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Classical or modern?

Human beings have a strong tendency to classify things and especially to label them into pairs of opposites.

Thus we tend to divide people into good and bad, conservative or progressive, believers or atheists, and so on and so forth.

It must be a natural tendency of the mind that cannot conceive of a quality without its opposite, like black and white or light and dark.

But reality is often more complex, nuanced and beautiful than we insist on recognising.

Things are not necessarily “this or that” but rather most of the time they are “this and that”.

This is the dilemma we face when we ask ourselves about our own tastes:

Are we classic or modern?

Classic refers to that which has been consolidated over time, creating a school and leaving a certain sparkle of timelessness, perhaps because it participates in universal qualities that can be appreciated by all times.

The classic speaks to us of the wealth of experience and accumulated wisdom.

Modern refers to the present time, to the ability to live in the present, adapting and looking to the future with an attitude of progress; progress that we generally associate with material advances or simply change with respect to the past.

Modern is associated with youth, classical with maturity.

But why should they be opposites or at odds with each other, are they not rather complementary?

Wouldn’t it be ideal to live intensely in the present moment, looking to the future with a true vocation to do better? And for this, wouldn’t it be good to count on the solidity and experience of that which has transcended time, to draw inspiration from the timeless sources of the classic to give life to the modern?

If someone were to ask me whether I feel classical or modern, I would say that I try to be a modern man, the son of a wonderful classical past.

In the midst of this reflection, this sculpture of the face of a Bacchante whose joyful countenance seems to be oblivious to such disquisitions between the classical and the modern, she is simply beautiful and happy.

Be happy too

Miguel Ángel Padilla