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"Cities and Travel, sources of Europe"

Lecture by Gonçalo M. Tavares
Gonçalo M. Tavares spoke about Europe today and the prevailing forces governing the lives of its citizens.

[Original version in portuguese | duration 1:34:15]

The Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares, deemed to be one of the leading writers of his generation, visited the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) to give a lecture titled “Cities and Travel, Sources of Europe” as part of the series “The Idea of Europe”. He was presented by the journalist and writer Gabi Martínez.

Tavares,before starting, recalled that, as people coexisting in shared space, “our duty is to try to understand, to comprehend the signs left by previous generations” and “to leave traces and testimonies for the generations to come”. He also noted that, “we have the right to set out on another path”. Metaphorically speaking, he said, “I prefer to live in a society that has an angel and a devil than in a society that only has angels” as a prelude to stating that “we must accept that which is totally different from us” and to illustrate his point that “the idea of Europe has to be” a space of accepted and shared diversity. Tavares sought to characterise the inhabitant of the European city as someone who lives astride “two worlds of problems”: namely “the world of the economy and the world of technology”. In the former case, he believes that “we have become completely obsessed about quantification”. Yet “there are things we can’t count and, if they don’t exist, we are destroying the basis of Europe, the foundations of humanism”. As for technology, he remarked, arguing against the usual mindset, that “there is technical progress that means human progress, and there is technical progress that means human regression”. Given this dual reality, Gonçalo M, Tavares, calling for a revival of the more human features that define us, said that the Europe that exists mindlessly “between technology and economy” is situated “in a dangerous place”.