Don Quixote vs Sancho Panza Ethics: two opposite ways of thinking and behaving.
In these times of economic crisis, we should ask about our ethics. Has been our ethics so selfish as to provoke this crisis? Have been we living for our immediate interest forgetting the future and the next generations? Maybe, we have exhausted the present, now past, and we have nothing for the next years.
From the beginning of the times, there were two opposite morals. Cervantes immortalized them in his famous novel ‘Don Quixote de la Mancha’. The generous ethics of Don Quixote, always looking to the future and to make happy other people, and the negative ethics of Sancho Panza: don’t trust, don’t help anybody and so on.
Here, some very illustrative Sancho Panza quotes:
‘A closed mouth catches no flies.’ Then, it’s better not to opine, not to make any interaction and in the end, to be a strange for other people, because you will live without problems. Thus and according with Sancho Panza, we should only be worried about ourselves. Furthermore, he asks ‘How much does honor pay by the hour?’ Nothing, we can answer, and we would agree with him in his (our) extremely practical way of behaving. A behavior which has destroyed nature, resources and has driven complete continents to the most absolutely poverty.
In fact, Sancho Panza arrives to claim (in one of his more optimistic days): ‘Many men have gone to bed feeling well, only to wake up the next morning and find himself dead.’ Aren’t you happy with these thoughts? Me neither.
Instead, Don Quixote, the madman, has another point of view (a little outmoded, even in his times). Listen to him:
‘Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected.’ As you can see, this is a beginning of trust in our future. But Don Quixote also trusts in the culture ‘There is no book so bad that it does not have something good in it,’ in our will ‘For neither good nor evil can last forever; and so it follows that as evil has lasted a long time, good must now be close at hand,’ and in our chances: ‘There are two kinds of beauty: one of the soul and the other of the body. That of the soul displays its radiance in intelligence, in chastity, in good conduct, in generosity, and in good breeding, and all these qualities may exist in an ugly man. And when we focus our attention upon that beauty, not upon the physical, love generally arises with great violence and intensity. I am well aware that I am not handsome, but I also know that I am not deformed, and it is enough for a man of worth.’
Today, we need to choose between one of these opposite ethics. We need to believe in our future, and we need to believe that this future must be built with the others, and that every person has something good which can be necessary for the group. We are not alone, we form part of a humanity that needs a hope.
Who do you prefer? Why do we call crazy Don Quixote?