I do not want this “development”

Julio Monsalvo is an Argentine doctor and people’s health activist I’ve met along the way, a wild bearded Diogenes on a Guevara-esque crusade to serve the poor in wealth by elevating the riches of the spirit. He coined the Spanish medical term “alta alegremia,” meaning “the level of happiness in the blood” — an important diagnostic. Julio sends out a regular series of missives called Letters that Emerge from the Body. His latest dispatch, “I do not want this development,” charmed me into producing a quick translation and sharing… — JC.


For those who are or who were once pediatricians, the word “development” has a beautiful connotation: it refers to the attitudes of small children that make visible their enjoyment of life.

Crawling , first steps, running, the first little words, drawing, painting, inventing games…these are some of the manifestations of development that have been expected throughout the history of the world.

We imagine a development that is at once personal and collective.

The word “growth” refers to a child’s weight, height, muscle mass. This growth in the human being has a limit, just as it does in specimens of every species of flora and fauna.

In general terms, we would say that “growth” is quantitative and “development” qualitative.

However, capitalism has imposed a language that uses these two terms interchangeably. For capitalism , development is synonymous with consumerism without limits, which inevitably involves destruction.

To satisfy the insatiable thirst for consumerism, everything is commodified and all priority is given to the multiple activities that share one common element: aggression toward the planet.

I do not want this “development ” driven by capitalism. This planet being abused is none other than the one and only House of Humanity.

Recall that capitalism is one more emergent trend in the dominant culture of anthropocentrism: the human being feeling greater than Nature, believing himself to be owner and master of Her, failing to consider that he is a mere part of Her.

Science and technology, from the paradigm of modernity, are in service to this “development,” to the point that today, science is synonymous with control and domination of nature.

Returning to biocentrism, to feel that we belong to nature, humankind can regain the ability to dance harmoniously with our being-in-nature, and so grow to the limits that life reveals to us, to develop always in art, in wisdom , in solidarity, in tenderness, in love .

Hasta la victoria de la vida, siempre!

Dr. Julio Monsalvo, 2014

A child in Indonesia
A child in Indonesia

Published by Jeff Conant

Writer, social and ecological justice advocate, world traveler, family-man, gardener, bee-keeper, baker & tender of life in all her fine forms. Here on The Watering Hole you will find my books, both published, unpublished and in progress, my photographs and artwork, and my short (and long) essays and ruminations here in the late stages of the anthropocene as humanity struggles to turn away from millenia of destruction toward a future of co-existence with all creation…or not.

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