"Every culture needs to appropriate the universal truth of human suffering," says Fernando Escalante, ". . . to give its own meaning to this suffering, so that human existence is bearable." Originally published in Spanish as La mirada de Dios: Estudios sobre la cultura del sufrimiento, this book is a remarkable study of the evolution of the culture of suffering and the different elements that constitute it, beginning with a reading of Rousseau and ending with the appearance of the Shoah in the Western consciousness—"The memory endures, and this constitutes a fundamental transition for the Western conscience: we have witnessed."
Drawing on writings from the Greeks to Cervantes, Voltaire to Nietzsche, and Freud to William James, Escalante combines his considerable knowledge of politics and political theory with a vast array of literary examples to arrive at an intellectual understanding of the history and meaning of suffering. His investigation encompasses the rise of popular politics, the role of messianism in modern nationalism, and the contemporary implications of the Shoah.
This book will appeal to a wide audience: students of political theory, humanism, and philosophy, as well as the general reader interested in a glimpse into the mind of a highly original Latin American thinker.