenology, genetic psychology, neurology, and linguistics, stressed today at the Haima Stage that "you can't be happy in a world where people are despised." After emphasizing that "living well" supposes reaching the aspirations of health, happiness, and dignity, he highlighted that education can guide us towards happiness, a decisive element around which other longings come from.

In response to the numerous questions from the public who attended the "141 Questions" he stressed that "we should learn that the large advances of humanity have been achieved through constant social mobilizations" and that, therefore, we need to face the tendencies that try to propagate the message that "our private behavior lacks repercussions." For this reason, he called for a "huge educative mobilization" so that the youths of the future can contribute to the improvement of a world "where crazy amounts of money are spent on arms: with 50,000 million dollars a year, 10% of the military budget of the United States, we could fight against the famine and epidemics that are destroying third world countries." JosÚ Antonio Marina concluded his intervention tonight with a plea, "let's educate children to become good people, not professionals." The sentence that concluded the celebrated participation in the space of "141 Questions," inspired the public to say goodbye with a large applause.

Before, JosÚ Antonio Marina spoke about matters related to youths, he said that we are all born with intellectual faculties and specific temperaments and that genetic determinants are important "although not unchangeable." He explained that until 2 or 3 years of age, children may act with certain predispositions, but over time, changes become more difficult. "For a 2 year old child to be very active doesn't imply that at 5 the child will be hostile; nonetheless, a child who is hostile at the age of 5 will probable be so at 10." "Changes in character are possible although complicated," he concluded.

He pointed our that "if we are lacking feelings we are lacking values" and stated that children are born with a confused feeling of well-being and unease that they need when they are about 18 months old when "they spontaneously feel the feeling of compassion." "It is bad when a 4 years old child doesn't feel compassion towards others, given that in more than 50% of the cases, this lack indicates the existence of mistreatment," he observed.

This philosopher and writer pointed out that "our feelings do not define us, rather our actions" and explained that "intelligence appears more like poker: we get good or bad cards -it is better that they are good, of course- but as with poker, those with good cards don't always win, the one who knows how to plan the best wins."

He assured that babies are born awaiting care and caresses, "one of a baby's most important expectations is to be held well." Marina said that mothers read too many books about childhood, "I would prohibit this because they end up with feelings of blame." He reasoned that children need "compact networks of affection." In this sense, he acknowledged that "the wisest thing that I have heard in respect to this is from an African proverb: you need an entire tribe to educate a child." JosÚ Antonio Medina acknowledged that family influences remit from the age of 10 or 11 given that from then on "a group of other equals" count a lot, and he proved to be against the idea that children face social contexts worse than those of previous generations. After highlighting that the most grandiose thing that humanity has done from the ethical point of view was the system of social security, followed by obligatory education, or the common legal system, and he said that in the chapter on drugs, "the most serious thing is what children have inherited from their grandparents, 40% of traffic accidents are due to alcohol."

Professor of Philosophy and Doctor honoris causa by the Universidad PolitÚcnica de Valencia, JosÚ Antonio Marina (Toledo, 1939) has devoted himself for years to the study of the theory of intelligence, phenomenology, genetic psychology, neurology, and linguistics. In his prolific work, he claims ingenuity to be a characteristic value that differentiates human beings. With his first book, "Elogio y refutaciˇn del ingenio" in 1992, he won the Anagrama Essay Award and the National Essay Award. He is the author of, among other works, "╔tica para nßufragos", "El misterio de la voluntad perdida", and "La selva del lenguaje." His growing social influence has brought him to receive numerous awards that have made him into one of the most outstanding Spanish thinkers. In February of 2004, he collaborated with the Television Academy for the creation of a report on the creation of Statewide Audiovisual Council.