Gonzalo Arango

Gonzalo Arango

Infobox Philosopher
region = Western Philosophy
era = 20th-century philosophy
color = #B0C4DE

image_caption =

name = Gonzalo Arango Arias
birth = January 18, 1931 (Andes, Colombia)
death = death date and age|1976|9|25|1931|1|18 (Tocancipá, Colombia)
school_tradition = Existentialism
main_interests = Literature, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Theology, Moral
influences = Nietzsche, González
influenced =
notable_ideas = Nadaísmo

Gonzalo Arango Arias (born in Andes, Antioquia 1931 - Tocancipá, Cundinamarca 1976) was a Colombian poet, journalist and philosopher. He was famous in his country for being the founder of a literature and philosophy movement called "Nadaísmo" (Nothingness) with other young Colombian thinkers of his generation and that was inspired by the Colombian philosophier Fernando González Ochoa. The intensity of his life is full of contrasts from an open atheism to an intense spirituality and a strong critic of the society of his time. Those contrasts can be read in the "First Manifesto of Nadaísmo" as "The artist is considered sometimes a symbol fluctuation between holiness and madness". [Es: ARANGO, Gonzalo, [http://www.gonzaloarango.com/ Primer Manifiesto Nadaista] , 1958, gonzaloarango.com. Link retraived on June 10, 2008.] Arango died in a tragic car accident in the city of Tocancipá in 1976 when he was planning to move to London so that "Colombians to miss me, win me". [Es: VELEZ ESCOBAR, Juan Carlos, [http://www.gonzaloarango.com/ Hace 25 años se mató Gonzalo Arango] , en gonazoloarango.com. Link retraived on June 10, 2008.]


Gonzalo Arango was born in Andes, a town of the Antioquian South-Eastern region in 1931 in a time known in Colombia as the Regimen of the Liberals that had to face the Great Depression. It was also the time of Constitutional and social reforms like that of president Alfonso López Pumarejo. When he was an adolescent he saw the precipitation of the country in a bloody figth among the two traditional parties after El Bogotazo of April 9, 1949 with the murder of the presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán. He lived also a time when the Catholic Church in Colombia has the control of education due to the Colombian Constitution of 1886 and it had a great authority over political, cultural and social matters, for example, the censorship over intellectual material produced in the nation. As an example, one of the works of philosopher Fernando González Ochoa, "Viaje a pie" (Trip by foot) was forbidden by the Archbishop of Medellín under mortal penalty in 1929. This is the social context that saw the growing of this excentric writer and thinker and that would influence his work.

Arango was the last son of the 13 children of Francisco Arango (know as Don Paco) and Magdalena Arias. Don Paco was the telegraphist of the town and Madgalena was a housewife.

His beginning as a writer

In 1947 he began to study Law in the University of Antioquia, but three years later he let the studies to dedicate fully to write starting with his first work "Después del Hombre" (After the Man). The excentric writer stole a skull from the Saint Peter Cemetery of Medellín [ESCOBAR, Eduardo, [http://www.gonzaloarango.com/vida/suvida_ind.htm Boceto biográfico] , en gonzaloarango.com. Link retraived on June 12, 2008.] to be its companion in a finca of his relatives where he went to live alone. About this time Eduardo Escobar wrote:

Rojas Pinilla

On June 13 1953 General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla did a Coup d'etat to president Laureano Gómez in a bloodless event according with the instructions of the dictator to bring peace to the country. The Assembly that replaced the Congress, composed rather by conservatives, re-elected him for the next presidencial period until 1958. The coup of Rojas was seem by many as a good solucion for the political crisis, the violence in the country and as an option to the two traditional parties. Young Arango was one of those who supported Rojas joining the National Wide Movement ("Movimiento Amplio Nacional - MAN") of artists and young intellectuals that supported the dictator. [ESCOBAR, Eduardo, [http://www.gonzaloarango.com/vida/suvida_ind.htm Boceto biográfico] , en gonzaloarango.com. Link retraived on June 12, 2008.] In that time Arango dedicated himself to journalism.

But soon the reaction of the leaders of conservatives and liberals against Rojas was manifested in an agreement that caused his fall on May 10 1957. While the dictator was exiliated in Spain, Gonzalo Arango fled to Chocó from a pro-democracy peat that was looking for his head in his office in Medellín as the visible representant of the Rojos supporters.

The creation of Nadaísmo

He took refuge in the city of Cali in 1957 without a fixed direction. It was in the bohemia of the salsa music's city where he started to give form to Nadaism that he was going to express in the First Manifesto to be published a year later in Medellín. The dishonour to had supported a lost cause and the feeling of no future, with nothing, brought him to look for other companions who thought like him about society:

The first to join the new movement were Alberto Escobar and Amilkar Osorio and, as an inauguration, they burned in 1958 in Plazuela de San Ignacio of Medellín the Colombian literature as a symbol against what was considered traditional and masterpiece of literature. One of the books was his own first work, "After the Man".

The following year the Nadaists sabotaged the First Congress of Catholic Intellectuals in Medellín, a reason to be sent to prison in the same city. In prison he received the visit of Fernando González, the philosophier of Otraparte and one of his first inspirations. Among other Nadaist scandals is the sacrilege of the Holy Host in the Basilica of Medellín in 1961, something that had international consequences.

In 1963 he began a new change for his life and he is burned symbolically by the Nadaists in a bridge in Cali. He published an poetic antology of ten Nadaists and wrote for La Nueva Prensa.

Nadaísmo (Nothingness)

The "Nadaísmo" continues to be a matter of study, because it was an authentic literary revolution in the Colombia of the second part of the 20th century. It has as its first inspiration the books of the philosophier Fernando González Ochoa and is framed by the subrealism.

The father of "Nadaísmo" was Gonzalo Arango to whom it had the goal of not leaving intact any faith or any idol in place, according with the First Manifesto. The Movement had also as a fraim the 1960s and met young talent writers of the time that created a strong literary school in Colombia, especially in poetry. The first "Nadaists" with Arango were Amílcar Osorio (known as Amílkar U) and Eduardo Escobar. Other would come such as Elmo Valencia and Jotamario Arbeláez. The cities of Medellín and Cali became the first scenary for the development of the Movement, but it became soon of a national level.

The "Nadaism" manifested its grievance to the social order of the time under the rule of the two Colombian traditional parties (Liberal and Conservative), against a very conservative social structure, bourgeoisie and the mass revolutions for totalitariam systems. It was also a bohemian movement dedicated to poetry that was given as closed by its own founder at the beginning of the 1970s, but was continued by some of its followers even until modern times, like Jotamario Arbeláez and Eduardo Escobar. [Revista Cambio: [http://www.gonzaloarango.com/vida/suvida_ind.htm Nadaísmo revizado] , Bogotá, 11 de diciembre de 2006. Enlace revizado el 12 de junio de 2008.]

Abandonment of Nadaism

As a surprise for his followers, Gonzalo Arango abandoned Nadaísmo in 1970, an event that was considered by the Nadaists as treason to the original principles. Already in 1968 he wrote an articule of admiration for presidente Carlos Lleras Restrepo that caused the disapproval of the Nadaists. It was the beginning of the separation of the founder and his foundation until the day of his dead.

The man who wrote manifestos against the Catholic writers, began a new time of deep spirituality and the writing of love poems for his woman, the British Angela Mary Hickie:

However, for Colombian writers of Nadaism like Jotamario Arbeláez and Eduardo Escobar, this one still alived in dissatisfied young people:

Gonzalo Arango was also a journalist and he participated in different newspapers and magazines of his country like Nueva Prensa, Cromos Magazine, Corno Emplumado (Mexico) and Zona Franca (Venezuela). He published also his Nadaism Magazine.

The Prophet, as he was called by himself and his followers, ended his life in a tragic accident on the road Bogotá - Tunja on September 27, 1976.


* (1958) Primer Manifiesto Nadaista
* (1959) Los camisas Rojas
* (1960) Nada bajo el cielo raso, HK-11 (Teatro)
* (1961) El manifiesto de los escribanos católicos
* (1962) El mensaje a los académicos de la lengua
* (1963) Sexo y Saxofón (Cuento)
* (1963) 13 poetas nadaístas (Antología poética)
* (1963) De la nada al nadaísmo (Antología poética)
* (1964) Los ratones van al infierno (Teatro)
* (1964) Consagración de la nada (Teatro)
* (1966) Prosas para leer en la silla eléctrica
* (1967) El terrible 13 Manifiesto Nadaísta
* (1967) Boom Contra Pum Pum (una revisión de Gabriel García Márquez)
* (1972) Providencia (Poesía)
* (1974) Fuego en el altar
* (1974) Obra Negra (Antología poética seleccionada por Jotamario Arbeláez.
* (1980) Correspondencia violada
* (1985) Adangelios
* (1991) Memorias de un presidiario nadaísta



External links

* [http://www.gonzaloarango.com Gonzalo Arango] (in Spanish)
* [http://www.banrep.gov.co/blaavirtual/letra-b/biogcircu/arangonz.htm Gonzalo Arango biography at banrep.gov.co] (in Spanish)

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