An Advanced Colonial Society

“The exercise of continually thinking about Argentinean society from a distance led me to start elaborating diverse, paradoxically structured definitions of it in New York—following the model of contradictions from the Onganía regime. At first, I planned to group them under the name “Argentinean Landscapes” and to show them as conceptual works. In the end, however, I brought them together in a book that I published with the title Una sociedad colonial avanzada (An Advanced Colonial Society, 1971). The title emerged in response to a question I would ask myself in New York, in the midst of a society that proclaimed itself to be an ‘advanced industrial’ one: What about me, what society do I belong to?”     

Account by Luis Felipe Noé included in the book "Mi viaje-Cuaderno de bitácora" (My Voyage – Logbook, 2014).


A society that has been informed that is part of Western civilization.

A society that is such a good example of “demonstration effect” that has become the demonstration of defect ®. “Demonstration effect” is a technical economics term that can be applied to culture, and is used to talk about a phenomenon shared by societies that want to keep a certain level of consumption and aspiration, above what can be expected from their level of development.

A society whose image is created by those who mistake a facade for a house, and ignore what is inside.

A society that believes building a nation is a merely formulaic endeavor: having a Constitution that nobody respects and national symbols that are the only things that are ever respected.

A society where even private initiative has been deprived of initiative.

A society that has made patching the currency an economic theory that is a national pride.

A society where the debate is held between those who agree, and those who don’t are barred from public discourse.

A society with a ridiculous fear of ridicule, and whose main mistake is the fear of making mistakes.

A society where it is not allowed to break existing order, but it is allowed for existing order to break you.

A society which is taboo for itself: trying to change it is trying to violate it.

A society which wants to live hand to mouth, but the hand only reaches the mouth tomorrow.

A society where to be a pioneer you must do what has been done elsewhere.

A society which takes pride in counterfeiting in its midst every cultural phenomenon in the world.

A society which mistakes cross-dressing with culture.

A society which is so authentically nostalgic of other societies that only its inauthenticity is authentic.

A society that, because it is too far from the rest of the world, has turned it into an ideal which is impossible to reach, but the ultimate goal of its dreams.

A society whose most genuine popular expression is a philosophy of survival (tango), and its greatest literary form is a way of discussing another reality (the fantasy short story).

A society for which “universal” and “particular” are opposites.

A society which pretends to be a country, but can’t dare to be one.

A society where being “smart” means knowing how to destroy your fellow man and protecting yourself from being destroyed by him.

A society focused on a clear idea: general confusion, but without acknowledging it because then it would be necessary to have another one.

A society of spectators with great critical and analytical sense, and that observes how other societies behave without their realizing they are being observed.

A society which has a perfect administration machine to destroy what it produces.

A society where one doesn’t work to earn one’s keep, but only to earn the right to demand it.

A society that doesn’t invent names for things, but things for names.

A society where my freedom does not begin where that of my fellow man ends, but rather when I end with my fellow man.

A society where the police is more feared than criminals.

A society where trustees are often mistaken for union leaders.

A society where being an extremist of legality in opposition means breaking the law in government.

A society where the jurisprudence is that the judicial power is independent of the executive power as long as it doesn’t exercise that independence.

A society whose system of government it representative bureaucracy.

A society that has made of democracy its greatest form of entertainment.

A society where “democracy” does not mean “government of the people” but “to govern the people.”

A society where exercising democracy is not sharing a general responsibility but transferring ours to a general.

A society where politicians live the fiction of the democratic system, the military live the fiction of its restoration, and the people live the fiction of believing both of them.

A society where liberalism is to nationalism what nationalism is to liberalism: a justification to eternally be at the same place.

A society that debates its past as if it was a couple that argues whether it is his family’s fault of her family’s fault that they have had a defective child.

A society where foreign ideologies are attacked without realizing that every ideology is foreign to it.

A society that would rather not think itself powerful than think itself as part of Latin America.

A society that seeks to appear strong and assert itself with countries it should be looking for a common destiny and seeks to look for a common destiny with countries it should be appearing strong and asserting itself.

A society that has been pondering if making itself is worth it since it started making itself.

A society that is perpetually on the edge.

Ilustrado por Alonso, Carlos; Alonso, Alberto; Amengual, Lorenzo; Cattolica, Héctor; Deira, Ernesto; Quino; Oski; Macció, Rómulo; de la Vega, Jorge. "Una Sociedad Colonial Avanzada", en 1971, Buenos Aires, Asunto impreso, 2003

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