The Suspension of Seriousness
On the Phenomenology of Jorge Portilla, With a Translation of Fenomenología del relajo
Table of contents
First in-depth analysis of this important Mexican philosopher’s work.
The Suspension of Seriousness engages the Mexican philosopher Jorge Portilla (1919–1963), taking note of Portilla's philosophical methodology, insights, and contributions to our understanding of value, being, and subjectivity. Portilla lived a short, troubled life and never held a teaching appointment, but his works, though few in number, were nevertheless philosophically penetrating. He is a legendary character in the Mexican popular imagination of the 1940s and '50s, but little has been written about him or his philosophy. His posthumously published Fenomenología del relajo is a phenomenological analysis of what Portilla calls "relajo" or the state we assume when we do not want to do what is seriously being asked of us—what is demanded of us. It is, Portilla says, "the suspension of seriousness." Carlos Alberto Sánchez uses Portilla's Fenomenología del relajo as a point of departure to consider the dangers both of our uncritical adherence to values as well as our urge to reject values altogether. He argues that Portilla provides a framework in which to situate the modern condition, ourselves, and our future. The first authorized English translation of Portilla's Fenomenología del relajo is included.
Carlos Alberto Sánchez is Associate Professor of Philosophy at San José State University.
"Carlos Sánchez does an excellent job of bringing [Portilla's] concepts and ideas to life in a way that can be understood by anyone. He explores the themes, contexts and times of Jorge Portilla and why he is an important figure. This is a major work in the field of Latin America philosophy." — Portland Book Review
"The Suspension of Seriousness is an in-depth scrutiny of a critical aspect of human consciousness and behavior, highly recommended for the philosophy shelves of college and graduate school libraries." — Midwest Book Review