Simplista resulta con asiduidad la asunción de la noción SÍNTESIS no solo en la vida cotidiana sino paradójicamente en la academia universitaria (¡hasta en el postgrado!). Cuando suele evaluarse un texto, el tal jurado ve con sus desvencijados espejuelos conceptuales que lo estupendo es lo extenso, lo lato, lo desperdigado; mas no lo que encarne síntesis (que, de ser ciertamente síntesis, tiene que ser -entonces- el producto de comprensiones sistémicas y de valoraciones serias -aunque el texto sea breve-).
simplistic assiduously assumes the notion of SYNTHESIS not only in everyday life but paradoxically in the university academy (even in postgraduate studies!). When a text is usually evaluated, such a jury sees with their rickety conceptual glasses that what is great is the length, the long, the scattered; but not what embodies synthesis (which if it is indeed synthesis must be the product of systemic understandings and serious evaluations -although the text is brief-).
More than three decades ago I was preparing to present my doctoral thesis at a highly reputed Latin American university. The doctoral course carried with it an honorable agreement between the first Venezuelan university and the first French university.
Well. As one of the many bureaucratic procedures that they placed on me as a requirement for the long-awaited completion of the act of oral support of the doctoral work (which I had already submitted in writing), it was stated that I had to submit to the offices, a synthesis of said work. By the way ... such an act of oral support of the doctoral work used to formally denominate with the word "defense", as if beforehand there was an error, a mess, a crime, in short. I remember that the norm imposed exhaustively for the procedure, up to "the maximum number of words" that the matter should carry ... Exceeding is prohibited!
In truth, I still do not know if it was because I was a rebellious boy at the time who was just beginning my fourth decade of life or rather it was because, as a fiery professor of philosophy at a pedagogical university in my country (Venezuela), that then I I said ("in dialogue" with a mirror in the old and dilapidated hotel where I lived temporarily), that this normative document that the University was presenting to me was nonsense. Yes, nonsense.Happens that...
- I HAVE ALREADY READ at some point in my life and specifically in my teaching activity, the letter that (after the second half of the 19th century) Marx had sent to his friend Ferdinad Lassalle in which he expressed that given the personal health difficulties and economics that he was going through, it had not been possible for him to respond with the academic depth reflected in the letter previously received. I remember Marx telling him (in a thousand words) that if he had had good personal conditions, he would have written to him in a concise, brief, synthetic way; but not in a scattered way.
- ALREADY YOU HAVE ALREADY READ the Socrates-Meno dialogue. Such dialogue, as is well known, is a figuration created by Plato in which he gives an account of a conversation between two characters that (I repeat: imaginatively) engaged a wise man (whom he chose to call "Socrates") and a questioning boy who he called " Meno ". The young man, with repeated insistence, demands the wise man to tell him what is the reason that explains "the secrets" of the investigation, "the enigmas" of knowledge, the positioning of knowledge. "Socrates" then chooses not to give him a simple answer, but full of dilemmas ... nobody investigates what he knows, since he knows it. The teacher adds ... Neither does that which he does not know since, because he does not know, he would not even know where to start.
But returning to what generated that unfortunate, myopic and instructive anti-pedagogical that asked me to make such a synthesis of my thesis, I add ... Apart from having in my humble intellectual having as a student of the Doctorate in Social Sciences * with the readings, analysis and assessment referred to above, there was another very forceful ... Namely, the approach made in the 1960s by the Czech philosopher Karel Kosík on the matter. This acute thinker says that everything related to the arbitrary and tortuous process of the investigation (full of trial and error) is different from everything related to the rigorous, provisional and historically impeccable process of the exhibition.
So I embraced Kosík (his work "Dialectic of the Concrete"), the aforementioned letter from Marx to Lassalle and Plato's Socrates-Meno Dialogue, and consequently I understood that my thesis was a synthesis! and as such it was concise and punctual, short on words and abundant with ideas. The synthesis that was required of me (and the conceptual and pedagogical presbyopia of the Doctorate authorities could not see it) was the thesis. If there is seriously a doctoral thesis (in a postgraduate degree in science) that is presented in volumes, in millions of words, I must not doubt that what the thesis did was, on the one hand (and in the best of cases), a detailed account of the zigzag characteristic of the investigative work (which deserves pages, pages and more pages), and on the other, the synthesis, the conclusion, the latter being wisely laconic, sharply short, insightfully deep. The report of the zigzagging work of the investigation is something linked, certainly, to the scientific discourse (final exposition), but different. The exposition, the scientific discourse is synthetic while the report of the investigative work is, like "the speeches of the Latin American dictators", disorderly, scattered, very long ...
You have to see what a wedge synthesizes, a wedge! No wonder Archimedes would have said ... "Give me a foothold and I will move the world"
(*) ... of the axis that established in those years '80s,' 90s and beginning of the XXI century the agreement of La Sorbonne with the Central University of Venezuela.