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What happens in our thinking and feeling when we visit a certain historical moment of the past, find references, situations, and thoughts that make us think about the present?

Does the tango song ‘Cambalache’ compose by Enrique Santos Discépolo ensure the timelessness of the world’s misfortunes? However. specifying that it happens in “506 and in (the year) 2000 as well”, leaves a time frame of history outside of this sentence. Discépolo does not claim to be a historian but rather a philosopher. And a philosopher of skepticism like few others since he allows us to sing his philosophy since he made it known to the public.

But this is no more than a deliberate detour to point out that, in tango, skepticism operates as a radical expression of shared similarity due to the wide variety of things and characters that insist on repeating themselves throughout history. This essay aims not to reflect on continuity but on what is discontinuous and, incidentally, to question the notions of freedom and utopia. Allowing us to place freedom no longer in the field of the ideal but that of its origin while questioning the notion of freedom as an ideal will allow us to support the idea of freedom as a possible exercise.

What I propose is to reveal that the idea of the end of the world has always existed throughout history but that it has been questioned by exercises in the freedom that created conditions of resistance, which protected its practitioners from succumbing to needy resignation. In times where this idea is established in the field of culture as almost hegemonic, characters or events arise that demonstrate the possibilities of being placed in it, without being permeated with the prevailing pessimism, and establishing a consistent way of life; a certain degree of bitterness turned into a method, or according to some: a melancholic strategy to transcend life.

Eduardo Botero Toro, Universidad del Valle. Cali, Colombia. Universidad Libre


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Received 2022-11-04
Accepted 2022-11-18
Published 2023-06-09