Vita Contemplative

There are then, three different moments, which are repeated cyclically throughout the course of human history, in forms each time more complex and rich: 1. Man feels himself lost, shipwrecked among things; this is alteracion 2. Man, by an energetic effort, withdraws into himself to form ideas about things and possible ways of dominating them; this is being within one’s self, ensimismamiento, the vita contemplative of the Romans, the theoretikos bios of the Greeks, theory 3. Man again submerges himself in the world, to act in it according to a preconceived plan; this is action, vita activa, praxis.

Accordingly, it is impossible to speak of action except in so far as it will be governed by a previous contemplation; and vice versa, contemplation, or being within one’s self, is nothing but a projecting of future action.

Man’s destiny, then, is primarily action.

- Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955)