Sunday, November 27

Our archaic | Culture | THE COUNTRY

A long-awaited friend grouped them together, as if they were a sect, and gave them the name of “those who do not perceive that everything has changed around them.” Among the most paradigmatic cases of this club we find that of Louis XVI, who, when they took the Bastille, wrote only one word in his personal diary: “Nothing.”

I call that sect, perhaps to abbreviate its name, “that of the archaic ones.” An anecdote rescued from Kafka’s correspondence reveals one of them to us in the figure of the president of the Occupational Accident Insurance Company, the head of his office and direct representative in Prague of the emperor. A case of astonishing imperturbability. The man showed a rare phlegm when the uncontrollable laughter of his employee Kafka broke out, who, as soon as he had just been appointed in a pompous “technical of the Institute” act, felt that it was impossible for him to stop his unstoppable laughter, not caused by the appointment in yes, but because of the transcendent, old-fashioned and lousy speech of the boss. How was it possible that this egregious gentleman did not realize that his solemnity and especially his rhetoric were something totally outdated?

“As a great man accustomed to the most diverse situations in life, that Mr. President could not even think of the possibility of being disrespected,” wrote the employee Kafka that day. And his words lead us to wonder if it is not impressive that that boss was unable to register that the world had changed and also changed just where he himself was speaking with great stiff eloquence.

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How many times have we not felt that same amazement at the speech, let’s say it is haughty and at the same time immensely neorrancio of any of our compatriots? At a time when it is evident that our perception of the world has changed, the archaics are not even able to register the changes that are taking place everywhere, including, although they do not yet know it, in their minimal world.

They tend to remind me of the characters that appear in that passage in which George Sand described herself as a young girl who went to the encounter of life and had ideas of the left, of the extreme left if you contemplate the time in which his days passed . Still, Sand frequented the great halls, and particularly those where members of the old aristocracy gathered, those who had miraculously managed to save their heads. Sand described how he viewed these aristocrats with great horror, the way they gestured, the way they moved, the beardless way of offering himself cakes, pushing a chair forward, pulling it away, hiding his wigs between the breasts of the ladies, and then put them under their behinds, how they made thousands of graces, little carantoñas …

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Sand was perplexed to see those rotten characters, survivors of an obsolete reality, make so many faces and not be aware that they were absolutely out of everything. “The most curious thing is that they were seen grow old live, right there, ”Sand wrote.

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